Favorite Places for Passes in Utah

There is nothing more fun than being able to take your kids to a place that they can learn, have fun and see new things. We are all about buying passes to different places to take our kids so that they can get a wide range of experiences. I figured, if you are trying to decide on a pass to get I would share our favorite passes and why we keep getting them every year.

1. Hogle Zoo Pass | $79 and up

Favorite Places for Passes in Utah | The Modern Dad

There is something about going to the zoo and seeing the looks on your child’s face when they first see a lion, elephant or the polar bear jumping in the water. We have had a zoo pass since the day our son was born. What I personally love about it is that we can go there, not feel like we have to spend an entire day and we get some exercise since the zoo is built on a hill side. Honestly, my wife and I take our kids to the zoo regularly getting them to experience the wild life and seeing the many changes animals go through. If you get a pass, look into which is best for you. We have a deluxe pass because we wanted unlimited access to the carousel and train rides. These are a fun end of the zoo visit activity because once you get your child on them, they will never want to leave. As a parent, take advantage of talking to the workers so that you can learn while you child is just enjoying the animals.  And finally, when it’s the right season, be sure to take your kids to the bird show. My two year old sat the entire time amazed by all the birds they showed and how they fly right over your head (be sure to sit as close to the middle as possible).

2. Discovery Gateway | $95 and up

Favorite Places for Passes in Utah | The Modern Dad

When I can take my children to a place that they can learn, interact with other kids and also have fun doing it I will support that 100%. Discovery Gateway is a fantastic place for taking little ones to learn about running a grocery store, flying a helicopter, operating heavy machinery or sending objects into space (at least that’s what they feel like they are doing). We love going and letting our son run around and enjoy all the different activities they have. Not only are there great learning activities, but they also offer a wide variety of different programs for children to grow, learn and experience new things. We love the Time for Tots where they read to your children and introduce them to books and the world of literacy. Check out all the different programs they offer here. Another benefit to Discovery Gateway is that it is indoors. Here in Utah the weather is so all over the place, and it’s nice to be able to take your kids to a place that is indoors, but has plenty of room for them to run around and play with others their age. I feel like this is also a place that is more suitable for younger kids. Our two year old loves it and has loved it since we started going there about a year ago.

3. The Living Planet Aquarium | $60 and up

Favorite Places for Passes in Utah | The Modern Dad

Again, we love taking our kids to see animals and the aquarium is no exception. What I love about the aquarium is that you feel like you are right there swimming with all the sea life. You walk through the tunnel where you are surrounded with these beautiful animals swimming all around you and suddenly you are in their world swimming with them. Our son loves to see the adorable penguins waddle around, dive in to the water and swim right in front of him. Did you know that you can even sign up to feed the penguins? Talk about an amazing experience. And if you are a serious penguin lover, there is a live feed where you can watch what they are doing all day long. Maybe the penguins aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other animals to see and you can even go into the touch and feel area and touch live animals. They also provide a feeding schedule where you can watch them feed the sharks, piranhas and river giants. And if you need a break for all the water creatures, head into the play area, kick off your shoes and climb around to get more of those wiggles out before heading home for nap time.

4.  Thanksgiving Point Bundle (Museum of Natural Curiosity, Farm Country, Thanksgiving Point Gardens, Museum of Ancient Life) | $75 and up

Favorite Places for Passes in Utah | The Modern Dad

If you want a variety of different activities to take your children to, then the Thanksgiving Point pass is the way to go. As you can see, there are many fun and exciting places to use the pass, but our very favorite is the Museum of Natural Curiosity. This is the place to take your kids if you need to get their many wiggles out. My personal favorite (because I had to climb through it all to find my niece and nephew) is the Rainforest where kids can climb around, explore the ancient ruins and chambers, crawl inside the 45-foot-tall monkey head, and pretend to fly the Piper Cub. The Water Works area is great and we loved it when my son was just sitting up. They have a table where little ones can sit (with a great water resistant poncho) at a table with water, cups and other various items that they can play in the water without getting soaked. Really, it a place your children will absolutely love, along with all the other places that are included in the pass.

5. Natural History Museum of Utah | $59 and up

Favorite Places for Passes in Utah | The Modern Dad

Located near the University of Utah, the Natural History Museum of Utah is great because it’s a place for your children to really learn about Utah and where it all started. I love walking through all the dinosaur bones and seeing just how big those creatures were, but also seeing my son run around being mesmerized by the indians history, the changing exhibits and how informative all the employees/volunteers are. I am big on not only taking my children to places where they can learn, but I can learn too. I have never felt like I couldn’t ask questions along with the kids and look like a total idiot. This is a great pass for older kids but my two year old is still intrigued just couldn’t repeat it as often as the others.

6. I know it’s not in Utah… Disneyland Annual Pass | $599 and up

Castle, amazing! Food, amazing! People watching, THE BEST!!! So much camo.

A photo posted by Jason Dunnigan (@the_modern_dad) on

Look, I get it, Disneyland is not in Utah, but for some reason all of us here love to go to the happiest place on earth multiple times a year. My family loves Disneyland and with the prices having recently gone up for a 3-day park hopper (to $235) you are setting yourself up for multiple weekend getaways that are much needed when raising little children. I love to be able to take my family and get away to the wonderful world of Disney. Suddenly, all your worries stay at the gates and you get to be a kid again by experiencing Disneyland through the eyes of your own children. We took our son when he was really little and it really wasn’t as bad as people make it seem. Make sure you have a good stroller for naps, take advantage of the discounts that are offered to annual pass holders and don’t worry about staying the entire day because you will be returning again within the year. Being an hour and a half flight, or 15 hour drive, it really is the perfect place to go for weekends. If your kids are not in school yet you can go in the middle of the week by taking a couple days off from work to be with your family.

So there you have it. My favorite places for passes in Utah (for the most part). Check them out and see what works best for your family. Honestly, I recommend getting one outdoor pass and one indoor so no matter what the weather is like you will have a place to take your little ones where they can learn and have fun.

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