The one “Not to Miss” attraction on our list was The Museum of Ancient Life located in Lehi, Utah. This was our second visit and let me just say… this is seriously the BEST dinosaur museum ever! If your kids love dinosaurs as much as mine, this is truly a stop worth while.
The galleries are awe-inspiring and of course, walking amongst the 60 complete dinosaur skeletons is definitely the highlight of the visit. But that’s not all! The museum has over 50 hands-on exhibits scattered throughout the museum. You are sure to find some that entice your kids, no matter their ages.
Don’t forget to stop by the working paleontology lab where you can watch as they work on their current project; a 150-million-year-old Barosaurus. Also recommended is the Mammoth Screen Theater which is the first National Geographic Experience Theater in Utah. The 3D films they screen are amazing and very informative which makes them worth the additional charge. Just note that the movies may not be suitable for infant/toddlers or those who have a sensitivity to sound.
Address: Thanksgiving Point – 3003 N. Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, Utah 84043
Admission: $15/adults, $12/children (ages 3-12), 2 and under free)
Mammoth Screen Theater: $7.50/adult, $6/child (3-12)
Tip: Other attractions here include the Museum of Natural Curiosity (we will definitely visit this the next time we are in town), Farm Country and Gardens. They also have a regular movie theater. Look into purchasing a flex-pass if you plan on visiting more than one attraction.
- SCENIC DRIVE & HIKE
My husband and I have a free day (without kids) so we decided to check out Cascade Springs, which was related to us as a “must-see” in the Heber Valley. The scenic road offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and is lined by deciduous trees. We were there at the end of August and leaves were just starting to turn color. I can only imagine the explosion of color if we had been there a couple of weeks later.
At the parking lot, there is no way to know what to expect, however, when you start down the path, it becomes apparent. There is the lively sound of moving water coming from everywhere. Paved paths and boardwalks gets you close and personal to babbling streams and breathtaking waterfalls.
There are three easy loops to choose from or like us, we went on all three. The Lower Loop takes you through cool forest and over bridges where you can look for brown trout in the crystal clear water. The Middle Loop crosses over a waterfall, then follows the tinkling streams up to the source. The Upper Loop takes you to the natural springs source where the water is seeping up through the ground. It was quiet here and all you can hear is the call of the birds and the soothing sound of water.
How to get there: From I-15 in Utah Valley, take the Highland/Alpine exit (Exit 284). Travel east for about 8 miles on State Route 92 to the Forest Service entrance station ($6.00 fee). Continue up American Fork Canyon on SR-92 (Alpine Loop Scenic Byway) for about 17 miles until you reach Cascade Scenic Drive. Turn to the northeast (left) and travel about 61/2 miles to the Cascade Springs lower parking lot.
- & LUNCH AT
- , MIDWAY, UT
After our beautiful and peaceful hike, we headed to the small town of Midway. We happen to be there during Swiss Days, the annual festival that celebrates the towns Swiss heritage. It certainly is the most anticipated event in the Heber Valley and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over. Events include the crowning of the Swiss Miss Royalty, children’s plays, traditional dancing and music. Of course there are booths offering up Swiss traditional dishes and sweet treats. My favorite part was the robust craft fair where I picked up a few unique items including adorable handmade “Tooth Fairy Stop Here” pillows for the kids. (Note: Festival is held Friday/Saturday and not on Sunday).
Next it was time for some dinner. Tarahumara, a Northern Mexico influenced eatery, was recommended by a California transplant. He was spot on. Even though we were early, the line stretched out the door to greet us. We patiently waited until it was our time at the menu board. You order and pay first and with so many choices, I was relieved one of the owners was on the register to help me to select my meal. I ended up choosing the Sauteed Shrimp with Tequila and Orange and my husband ordered Carne Asada Tacos. We were told to stop by their salsa bar. Wow! There were over 20 (made-fresh-daily) salsas including everything from the standard Pico de Gallo and Salsa Brava, to some unique flavors such as Pineapple-Mango Salsa, Cilantro con Jalapeño and Chipotle Crema (my favorite). All were delicious!
The food was truly amazing. My dish had plentiful shrimp with the most deliciously delicate sauce that perfectly matched the seafood. The rice and vegetables were just the right accompaniment to the dish. Troy’s tacos were filled with beautiful chucks of tender seasoned beef and came with the house made beans and rice. After all that, we still had room to try an order of Churros. The “crisp on the outside, soft on the inside” pastry sticks were served hot and were generously rolled in cinnamon sugar. Dipping them into the creamy Kahlua sauce? That took me to a celestial place.
Tarahumara: 380 East Main Street, Midway, UT 84049
- Stewart Falls Hike – Provo Canyon
The kids are always wanting to see waterfalls so we decided to tackle the Stewart Falls hike. This easy/moderate trail is family friendly and is about 3.5 miles round trip. The trail itself is scenic and meanders through dense Aspen groves opening up to beautiful vistas. Finally, as you walk along a ridge, the view of the 2-tiered Stewart Falls comes into view. I recommend walking down the final rocky path to the base of the waterfall to take in the enormity of the falls (and of course, let the kids can play a bit in the water).
We were there on Labor Day weekend so it was a bit crowded but not too too bad. The base of the falls provided the perfect place to enjoy a snack (or a picnic lunch if you are inclined). It was a beautiful place to just sit and soak in the scenery. Soon enough it was time to hike back to the car. Seeing some deer made the hike just that much easier!
Location: 8545 Utah 92, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Provo, UT – There is a large parking lot and I do believe they charge $6 for parking.
There are loads of other things to explore in this area. If you have specific questions, feel free to ask. We hope to be making it back here to visit family soon and will be sure to share all of our Orem/Provo adventures!