The ponds at Liberty Park — Photo courtesy of Edgar Zuniga Jr.
Spending time with family in Salt Lake City is about as fun and convenient as it could be. Settled by Mormons in 1847, Salt Lake is still largely influenced by the Latter-day Saints - for which the concept of family is extremely important. Best of all, you don’t have to be a Mormon to appreciate the city’s abundance of open-air acres, child-friendly establishments and clean, safe neighborhoods.
Any day with the family will be well-started with a breakfast at the Park Cafe. Serving a spectrum of kid-friendly, classic American breakfasts, as well as some spicier, more creative “grown up” choices, this casual eatery has something for every generation.
When everybody’s tummies are sufficiently full, you have only to step outside the cafe; you’ll find yourself immediately inside of Salt Lake City’s largest park, Liberty Park. If your party is uncomfortably stuffed, you can easily walk off the meal by strolling the park’s pleasant perimeter paths, or by walking to the central, duck-laden ponds.
You’ll eventually want to steer the group toward the southwestern corner of the park to enter the Tracy Aviary - also situated within the generous expanses of Liberty Park. Home to more than 400 individual birds representing 135 species, the recently renovated Tracy Aviary will thrill kids and captivate adults.
Dali, the Tracy Aviary's Great Green Macaw — Photo courtesy of Tracy Aviary
If the weather is bad, you can skip the duck ponds and aviary and head directly to the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Art. (Be advised that before heading to the museum, you must call ahead for an appointment; these are available anytime 8 am - 5 pm Monday. through Friday.) Though this won’t necessarily hold the young ones’ attention forever, this museum - located in an historical Brigham Young home - will stimulate their imaginations with 19th century tools, housewares, clothes, books and musical instruments hailing from pioneer collections, as well as from those of indigenous Native American tribes.
After your tour of Liberty Park, head southeast toward Sugarhouse to enjoy a satisfying lunch at Salt Lake Pizza & Pasta. Here the kids can gorge on cheese and Canadian bacon pies, whilst the adults kick it up with some of their gourmet offerings. Consider sampling one of their 30+ beers.
When everyone’s blood sugar has stabilized once again, point the wheels northwest toward The Gateway. One of Salt Lake City’s finest shopping centers, the open-air Gateway has more than enough shops, restaurants and venues to entertain any family for days.
If the kids have any energy left, make a beeline to Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum. This state-of-the-art facility is stuffed with bright colors, stimulating exhibits and educational gems. If the kiddos are too tired to enjoy a museum, consider taking them to a movie at The Gateway’s own cinema or to an early dinner at any of the center’s numerous restaurants before returning to the hotel and tucking them in for the evening.