Salt Lake City has quite a story to tell. Fortunately for its residents and visitors, it also has a diverse selection of top-notch museums to illustrate the various facets of its past and present.
If you're interested in how Utah's incredible backcountry came into existence, consider a trip to the Natural History Museum of Utah, at the University of Utah. Here you'll catch exhibits depicting the eons of geologic activity that have shaped this colorful piece of the earth. You'll also see fossils and replicas of great dinosaurs and other ancient life that occupied the Great Basin in bygone millenia. Located in a brand new, top-notch, beautiful facility at the base of Wasatch foothills, this museum will captivate adults as much as children. While on campus, swing by the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, a nearly 75,000-square-foot building with a collection spanning roughly 4,000 years.
If the kids didn't get enough at the Natural History Museum, head west to Discovery Gateway, inside the Gateway Center. Totally redesigned and relocated in 2006, this colorful, stimulating facility is a pleasure to visit.
Those interested in the most recent 135 years or so of human history in Utah should take a trip to any of the Mormon museums. The Daughters of Utah Pioneer Memorial Museum details the lives of the early Latter-day Saints who migrated westward to found Salt Lake City. The Chase Home Museum of Folk Art focuses on the handiworks of those original settlers, as well as that of indigenous tribes. Alternatively, you can head back to the University of Utah to check out Fort Douglas and its museum; this structure was built by the U.S. Army, sent to Salt Lake City in 1862 to keep an eye on the Mormons by a nervous President Abraham Lincoln.