Salt Lake City with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

Salt Lake City with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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While it can be difficult to keep the tween members of your family interested and entertained, Salt Lake City offers a great variety of culture, history and activities for the whole family to explore. From breakfast in a trolley car to dinner in a restaurant decorated like a European castle, with stops among dinosaurs and star systems in between, you can have a great family vacation in Salt Lake City with tweens.


Start your day in Salt Lake City with tweens with a traditional breakfast at one of the city's oldest and most colorful restaurants, Ruth's Diner (4160 Emigration Canyon Road, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108; 801-582-5807). Started as Ruth's Hamburgers in 1930 by a former cabaret singer, the restaurant was later moved by Ruth up Salt Lake's Emigration Canyon in an old trolley car. The original trolley car still forms part of the restaurant and creates an interesting environment for breakfast. In addition to the fun history, Ruth's Diner boasts a breakfast menu known as one of the best in Utah. Traditional fare includes eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, French toast, oatmeal and even vegan selections.

Next head to the Utah Museum of Natural History (1390 East Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City, UT 84112; 801-581-6927), where you and your tweens can check out dinosaur bones, cave men displays, artifacts from Utah's ancient Fremont Indians, and crystal and mineral displays. Walk into a replica of mine shaft or climb into a Fremont pit house. You can learn about earthquakes and what causes them. You can also learn about the animals that make up Utah's eco-systems. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults and $3.50 for children ages 3 to 17. Admission for children under three is free.


Located in the historic home of Brigham Young, a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the first governor of the State of Utah, The Lion House Pantry Restaurant (63 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150; 801-539-3257) is a fun and intriguing place to spend your lunch hour. While you eat, look around the stone and beam construction and check out the antiques from the original home. The restaurant serves home-style food cafeteria style. The menu changes daily and offers a selection of three entree items with side dishes. Be sure to try their famous dinner rolls and grab a bottle of the Lion House's own home-brewed root beer or sarsaparilla soda.

After lunch, the Clark Planetarium (110 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT, 84101; 801-456-7827) is a great place to take inquisitive tweens to learn about space and science -- and have fun at the same time. Tweens can move freely from display to display and easily spend two-to-three hours just on the displays. They may then want to return to look at more after seeing a show. Plan on four-to-five hours at the Clark Planetarium if you plan to see the star shows or a movie in the IMAX theater. The best times to visit are afternoons and evenings when most of the star shows are scheduled. Also, the Planetarium can get crowded on weekends, so weekdays are preferable to get the full experience. The Planetarium's exhibits are free to the public. Movie tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under.


A Utah original, Crown Burger (377 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111; 801-532-1155) has a unique take on fast food. The interior of the restaurant is decorated like an old European castle, complete with a grand fireplace, tapestries, wall sconces and antique furniture. It's a great place to take tweens because of the unique environment (make sure to watch for the gargoyles, lions and satyrs) and the great fast food. Crown Burger is famous for their pastrami burgers and fry sauce and for making a great hamburger. For a little healthier option, try their delicious Greek salad. Crown Burger has an extensive menu where even the pickiest kids will find something they may want to eat.

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