The weather is starting to warm up here in the Salt Lake area and we bet you can’t wait to get out and DO something. Between Covid lockdowns and winter it seems like ages since we put on real pants and had a day on the town. Figuring out what’s open and what’s not can be confusing. We’ve made it a little easier with this list of safe, fun activities that you can enjoy right now in Salt Lake County.
1. See Some Animals
Over the years, Salt Lake County has been fortunate to attract a whole host of activities for animal lovers of all ages. All of these attractions are limiting the number of visitors allowed at one time, requiring face coverings, and following other Covid guidelines to ensure that everyone can have a safe and enjoyable visit. Here are our top picks:
The Hogle Zoo
The whole family will find something to love at the zoo. Located in the beautiful Foothill community in Salt Lake City, right next to the mouth of Emigration Canyon, the Hogle Zoo is a beautiful place to spend a spring day. They have over 800 animals in innovative habitats that give you a view into their natural environments. Their Asian Highlands exhibit lets you get up close and personal with beautiful big cats, including tigers and a lynx (who usually sleeps right next to the glass). You can enjoy the antics of sea lions, seals, and otters at Rocky Shores and marvel at lions, gazelle, and zebra in the African Savannah exhibit. If you get there soon, you’ll be able to see the zoo’s newest resident, a baby zebra named Zion.
The Tracy Aviary
Located in Liberty Park, the Tracy Aviary has been educating Utahns about birds for over 80 years. Their exhibits include birds from places near and far. You will see owls, ground hornbills, sandhill cranes, and several tropical species living in beautiful habitats. The Aviary is also home to a botanical garden that gets going a little later in the season. Kids will love the interactive exhibits, and the daily talks and demonstrations by avian experts are fun and educational for all ages.
The Living Planet Aquarium
There’s no better place for ocean lovers in SLC than the Living Planet Aquarium. The huge facility, located in Draper, is home to over 4500 marine animals from 650 different species. The penguin exhibit is a local favorite, and the otters could entertain you all day, but you’ll want to see everything the aquarium has to offer, including their immersive tropical exhibit and their shark tunnel. They also have an area dedicated to local Utah water creatures, so your kids can know what to look for the next time you visit a river or lake.
2. Play an Escape Game
Escape rooms are one of the safest indoor activities right now because all of them are offering private rooms and sterilizing between guests. You’ll only be in contact with the people you choose to bring with you. These are our favorites:
The Chaos Escape Rooms at Castle of Chaos Haunted House
These are Utah’s scariest escape rooms, located in the same space as their famous haunted house in Midvale. Only the bravest should attempt these puzzle rooms that pit your wits against zombies, serial killers, and sinister spirits. You get one hour to solve the room and escape a grizzly death.
Alcatraz Escape Games
Another great pick for escape rooms in Salt Lake County is Alcatraz Escape Games in Draper. They also have some scary rooms, but they offer a couple of family-friendly ones as well. Their scariest and hardest to beat room “Chloe” only has a nine percent escape rate. If you aren’t quite up for that challenge, you can check out Extinct or Wizard Hysteria. These rooms are both good for families (with older children) and have a 45% and 44% escape rate, respectively.
Both Castle and Alcatraz provide guests with an immersive experience that you’ll enjoy even if you don’t win.
3. Enjoy the Park
Salt Lake County has so many beautiful parks that it was hard to pick a few to recommend. Most parks are not requiring face coverings (since they are outdoors), but they do ask guests to keep six feet apart.
As long as you are at the Aviary, check out Liberty Park. This huge park has more to offer than just about any other in the county. They have two playgrounds, several courts for games like volleyball, tennis, and bocce ball, and ten horseshoe courts. There’s also a swimming pool, BBQs and a large pavilion. The park’s trails are popular with bikers and walkers alike. The mature trees and close views of the Wasatch Mountains make it one of Salt Lake’s most scenic parks.
If you live on the west side of the county, check out Lodestone Park in Kearns. This County-run facility has one of the best playgrounds around, with equipment that caters to all ages. They also have several basketball courts, picnic pavilions, and a scenic walking path. The park backs up to the paved biking trail that runs along the Mountain View Corridor, so it’s easy to park in the spacious parking lot and bike to the trail.
A short trip for those of you who live on the south end of the valley, Draper park is another beautiful and huge outdoor space. They offer playgrounds, pavilions, a baseball diamond, volleyball, and basketball courts, along with walking trails. The park is nestled against the mountains, and you can find the trail-heads to the Porter Rockwell Trail and Willow Creek Trail just east of the park. There’s plenty of mature trees for shade and a creek just to top it off.
4. Learn About Dinosaurs
The Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point is a great place to learn more about prehistoric creatures, but you have to drive to Utah County. If you want to stay closer to home, you can get your dinosaur fix at the Natural History Museum of Utah, located near the University of Utah. They have an “Antarctic Dinosaurs” exhibit running through April 4th. Guests will see never-before-seen dinosaur fossils and learn about what the coldest continent was like millions of years ago. The museum is following all Covid guidelines, including requiring face coverings and limiting the number of people in the building. They also have an online experience called Polar DinoFest designed to educate kids (and curious adults).