Looking for a fun day trip in Salt Lake City?
It’s Cathy from My Book a Day. If your family is anything like our family, you have places that you traditionally visit year after year. This is the Place Heritage Park is one of those for us. This year, my five year old and I made a visit on May 10th, Train Day.
This is the Place Heritage Park is located minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, across the street from Hogle Zoo. It's in approximately the same spot that Brigham Young looked over the Salt Lake Valley for the first time and announced, “This is the Place.” You can see the monument outside the main park. Inside, you'll find a pioneer-era village with lots of family-friendly activities to choose from.
Here are my tips for making the most of your day at This is the Place Heritage Park.
Where to Start
Heritage Village is packed with homes, shops, a schoolhouse and a church building from the pioneer time period. Some of these buildings are reproductions. Others are historic buildings that have been relocated. In many of them, you'll find staff in period costume who can tell you about the home or shop and what would have happened there.
Check the schedule for the day you’re there as soon as you arrive. They usually give you one on the way in. For example, re-enacted the placing of the Golden Spike on Train Day. That was really neat. Many times in the summer, there is a candy cannon for the kids.
Catch the train next. This is the Place has three train replicas that circle the village. Each has a narrator telling you what you are seeing and what you can do where. You can hop on and off the train in the village, saving yourself some walking time with your littles.
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We always go in the schoolhouse where there is a live school teacher. He or she treats the kids as though they are really going to school in the time of the pioneers. Our kids love everything about this. The teacher will have the kids write letters on mini chalkboards. And there’s usually someone wearing a dunce cap that they have stand in the corner. This one is definitely a favorite activity.
We always ride the mini train, which is different from the Heritage Village train. It’s just big enough that adults and kids alike will enjoy the short ride. It goes around the pond and through a tunnel, which is our little guy’s favorite part.
We always pan for gold. Children are provided with a gold pan, then they go to the stream and are able to find the “gold” that has been sprinkled there. What kid doesn’t want to play in water on a hot day?
There are usually pony rides. The line is usually quite long, so we haven't done these yet. If it's a priority, arrive early and go there first to beat the crowds.
There is also a petting zoo that is a lot of fun. During the spring it’s filled with lambs and baby goats with their mothers. This is a fun stop for kids that love animals.
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Not only can you see how pioneers would have lived at This is the Place Heritage Village, but you can see how they shopped. We love the candy shop that sells old-fashioned toys and penny candies.
The Huntsman Hotel has a restaurant where you can grab lunch while you’re in the village. There’s a small ice cream shop in the hotel as well. Make sure to grab some mini donuts in the Social Hall. They’re delicious and a fun treat.
The splash pad is really fun for kids on a hot day . It’s usually full of kids on the hottest days of the summer. You may want to pack a change of clothes.
This is the Place has a brand new playground this year. It has fun toys for kids of all ages. I love that there is even a toy for the littlest toddlers where they can slide. Watch for a fun new swing/zip line too. The kids were all having a great time on that.
On your way in or out, be sure to check out the gift shop at the entrance of the village. There are so many items that are unique to Utah and This is the Place. They have a squished penny machine as well. It’s a fun place to grab a souvenir.
Ways to Save
There are a few good ways to save money on admission at This is the Place Heritage Park.
Huntsman Day – Everyone gets free admission once a year on Huntsman Day. In 2019, it was June 18. We like going on Huntsman Day, but it’s usually packed. Check the Special Events on the Hours and Admissions page on the official website to see when it's scheduled. I have built Huntsman Day into my Salt Lake City Summer Fun Plan.
Go on Sunday – Adult admission is reduced from $13.95 to $7.95 on peak season Sundays. Expect fewer crafts and activities, but lighter crowds too. Buildings will be open and the Village train will be running.
Go in the Off-Season – Adult admission is $7.95 every day from late October through late March. There is less going on than in the summer, but it's not hot and crowded. Christmas season is especially fun at This is the Place.
Special Events – This is the Place often offers reduced admission for special events like Train Day, Dog Day or Super Duper Day during peak season. You'll get extra activities for a lower price. Expect bigger crowds on these days. Learn more about them on the Hours and Admissions page on the official website.
SLC Connect – This is the Place is included in the SLC Connect Pass. Save 50-80% on admission to 13 of Salt Lake City's most popular attractions. Groupon occasionally sells this pass at a lower price. Learn more at https://www.visitsaltlake.com/things-to-do/visit-salt-lake-connect-pass/
This is the Place Heritage Park is a fun Salt Lake City destination for locals and visitors. It's a great place to learn about the pioneers that settled this area in the mid-1800's and find hands-on, screen-free activities for kids.
Good to Know
Where: 2601 East Sunnyside Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah.
When: Open 7 days a week from about 9 AM to 6 PM. Hours vary by season and for special events. Check the calendar for your specific date.
How Much: $13.95 for adults during peak season. $9.95 for ages 3-11. See Ways to Save section above for discounts.
How Long: A half to full day.
Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables, restaurant, gift shop, playground, splash pad, free parking.
How Else Can I Help?
Need a place to stay? There are lots of great hotels in Salt Lake City. The top rated University Guest House is located near This is the Place, on the University of Utah campus. Click the button below to check rates and availability for the University Guest House and other Salt Lake City hotels on TripAdvisor.com.
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