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 101 Inventions that Changed the World 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 Utah Olympic Park takes a faster track to outdoor adventuring—the pass entitles the holder to a zipline ride or a careening trip down the Alpine slide. 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.
At Castle of Chaos, the most fearless of participants can sign a Hands On Horror waiver, allowing ghouls to touch them as they traverse the creaky hallways of the haunted mansion. Whether opting for the add-on or not, spooks await visitors within the mansion, asylum, and dungeon at the Taylorsville location, four new attractions such as the Bedlam Institute and the Phobias Research Center greet guests at the Orem location, and the Riverdale facility coaxes guests into its creepy 3-D carnival and a haunted house modeled after the seven deadly sins. Riverdale participants can also settle into a coffin for a simulated journey from mortuary to graveyard or explore a menacing midway's games, live entertainment, and concessions. Continually rearranged rooms at both houses ensure that feng shui is maintained and repeat scare-seekers will frequently embark on new trips of terror.
The Living Planet Aquarium has become one of Utah´s most unique and popular attractions, and is definitely a must-see if you are planning a trip to Utah. Exhibits feature sharks, rays, seahorses, jellyfish as well as octopus, eels, starfish, amphibians, trout and other freshwater species.
The Heber Valley Railroad whisks railroad buffs and the locomotive-curious through the scenic Provo Valley. The railroad crosses through the same scenery and buildings that travelers would have spotted at the turn of the century, making for a tour that’s family friendly, educational, and charmingly pictorial. This deal is valid for two children's tickets on any one of the following excursions:
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 stewardship. To that end, the aviary frequently hosts bird encounters, small group talks with avian keepers, and even the opportunity to feed various species.
More than two decades ago, Angy Ford, the owner of Bravo Arts Academy, taught her first piano lesson. In the years that followed, Angy’s student base steadily grew, taking over her home-studio space and filling it with noise like a college roommate with no conception of personal space. Angy was heartened by this positive response and overwhelmed by the number of students knocking at her door, so she moved her operation to its current Ogden studio space, which, like the home studio that came before, has continued to expand. Here, Angy couples her bread-and-butter music classes with a host of other engaging pursuits—from art classes to dance lessons—that help kids develop confidence, coordination, and artistic skills. The academy’s facilities invite tots to tumble over thick foam, ballerinas to pirouette over a floating marley floor, and pianists to tickle the ivories in a group setting.
Broken down by age group, the academy’s offerings include preschool, where classes are kept small and incorporate sign language into the curriculum, and extends all the way to private music lessons for adults. Angy models her daycare after the best practices she observed while visiting more than 50 childcare centers, encouraging creativity and learning rather than running infants through daily gauntlets of strength.
Frolicking in a 500,000-gallon wave pool, plummeting from 100-foot free-fall slides, and drifting along a 1,200-foot lazy river with 5 mph currents are just a few of the diversions found within Seven Peaks' net of water parks. The aquatic havens spread across Utah, Missouri, and Indiana, luring families and adventurous kayakers with forests of twisting water slides such as the Provo location's Boomerang, which sends passengers ricocheting down three stories. Calmer fun awaits at child-friendly areas such as the Salt Lake location's Dinosaur Bay, where toddlers splash and ride small slides, and lazy rivers welcome both whippersnappers and adults hoping to relax.
In addition to its water parks, Seven Peaks manages a fleet of fun centers in Utah and Missouri. Visitors to the Lehi location enjoy rides on a pirate ship or in bumper boats, and guests at the Orem location can putt through a glowing, neon mini-golf jungle lit by black lights, or whack at the imagined faces of arch-nemeses in the batting cages.