Thursday, July 14, 2011

Visit the Kennecott Copper Mine for Free 'til July 17, 2011

I wish I'd caught this one just a little earlier for all of you.

The Kennecott Copper Mine is giving FREE admission to the visitor's center until July 17, 2011- BUT, you must print this coupon and take it with you. The admission charge is normally $5.00 per car, but with the coupon presented at the gate, they will wave the fee. The coupon is only good through July 17, 2011- so act quickly.

The copper mine is a fascinating place to spend an hour or two: see a movie about the copper mine, roam the exhibits and look at the scale models of the both the vehicles used in the mine and of the mining operations themselves.

The visitors center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Get out this weekend and see one of the great man-made wonders of the world- right in our own backyard.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Some FREE Activities This Weekend- Saturday, July 9, 2011

This Saturday, July 9th, 2011, there are a couple of FREE admission days taking place at some great attractions in Weber County.

The Treehouse Museum, a children's museum in downtown Ogden has a free admission day. This is a fantastic, interactive museum that lets the kids get hands-on with the exhibits. They can pretend they are the President of the United States and sit behind the desk
in a replica of the Oval Office, do fossil rubbings or complete a bone puzzle in the Dinosaur Discovery area, or discover interesting things about each state with the Great American Map.

For more information, check out the Treehouse Museum's website.

The Ogden Nature center is also holding a free admission day (as they are doing every Saturday during the summer). Come see a live bird program or participate in a nature craft activity. Walk around the 152 acre nature preserve and enjoy a picnic in the beautiful outdoors. Also see the "FOR THE BIRDS" exhibit of handcrafted bird feeders and bird houses.

For more information, check out the Ogden Nature Center's website.

The Hill Air Force Base Aerospace Museum is in the area as well and always offers free admission. If you have the time make a stop here to see a collection of great military planes, including an SR-71 Blackbird- the plane that holds the shortest time record for a coast to coast flight.

Get out there and have some fun in Utah this weekend!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Visit A State Park- For FREE!

Want to visit one of Utah's 43 state parks? Want to do it for free?

Try this out: Go to one of the following Utah libraries listed here (PDF file). Ask a librarian for the Utah State Parks Annual Pass and check it out with your library card. The pass will get you into any one of the 43 state parks for FREE day use (no overnight camping).

You can spend the day on Antelope Island exploring the unique habitat of the Great Salt Lake. Or, you might try This Is The Place Heritage Park and take a trip into Utah's late 1800's. Head over to Camp Floyd and Stagecoach Inn or out to Vernal to the Utah Field House of Natural History. If you have a little more time and stamina, visit the Territorial Statehouse in Fillmore, Goblin Valley or Dead Horse Point.

Here is a full, interactive map of all 43 state parks in Utah. Check out a pass today and begin exploring Utah's State Parks today.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Take Your Kids to the Wild West (Jordan) Playground

Playgrounds have gotten infinitely cooler since I was a kid. Most playgrounds that I enjoyed when I was younger consisted mainly of swings, slides and monkey bars.

The Wild West Jordan Playground in West Jordan City Park, is a playground themed around the wild west, or at least Utah's version of it. The entrance to the playground is marked by an old water tower which sits in front of an approximation of an 1880's Main Street complete with several different storefronts. Beyond and behind the Main Street facade, are areas that represent Utah in the 1880's and 1890's, all connected by bridges, tunnels and monkey bars.

The most impressive part of the entire structure is a multi-level playhouse built to represent the old Saltair resort in its heady days on the shores of the Great Salt Lake. From the top level of the playhouse, an enclosed twisty slide descends almost two stories.

Different walls of the structure are painted to look like the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine or the Wasatch Mountains. Built into the painting of the Wasatch Mountains are a small climbing wall with hand and footholds just like the big walls but not ascending too high, and safe enough for the kids to pretend they are mountain climbing.

There are two distinct areas of the playground, one for the tots, aged 2-5, and the bigger area for the kids from 5-12 years old. The Wild West Jordan Playground is limited to kids 12 or younger, is open dawn 'til dusk, and has cameras that provide 24 hour police surveillance.

And for those of you who crave the old fashioned playground from the days of your youth- yes, the Wild West Jordan Playground does have swings.

If you like Wild West Jordan, also take a look at Discovery Park.

Place: Wild West Jordan Playground (West Jordan City Park) 1985 West 7800 South, West Jordan, Utah

Time: Dawn to Dusk

Cost: Free

View Wild West Jordan Playground in a larger map

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Walk, Run, Ride or Play

One of my favorite things to do on a summer evening (or even a summer day) is to ride my bike along the Jordan River Parkway Trail.

The Jordan River Parkway trail is a wonderful place to go for a walk, run or to ride a bike. All along the trail are various parks, maintained by the different cities the trail passes through. Many of these parks have playgrounds, restrooms, and drinking fountains, and most are also trailheads, places where you can park your car and enter the trail going in either direction.

The trail will eventually be a paved, mixed use trail that parallels the Jordan River from Utah Lake in the south, to the Great Salt Lake on the north- about a 40 mile route. It also is, or will be connected to other trails such as the Provo River Trail, the Legacy Parkway Trail, and the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

The longest completed section of paved trail runs from just south of North Temple and goes south to 7800 South to Gardner village. The paved portion of the trail does run a bit further south, to around 9000 South, but the trail has not been completed and it dumps you off onto 700 West in the Midvale/Sandy area. The trail from 7800 South to about North Temple has plenty to do and see, including several nature preserves and the International Peace Gardens.

So you don't have to attempt to cross major streets, tunnels or bridges have been built to help you safely across, although there are a few minor, quiet streets that you will need to cross in a cross-walk.

How do you get there? Drive along nearly any major or minor east-west streets to the Jordan River and look for the signs announcing parks or trailheads. Most are easy to find.

The trail is open from sunrise to sunset. It is an easy walk or bike for the entire family (my 8 year old son made a seven mile round trip ride along the trail last year). Don't go too fast- for courtesy's sake as well as for the fact that if you do, you are guaranteed to miss some amazing things in this urban retreat.

Hint: The Nature Center of Murray is between 5400 South and 4800 South and is the second largest designated wetland on the trail. It is home to hundreds of birds, a few dozen species, and there are plaques within the Nature Center to help you identify them.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reciprocal Agreements Can Save You Money...

There are a number of Utah attractions where you can buy season/yearly passes- Lagoon, Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, etc.

But, what many fail to realize is that when you purchase these season/yearly passes, is that there are often other benefits to these purchases known as reciprocal agreements. These agreements get you into other attractions for free, for free on certain days, or give you a discount off the regular admission price.

But, not all reciprocal agreements are crafted equally, or, one yearly pass may offer you access to attractions that you would use more than those offered with another pass' agreements. When buying season/yearly passes, take these different factors into account:

1) What season/yearly pass will you use the most? For example: if you buy a yearly pass to Hogle Zoo, will you use it enough to make it pay for itself PLUS save you money on additional visits? Are you more likely to visit Hogle Zoo, Tracy Aviary, or Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park, etc.?

2) What reciprocal agreements does that yearly pass have? Does it offer enough value to make it worth buying that particular pass or should you consider a different season/yearly pass that gives you access to other attractions that might be of more interest to your family?

3) Do the reciprocal agreements offer free admissions to other attractions, discount admissions, or a combination of both, and which of these would you use most often?

4) Some reciprocal agreements offer free admission on certain days of the month (usually weekdays). Can you make the time to take advantage of these reciprocal agreements?

5) If you live in Logan, for example, would buying a yearly pass to Thanksgiving Point in Lehi be worth the time you would need to make to travel? In this case, buying a pass to the Willow Park Zoo may be a better value and still give you opportunities to visit other attractions for free or discounted rates. Consider the distance that you would need to travel in order to take advantage of passes and reciprocal agreements.

Here is a list of some of the attractions in the state that offer season/yearly passes that also come with reciprocal agreements. While I try to list as many as I can, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list, nor does this list guarantee that all the reciprocal agreements will be honored, as they can be changed by participating parties at any time.

Hogle Zoo- Tracy Aviary (50% off admission every Thursday); Willow Park Zoo (50% off admission Nov. 1 thru Feb. 28); there are also reciprocity agreements with other zoos and attractions in many other states, usually a 50% off admission.

Tracy Aviary- Hogle Zoo (50% off admission every Thursday); Willow Park Zoo (free admission); Thanksgiving Point Farm (free admission on 1st Thursday of every month); Red Butte Garden (free admission); Ogden Nature Center (free admission 1st Thursday of every month); Living Planet Aquarium (50% off admission); Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park (free admission on weekdays only, excluding holidays and special events); there are also reciprocity agreements with other zoos and attractions in many other states, either free or discounted admission.

Willow Park Zoo- Hogle Z00 (free or discounted admission. Willow Park Zoo's website is not clear on the reciprocity policy); Tracy Aviary (free or discounted admission. Willow Park Zoo's website is not clear on the reciprocity policy); there are also reciprocity agreements with other zoos and attractions in many other states, either free or discounted admission. Call Willow Park Zoo to inquire about reciprocity agreements.

Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park- Tracy Aviary (free admission on weekdays); Ogden Nature Center (free admission on weekdays); Ogden Union Station (50% discount on daily admission).

Red Butte Garden- Tracy Aviary (free admission); there are also reciprocity agreements with other gardens and attractions in many other states, either free or discounted admission.

Odgen Union Station (three museums included in pass- Utah State Railroad Museum, John M. Browning Firearm Museum, and the Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum)- Ogden Nature Center (free admission); Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park (free weekday admission, excluding holidays and special events).

Getting season/yearly passes is both a great way to explore and save money.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Feed the Family Today- June 23, 2011

If you are out and about today discovering the cool places and things that Utah has to offer, be sure to save some room for lunch at Jimmy John's sandwich shop. You know these guys. They have the freaky, fast delivery commercials. Today, they have the freaky, cheap customer appreciation day.

Sandwiches, menu items #1-6 are only $1.00 each at lunchtime. That right $1.00!

Be at a participating location between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and fill up the family on the way to your next adventure.

Participating Utah locations are: Salt Lake City, West Valley, Midvale, Lehi, Ogden, South Ogden, American Fork, Bountiful, Clinton, Layton, Provo and Logan.

When: June 23, 2011. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: At participating locations (see above).

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This Year, Make It A Stay-Cation! Start Here...

It's June 21st, 2011, the first official day of summer! What are you going to do with the kids this summer?

Gas prices are still high. Airline tickets can cost you your firstborn. And, have you seen some of the entry fees at amusement parks and other places of interest around the country? It's enough to cause a case of depression.

Why not travel around Utah this year? There are a lot of amazing things to do right in our own backyard, many of them inexpensive or even free. You can look back through this blog and find great places to go and things to do, and you can check back with us each week throughout
the summer as we add more and more places to go, even updating some of the things we've mentioned before.

This week is one of my favorite events of the summer- Taylorsville Dayzz. Now, I'll admit that I'm biased, since this is my hometown, but this annual celebration has just gotten bigger and better every year.

Taylorsville Dayzz begins on Thursday, June 23rd with the opening of the Carnival Midway. This is a pretty good sized carnival with a lot of rides, games, petting zoo and lots of midway style food. The Thursday Special- all carnival rides only $1. The Carnival opens at 4:00 p.m. and goes until 11:00 p.m.

Things really ramp up starting Friday, June 24th. The Carnival
is open again at 4:00 p.m. The Taylorsville Symphony begins a show at 6:00 p.m. and the night is highlighted by an Elvis impersonator starting at 8:00 p.m. Fireworks after the performance cap the night.

Saturday, June 25th, is when all the stops come out. The Taylorsville Dayzz Parade starts at 9:00 a.m., going up 5400 south from about 1800 west to 2700 west, then turning north on 2700 west and continuing down just past Valley Regional Park. The Carnival is open all day and the classic car show starts at 11:00 a.m. (with a burnout competition at noon). That evening, rock to some of the great ABBA classics with ABBA impersonator group, ADBACADABRA starting at 8:00 p.m. Once the show ends, stick around for one of the most spectacular free fireworks shows in the state.

The celebration concludes on Monday, June 27th. The Carnival will still be open if you haven't gotten enough food and rides. That evening at 8:00 p.m. the Utah Symphony will perform and the finale will be the 1812 Overture accompanied by real cannons fired by the Wasatch Cannoneers. And then, one final fireworks show.

I love Taylorsville Dayzz and so do my kids. Even better, it's cheap, it's close and it makes a great Staycation spot.

Where: Valley Regional Park, 5100 South 2700 West, Taylorsville, UT
When: June 23, 24, 25, 27, 2011
How Much: Mostly Free, Carnival rides and food cost extra.

View Valley Regional Park in a larger map

Monday, March 7, 2011

New Look and New Ideas

We're back with a new, updated look and we'll soon be posting new, updated content as well. We'll be updating some of our previous Things To Do, Utah posts with current information about places to visit, what's new at some of the previous places we've visited, and with any new pricing or new ways to take advantage of deals.

Spring is just around the corner and there will be all sorts of things for you and your family to do as the weather warms up. Keep checking back with us to find out about the fun, free and spectacular things that Utah has to offer.

Thanks for reading!