This post was most recently updated on January 12th, 2022
With my daughter learning how to walk (and run) right as we moved to Salt Lake County last April, I made the sudden realization that this little ball of energy needed things to do and places to see. With little money in the bank for extravagant adventures like zoos, aquariums and amusement parks, we set out to find the best of Salt Lake County that could be done for free. Here are 6 different activities we do routinely that are budget-friendly, easy to do with kids, and varied enough to keep both mom and kids happy!
6351 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84121
One of my toddler’s favorite places to visit is Wheeler Farm in Holladay. Wheeler Farm is a working farm (not a petting zoo) that serves agricultural purposes, but visitors are welcome to roam freely amidst the animal pens seeing the horses, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, turkeys, ducks, chickens, roosters, and geese. In addition to the animals, there is also an excellent playground on the south side of the farm. Wheeler Farm also provides wagon rides and seasonal holiday activities, most of which do cost money, but a walking visit around the farm is always free.
If you enjoy the outdoors, Utah (and especially Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons) is the place for you and your family. While there is a plethera of impressive hikes for experienced outdoorsmen, there are also a handful of hikes that are totally appropriate for young children. Check out this link to find some hikes even your little ones can handle.
Salt Lake City Temple Square
50 West North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Temple Square in Salt Lake City is Utah’s top tourist draw and makes the nation’s Top 25 Attractions list according to ForbesTraveler.com. It welcomes over 5 million visitors annually and offers free tours of the 10-acre grounds and visitors centers in 40 different languages! Temple Square is a great place for your whole family to enjoy interactive displays about scripture stories, family history, and missionary work, as well as free movies about Church history. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the temple grounds also host an impressive display of Christmas lights and nativity scenes. While the temple itself is not open for touring, there are 13 other buildings on Temple Square that are open to the public and are completely free.
(Note: Temple Square is currently closed for an earthquake retrofit and renovations until 2024. However, the Church History Museum will remain open and is filled with family-friendly exhibits and activities. The Tabernacle is open with tours and demonstrations. You can even attend a weekly choir rehearsal)
Because of Covid-19, however, Temple Square may be closed to the public. You can check by calling 801-531-1000.
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art Stroller Tours
20 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is always free to the public but this is a special opportunity to enjoy art with your children in tow. The stroller tours, which occur at 9:30 AM on the second Wednesday of every month, allow parents and children to enjoy the museum before doors open to the public and allow us moms to enjoy some culture without feeling embarrassed about our crying or whining kids – because at these tours it’s just plain expected, and everyone will have whining kids with them! 😉
The Museum has a new program you might enjoy, too. It’s called LAWN GNOMES 2020. Artists, neighbors, and makers have accepted the challenge to create art in their front yards. You can download the addresses and go on a drive-by art tour.
And on second Saturdays there’s “Family Art Saturday,” which allows supervised children to view museum exhibits and create art based on a monthly project schedule. See! So many places offer activities that are free for kids in Salt Lake County!
Parks and Splash Pads
This summer I was thrilled to discover so many free, incredible parks and splash pads in Salt Lake County that I didn’t have to take my daughter to the same one twice all summer! Some of our favorite parks are: Veteran Memorial Park in West Jordan (aka West Jordan City Park), Dimple Dell Park in Sandy (a nature preserve in the middle of the city!), Liberty Park in Salt Lake, and Big Cottonwood Regional Park in Millcreek (the park is both on the north and south side of Murray Holladay Road and has playgrounds on both sides, but we prefer the north side of the park). The best splash pad in our opinion was Mountview Park in Cottonwood Heights, but all of the splash pads we visited were great. This list by Enjoy Utah is a compilation of all the known splash pads in Utah by county!
Library Story Time for Children and Babies
Salt Lake County has 18 different libraries so it’s likely you live close to several of them. All have regularly scheduled story times and other kid-friendly activities that you can find on the Salt Lake County Library website.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this list of free things to do with kids in Salt Lake County. It’s really just a sampling of what’s available.
Much thanks to guest writer, Jessie Heaton, for this fun post! In case you didn’t know, she’s my oldest daughter, and the cute little girl in the photos is my granddaughter! (Grandma love!)
If you have more ideas of activities that are free for kids in Salt Lake County, PLEASE share them with us in the comments below.
Other Utah articles you might be interested in:
Farm County of Thanksgiving Point
Outstanding Indoor Attractions in Utah
It’s Not Christmas Without a Temple Square Visit
I love this! Now I can’t wait to visit Utah again so I can try some of these places out!
One free place I’ve been in the Salt Lake Valley is: Scheels, a pretty awesome sport’s store. You can walk around and see what the store has to offer, including lots of stuffed wild life, photo ops, a fish tank, and an indoor Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel does cost a few bucks for a ride, but everything else is free as long as you aren’t tempted to buy any merchandise. ☺
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Free is always good! I’ve never been to Utah!