Salt Lake City for Kids
A favorite among children, none of the exhibits at Discovery Gateway (in the Gateway complex at 444 West 100 South, 801/456-KIDS, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., until 9 p.m. Mon. and Fri., noon–6 p.m. Sun., $9.50, $8.50 for Utah residents, free for children under 1) display Do Not Touch signs; in fact, most of the displays are hands-on. Discovery Gateway provides engaging interactive activities that inspire learning in children and fun for the whole family. Kids get to put on plays, host the morning TV news, make short animated films, and engage in many other activities. They can also take part in a mock Life Flight or rescue operation in an authentic life-sized helicopter.
Lagoon Amusement Park and Pioneer Village
History, recreation, and thrilling rides come together at the attractively landscaped Lagoon Amusement Park and Pioneer Village (375 Lagoon Dr., Farmington, 801/451-8000 or 800/748-5246, wwwlagoonpark.com) 16 miles north of Salt Lake City. Lagoon traces its own history back to 1887, when bathers came to Lake Park on the shores of Great Salt Lake, two miles west of its present location.
The vast Lagoon Amusement Park area includes roller coaster rides, a giant Ferris wheel, and other midway favorites. There are also musical performances and miniature golf. Lagoon A Beach provides thrilling water slides and landscaped pools.
Pioneer Village brings the past to life with authentic 19th-century buildings, stagecoach and steam-train rides, an Ute museum, a carriage museum, a gun collection, and many other exhibits. Wild West shoot-outs take place several times daily. Food booths are scattered throughout the park, or you can dine at the Gaslight Restaurant near the Opera House.
Lagoon Amusement Park, Lagoon A Beach, and Pioneer Village are all open daily (11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., and 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat.) from June to the last week of August, or whenever the local school year begins. The complex is open Saturday and Sunday early April-May and through September. An all-day ride pass is $43 for adults, $38 for children over age 4 and up to 50 inches in height, $28 for children age 3 and under, and $38 for seniors. The all-day pass includes Lagoon A Beach privileges. An additional $8 is charged for parking. Take I-15 to the Lagoon exit and follow the signs.
Wheeler Historic Farm
Kids will enjoy a visit to Wheeler Historic Farm (6351 South 900 East, 801/264-2241, www.wheelerfarm.com, dawn–dusk daily, free) to experience the rural life of milking cows, gathering eggs, churning butter, and feeding animals on this working farm. Hayrides (sleigh rides in winter) take visitors around the farm.
Henry and Sariah Wheeler started the farm in 1886 and developed it into a prosperous dairy and ice-making operation. Tour guides take you through the Wheelers’ restored Victorian house, built 1896–1898, the first in the county to have an indoor bathroom. Signs on other farm buildings recount their history and use. The Ice House now sells crafts and snacks.
The Salt Lake County Recreation Department operates the farm and offers special programs for both youngsters and adults. There’s no admission charge to the farm, but you’ll pay for individual activities. A tour (hourly 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon., Wed., Fri.-Sat.) costs $2 for adults; milking a cow (5 p.m. Mon.-Sat.) costs just $0.50. Though it was once on the outskirts of town, Wheeler Historic Farm is now surrounded by suburbs.
© W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell from Moon Utah, 9th Edition