Winter adventures in the mountains are our favorite. There's something magical about being in the mountains and surrounded by snow that makes everyone in our family come entirely alive. While we absolutely love skiing as a family, there is so much else do to in Park City that you should consider doing on your trip. Here are our family's top 10 favorite winter adventures in Park City.
If you want to give your kids a bucket-list-worthy experience while you're in Park City, make sure to take them dog sledding at Lunas Lobos. My daughter and I went dog sledding with them this winter and had the most fantastic time. You'll spend part of your time learning about the dogs and how to take care of them, and part of your time out on the trails behind the dog sled. It was one of the absolute best family experiences that we've ever had, EVER! The entire tour was perfectly geared towards families, which is no surprise since the owners have several small children and raise them on their dog ranch. My daughter couldn't stop smiling about the experience all day, and still says that it was the best thing she did all winter! It's the one thing I tell everyone who's coming to Park City not to skip (sign up early as tours book quickly).
Go to Ski-School
If you're planning a winter vacation out to Park City, the first thing that you need to get sorted out is ski school. As a former ski instructor, turned ski mom, I highly encourage that everyone signs their kids up for ski school for the first day or two on skis every season. It's an excellent way for them to learn new skills, but especially to make sure that they remember how to do skills they already know, the correct way. Even my teen who can ski black diamonds gets signed up for lessons every year and always comes away a better skier. While your kids are in ski school, it's tempting to take the full day off and ski by yourself, but I recommend that even mom and dad sign up for a lesson as well. Both Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain have great ski schools, but during peak times and on weekends, they fill quickly, so make reservations well in advance.
If you're not going to be skiing, then there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the winter weather in Park City, and ice skating is one of our family favorites. Our favorite place to skate in Park City is at the Resort Center Ice Skating Rink at the base of Park City Mountain. The rink is small, but the atmosphere more than makes up for the size. It truly is amazing to skate around with the kids right at the base of the ski hill. They have kids' walkers as well which are great for beginners, though, with the small rink size, your kids will probably be skating from end to end in no time. The Park City Ice Arena on the east side of town is also an excellent option for indoor skating and even has several drop-in hockey leagues as well if you're interested in trying the sport out.
Snow Tubing at Woodward Park City
The newest attraction in Park City also features one of our favorite winter activities as a family - snow tubing. The tubing hill at Woodward Park City is located a few miles west of Kimball Junction directly off of I-80. With two different tubing hills, it makes it easy to find something for the whole family. Our kids especially loved racing each other in the separate lanes as well as linking arms and going down altogether. Tubing passes are sold in 2-hour increments, and times can be reserved online (recommended for peak times), but if you want the most bang for your buck, going during the middle of the week to avoid the lines.
Swimming at the Homestead Crater Geothermal Pool
Yes, this is one activity that will literally blow your kids' minds! Just a short drive from Park City in the little town of Midway, there is a geothermal crater that you can actually swim inside of. Inside the crater, both the water and the air are toasty warm, which is an amazing contrast to the winter air outside. Sunlight streams in from a hole in the ceiling, making you feel like you've been transported to a whole new world. While you're there, you can snorkel, swim, scuba dive, or even take a paddleboard yoga class.
Visit the Escape Room
The Park City Escape Room is an absolute blast and makes the perfect apres-ski adventure or a great afternoon outing if you are looking for something indoors. My husband and I recently took our oldest two kids on a double date here, and everyone loved it. The best part about it is that in the end, we realized that we really were a team since everyone contributed something unique to help us get out of the room. Our kids were proud when they realized that the adults really couldn't have gotten out alone, and it was a great bonding experience for all of us. While we took just our oldest kids, the Escape Room has several different rooms and one that's even suitable for all ages.
Take a Class at the Kimball Art Center
If you're looking for something a bit more mellow and warm, head over to the Kimball Art Center for an art class. The Kimball Art Center has a huge variety of classes to really suit the whole family. Some classes are designed just for kids, others for teens or adults, and there are several that are all ages for the entire family. Taking a class here is a great way to change up the pace from the active adventures for the rest of your trip and just relax as you unleash your creative side.
Explore Downtown Main Street
I'm not sure what it is, but I always find myself drawn in by cute streets in small towns, and Historic Main Street in Park City is one of my favorites. Obviously, walks with lots of shopping involved don't always excite my kids, but there is just enough to keep them excited along Main Street, so we all leave happy. My kids especially look forward to the giant chocolate covered pretzel sticks that the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and we can't seem to visit Main Street without a visit to Java Cow, where even in a blizzard, my kids are still thrilled to get some ice cream. If you want to learn more about the history of Park City, make sure to check out the Park City Museum, where you can learn all about local history, and it's the transformation from an immigrant village, to a mining town, to a bustling ski hotspot.
Visit the Utah Olympic Park
The Utah Olympic Park is a great place to inspire your kids' athletic ambitions and also to push your limits on some adrenaline-pumping challenges together. Inside of the visitors center is a free museum that details the history of skiing in the area, including some old ski fashions that will have your kids laughing out loud. Upstairs the museum is dedicated to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games that were held in Salt Lake City but hosted at many different venues in the Park City Area. If your kids are older and love new challenges, sign them up for a ride down the bobsled track. While you're there, I also highly recommend trying out one of the high ropes courses (yes, they are even open in the winter). It's an excellent chance for everyone to face some fears, or if you're like our family, it's a great chance for the kids to prove that they actually are much braver than their mom!
In the summer, we love hiking, but in the winter, we can still hit the trails together with our kids on snowshoes. I love snowshoeing because it doesn't require any special skills, and outside of getting the equipment, it's free. All of our kids have figured out how to snowshoe around age 2-3, though we usually take a sled and just pull the little ones behind us since they're incredibly slow. I find that around age 5, our kids can keep up a normal pace on their snowshoes, and by age 10, they have enough energy that they're beating me down the trail every time. Unlike hiking, snowshoeing takes a lot more work and energy, so plan on being pretty tired at the end of your outing (nothing a stop for ice cream at Java Cow can't fix).