Frontier Homestead State Park was created nearly 50 years ago by the residents of Cedar City. They decided that they were rapidly losing their history and wanted to do something about it. So they teamed with the state of Utah to create Iron Mission State Park, later changed to Frontier Homestead. We wish more communities had the foresight to do this.
We loved this park. There were so many hands-on activities, and the Junior Ranger program is awesome. It costs $1 which we gladly paid, and all ages can participate, so our two year old was able to complete it. Kids need to complete as much as they can, and there is a lot inside the booklet to do including word searches, a scavenger hunt in the museum, and a lot of activities outside. It took us a long time, but we felt like it really helped us experience Frontier Homestead.
This state park really has two sections: the museum and outside the museum. The museum is filled with old wagons and cars. There are also displays about Cedar City and the printing press.
Once you finish inside the museum, you can head outside. At each building or area outside, there is an activity. Here’s where the Junior Ranger stuff comes in handy. Keep track of the activities you do in your Junior Ranger booklet, but you don’t need to be doing the Junior Ranger program in order to complete the activities. Some of our favorites were:
Washing Clothes: Outside of any old Pioneer cabin, you could wash clothes just like a pioneer. You’ll do everything from scrubbing to hanging clothes on the line to dry. Our boys loved this!
Writing Postcards: There is an old farmhouse on the property as well. We went inside to visit and you could write postcards to send to someone about your trip to Frontier Homestead State Park.
Packing for the trip west: We loaded a real covered wagon with boxes of supplies. Unfortunately, we got it so full that all five of us had to squeeze on to the front seat to make the trek west (there is a small version inside)!
Roping: You can attempt to lasso wooden cows. Even though our boys could not get the lasso to work, they loved this activity!
Panning for Gold: Despite our two year old drenching himself, this was a fun station for the boys as they tried to find small gold rocks.
There were also other activities such as creating your own brand, building with Lincoln logs, and pushing the stone to grind rocks. There are also other historic buildings to visit such as a sheep barn, a mill, a fort, and other small cabins.
We spent a LOT longer here than we had expected. We were thoroughly impressed with how well they have set up this park for children to enjoy. Our boys were very involved the whole time in everything and everywhere we went. And right out front is an old train car and an old mining tractor that you can climb in and explore–another huge hit with the boys! This is a very fun Utah State Park and all ages and families will enjoy visiting.
We also happened to go on Junior Archeology Day which they host once a year. There were a few extra activities to participate in besides the regular ones like rope making, petroglyph coasters, and the chance to shoot a bow and arrow or slinging a spear with a prehistoric atl-atl. It was a lot of fun, plus there were cookies! We would love to go back for Junior Archeology Day again.