Tours and Sightseeing
Photography: Don Weller
Because of Park City’s evolution from a mining town to an Olympic venue, no one museum can hold it all. The Park City Museum and Territorial Jail on 528 Main Street has displays and photographs describing the town’s underground history, the fire that helped to shape the town early on, as well as the beginning of the town’s conversion to a ski resort. The museum has recently begun its expansion to include a history library, open to the public. Walking tours of Main Street are also available through the museum, guided or self-guided, and every June, dozens of residents open their homes for the Historical Home Tour.
A museum dedicated to the history of skiing, and Park City’s role in the sport, is located at the Utah Olympic Park. The Alf Engen Ski Museum, in the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center, follows the sport from makeshift wooden skis to Olympic competition.
The sunny weather of summer lends itself to driving, and the Summit County Driving Tour is a great way to see the countryside while finding out about the area’s past. Brochures for the tour are available at local Visitors’ Centers. Road signs point out the scenic byways and historical markers in the area.
While you’re out driving, take advantage of one of the many reservoirs in the area. Jordanelle State Park, Deer Creek State Park, Echo Resort and Rockport State Park offer plenty of room for waterskiing, wakeboarding, fishing, picnicking and a number of other sports.
If you’re on your way to beautiful Heber Valley, there are two stops worth making: The Heber Valley Historic Railroad, known to locals as the ‘Heber Creeper,’ will chug you down the Provo Canyon via the state’s only steam-powered locomotive; The Heber Valley Aero Museum at Heber Valley Airport is home to a variety of interesting airplanes and displays on the history of the airline industry, women in aviation and wartime aircrafts.
Driving the opposite direction—west to Salt Lake City—provides even more chances to explore museums.
One of the best places to learn about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and your family history—is in Temple Square. Located in the heart of the city, Temple Square holds the Salt Lake Temple, which was prominently featured during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The Visitors’ Center has a new museum and display center which follows the development of the faith and the building of the temple. Visitors can also look up their family trees in the extensive genealogy database, with terminals inside the Visitors’ Center.
The Hogle Zoo continues to add new animals to its family and inventive ways to learn about Earth’s creatures. Don’t miss the Family ZooSnooz —a campout that brings families ‘up close and personal’ to African animals.
The Clark Planetarium explains some of the mysteries of Earth and sky. The planetarium features special science and light shows and an IMAX theater brings movies to larger-than-life proportions.
Closer to home, the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah takes a look at the state’s surroundings through its residents—from small willow plant to the gigantic dinosaurs, up to the first human settlers and the Native American tribes of the area.