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The winter doldrums can take a mental toll on anyone, especially when the colder weather keeps you locked inside for what seems like an eternity. This year, you can shake off cabin fever, as the Wasatch Front offers plenty of fascinating indoor venues to help you spend winter days happily.
Stroll through a butterfly exhibit, dig up dinosaur bones, wander through a famous collection of cars and planes, or see if you can spot the treasures hidden in the state’s largest stained glass windows.
From Provo to Ogden, here are some great indoor options to entertain (and warm up) the whole family during the winter.
The BYU Art Museum
It’s great to find a healthy family activity that everyone will enjoy, but it’s even better when it’s completely free. That’s why you need to be sure to include the BYU Art Museum on your list of things to do this winter. Right now, you can see the museum’s exhibits on French posters, religious scenes, abstract art, and more.
Check Event calendar for more information on upcoming expert talks, arts and crafts for kids, upcoming live musical performances. (Pro tip: To get the most out of your visit, download their app on your Apple or Android device before you go.)
The butterfly biosphere
the Butterfly Biosphere at the Water Tower Plaza at Thanksgiving Point is truly a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t regret. Come and see over a thousand butterflies from around the world at this 40,000 square foot venue that’s also home to dozens of other creepy crawly creatures.
From fist-sized beetles to 20 different species of tarantulas, this is the perfect activity for the family bug lover. You can pay a small fee to release a butterfly into the biosphere or visit the souvenir shop to pick up a souvenir butterfly. (Check your clothes to make sure no flying friends are trying to hitchhike with you!)
Museum of natural curiosity
While you’re in the Thanksgiving Point area, you’ll also want to visit the Museum of natural curiosity. As the name suggests, the museum is for all curious minds who want to know how things work or discover something new. It offers more than 400 interactive experiences, so you won’t be bored even after several visits!
Explore ancient ruins in the rainforest region. Learn more about nature with the six simple machines of Archimedes’ Playground. Try out some experiments at Water Works. Your children will never be bored!
Roots of Knowledge Exhibition
If you happen to be near Utah Valley University, stop by to see the “The Roots of Knowledge” stained glass exhibition is a must. Located at UVU’s Fulton Library, this stunning display features 80 individual panes with a total height of 10 feet and a length of 200 feet.
Described as “a fusion of art, education and public space”, this series of stained glass windows shows the history of intellectual advancement from the dawn of time to the present day.
You’ll notice some familiar scenes from your history books – the Mayan calendar, the printing press, Joan of Arc, and the American civil rights movement, to name a few. But there are some things you’ll have to look a little closer to see.
Hidden in the glass are several Easter eggs, including a toilet, the TARDIS from “Dr. Who”, Superman, the Enterprise spaceship, real fossils and a coin from 1776. Over 40 professional artists, 26 scholars UVU and hundreds of UVU students worked for 12 years to bring this masterpiece to life, so don’t miss it!
Utah Museum of Natural History
Listed as one of Salt Lake’s top attractions by Tripadvisorthe Utah Museum of Natural History always worth a visit. Virtually everything you could want to learn about the state’s fascinating history and landscape is on display in these immersive and interactive exhibits. Dinosaurs, gems and minerals, stories of native tribes, earthquake exhibits, viewing platform, native species â the museum has it all. If you get hungry, grab a bite at the Museum Cafe or pick up a unique gift at the Museum Store when you’re done.
The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and 9 p.m. on Wednesdays) and reservations are recommended before you go. And if you’re not ready to visit in person, don’t worry – you can grab a online virtual tour.
Land Cruiser Heritage Museum
Do you have a car enthusiast in the family? They will love this one! As one of Toyota Land Cruiser’s biggest fans, Greg Miller decided to create his own museum to commemorate his favorite vehicle. (You probably didn’t know that the Land Cruiser was the first and only four-wheeled vehicle to cross all seven continents, did you?)
Miller’s impressive collection celebrates the Land Cruiser heritage and includes a goal to acquire and display every model ever produced. Come see vintage owner’s manuals, scale models, memorabilia, tool kits, marketing materials, artwork and (of course) vehicles from every decade at the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum in Salt Lake.
Hill Aerospace Museum
Here’s another free activity that won’t disappoint. Located on the northwest corner of Hill Air Force Base just five miles south of Ogden, Hill Aerospace Museum has welcomed more than five million visitors since it opened in 1986.
Featuring more than 70 aircraft on display in its two indoor galleries and outdoor airpark, the museum will fill you with wonder and wonder as well as a deep respect for the United States Air Force and its veterans. The Hill Aerospace Museum is free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Utah Railroad Museum
As a kid, you probably loved playing with model trains. Or maybe you have a son or daughter who loves them. Either way, you’re sure to have fun viewing the life-size version at Utah Railroad Museum.
Enjoy interactive exhibits and artifacts depicting the history of the locomotive in the United States, including the original Golden Spike safe. Kids can simulate driving a locomotive, practice Morse code with two telegraph keys and learn about railroad crossing safety at the Operation Lifesaver exhibit. As an added bonus, your admission ticket also grants you access to the Gun and Classic Car Museums at Union Station.
Of course, this is far from being an exhaustive list of what is possible to see. Other indoor attractions include the Clark Planetarium, The hive house (the family home of Brigham Young and other early Presidents of the Church), the Loveland Living Planet Aquariumthe Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at BYU, the Museum of Ancient Life and Leonardo Museum. And if none of those appeal to you, there are still other places to explore where you’ll be indoors, away from the winter elements.
Now that you have your list of fun indoor activities, what are you waiting for? Pack those snacks, get in the car, and go exploring!