We always enjoy visiting the Natural History Museum of Utah. It opened up at this location in early 2012. This museum is extremely educational, and it is geared toward 6-12 year olds (and adults). As a fourth grade teacher, I was constantly saying, “Wow! My students need to see that!” There are lots of hands-on activities to keep young kids busy, too.
We recommend riding the elevator to the top and working your way down through the museum. First of all, it is easier on the legs to walk downhill the entire visit than climb up. Second of all, the dinosaurs and children’s play area are both on the first floor, so it is the perfect spot to end.
On the top floor of the Natural History Museum Utah, there are 3 different things to check out. The first is the Sky exhibit that talks about Space and weather. Our boys love space, so we always enjoy the hands-on activities in this exhibit. Make sure to head outside and take a look at view. There are also weather instruments outside to look at. The final area on top is an exhibit about the Native American tribes in Utah.
Head down to the next floor where the focus is on Life. Everything on this floor talks about cells, animals, plants, and living things. We like the microscopes on this level so we can get a closer look at things. We also like to find all of the animals and plants in each of the ecosystem displays. It’s like a search and find game for us. Our boys love the live ants and spiders and fish that they can watch on this floor.
As you work your way down to floor 3, the exhibits are about the land in Utah. There is information about weathering, earthquakes, and old Lake Bonneville. Make sure to let your kids do some of the fun hands-on activities here like the sand/water table, and building an earthquake safe building.
Also on this floor, there is more information about the early people who lived in Utah. There is an archaelogical site that kids can explore and play in. There are also gems and stones on display, too.
The Wetlands display is a big focus on floor 2. We love this area where we teach our boys about the importance of wetlands in Utah. There are some fun displays, especially one that shows how wetlands filter out the impurities in water. There is also a weather simulator, which shows how the Great Salt Lake was formed and why it doesn’t flood its banks even though there is no outlet.
The dinosaur display starts on this floor, and as you walk through, you end on Floor 1.
The bottom floor is where most of the fossil are. There is a huge dinosaur display and so many neat things to see. We love the clear glass display of fossils that you can walk over, as well as the wall of huge triceratops heads. The giant crocodile is also a cool fossil in this museum.
After walking through the fossils, make sure to stop in the play area. There are more live animals to see like salamanders, snakes, and spiders. There is also a water play area that is very popular with the kids where they can scoop up plastic bugs and fish. Make sure to crawl in the cave and look at the snakes and lizards from the other side.
The museum is a bit pricey, but there is so much to do you will definitely get your moneys worth. It’s $15/adults, $13/teens, $10/kids 3-12. If you purchase tickets online, you can save $2/ticket. Also, they have $5 Wednesdays where you get in for $5 after 5 pm, and they stay open until 9 pm. That is a great deal.
The Natural History Museum of Utah has 4 free days. You can request tickets quarterly. Check out all the information here.
The museum is located at 301 Wakara Way in Salt Lake City. NHMU has directions from all ways on their website.