I feel like there are endless things to do with my children in the summer. We mainly hang out in the backyard, at parks, in the mountains, at free splash pads, at the lake, etc. This winter, with two under 4, I've been trying to keep them busy, entertained, their wiggles out, etc., all without spending very much money. I've found SO many fun things to do. In fact, we normally have at least 3 fun outings a week, and most are free. Here's a list I've been working on. I hope it is helpful for you during these cold-dark-Northern-Utah months!
- Clarks Planetarium: This free state-of-the-art space exploration building lets kids explore science and space. There is a charge if you want to watch a 3D IMAX movie in the Hansen Dome Theatre, but there are plenty of fun exhibits that your kids can enjoy for free.
- Scheels: Is a huge store, but it is also a fun place to visit for free. There are a lot of cool activities to do with your kids at Scheels. Inside of Scheels is a 65-foot Ferris wheel that you can ride while taking a break from shopping ($1.00 a rider). Kids will be able to run out all their energy in the youth play area, which features a climbing wall, slides, tunnels and other obstacles and a lot more. Scheels is a great way to spend a snowy day.
- Home Depot workshops: (first Saturday of each month at 9:00 a.m.). The Home Depot Kids Workshop is a free class for kids held every month at all the Home Depot stores. It’s one of my favorite free activities for kids, and you won’t want to miss it. When a kid goes to the workshop, they’ll get a free project kit they can complete during the workshop and then take home when they’re finished.
- Lowe's Build and Grow: Saturdays 10:00 a.m. (typically). Free classes for kids where they can build a different project and take it home for free. In addition, they’ll take home a merit certificate, name tag, apron and goggles. You can register the day of the workshop. However, space is limited to 50 children per store. Register in advance to avoid disappointment. February 11th and March 11th 2017 are the next two scheduled in my area. Call your local store to find out.
- South Towne Mall Kids Workshop: Every third Thursday of the month 10:00-11:00am. Each month has a seasonal related theme that corresponds to crafts, games, dancing, and more! Today was beach day. Next month is super hero day. It was so fun, I'm not even slightly embarrassed to say that I'm super excited for next month's event.
- BYU museum of Paleontology: The BYU Museum of Paleontology was built in 1976 to prepare, display, and house the rock and dinosaur fossils collected by Dr. James A. Jensen and his crews. Over decades of field work, Dr. Jensen and crews gathered fossils from locations in Utah, Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. The Museum of Paleontology provides a fun activity for group tours and has great reviews on Trip Advisor. BYU has a few other free museums as well.
- Sledding! Here are my favorite sledding parks:
Rock Canyon Park: The hills are quite steep, but the bottom of the bowl is flat and large enough to safely come to stop. The snow is usually packed down well enough that plastic sleds can be used as well as tubes. Some sides of the bowl are not as steep as the others and are good for families with small children.
Sugarhouse Park: The Park consists of several hills that are good for sledding/tubing and a pond in the middle that adds to the aesthetic beauty of the outdoors. The hills vary in the steepness and length, and the park is very family friendly.
Peteetneet Academy: A Utah County favorite for sledding. The long, slick hill offers some excellent sledding or tubing. Weekends and holidays can bring crowds to the Payson hill, so plan accordingly.
- Seeing the lights or visiting the many free buildings/activities on Temple Square: The North and South Visitor Centers have exhibits to explain the history and details of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, the tabernacle often has free concerts or singing. There are free tours of the Conference Center. The Joseph Smith Memorial building has free tickets for a movie playing in the theater, and there are even more free things to do on Temple Square.
- Build a snowman! My son and I did this the other day, and I think I had more fun than he did!
- Hogle Zoo: Get to know any of the more than 800 animals. There are a handful of free admission days each year. So far, Free admission will be on the following days: January 25, 2017 and February 22, 2017. Check this calendar to find more free days.
- The Tracy Aviary: Wednesdays or free admission with a $1.00 donation required. There are so many birds there, and they are all so interesting and neat to watch and see.
- Salt Lake City Library: No ordinary library, it is the cultural hub of the city. There is a rooftop garden with a birds-eye view of the mountains, an auditorium with lots of family programs, a café and huge children’s section, all free
- Family History Discovery Center downtown: Experience your family history in a whole new way. The free service enables you to interface with large-as-life interactive displays that use your online family history. There are also fun, hands-on activities for young children that encourage family discoveries.
- Utah Museum of Fine Arts: closed through August 2017 but after that it will open. Following its reopening, the 1st Wednesday (usually) and 3rd Saturday of the month are free.
- Woodbury Art Museum: Free and open to the public.
- Utah State Capitol: Tours are free, and there is a free downloadable bingo activity card for kids.
- Antelope Island is a drive, and the visitor’s center is free.
- Hill Airforce Base Museum: Free admission. Outside you can see tons of huge planes and get up close and personal with them. Once inside there is so much to see and do.
- Chic Fil A, McDonald's, Arctic Circle etc. indoor play lands: It's probably a nice thing to order something, but from what I understand these inside play areas are free. Often there is free wifi too.
- Wheeler Farm often puts on free events. I just took my kids to the story time event this week. They brought out a bunny for the kids to pet after singing and story time was over. Since the sun was out and we were bundled up, we went and played on the outdoor playground that is adjacent to the parking lot before driving home. It made for a very fun day activity.
- Cabelas retail store has a ton of free things for kids to view.
- Libraries: Check the SLC library events calendar here. Or check out your county website for a LOT of free events. For kids they have crafts, story time, sign language time, etc. I remember my mom would take me to the story time in our public library when I was very young. Apparently I really really liked it because it is one of my earliest childhood memories.
- Viridian Center: The Viridian center is often putting on nice events, activities, and crafts. My boyfriend and I recently attended a very nice live Jazz concert by Joe McQueen quartet at the Viridian center. Click the link to their calendar. They seem to cater to teens as well. I saw on the calendar they had a Harry Potter ball and a duct tape craft for teens.
- UMOCA Arts Center: Across from City Creek Mall is an arts center that offers craft kits. I recently went there with my kids, and my boyfriend and his kids, and we all come up with some fun crafts. Supplies, etc. were free.
- South Town Mall, City Creek Mall, Provo Town Centre, and University Mall all have indoor playgrounds for kids to play on for free.
- The Utah Olympic Oval allows free admission to view hockey games (amateur rookie league players). The games occur very frequently. Call for the schedule.
- Front Runner Train for kids 5 and under: You can go on a nice train ride and see the valley with a paying adult.
- Check out this calendar of free events in the SLC area http://slco.org/zap/free-events/. I've found all sorts of awesome free events on this calendar. Don't forget the library and Viridian calendars as well.
I'm about through visiting everything on this list. The winter is half-way gone, and I decided I'll just start through the list one more time! Enjoy these awesome free activities.