Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

Have you ever played tourist in your hometown? My family and I returned to Utah this past summer after having been gone for two years. There, we played tourists and discovered fun things to do with our kids – ages 6, 8 and 10.  Here are nine family-friendly things to do in Utah for the next time you’re in the Salt Lake Valley and surrounding areas.


1. Hogle Zoo – Salt Lake City

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Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

Always a fun day out with the family, Hogle Zoo continues to improve and impress.  The zoo has recently gone under major renovation, improving and redesigning habitats, most notably, the main entrance’s African Savanna.  Get up-close and personal with giraffes, zebras, nyalas, ostrich and lions as they roam in wide-open spaces of this beautiful new exhibit.  Make sure you also visit the redesigned Rocky Shores, Asian Highlands and Elephant Encounter.

2.  Get Air Hang Time – Orem

This is the ultimate trampoline park, boasting a whopping 40,000 square foot space, making it the largest in the USA.  Our 6-, 8- and 10-year-olds had a blast playing dodge ball, doing flips into foam pits, playing bounce basketball and just bouncing around! (My husband played like a teenager and might have had as much fun as they did.) Make sure to stop by and get some energy out.  Definitely worth a visit!

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Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

3.  The Living Planet Aquarium – Draper

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Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

The new permanent facility in Draper is definitely a step in the right direction.  Featuring 2,484 animals and various habitats, the aquarium tries giving hands on experiences and entertainment to children of all ages.  As nice as the new space is, I felt like there was a lot of just that…space.  It’s not a cheap entry ticket, so I was expecting a little bit more.  Hopefully, this will come with time.  Regardless, the children loved it.

4.  Holiday Lanes Bowling – Heber City

Take a step back in time at Holiday Lanes bowling alley.  We loved the still in tact vintage feel of this bowling alley, right down to the diner serving good old-fashioned milk shakes and malts.  Bowling is always a good time and an affordable night out for the family.

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Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

5.  Ice Skating at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex – Salt Lake City

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Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

Who wouldn’t want to ice skate where the 2002 Olympic athletes trained?  Rent your skates and have a blast during the public skate sessions.  Find public skate time here.  The sports complex also offers camps, hockey, swimming, a gym and other classes.

6.  Oakley Rodeo – Oakley

Get your cowboy boots and hats and head on up to the mountains to the little town of Oakley, featuring one of the best rodeos I’ve seen.  Leading up to the 4th of July, the Oakley rodeo is a fantastic way to celebrate our cowboys and history.  Get your tickets early as this one sells out every year.

7.  Gateway Fountains – Salt Lake City

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Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

At the North end of the Gateway shopping center, you’ll find the dancing water fountains.  Among all the sprays of water there will be lots of children running, splashing and playing in their swimsuits, beating the sprint and summer heat of the valley.  Every half hour, the fountains will dance to music, putting on a pretty spectacular show.  And its free!

8.  Black Cat Comics – Salt Lake City

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Photo by: Expat Travelingmom

I’ve never been a comic book reader, nor have I ever been into a comic book store.  That all changed when I started watching The Big Bang Theory.  Suddenly, I became very curious.  This alongside with my son’s budding interest in comics, led us to the Black Cat Comic book store.  I can’t believe how many comics there were and how serious the hobby is.  My girls even loved it!

9.  Hale Theater – West Valley City

Theater in the round and fun for the entire family, Hale Theater is a must.  We saw Mary Poppins and my kids were tapped in the entire time.  The intimacy of the theater coupled with the beautiful and ornate décor makes any outing here feel like a special event.  So put those cute party dresses on your little girls and a bowtie on your little guy and treat them to a fun performance.