We've always heard about the amazing Extreme Zipline, Alpine Slide, Summer Tubing, Comet Bobsled and Adventure Courses up at Utah's Olympic Park, but until we finally went there last week we never realized all the fun, FREE, family activities there are as well. In fact I honestly think you could spend most of a day there exploring without spending a dime. Here are some of the things we found:
Watch and Help Pull Tubes
There are three separate summer tubing hills that our little ones got a kick out of just watching people participate in. At the smaller kiddie hill they even let us help pull the tubes off the pathway over to the side of the hill. For the little ones that were too small to actually ride down the hill they got to feel involved as they hopped in and got tugged along even that short little distance.
Play at the Discovery Zone Playground
Right next to the beginner Discovery Adventure Course this cute little playground was just as exciting and challenging to our toddlers and young kids as the adventure courses were to our older kids. They even have a rock climbing wall section that the kids LOVED getting to the top of since they could actually stand on top and feel like they had conquered the world! There wasn't much shade and the little ones spent a lot of time hanging out here while the older kids explored the rest of the park so be sure to bring plenty of water and wear a hat or sunscreen.
Visit the Free Alf Engen Ski and Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympic Games Museums
These two museums were located indoors and were perfect areas to wander through when we needed a break from the heat outside. The kids especially enjoyed watching clips from the Utah Winter Olympics. Some of the exhibits were heavy on reading and didn't hold the kids' attention, but were rather interesting for us as moms. And luckily there were still other exhibits that were very hands on and kept the kids' attention so that we could read all the historical details.
They did have a couple of simulations that cost money, but just wandering around was completely free.
Right next to the Discovery Zone playground were the larger tubing hills which are really where the Nordic Ski Jumpers train in the mornings before the tubing opens. While waiting in line for the chair lifts or while watching the kids play we were able to watch them with fascination as they landed some amazing jumps!
While you do have to pay to see the Freestyle Shows on the weekend, there were a couple of different places throughout the park were we could see skiers and snowboarders practicing acrobatics as they flew off the jumps and landed in the huge pool beneath them. The kids, as well as us moms, thought it was pretty cool to sit and watch them for awhile.
There are tons of hiking trails all over the park. Some take you from one attraction to the next in case you don't want to use all the chair lifts and others just provide a great scenic stroll. The pathways all mostly seemed connected and we didn't really follow any specific route, but it was fun wandering around and enjoying a bit of nature. The trails also provided a bit of shade for when baby decided to get sick of her hat and we didn't want her overly exposed.
We actually didn't discover this place existed until we got home, but next time we're in Park City we definitely want to take the kids to try the Mountain Challenge. It is basically a fun little obstacle course tucked back in the wilderness area at the top of the mountain where kids can run, jump, and climb to navigate their way from one end of the course to the other with the goal of not ever touching the ground. (Which I know they'd love because they attempt to achieve that goal daily in our house only using my furniture and window sills as their equipment... so this place would definitely be my preference!)
Ride the Chairlift
The larger Nordic Chairlift which takes you all the way up the mountain does have a small fee, but we discovered that the smaller Freestyle Chairlift is free! Although it is short and doesn't gain as much elevation, the little ones especially enjoyed a quick ride that made them feel like they were on their own little attraction.
We still really loved our Gold Passes that let us participate in all the big, exciting attractions, but it was so great finding so many free things to do as well. Especially for the little ones who can't participate in enough activities to make getting a pass really worth it. Or if you have someone who wants to spend the day at the park with the rest of their group, but isn't really interested in the thrills of the other attractions, rest assured there are plenty of other fun, free things to fill your day with as well.
Thanks for all of the free information. That would be great for the kids. I have been wanting to go for a while now
The Mountain challenge would be a big hit with my kids too