21 Exciting Things to Do in Salt Lake City with Kids in Summer

Summer is a wonderful time to find all kinds of things to do in Salt Lake City with kids! While the city is a family-friendly destination all year-round, the summer offers warm, dry weather and sunny days on repeat. When it comes to kid-friendly activities, Salt Lake City is the place to be this summer.

You’ll find a wide range of outdoor places to visit, including everything from water parks and splash pads, hiking trails in the area and busy farms ready for visitors. And when the heat or cold is too much, there’s plenty to do indoors, as well! If you’re going to be in Salt Lake this summer, keep reading my list of the top 21 fun things to do with kids in Salt Lake City.

Visiting in the winter? Check out our recommendations on the best kids ski resorts!

What to Do with Kids in Salt Lake City

In the summer, there are exciting things to do in Salt Lake City with kids of all ages! Below, you’ll read about outdoor and indoor activities, places to eat, and local summer events, all perfect for a younger crew. Grab the sunscreen and some water and get ready for summer fun in Salt Lake!

Outdoor Activities for Kids in Salt Lake City

Visit Liberty Park

Liberty Park is the city’s largest park, and during the summer, you can find a variety of things to do here. There are walking paths and beautifully manicured gardens. And there are usually a few cops patrolling the park, which gives you peace of mind.

You can bring the kids for a game at the ball courts or have a picnic on the grass and watch the ducks in the pond. The playground at the northeast corner has equipment for both toddlers and older kids. Plus, there’s a new splash pad and great shade trees all around so you’re not always in the sun!

The warmer months bring car shows and the Sunday Drum Circle and Craft Market. Liberty Park is also home to great attractions like the Tracy Aviary, the Chase Home Museum, and the Liberty Park Farmers Market. If you’re interested in coming here, make sure to check out our article about liberty park!

Explore Red Butte Garden

One of the best things to do in Salt Lake City with kids is definitely exploring the Red Butte Garden. Located in the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains, it’s the botanical gardens of the University of Utah. The 100-acre grounds include themed gardens, hiking trails, an amphitheater, and more.

You can also take guided tours of the botanical garden or sign the kids up for hands-on classes. Red Butte Garden is open to the public every day of the week. It’s open May through August, and in May the hours are 9 AM to 9 PM. There’s an admission fee for everyone 3 and up.

Cool Off at a Splash Park

One of the best ways to cool off with little ones in the summer is by visiting one of Salt Lake’s many splash parks! Salt Lake City splash pads usually run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and from dawn to dusk unless there’s a drought.

A lot of local playgrounds have splash pads, but 2 of the best splash pads are at Oquirrh Shadows Park in Jordan and Ellison Park in Layton. I especially like these parks because they have large, shady pavilions with picnic tables.

Both of these ones feature fun hands-on elements like geysers, cannons, spray loops, and more. Ellison also includes a fun play structure on the splash pad with slides. Another fun splash pad is in Pleasant Grove.

Hike in the Wasatch Mountains

Just east of Salt Lake is Wasatch Mountain State Park. With a variety of trails for every skill level, this is an excellent place to enjoy a hike with the kids.  

Cascade Springs Interpretive Trail is a great easy trail for beginners. It’s less than a mile long and has a paved path for strollers and wheelchairs. Or for a longer trek, Heber Valley Overlook is an easy 2.5-mile loop trail. There’s not a lot of shade, but it offers great views of Heber Valley.

Admission to the park is free and you’ll often see leashed dogs on the trail. There’s a fee for parking lots near trailheads, and you’ll find restrooms there as well. If you are looking for more fun hiking trails trail check out Little Cottonwood Canyon Hikes, Big Cottonwood Canyon Hikes, City Creek Canyon Trail, or Hiking Donut Falls.

Ride Bikes Along the Jordan River Parkway Trail

For more active things to do in Salt Lake City with kids, consider exploring the Jordan River Parkway Trail. This is a 45-mile paved pathway running from the Great Salt Lake to Utah Lake in the south.

The Salt Lake City region of the trail offers a family-friendly place to ride bikes with great stops on the route! It passes through many local parks where you can park and find restrooms, including Jordan Park.

I suggest staying north of Draper if you’re interested in access to parks and local restaurants along the way. The path is relatively flat and you can avoid crossing a lot of roads if you stay south of 7800 S in West Jordan.

Check out Wheeler Historic Farm

The Wheeler Historic Farm in Murray is always a blast for families! You can visit this working farm for free throughout the year and walk around the 75-acre grounds. You can visit animals, see demonstrations on how to milk cows, or play on the playground!

There’s a 5k walking trail all around the property and fun events held at the farm, including a Sunday Market. And for a small fee, you can tour the old farmhouse or take wagon rides. And don’t forget to stop by the county store to pick up farm honey, snacks, and more.

Spend a Day at Cowabunga Bay Water Park

You’ll find a handful of water parks in the greater Salt Lake Valley region, but a quality central water park is Cowabunga Bay in Draper. This is a smaller park, but it’s perfect for a place to take the kids to cool off!

For the older kids, there’s a lazy river and thrill slides. For young kids and toddlers, there’s a heated lagoon-style pool and an entire Kids Cove with slides, geysers, and a splash pad. You can rent cabanas and loungers or grab something to eat at the Cowabunga Grille.

The park opens from around Memorial Day to Labor Day. Admission is based on height, and season passes are available.

Visit Hogle Zoo

When all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Hogle Zoo in northeast Salt Lake City. The 42-acre zoological park is absolutely beautiful with themed sections, well-maintained animal exhibits, and sculptures you can take pictures with.

Besides visiting the animals, you can ride a train through the park, go on a carousel, or play at a playground and splash pad! You can bring in food or visit the cafes throughout the park. There are also nursing rooms if you need them, as well as stroller rentals available.

Indoor Fun with Kids in Salt Lake City

Go Rock Climbing at Momentum Indoor Climbing

Bouldering at Momentum in Millcreek is another amazing way to get active indoors. What makes it one of the best things to do in Salt Lake City with kids is that anyone can do it! Kids as young as 3 can sign up for bouldering and classes are available for all age groups.

You can sign up for a 1-day pass or book classes. Simply bouldering just requires signing an initial waiver while rope belaying and lead climbing require certifications. They offer certification classes once an hour and you have to be 12 and up.

Guests have training boards available to them, as well as a full gym, a locker room with showers, and more. You can rent all your gear there, including shoes, or bring your own.

Visit the Clark Planetarium

The Gateway in Downtown Salt Lake is where you’ll find the Clark Planetarium. You’ll explore the Earth, the moon, and outer space through fun hands-on exhibits across 3 floors! Their intriguing enough for teens and adults but simple enough for younger kids to also enjoy. Also check out our article about our favorite things to do with teens in Salt Lake.

Throughout the planetarium, you’ll learn about the science that controls our universe and see genuine artifacts from NASA. You can purchase tickets to shows at the museum’s IMAX theater or dome theater. Admission to exhibits is always free and theater tickets cost a small fee for ages 3 and up.

Explore the Natural History Museum of Utah

I recommend checking out the Natural History Museum of Utah in preschool or older. It’s a gorgeous modern building next to the Red Butte Garden. The museum showcases exhibits covering different topics, including geology, paleontology, anthropology, and Native American cultures.

Your kids will love perusing over 1.5 million artifacts and specimens, life-size dinosaur replicas, fossils, and beautiful dioramas! You can explore interactive displays and learn about Utah’s geological and cultural history. The museum also hosts classes for middle schoolers and up, as well as family workshops and nature hikes.

The museum is open 7 days a week. There’s an admission fee for everyone 3 years and older. You’re encouraged to purchase tickets at least a day in advance to guarantee space.

Play at the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum

The Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum is geared toward kids ranging from toddlers to middle schoolers. It includes 2 levels of interactive and immersive exhibits.

The first level features a large play area for younger children with pretend play spaces, water play, and more. Upstairs focuses on areas of STEAM, including a sensory room, science exhibits, and a real helicopter!

The Children’s Museum is open every except Tuesdays. And families with children on the autism spectrum and other sensory disorders will want to check out Sensory Inclusive Afternoons every Monday.

Learn at the Leonardo

For one of the best Salt Lake Museums with kids, visit the Leonardo. This art, science, and technology museum features a blend of exhibits and workshops that are great for all ages.

The museum largely centers around its art exhibitions where you can learn about works by artists like Da Vinci, Monet, and even Banksy. There are also art exhibits that feature pop culture pieces. But families will get the most out of this museum by also attending workshops for families!

Keep an eye on the Leonardo’s calendar for workshops for different age groups inspired by Da Vinci’s scientific work. Some are free while others cost an admission fee.

Get Active at KTR

For more indoor spaces where you can get active, check out KTR Midvale. This indoor playground is perfect for a crew covering a wide range of ages. For younger children, you can attend specific times for safe toddler and preschool play.

The massive space features a variety of tumbling mats with swings, zip lines, balance bars, obstacle courses, and more. There are trampolines, ball courts, a skate park AND a scooter park, as well as the KTR Mini Zone for kids 5 and under.

KTR is open every day but Tuesday through Sunday. You can purchase 90-minute passes or up to a full-day pass with prices based on age.

Visit the Salt Lake City Public Library

When you’re looking for a place to cool off with kids in Salt Lake City, don’t pass up the chance to go to the Downtown Branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library! Just visiting the stunning architectural masterpiece is worth a trip.

Families will also love the kids section. It’s super cozy with tons of reading nooks. The kids section also features stations set up with new activities every month. Plus, there are weekly story times and hands-on programs for different age groups, from babies to teens.

On the top floor is an art gallery that’s free to visit with exhibits by local and international artists. You can visit the downtown branch every day between 10 AM and 8 PM.

SLC Places to Eat with Kids

Visit the Farmer’s Market at Pioneer Park

If you’re looking for things to do in Salt Lake City with kids on a Saturday morning, Pioneer Park is the place to be. The summer farmers market runs from 8 AM to 2 PM, from the beginning of June through mid-October.

It’s the perfect place to pick up fresh summer produce, local honey, fresh bread, canned goods, and more. But that’s just the beginning. You and the kids will love checking out craft vendors selling their wares, deciding which food truck to eat from, and listening to live music. You can make a day of it, with picnic tables, a dog park, and a playground close by.

Grab Ice Cream at Brooker’s Founding Flavors

For a very-Salt-Lake experience, visit Brooker’s Founding Flavors Ice Cream in Herriman. The owners combined their passions for American patriotism and quality ice cream to create a one-of-a-kind experience at Brookers.

You can enjoy house-made ice cream, made with local Utah cream and milk. They all have fun names like Patrick Henry’s Give Me Chocolate or Give Me Death. Or try traditional drinking chocolate like they drank back in the Revolutionary era. You can try 13 different flavors named after the original 13 colonies. They also sell other treats like sundaes and milkshakes.

Eat at Caputo’s Market and Deli

Located just off Pioneer Park and near all the sites at historic Temple Square, Caputo’s is a great place to stop for lunch while sightseeing with the family. The old-school Italian deli feel is perfect, from the friendly staff to the selection of cold cuts, cheeses, and more.

Caputo’s Market and Deli is a blast for kids who like to order for themselves. You can get classics like macaroni salad, a meatball sub, or even gourmet chocolate by the pound. There are tables where you can eat or take your meal across the street to the park.

While you’re here, take the kids to see the Cheese Cave! You can also taste test olive oil, get hard-to-find Italian sodas, or shop the market for rare treats.

Summer Sports and Family-Friendly Events in Salt Lake

Attend a Local Festival

You’ll never run out of activities with kids in Salt Lake City with the summer lineup of area fairs and festivals! Between May and September, a lot of the smaller suburbs and towns that make up Salt Lake host local festivals.

Some are just to build community bonds with local stores putting up stalls and offering raffles while others are classic fairs with carnival rides and parades! Around Independence Day and Pioneer Day in July, you’ll find quite a few happening at once.

For example, you can attend the West Jordan Western Stampede with 4 days of rodeo events, food trucks, a petting zoo, and children’s activities. Everything culminates on the 4th of July with a Grand Parade and fireworks!

Or end your summer with a visit to the Utah State Fair in early September. It’s your classic state fair held at the Fairpark grounds in the heart of Salt Lake.

See a Family-Friendly Show in Salt Lake

Does your crew have a hard time agreeing on what to see? You’re sure to find a show for every member of the family in Salt Lake City in the summer! You could see fun shows at local venues like Hale Centre Theater, Vivint Smart Home Arena, or the Rice Eccles Stadium.

Do you have theater kids? Check out the next performance of Annie or Newsies. Looking for something a bit rowdier? Monster Mash happens in May. You could enjoy a local theater production or a Broadway circuit. It’s a great way to spend a few of the hottest hours of the day during a Utah summer!

Watch a Sporting Event

For more of the best things to do in Salt Lake City with kids, why not check out a local soccer or baseball game? You can attend a home game at America First Field for former MSL Cup Champions, the Real Salt Lake soccer team.

Attending a Real Salt Lake match offers an opportunity for families to cheer on the local team and be part of the lively atmosphere of a professional soccer game. The energy of the crowd, thrilling plays, and the passion of the players create a memorable experience for both kids and adults.

Or see the minor league Salt Lake Bees play at Smith Ballpark. Ball games are known to be family-friendly experiences, but the Bees go above and beyond! The park provides kid-friendly entertainment before, during, and after every game. And for kids who need to move, there’s a picnic area with a playground at the ballpark.

Explore Salt Lake with Kids This Summer

In such a family-friendly city, it’s no surprise to find so many amazing summer things to do in Salt Lake City with kids. There are green spaces, local festivals, water parks, museums, and more! You can cool off at a local eatery or get out of the heat with some good family-friendly theater.

When looking for what to do in Salt Lake City with kids, make sure to mix things up. Include both indoor and outdoor activities. This way you can get some vitamin D, get active, and enjoy nature, but also not overdo it in the summer heat! Enjoy exploring all the fabulous activities this beautiful city has to offer families.

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