Utah Natural History Museum – Keep the Kids Entralled for Hours
This post was most recently updated on April 30th, 2018
I first visited the Utah Natural History Museum before it was even built in 2010 – with Utah bloggers. Just a few facts – the museum was funded by Kennecott who gave $15 million for its construction. That includes copper they donated that was locally sourced from the Bingham Canyon Mine that you see on the façade of the building. The building features more than 1,400 solar panels which provide more than 25% of the energy to power the museum. The architecture is beautiful and unique.
Besides the Dinosaur Museum in Lehi, The Leonardo in Salt Lake, and Seaquest Interactive museum in Layton Hills Mall, this is one of my favorite Utah museums. It’s truly world class and you can spend hours and hours there. It’s ideal for a little bit older children because there is a lot to read or do that may not work for little kids. Still, you can bring toddlers and babies because there is an indoor playground they will love. Almost everything in the museum centers on Utah finds and science. There’s so much to see that this is a museum you can visit many times without getting bored. This is a truly educational museum and you can teach your children and learn so much there.
The Museum of Natural History located at the University of Utah campus, way east against the mountain, by the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. That means that you could also take a hike with the kids either before or after. It offers an incredible view of the entire valley from the top floor so be sure not to miss that! They have a large parking lot in front of the building. It’s located next to other area attractions like Red Butte Gardens.
Utah Natural History Museum
301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108
Real Dinosaur Finds
The Utah Natural History museum has several floors of informative and interesting exhibits. For dinosaur lovers, go to the 2nd floor. It’s a paradise with life size dinosaur skeletons, a place to dig for dinosaur bones and a ton an actual dinosaur bone lab. Overall it’s an amazing collection of real dinosaur finds, unlike some other places that have replicas, this is the real deal. Most of the dinosaurs on display were found in Utah and many of the bones are real.
In the dinosaur area there’s an interactive map of the Wasatch Front where you can see the topography and how we get water. Children can fill up the entire display with rain water and watch it fill up the valley. You can see where Lake Bonneville used to be. It kept my kids entertained for a long time – filling and draining the valley. I do wish they talked more about water conservation but it’s fascinating nonetheless.
Utah Natural History Coupon
You can usually find a coupon for the Utah Natural History Museum on Groupon. Check here to see if there’s one:
https://www.groupon.com/deals/viator-natural-history-museum-of-utah (this is an affiliate link which means you save money and I get a small commission for letting you know about this deal).
According the their website, their are around “one million objects including over 3,000 historic Native American artifacts (ethnographic objects) and items recovered from 3,800 archaeological sites.” Children can pretend to be on an archeological dig in one section.
You can see pottery, weaving, tapestry and objects that were found from various cultures. I loved the Native American section most of all. There are stories of today’s Native Americans along with many beautiful and colorful costumes.
“The Museum’s paleontology collections comprise nearly 30,000 specimens, including over 20,000 vertebrate, 5,000 paleobotanical, and 2,000 invertebrate fossils.”
You’ll see world-class vertebrate fossil collections.
This was one of my favorites since I studied botany in college. There’s one part where you can smell different “weeds” of the west and learn more about each plant. “The oldest specimen in the collection dates to 1828. The oldest plant from Utah is from 1885.” It’s also noteable that the museum works to rid the surrounding area of invasive plants.
The museum has a small counter with fresh sandwiches and other food that is decent. There are tables which overlook Salt Lake that you can eat at. You’re allowed to bring your own food and eat there.
Prices for The Utah Natural History Museum
Check for the monthly free day (warning: it’s crazy crowded) or buy a ticket before going in. Here are the prices:
|Senior 65 and over||$11.00|
|Young Adult 13 – 24||$11.00|
|Child 3 – 12||$9.00|
|Child 2 and under||FREE|
|University of Utah Students*, Faculty and Staff with Valid ID||FREE|
In addition to the regular exhibits there are frequent lecture series and shows. We saw the chocolate exhibit and chocolate show one year. There are summer camps and events too which you can find on their website or Facebook page!