Feeling creative or curious? Check out these family-friendly outings, which cater to complete novices (in terms of artsy abilities) and inquisitive minds of all ages and stages.
Take refuge one afternoon in the warm, industrial-meets-boho Red Flower Studios (435.602.1949, redflowerstudios.com). Budding glassblowers are greeted by Keyata, the resident pooch, as well as the warmth of the 2,100-degree glass furnace. On-site artist-owners guide you through the process, from batch to final ornament, bowl, vase, “splash,” or cup. As co-owner Daniel Bell puts it, “It’s fun and hands-on—like playing with molten lava, but we’re very much in control.” Tips: Reserve ahead of time. This is a working studio, so patron glass blowing takes place Thursdays through Saturdays, 2–8 p.m. Make a party of the experience by bringing your own food and drink.
Or mosey over to the Kimball Art Center (435.649.8882, kimballartcenter.org) to peruse the latest exhibit, and sink those fingers into clay creations in the studio tucked out back. “Wheel Try It” sessions, held most Fridays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., are open to all ages (children under 15 need to be accompanied by an adult) and allow never-evers and accomplished artists alike a chance to hand-sculpt or spin the wheel. The Kimball has a slew of ongoing classes and events for the creatively inclined. Tips: Reserve ahead, and don’t leave the premises without a snickerdoodle—or pie—from on-site Auntie Em’s.
The canvas is not at all intimidating at The Paint Mixer (738 Main St, 435.604.0820, thepaintmixer.com), where a friendly artist-guide leads novices through experienced brush-wielders through step-by-step oil creations—or mandala rock art or paint pouring. Whether or not that inner Monet is yearning to break free, the easygoing environment in the studio is genuinely joyful. As owner Jill Johnson puts it, “It’s more fun art than fine art.” Tips: The 21-plus crowd can take advantage of on-site craft brews and vino.
At Paint Fusion (1635 Redstone Center Dr, 435.575.6463, paintfusionpc.com), choose from a vast selection of ceramic pieces—penguins and mugs, platters and vases—then pick your glazes and paint. Or owner Gary Sharp can walk you through creation of vibrant, glass-fused pieces—some glass cutting may be required, so perhaps stick to the painting for wee ones. Spend an hour or the entire day, as studio fees are per visit, not per piece—and to keep energized through the artistic process, consider a Nutella crêpe from the on-site café.
Engage the mind
Get those synapses firing at Escape Room Park City (136 Heber Ave, Ste 207, 435.604.0556, escaperoomparkcity.com), where you’re faced with a mind-bending puzzle and clues that lead to your “escape” within 75 to 90 minutes (fear not; you’re not really held captive). Local owners Shirin and Dirk Spangenberg create and customize each of the four room-puzzles from themes covering mines, pirates, and even tracking down your missing travel agent. Tips: Though kids of all ages are welcome, this thinky activity may best engage those ages 7 and up. For the 21-plus crowd, as Shirin Spangenberg says, “drinking and thinking can be dangerous,” so save the sips for after the fun.
Tap into local history at the Park City Museum (528 Main St, 435.649.7457, parkcityhistory.org), where hands-on exhibits engage all ages while imparting fascinating tidbits about the town’s journey from rough-and-tumble mining camp to modern-day ski resort. Hop aboard the 1960s-era “Skier Subway,” try your hand at the jackhammer or exploding dynamite (yes, both are simulated experiences), or meet a few of the Wild West’s dodgy characters—outlaws like Kid Parker and Black Jack Murphy—as you leaf through electronic “Wanted Posters” in the Dungeon (the town’s jail until 1966). Tips: For history buffs who’d like to stroll through the past, check out independently operated nightly Park City Ghost Tours (435.615.7673, parkcityghosttours.com).
Mother Nature–inspired and interactive, Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter (1258 Center Dr, 435.649.1767, swanerecocenter.org) sheds a sustainable light on the area’s ecosystems and wildlife through permanent and traveling exhibits. Don a harness and work your way from bedrock to uplands on the Climbing Wall (Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 3 p.m.), or check out the 10,000-square-foot LEED Platinum-certified EcoCenter, an exhibit in itself. Seek out tracks and learn about the 1,200-acre preserve on a Saturday morning nature walk, led by a naturalist guide (snowshoes available); do a self-guided outing on the one-mile, out-and-back Wetland Discovery Trail, or just peer out from the observation deck and try to spy a red-tailed hawk, elk, or fox.
Just Down the Hill
Need to get out of dodge? Just a half hour west of Park City at the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, dig into paleontology—and hands-on seismic, ecology, geology, biology exhibits, and beyond—at the Natural History Museum of Utah (301 Wakara Way, Salt Lake City, 801.581.4303, nhmu.utah.edu), or plan a balmy day stroll through Utah’s Hogle Zoo (2600 E Sunnyside Ave, Salt Lake City, 801.584.1700, hoglezoo.org). Drive a few minutes farther into downtown SLC to take in an iMAX flick—and the stars—at Clark Planetarium (110 S 400 W, Salt Lake City, 385.468.7827, slco.org/clark-planetarium), or treat the wee ones to interactive exhibits and hijinks at neighboring Discovery Gateway (100 S 444 W, 801.456.5437, discoverygateway.org).