Southern Utah University | Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History
351 W. University Blvd, Cedar City, Ut
My husband and I met during our college days at Southern Utah University. As such we knew we needed to take our kids on a tour of campus while we were in town and reminisce about ‘The Good ‘Old Days.’ There is something about sharing stories with our kids about our lives before they were born that they really gravitate to. I think kids have a hard time seeing their parents as having lives outside of parenthood so they always get a kick out of hearing stories about our childhoods and all our shenanigans. (As long as they aren’t too mushy or dull!)
First we took them to the Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History.
Cedar City is a small college town, so by museum they really mean more like, Room of Natural History. Despite being smaller than the large metropolitan area museums they are used to, the kids still thought it was cool. Tons of local fossil finds and information about the local geology. My little boys loved the animal scene they created and had to point out every animal, and its sound, that they knew… always the growling and roaring with little boys!
Elle is the artsy one in the family and was focused on sketching out her vision of how to conserve water and help preserve the natural environment. They had designed some worksheets to engage the children and help them navigate the museum as well as Jr. Ranger guides that they kids could take with them to the national parks nearby and complete various listed activities to earn a certificate, which I thought was a cute idea.
If you are planning stopping in the parks, make sure you stop by first and grab their little booklet. After the science building we went over to The Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery to see what was on display.
Southern Utah University | The Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery
351 W. University Blvd, Cedar City, Ut
They always have rotating exhibits that are free to the public, which I love because with kids you never know when something unexpected will catch their attention and they will love an art display or when they’ll grow restless and have to leave early. Thus I am always hesitant to take them to costly galleries, yet I still want to expose them to cultural experiences, so this was perfect.
As was expected, a couple of the kids got rather absorbed in the art and other were simply moving straight from one piece to the next. We let them wander at their own pace and head outside as they finished looking to run off some energy. Corbin especially loved a digital art exhibit they happened to have at the time and thought their creations via modern technology were pretty cool. Most of the kids lingered the longest at the outdoor recreation display that showed the use of art in product design and a cool documentary film!
Once everyone had made their way outside we sat on the quad and let the kids run around the grass and play in the ‘forest’ aka small cluster of trees. Have you noticed since growing up that things you once saw as huge really aren’t so big after all? My husband used to always reminisce about going as a child to visit his grandmother’s sprawling orchard, which filled acres of land. We later returned to her old home to find 5 fruit trees.
Nevertheless the kids thought it was great fun playing hide and seek in ‘The Forest.’ Southern Utah University really is a beautiful campus, with plenty of well-maintained pathways. It is the perfect location for a casual family stroll and, in our case, a bonding experience sharing our ‘old lives’ with our children.
Cedar City Lake At The Hills
I moved away from Cedar City about 8 years ago, and sometime while I was away the city built a lake up on the hills overlooking town. And there is free access and parking. Why was this not around when I lived there?! I would have gone every day. It was so cool. It is a man-made lake obviously, so there was perfectly maintained beaches, a sand volley-ball court, nice bathrooms, boat ramps (for non-motorized boats) and perfectly sculpted fishing spots.They stock the lake with fish and kids under age 12 can catch up to 2 fish per day for free. Which is awesome because introducing kids to fishing can be hard; you often end up driving far away, and kids don’t always enjoy the trip up, plus you have to pack enough stuff to stay awhile and make it worth the drive, which often results in them getting tired or board. How great that you can stop at a lake right in town, stay a while and even take a break to play games or swim if they get antsy. We went in the spring when the water was still pretty cold, but that didn’t stop the kids from wading in. (Which almost always results in them eventually going under and getting wet from head to toe, right?) They quickly deviated from hesitantly putting their feet in to chasing, splashing, and dunking each other. I want to go back during the hot summer months and let them play all day.The littler ones got their feet in, but mostly just played in the sand and worked on burying their big sister.
They were all entertained long enough that I had an actual conversation with my husband, we laid next to each other without anyone on our laps and, without interruption, discussed an entire topic at length while watching the kids play. Then we got up and chased them around, listening to them squeal before heading out. It was perfect. It was so picturesque and had that quintessential small town community feel that it almost felt like we were in a movie. I seriously was so impressed and loved the place. Then I googled it to find an exact
address for you guys and stumbled upon this:
Since our visit they have now started offering kayak and paddleboard rentals. I love it! Before living there I only ever knew about the college and the Shakespeare Festival, but really Cedar City would make a fun vacation destination, there is so much to do!
If nothing else stop at the Lake At The Hills when you’re driving past on I-15 and let the kids get out, stretch their legs and splash around for a minute. The memories you create will be worth it.
2077 W Royal Hunte Dr, Cedar City
When you are looking for things to do with kids around Cedar City, the Park Discovery will come up on pretty much everyone’s list.
It is one of those parks that kids love and parents of small toddlers can’t stand. At least if you are like me. It is more like a giant fort than your typical playground, which my kids love, but as soon as we get there all four kids split and head in different directions and it is impossible to watch them all at once.
So I opted to follow the toddler around, as he is most likely to need help, but when it was time to go, rounding them all up was a nightmare and took forever. I swear as soon as I’d find one, he’d disappear while I was trying to wrangle the next one in. But then you take your little guy down the slide or hear him shriek with joy as you pop up over a wall, surprise him, and chase him around and it makes the hassle all worth it.
The kids seriously ranked it as their favorite park in town, there was so much to do and so many nooks and crannies to explore that they were entertained for hours and envisioned they were in a whole different world, which I especially love watching!
There were opposing teams, home bases, ‘safe spots’, and jails within minutes and they couldn’t have been happier. True childhood imagination and exploration at its finest! In the end I would definitely recommend you make a picnic stop at this one for the sake of the kids, but
be prepared to have to move around in order to keep an eye on the little ones, rather than simply stretching out with a good book.
So whether you were born and raised in Cedar City, just visiting, or moving to Cedar, there is plenty to do! Be sure to hit up the Pizza Cart when you get hungry!
Spending even more time in Cedar City? Check out our other posts here, or by clicking on the tags below!
Hello! Just wanted to suggest updating the SUU addresses on this post. The natural history museum is located at 300 West 162 South. We went on quite a scavenger hunt today to find it! I believe the art museum also has a different address than the one listed, also. Thank you for all the fun ideas!!