Along with having some of the biggest families in the Union, Utah is known for mapping family trees, Monday family nights and all-around family values. Realizing just how important family is to Utahns, here are our picks for the best places, products and more for families.
Click here for our other 2015 Best of the Beehive categories.
Best place to meet superheroes
Dan Haskell, photo by WIttney Shipley
Salt Lake Comic Con passes are pricey, and photos with celebrity guests can be even more. Luckily, thousands of talented fans who create their own superhero, princess and fantasy costumes are usually happy to take free selfies. Just ask politely. Sept. 24–26, Salt Palace Convention Center, SLC
Best cheap kids culture
Repertory Dance Theatre’s Ring Around the Rose features new music, dance or theater acts each month for only $5 during the RDT season.
Best screen time for teens
Last spring, Utah Film Center (partnering with Spy Hop and SHIFT) hosted six feature films, short films made by young people and offered free workshops for teens at the TiltShift Festival, held at The Leonardo. Result: Our angstiest population actually enjoying themselves.
Best art lessons from real artists
Teens can work side-by-side with real artists at Urban Arts Camp, July 13–17, just one of the camps in The Leonardo’s Camp Cranium lineup.
Best grown-up stage experience for kids
Pioneer Theatre sells half-price tickets for kids K–12 for shows on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
Best Way to Deal with the Horror
Lice are a growing plague in schools, and they’re getting harder and harder to kill. The best defense we’ve seen is U of U professor Dale Clayton’s invention AirAllé, which sends heated air to the hair roots creating a lice kill zone. Not pretty, but there you are.
Best place for a face-to-beak with a condor
Tracy Aviary houses hundreds of birds, but only one is royalty. Andy, a 56-year-old Andean condor, has been nicknamed “King of the Andes.” Aviary guests can meet the king, who flaunts a 10-foot wingspan, in his encounter zone. Liberty Park, SLC, 801-596-8500
Best real-life Shark Week
Loveland Living Planet Aquarium picks up where Discovery Channel’s Shark Week leaves off with shark crafts, Shark Tank Story Time, a Discovery Channel contest, a scavenger hunt and, of course, real-life sharks. Aug. 9–15. 12033 S. Lone Peak Parkway, Draper, 801-355-3474
Best kids camp we wish accepted adults
Samba Fogo, Salt Lake’s popular Afro-Brazilian fire dance performance group, teaches kids drumming, dancing and culture in summer camps—likely without the fire and swords.
Best nostalgic stop for ‘80s and ‘90s gamers
In the ’80s and ’90s, when gamers actually met in person, battles were waged over high scores at the arcade. Now arcades are a dying breed, but The Atomic Arcade keeps the pinball lights flashing with tons of classic video games for 25 cents. 3939 S. Highland Dr., 801-634-1130 (open till 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday)
Best secondhand teen shopping
Uptown Cheapskate sells trendy secondhand clothes for up to 70 percent off the retail price. If that’s still too pricey for your teen’s miniscule part-time
income, she can trade in her old clothes for new threads or get cash on the spot. Four Utah locations.
Best place to geek out with the family
Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection stocks comics in an age-appropriate kids’ section. While you’re catching up on The Walking Dead, your little one can geek out over Adventure Time. The free hold service means no one misses an issue. 2043 E. 3300 South, SLC, 801-485-6114
Best Bard Intro
Utah Children’s Theatre offers the Shakespeare Festival for Kids and Adults with Short Attention Spans as an alternative to the big Shakespeare Fest down south. Aug.14–Sept. 26.
Best summer family flick with a local star
Admit it: You danced along with the kids to Teen Beach Movie’s TV debut two years ago. Expect nothing less from the sequel to the tween musical, Teen Beach 2, costarring Utah-bred actress, dancer and singer Mollee Gray. “Everybody was super passionate about trying to make a really good sequel,” Gray says. “It turned out hilarious.” Check Disney Channel listings.
Best Mom and Daughter shopping trip
The Children’s Hour has everything to keep moms and daughters browsing: picture books, Madame Alexander dolls, stunning clothes, accessories and shoes (see Deveraux’s shoes and purse above). 898 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-359-4150. Online boutique Oopsie Daisy sells cute girls’ clothes with hard-to-find labels at low prices, along with adorable headbands to complete the look (see Deveraux’s dress and headband above).
Best mental health therapy for Mom
Send Mom and her besty on the Red Mountain Resort Essential Plus retreat. It includes three healthy meals per day, morning hikes, fitness classes, cooking demonstrations, luxury amenities and one of four spa treatments per night. She deserves it. 1275 E. Red Mountain Circle, Ivins, 877-246-4453
Best place for Dad’s toys
At Adventure Storage, rent 1,250-square-foot man caves, where guys can watch the game, turn gears on the hot rod or find some peace and quiet.
1390 W. Morane Manor, St. George, 435-688-1000
All photos copyright protected. Contact Salt Lake magazine for specific copyright information.