Planes, trains and orangutans: 12 distinctly Utah things to do this summer
By Scott D. Pierce
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published May 23 2013 06:23AM
Summertime is almost here. Kids will be looking for fun things to do, while their parents will want them to do something interesting and educational.
While there’s always a park or swimming pool, we suggest trying one — or all — of these 12 adventures that are distinctively Utah.
Antelope Island State Park
This island filled with bison, pronghorn and bighorn sheep is a Utah treasure. There’s a great visitor center, hiking, biking, backpacking. And it’s the best way to see the Great Salt Lake.
Where • 4528 W. 1700 South, Syracuse
Open • Seven days a week, 7 a.m.-10 p.m..
Admission • $9 per vehicle ($6 seniors); $3 cyclists and pedestrians
Heber Valley Railroad
The historic, restored engines and passenger cars are like stepping into a movie or TV show. This weekend, Friday-Monday, that will be especially true: Thomas the Tank Engine from "Shining Time Station" will be in Heber.
Where • 450 S. 600 West, Heber City
Open • Times and tours vary. Check the website for more information.
Admission • $8-$30; family packages available
Online • hebervalleyrr.org
Hill Aerospace Museum
This indoor-outdoor museum features more than 90 aircraft and missiles. Kids will be fascinated, as will adults.
Where • 7961 Wardleigh Road, Hill AFB,
Open • Seven days a week, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Admission • Free, but donations accepted
Online • hill.af.mil/library/museum
The most distinctively Utah thing about this zoo is its location — a 42-acre site at the mouth of Emigration Canyon.
Where • 2600 E. Sunnyside Ave., Salt Lake City
Open • 9 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week
Admission • $9.75-$12.75
Online • hoglezoo.org
Utah’s amusement park is part of the state’s history. It opened in 1886; it includes the Pioneer Village (filled with historic buildings); the wooden coaster dates to 1921. It’s a local tradition.
Where • 375 Lagoon Drive, Farmington
Open • Now open weekends and Memorial Day; open seven days a week June 7-Aug. 25; times vary.
Admission • $29.95-$49.95 day pass; season passes available
Online • lagoonpark.com
Natural History Museum of Utah
This is where you’ll find the dinosaur bones. Learn about American Indians. Discover gems and minerals. And look into the future. Fascinating for kids and adults.
Where • 301 Wakara Way (on the University of Utah campus), Salt Lake City
Open • 10 a.m.-5 p.m. every day but Wednesdays, when it stays open until 9 p.m.
Admission • $8-$11
Online • nhmu.utah.edu
Ogden Nature Center
This 152-acre nature preserve features walking trails, bird blinds, live bird exhibits, picnic areas, tree houses and more.
Where • 966 W. 12th St., Ogden
Open • Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission • $2-$4
Online • ogdennaturecenter.org
Rocky Mouth Trail
There are plenty of places to hike around Salt Lake City, but this trail is perfect for small children. The start is a bit steep, but the trail only rises 200 feet and is one-quarter mile long. Best of all, there’s a waterfall.
Where • Near 11248 S. Wasatch Blvd. (directly east of the LDS chapel)
Open • Seven days a week, dawn to dusk
Admission • Free
This Is the Place Heritage Park
Relive Utah’s pioneer days. It’s hands-on history with a variety of activities, including many aimed at younger kids.
Where • 2601 E. Sunnyside Ave., Salt Lake City
Open • Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission • $7-$10
Online • thisistheplace.org
Not all cities have a bird zoo. It’s very hands-on with shows and interactive activities in addition to the exhibits. Plus, you can make a day of it and let the kids play at Liberty Park.
Where • 589 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City (in the southwest corner of Liberty Park)
Open • Seven days a week, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission • $5-$7
Online • tracyaviary.org
Utah Olympic Park
Relive the 2002 Winter Olympics on the bobsled ride by hurtling down a mountain at 80 mph pulling 5 G’s. This is not a kiddie ride — you have to be at least 16 and weigh at least 100 pounds — but it’s an experience you won’t get in Texas. The park also features adventure courses (ropes, ziplines), chairlift rides and more.
Where • 3419 Olympic Parkway, Park City
Open • Weekends and Memorial Day through June 2; then open daily June 8 to Sept. 2; 1-5 p.m. Sundays; noon-5 p.m. other days.
Admission • $75 per person for the bobsled ride; $40 per person for an Adventure Pass that offers the choice of three of the following activities: Summit Course, Canyon Course, Discovery Course or Drop Tower plus unlimited rides on the scenic chairlift; season passes available.
Wheeler Historic Farm
E-I-E-I-O! This is a chance for kids and their parents to visit a farm without leaving the city. Milk a cow. Feed the ducks. Have a picnic.
Where • 6351 S. 900 East, Murray
Open • Dawn to dusk seven days a week.
Admission • Free — but there are fees for some of the activities ($1 to milk a cow, $2 for a wagon ride, etc.)
Online • wheelerfarm.com