Salt Lake Family: Hill Air Force Museum

Posted by Carly Morgan

Museum at Hill Air Force Base

The Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base is one of those Salt Lake City family outings that most people have done at least once but never think about. An obvious choice for plane enthusiasts, the museum doesn’t have much in the way of family-focused entertainment (no playgrounds or fancy flight simulators here) so even though it’s free admission (donation suggested) and a short drive from Salt Lake City it isn’t usually too crowded.

That being said, I think it’s a little underrated because there’s a ton to look at (more than you’d even think) and the place is well-staffed with volunteers who are happy to chat and ask questions. There’s also a nice area set up for coloring and folding/flying paper airplanes so if you do your homework (i.e. check out the teacher/student resources page provided by the museum), you can turn this into a fun and educational outing. Sadly, I did not do my research for our last trip up there so we failed to create functional gliders and our kids spent their coloring time doing self portraits instead of airplane sketches. Even so, it was a pretty great way to spend a late winter Saturday and the kids have already asked to go back.

Hill Aerospace Museum

Airplane at Hill Air Force Base

Air Force Museum in Salt Lake City

Fun museum outing in Salt Lake City

Weekend activity in Salt Lake City

Day trip from Salt Lake City to the Air Force museum

Family outing to Hill Air Force Base

Kid activities at Hill Air Force Base

The museum is located about 25 minutes north of downtown Salt Lake City and it’s surrounded by places to grab a bite to eat, although I’d recommend bringing a picnic lunch if it’s a nice day. Little tip: call the gift shop at the museum before you head up just to make sure they’re open. Sometimes they have to close down depending on security happenings and what the national threat level is and for some reason the only phone number that consistently gets answered is that line to the gift shop.

5 Things to Do for Christmas in Salt Lake City

Posted by Carly Morgan

Salt Lake City has a ton of fun things to do for the Christmas season. Here’s 5 of my favorites (including one that only happens once a year – tonight!):

 

1 /// See the lights at Temple Square

This is the classic thing to do every Christmas here in SLC and if you go on a Friday or Saturday night, be prepared for crowds crowds crowds. My advice: go on Tuesday night, go as early as you can, park at City Center near Nordstrom, and stop at Blue Lemon for a hot cocoa to go while you stroll. If you finish up early, do a little holiday shopping at City Center.

2 /// Visit the Zoolights at Hogle Zoo

My second favorite spot for Christmas lights is at Hogle Zoo. It’s not an overwhelmingly impressive display, but it’s a lot of fun for kids and last year that was the only place that Eva had a chance to get her photo taken with Santa Clause. Pack your own snacks (a thermos of cocoa and some cookies) but be sure not to take anything with wrappers that your kids might accidentally drop. It’s unsafe for the animals and you don’t want to be chasing bits of plastic wrap around in the dark!

 

3 /// Christkindlmarkt at This is the Place park

Christkindlmarkt is Dec 4 – 6 this year and it’s both fun and free. They set up a little Christmas market in the plaza outside of This is the Place park with all of the charming things you’d expect from a traditional German Christmas market. It’s a great spot for grabbing unusual presents and Eva always loves to see the carol singers and the live reindeer. This is also a good spot for meeting Santa!

4 /// The holiday windows at The Grand America hotel

The windows that line the shops inside The Grand America hotel are always done up for the holidays, so it’s nice to head down to view the window displays and marvel at the beautiful trees. Technically this is a free family activity, but we inevitably end up picking up some of the amazing hot cocoa (best in Salt Lake if you ask me!) and a little something at the incredible toy store for the kiddos.

5 /// Nativity in the Glen (1050 S 1500 E, Salt Lake City, Utah 84105)

This neighborhood live nativity only happens on one night (it’s tonight, Dec. 3rd!) and it’s a very special event. Volunteers perform the nativity story complete with live animals and people sing Christmas carols. There’s usually a delicious treat (cocoa and lion house rolls this year) and it’s just down the street from Christmas Street (1050 S 1500 E) where a few of the houses usually go all out with the holiday lights.

Kid Stuff: Saving Autumn Leaves

Posted by Carly Morgan

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I’m leaving Utah just when it’s at its most beautiful. Nothing beats the Autumn colors up the canyons.

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I have two work trips this month, both solo, both West, and both more than an overnight stay. I’m excited for them for lots of reasons but I always get a little blue right before I leave these faces.

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So, the kids and I decided to take a long morning to hike up the canyon a bit and do some leaf hunting.

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Eva is crazy into both collecting and nature so I knew she’d get a kick out of collecting leaves. Calvin is less of a collector, but he likes to do anything his sister likes to do so he was happy picking leaves up and putting them in his bag. He got some pretty good ones, in fact!

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The canyon is full of different kinds of plants, but the kids were drawn to the maple leaves in particular and eventually even the maples lost out to the joy that is fallen logs full of mud and bugs. Ah, nature.

(Bath time quickly followed.)

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Our haul included a fair amount of wet and muddy leaves so I rinsed them off and popped them onto a cookie sheet covered with construction paper to dry them off a bit in the warm oven. I would have used paper towels, btw, but we were out of them. Note: you don’t have to “bake” these for long and if you leave them in too long they might get kind of curly and the colors will fade. You just want to get them as dry as you can.

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I wanted to preserve the leaves so the kids could look at them in more detail after their naps, but I knew that if I just left them out Calvin would turn them into leaf confetti. Plus, Eva is allergic to all trees but Elm as far as we can tell, so I didn’t need a bunch of leaves floating around the house. I had read about Mod Podge and glycerin as possible preservatives, but ultimately we went the quick and easy route with the laminator.

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This was very easy. I just trimmed the stems down, put the leaves in the laminating pouches, and ran them through the machine. I did put them a little too close together, though, so when it came time to cut them out I had to leave a few of them in pairs. Next time I will only do 4-5 per page.

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Even so, they came out very nice and the kids are having a good time comparing colors, sizes, shapes, etc. I like that the laminator captured all the little chipped and spotty pieces because those elements actually make the kids like them more and they turn up well in rubbings.

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I thought we’d hang them up in the window as a garland because I like the colors, but right now the kids are having too much fun messing with them. I’m excited to keep adding to our collection…maybe we’ll finally hang them up around Thanksgiving to see leaves from all over Salt Lake.

In the meantime, I’ll be sneaking one into my carryon to keep in my pocket while I’m gone. Just a little bit of home…

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Kid Stuff- Saving Autumn Leaves

Saturday at Wheeler Farm

Posted by Carly Morgan

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Some days I would very much like to live somewhere else. I run my fingers over all the travel guides that we’ve hung onto over the years and I start daydreaming about what it would be like to wake up in a different state, shop at a country farmer’s market, drive the kids out to see the ocean, catch fireflies at sunset on a lawn we don’t have to water, or grab a Pimm’s at the pub.

It’s not a happiness-inducing habit, since we aren’t going anywhere and all this does is stir up my travel bugs. So, I’m going to consciously work on enjoying our city every time I catch myself daydreaming about being somewhere else. There are a lot of great parts of Salt Lake City that I skip over on a daily basis, so here’s to loving the place we’re in.

Today: Wheeler Farm in the morning with the kids. The weather was unusually cool and humid thanks to last night’s rainstorm and the kids were delighted to run around for a bit. Who needs the ocean?

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Saturday Outing at Wheeler Farm in Salt Lake City Utah

Explore Salt Lake City: Hogle Zoo

Posted by Carly Morgan

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Zoos are tricky things. I know a lot of people don’t like to visit zoos because they don’t want to support animals being in captivity, but I think a well-run animal program is a valuable thing. With as many people in the world as their are, I’m glad that conservation efforts of any kind are happening and if they need to mix in a little entertainment and theme-park-showmanship to get people to donate to their cause, why not? Plus, as a mom I’m very happy that my kids have the chance to see so many wonderful creatures up close.

Hogle Zoo is a neighborhood attraction for us, since we live about five minutes away, and the zoo has grown by leaps and bounds over the last five years. When I was growing up, I have to admit that it was a pretty sad place full of concrete pools and boxy cells, but now it’s much more fun. I do miss the little frontier train ride of my youth, but now the train takes you on a safari around the giraffes and the kids certainly aren’t complaining.

The roaming peacocks, on the other hand, are not the favorites.

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Explore Salt Lake City Hogle Zoo

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