Are you planning a trip to Salt Lake City with your family? Well you’re in luck because as part of my “Family Activities to do in Utah” series, I have some great tips for you today about visiting Temple Square with kids.
Temple Square is located in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City and is a beautiful place to visit with your family. All of the activities and building admissions are FREE so it is a very budget friendly family activity.
What to bring checklist:
- Make sure the family wears comfortable shoes. You will be doing a lot of walking.
- Stroller for the little ones who don’t like to walk a lot
- Snacks because you will be there a long time
- USB stick if you plan on going to the Family History Discovery Center
Across the street from the Temple is City Creek Center filled with amazing shops and places to eat when it’s lunch time.
The Salt Lake Temple was built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The temple took 40 years to complete and truly is awe inspiring. You will need your camera because at every turn and corner you will be wanting to take a picture. The temple itself is only open to members of the church who hold temple recommends, but the temple grounds and visitors center are open to the public year round 7 days a week.
There are many buildings with things to do in each one, so be sure to plan to be there for hours. I would dedicate a whole day to make sure you don’t feel rushed.
Parking: You can park at the metered spots around the city streets, but if I were you, I’d spend the $10 and park at the Conference Center. Or you can park at the City Creek Center and walk over. That way you won’t have to worry about taking care of a meter.
If you park at the Conference Center, I would start your visit there. They have missionaries that will take you on a tour and show you the beautiful gardens on the roof.
There you will see a beautiful view of the Temple and have some great opportunities to take some amazing pictures. The conference center is where the Church holds it’s semi-annual conferences each year. The building holds 21,000 attendees and the organ has 7,667 pipes! It’s huge! The kids will find it amazing. The auditorium is the biggest of it’s kind in the world and does not have any visible support columns. There are events held there throughout the year including concerts by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The Conference Center is open every day from 9 AM to 9 PM and the last tour starts at 8 PM.
After the tour of the Conference Center, I would head across the street to Temple Square and turn right into the North Visitors Center. This is my children’s favorite place to visit on Temple Square. This is the place where the Christus Statue stands.
There is a circling walkway up to the statue that is painted to look like outer space.
When you reach the top you will look up to a dome ceiling and see the Milky Way above your heads. The Thorvaldsen’s Christus is 11 feet tall and Christ stands with his arms reached out to welcome all.
On the ground level there is a 14 square foot replica map of the first century Jerusalem where you can learn about the importance of the city during the New Testament times.
Other exhibits outline how the Church cares for and helps those in need, the importance of family and the need for modern day prophets.
The Tabernacle was completed in 1857 and was built as a place for Church members to gather and hear the words of their leaders. It is open to visitors every day from 9 AM to 9 PM and has daily Organ recitals Monday through Saturday at 12 PM and Sunday’s at 2 PM. The building was constructed specifically to resonate sound because there were no microphones in the day it was built. It’s an engineering marvel. The dome-shaped auditorium is so acoustically sensitive that a pin dropped at the pulpit can be clearly heard at the back of the hall, 170 feet away. Imagine the symphony of sound you can hear from the magnificent Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the 11,623 pipe organ that fills the front of the Tabernacle.
The Assembly Hall was build so that several congregations in the Salt Lake Stake could worship together and is still used for worshiping. The pioneers constructed the building with blocks of irregular shaped granite from the same quarry as the Salt Lake Temple then filled in the cracks with mortar to make it look like dressed even stone. It’s a beautiful building.
The South Visitors’ Center focuses on the temple and the importance of families in the Lord’s plan for His children. There you can see a scale model of the Salt Lake Temple and view the intricate details of each room.
Learn why the temple took 40 years to build and why temples are so important to eternal families. Guides are available to help answer your questions and understand the importance behind LDS temples.
On the ground floor of the building is the Family Search Center. If you are not a member of the church, or don’t have your account set up, don’t worry! Staff can help you locate your ancestors’ records online, and you can learn about the impact that records and record-keeping have made throughout the ages as you browse the Records of Our Lives exhibits. Have your photo taken in front of a backdrop of the wharf at Ellis Island with the Statue of Liberty in the harbor. The Family Search Center is also the home of the interactive Family History Discovery Center. If you are members of the church and have set up your member accounts online, the Family History Discovery Center is a really fun, interactive activity to do with the family. When you arrive, they give you an iPad so you can log into your familysearch.org account.
Then you can take your iPad with you as you explore your families history. The iPads magnet onto docks where you learn different things about yourself and your ancestors.
At this exhibit we docked our iPads and watched as our ancestors fell into their place on the map of the world so we could see where they came from and where they migrated to. Here we could also click on each ancestor and see if there were pictures and stories recorded about them.
In the state of the art recording booths, you can answer questions about your own life story and get your family or friends together to talk about your photos and stories.
Also, bring a USB to save the family recording. You can take fun pictures of yourself in the clothing your ancestors would have worn. They have men and women’s clothing images from all the countries in the world. Just stand still and take your photo with your face in the frame. My 14 year old daughter had a blast with this one. She loved making silly faces to go along with each country. She literally spent 30 minutes at this exhibit.
Also at the Family History Discovery Center you can learn the meaning of your name, where it came from and how many people around the world share your name.
The boys had fun building towers.
And the kids had fun playing with the kitchen and learning stations. They got to make a paper pyramid, learn about journals and how to learn more about their ancestors from reading their journals.
I hope this gives you some great ideas to do with your family while you are visiting our beautiful area. Utah is a family centric state so there are so many things to do together as a family here. Check out the other posts from this series HERE.