If you thought the library was only good for checking out books and movies, it's time for you to make a trip to your local branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library*. Visit any branch of the SLC Library and you will find a TON of free activities to help you and your littles beat the winter time blues. (See link here to explore a full list of all activities offered at all library branches. Click here for our past SLC Library Posts. )
*(The branches of this library are the nearest to me, but I know other public library systems offer similar programs.)
I like to frequent the Main Library and the Day-Riverside branches of the SLC Library, since these are the closest to me. The upside to the Main Library is the awesome children's section, complete with magical play areas such as the Crystal Cave and the Tree House (I think that's what it's called, anyway). It's like visiting a children's museum! For free! I could go on and on about the Main Library branch alone, but I'll save that for another post.
Anyway, back to the activities. The SLC Library offers fun things to do for all ages, from Book Baby, Preschool Storytime, CUAC Art Workshops, LEGO days, Family Yoga (yup, they offer yoga!), crafts, STEAM Club, science workshops, parties and more! The libraries also offer special activities that change from month to month (Minecraft Tech Club, magic shows, etc.) You could entertain yourself and your kids with something new every day of the week at the library.
I take my kids to Preschool Storytime and the CUAC Art Workshops on a regular basis. I can attest to the awesomeness of the children's librarians who put on storytime each week. Each storytime is filled with great book readings, music, dancing, and sometimes even puppet shows or crafts for the kids. Regardless of which branch you head to, the children's librarians always put on a good show. (INSIDER'S TIP: the Anderson-Foothill Branch boasts my all-time favorite children's librarian, Paul. He used to do storytime at the Main Library until he transferred to this branch. He is so talented and hilarious and makes storytime fun for parents and kids alike. If you ever have the chance, visit this branch on a Tuesday or Thursday at 11 am for a great storytime experience.)
The CUAC Art Workshops are also really awesome, especially for your preschooler (ages 3-5).
A specialist from the CUAC (downtown SLC contemporary art center) visits weekly to teach the kids a little about art and help them create an art project that they get to take home with them. Seriously, any craft that I don't have to make up myself and where the mess is made outside of the house is basically the best thing ever.
To quote Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton (yup, I loved that show and I'm that nerdy), "But you don't have to take my word for it." Go check out your local library!
- Free parking at all branches except for the downtown Main Library, where parking can be an issue. An underground parking facility can be accessed from eastbound 400 South between 200 and 300 East. Parking here is free for the first half-hour, then $1.50 per half-hour after that. Any vehicle displaying a disability special group license plate or disability windshield placard may park in the parking garage at Library Square for two hours with no charge. Additional time beyond the two hours is $1.50 per half-hour. This parking structure offers two electric vehicle charging stations located in the southeast corner of the lower level (P2) of the parking garage, as well as two on-street electric vehicle charging stations located near the 500 South exit ramp (255 East 500 South). I avoid the underground parking, though, and opt for on-street parking a block south of the library (on 200 East, in between 400 and 500 South), where I can get two hours of free parking.
- Grab a free pamphlet at any library branch for a complete list of the month's events.
- One of the BEST KEPT SECRETS offered through the Salt Lake City Public Library System is the COMMUNITY EXPLORATION CARD. Anyone with a library card can visit a number of Salt Lake City’s cultural centers for free by checking out a card from any branch of the City Library. With the Community Exploration Card, four people will be admitted to Discovery Gateway, the Leonardo, Natural History Museum of Utah, and Red Butte Garden. The Community Exploration Card is valid for general admission but not for special events or exhibits. A limited number of cards are available for check out at the beginning of each month and must be used during that month. To provide equitable access for everyone, cards are limited to one per household in a 12-month period. My advice for those of you who want this pass is to arrive at any branch of the library on the first day of the month that it's open, as soon as the branch opens. Go to the information desk/checkout desk of any library to obtain your pass. It's an easy peasy way to access really awesome museums for one month for free with your family.
Past Library Posts Here.