Shafts of sunlight pierce Tracy Aviary?s dense conifer forest, sending great grey owls into hiding until nightfall, when they emerge to hunt silently above the treetops. The Owl Forest is just one of five diverse ecosystems that dot the aviary?s eight acres. Nearby, at the South American Pavilion, aviary keepers tend to keel-billed toucans as their colorful beaks break through the cereal boxes in which they incubate. And on the Kennecott Wetland, visitors can espy long-billed curlews and American coots roosting in the tall grass.
In addition to providing a diverse habitat in which native and endangered species can thrive, Tracy Aviary?s curators strive to educate visitors about threats to avian species and to encourage conservation. To that end, Tracy Aviary hosts daily bird encounters, small group talks with keepers, and up close encounters with many species.
Within Clark Planetarium's space-exploration-themed facility, the interactive displays and immersive IMAX and planetarium shows enlighten visitors with interesting scientific facts. Spread out across 10,000 square feet, more than 15 hands-on exhibits entrance guests with artifacts such as photos from the Hubble Space Telescope and a moon rock brought back from the Apollo 15 mission.
Audio in the ATK IMAX Theatre emanates from a 14,000-watt digital surround-sound system as the 70-foot wide, five-story-high screen accommodates Hollywood hits and insightful documentaries in 3-D. More entertainment abounds in the Hansen Dome Theatre, where six high-definition projectors fill the 55-foot domed screen with seamless images during scientific films and cosmic light shows.
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts lives in the Marcia & John Price Museum Building, a space that is itself a masterwork of blending volumes and light. Inside, the facility houses a permanent collection of more than 20,000 works of art, ranging from antiquity?such as a sarcophagus from the 26th Dynasty of Egypt?to modern day, including paintings by John Singer Sargent and photographs by Ansel Adams. The museum staff constantly rotates special exhibitions, covering diverse topics such as automobile design, Native American history, and modern art.
Designed to highlight the different ways children learn, Discovery Gateway's exhibits are colorful and kid-friendly. Around every corner is something to touch, investigate, or explore.
Size: 60,000 square feet
Eye-Catcher: Kids enter The Garden through a 30-foot beehive to learn about how life grows.
Don't Miss: At Kid's Eye View, everything's scaled down to help kids learn about the world on their own scale; here, kids explore a farm, a market, a construction site, and a water play area.
Hands-On Experiences: At the Saving Lives exhibit, kids role-play and learn in a number of activities, coordinating a life flight launch, caring for patients in an interactive treatment area in a helicopter, and using a gurney track to transport patients from the helicopter to the emergency department.
Special Programs: The museum hosts a wide selection of art and science classes, plus activities and workshops for kids.
Celebrations: A charming room hosts birthday parties with themed activities, such as a superhero obstacle course and a musical parade.
The Natural History Museum of Utah explores the world from the age of dinosaurs to today, showcasing nature and man through a variety of lenses. Learn about the past of the Great Salt Lake with hands-on activities, or visit "Chocolate: The Exhibition" to learn about the history and culture of chocolate. Discover the stories of the Great Basin's prehistoric peoples and learn the traditions of Utah's five native nations, or tackle the complex systems of science ranging from DNA to ecosystems.
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.