We are half-way through February and so ready for spring, but despite what the groundhog says, there is more winter weather yet to come. This time of the year, many of us feel an overwhelming urge to get out of the house and do something. But what do you do when it’s still in the thirties outside? Luckily, we in Salt Lake City have a host of indoor entertainment options to choose from. Here are five activities that are sure break your cabin fever:
Take in an Exhibit at The Leonardo
If you haven’t ever visited The Leonardo in downtown Salt Lake, you are missing out. The Leonardo isn’t your typical museum. It’s a modern mesh of science, history, and art that you can’t find anywhere else. Current exhibits include “Pompeii,” featuring artifacts on loan from the Naples National Archeological Museum. You can also see “Flight,” an exhibit dedicated to the science, technology, and history of air and space flight. There are always several simultaneous exhibits at The Leonardo, so there really is something for everyone.
In addition to their exhibits, The Leonardo hosts several programs and special events for people of all ages. They offer a free coding camp for girls in grades 3 through 12. They also have summer camps for youth and a trivia night for ages 13 and up. On Mondays from 3 to 6 pm, they offer a special experience for people with sensory processing challenges.
If you are looking for a unique night out, their monthly Libations at the Leonardo features expertly paired food and wine inspired by a theme. The next Libations event is on February 20th, and the theme is “When in Rome: Tramalchio’s Feast.” Sounds like a great belated Valentine’s date!
209 East 500 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
Lock Yourself In a Room With Your Friends
Grab your crew and head to Alcatraz Escape Games, in Draper, for the best escape room experience ever. You and your friends get to put on your Sherlock Holmes hats and solve puzzles and riddles to find the clues that will help you escape. Each room at Alcatraz has been painstakingly designed to create an immersive experience. Depending on the room you choose, you could be trying to decontaminate a nuclear wasteland full of zombies, finding cursed objects to defeat an evil wizard or escaping from a haunted house or even death row.
You only have an hour to escape, and the different rooms vary in how difficult their puzzles are to solve. Some rooms like Zombie Fallout and Chloe (the haunted house room) are tough, with only a 5% escape rate. These rooms are also great for people who like to be creeped out. In Chloe, you’ll find yourself searching for clues in the dark with flashlights and just waiting for something to jump out at you.
Three of the rooms, The Row, Chloe, and Zombie Fallout, have age restrictions and require a waiver for insurance purposes. Out of those, The Row is the least challenging, with a 22% escape rate. If you want a family-friendly and less challenging experience, book the Wizard Hysteria room for a Harry Potter-esque, puzzle-solving good time.
12674 Pony Express Rd #1
Draper, UT 84020
Take a Tour of The Solar System
If you haven’t been to the Clark Planetarium since your school field trip, then you will probably be amazed by the changes and updates. Located in the Gateway shopping center, Clark Planetarium features three floors of free, interactive displays. This is a great place for kids, but it’s also a fun way for adults to spend the day. You might find that a few things have changed since you last learned about space (RIP Pluto).
In addition to all of the displays and interactive exhibits, their theatre offers a wide selection of fun and educational videos. Their 3D movies that make you feel like a comet is headed right towards you are exiting at any age. They also have incredible nature films that will renew your sense of wonder about planet Earth.
Admission to the exhibits is free, and the movies are only $7 for ages two and up before 5 pm. That makes it an affordable way to get off the couch. You can take the money you’re saving on admission and spend it at their fantastic gift shop instead.
110 400 W.
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Several art studios around the Salt Lake Valley offer Paint Nights. Many of them offer nights specifically for couples or adult friends, along with family nights. At Painting with a Twist, you can even drink wine while you paint. Bonus! Paint Nights are a great way to do something different with your friends or significant other. You don’t have to be artistically gifted or know how to paint. The whole idea is to enjoy the process and have fun with it.
Most places will post a schedule with pictures of the paintings that they will be doing on different nights. You can look ahead of time and choose the painting that you want to do. When you get to paint night, an instructor will guide the group step by step through the painting. Everyone’s artwork turns out a little differently, and that’s the fun of it. You get to see how your friend or partner interpreted the piece. Even if you don’t produce something that you want to frame, you still get to play with paint and laugh with your fellow ‘artists.’
Here are a few of our favorite studios:
https://www.paintingwithatwist.com/ – in the Salt Lake area
https://liquidcanvasutah.com/– in Ogden
https://www.painterspaletteutah.com/– in American Fork
Walk Through and Ice Castles
Ok, ok, the ice castles are technically not indoors. But if you want to enjoy the winter scenery and skiing isn’t your thing, then the ice castles are your best excuse to get outside in the winter. Located in beautiful Midway, UT (a 30 min to an hour drive from most parts of the Salt Lake Valley), the ice castles will make you believe in magic. These beautiful works of art are crafted from icicles and lit from within with colored lights. There are two ways to experience them, during the day when you can see the ice in its sparkling glory, or at night when you can see the gorgeous light show. If you go just before sunset, you’ll get to see it both ways.
You will want to wear sturdy, waterproof shoes and bundle up, but there are fires and hot drinks available to keep you toasty while you explore. If you’re a photography nerd, then the ice castles are not to be missed. There are hundreds of opportunities for beautiful, unique photos. If you have kids (or if you’re a kid at heart), you’ll appreciate the Disney princesses (usually Else and Anna) who roam the grounds. The ice castles make a great outing, but you could also make a weekend of it by staying in one of the many luxury hotels in the Midway area. The Homestead Resort, right next to the ice castles, features a natural hot spring that feels oh so good in February.
700 Homestead Dr.
Midway, UT 84049