Salt Lake City Guided Tour's brainy guides back up historical accuracy with a collective 30 years of experience, leading inquisitive sightseers and lore-hungry locals on educational promenades through Wasatch Front. A fleet of new vans transports sightseers through city streets as guides illuminate patrons with knowledge of the architecture, history, and primatology of old Fort Douglas, the olympic stadium, and pioneer trails during Salt Lake City Grand tours. Organ symphonies waft into auditory canals in the Mormon Tabernacle, and eyes set sights on the state capitol and old Union Pacific station, Disney's inspiration for its own train port. Alternatively, the Great Salt Lake tour lets craniums absorb the history and ecology of Great Salt Lake's sodium crystals and brine shrimp as eyes rove over Utah's wetlands, a refuge for migratory birds. Guides explain the flow of mineral salts that lends the sodium-rich lake its name, as well as fill in travelers on a competing theory that postulate its origins as Poseidon's kiddie pool.
Part-bike, part-car, and all eye-catching, the Pedal Hopper isn't transit for the faint of heart. This massive vehicle seats anywhere from 10 to 16 passengers at a time as they pedal in unison around downtown Salt Lake City. A company-provided driver sits in the middle, operating the steering wheel and brakes, while guests sitting around the mobile countertop laugh, chat, and exercise their legs to power the vehicle towards custom destinations along a specific route. The two-hour-minimum rides are generally spaced into 20-minute visits with 20-minute pedal sessions, perfect for parties going on a pub crawl or participants on Supermarket Sweep. The Hopper also sports a stereo, disco ball, and LED lights for safe and festive night riding for its 21-and-up clientele.
US Bus Utah's namesake vehicle is a common sight on the streets of Salt Lake City; in fact, it's almost impossible to miss. The open-topped bus snags sightseers from around SLC for hop-on, hop-off tours of local landmarks such as the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Hogle Zoo, and Clark Planetarium. The bus runs a continuous circuit from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., seven days a week, giving sightseers a chance to catch a ride back from their adventures once they're done exploring.
A true polymath, Leonardo da Vinci was never content learning a single subject at a time. Leonardo’s expertise is renowned, as he honed his mind as an artist, scientist, inventor, and mutant ninja. In this same spirit, The Leonardo, his namesake museum, explores the ways that science, technology, art, and creativity connect. Each day, its exhibits bustle with activity as visitors examine thought-provoking installations, experiment with hands-on activities, and participate in ever-changing workshops.
The Dynamic Performance of Nature exhibit, for example, is a giant sine curve made of solar-powered LEDs that stretches the length of room. It flashes and changes its color in response to real-world factors such as solar radiation, humidity, and pollution. Artists, inventors, and other innovative thinkers work within the Lab@Leo, where they help museum guests make creative projects out of different materials. Some of the museum's other exhibits include I.D.: What Makes You, You?, which explores our genetic origins, and Render, where visitors can create their own short animated films.
It can be tough to visit dinosaurs and outer space in the same day without a time machine and a rocket ship. But Visit Salt Lake's Connect Pass provides a loophole. It grants access to 13 Utah attractions, encouraging families to explore Salt Lake City and beyond. Those using the Connect Pass can see savings of up to 80% on combined admission costs.
At Clark Planetarium, for example, visitors go far beyond the Great Salt Lake and Earth itself, becoming dwarfed by the cosmos inside the Dome Theatre. The Leonardo Museum brings them back to civilization by merging science and creativity with exhibits such as Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out and a Pixel Playland where kids can manipulate electronic artwork.
Other venues emphasize the beauty and fun found in the natural landscapes of our home planet. Red Butte Garden's 100 acres of local flowers, plants, and trees includes scenic hiking trails, whereas the Utah Olympic Parks lets you choose one of three outdoor adventure courses. And, for those intrigued by animals, Utah's Hogle Zoo presents wildlife that ranges from big cats to sea lions who nuzzle their keepers, similar to the dinosaurs at The Museum of Ancient Life.
Since its inception in 1931, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has become a renowned haven of culture in the Salt Lake City community. The museum is a multi-year recipient of funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and its numerous accolades include Best of State in 2011 and 2012. Its four gallery spaces have hosted exhibitions by local artists, such as LeConte Stewart and Anna Campbell Bliss, as well as famous names, such as Ignacio Uriarte, Christian Jankowski, and Jennifer West.
In addition to gallery displays, the museum hosts film screenings, classes, and other activities that promote appreciation of the arts. A museum educator drives an art truck to schools along the Wasatch Front, introducing students to contemporary art and activating windshield wipers that spray paintbrush cleaner. Kids and parents can see the current artwork and create their own collaborative, hands-on projects during free Family Art Saturdays, and adults can get a crash course in art appreciation during Art Fitness Training.