Attraction: Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum
Address: 444 W 100 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Cost: $6-$10 per person depending on the day
Close to: Short walk to the mall food court which includes McDonald’s and other fast food options. A few sit down restaurants are in the area.
We love Discovery Gateway! This attraction is located in the middle of one of Salt Lake’s outdoor malls so there’s lots of parking, lots of nearby things to see, and lots of places to eat. The attraction itself has a ton to do for infants all the way up to tweens with a big focus on early childhood. They constantly have new exhibits and special events, thanks in part to huge support from the community, so it’s hard to get bored even if you visit often.
Our personal highlight is the medical area. They have a large exhibit sponsored by the local children’s hospital and it features a life flight helicopter, a miniature hospital, and a few other related exhibits. Kids can dress up as doctors or rescue workers, they can transport and treat patients, and they can run through flight simulations in search of people who are hurt. There’s even a cute little helicopter themed play area for toddlers nearby.
There’s a large hands-on building area upstairs and a series of activities based on science. Kids can play with blocks, magnets, cars, paper airplanes, gears, foam shapes, green screens, pipes…the list goes on and on.
There’s also a sensory room upstairs with calm tactile exhibits and an arts area where kids can try out theater, filmmaking, and animation.
There’s a back area upstairs where they change the exhibits. We recently saw an exhibit about modern day life in China and the kids got to learn about planting rice, cooking common Chinese foods, traditional Chinese theater, and other facets of Chinese life.
Downstairs there is a large kid city with tons of opportunities for pretend play. Heads up: in the middle of the kid city is a huge water table exhibit so be prepared for some wet sleeves. There’s also an infant and toddler area that is off limit to big kids (in theory) with rocking chairs in a slightly tucked away area for people who want to nurse.
The main floor also has the ball hive. It’s hard to explain other than to say that it involves a ton of those plastic ball pit balls, a ton of pipes, a lot of blown air, and the unmitigated delight of every kid ever. It’s my son’s favorite part.
Best part about this museum? It’s mostly food free! You do get birthday cake in for parties, people are allowed to eat food up in the helicopter area, and naturally there are always the people who sneak snacks in but for the most part this is a great option for kids who have severe food allergies like my daughter. Plus, not so sticky!