It's winding down to the time when life returns to "normal" and school is back in session. This has been one of the most memorable summers of our lives. I am sure partly because we got to take an airplane to San Diego, but mostly we've just had fun doing a lot of new, cool things. Here's a list of things we've loved doing, and there's still time for you to fit them in before we get back to "normal."
1. Visit a local "watering hole." We love Blackridge Reservoir. This is a little hidden gem in the southwest part of the Salt Lake Valley. You really must see it to believe it.
2. Visit a local garden. Gilgal Gardens in SLC is a sculpture garden. I guarantee you haven't seen anything like it. Conservation Garden Park is another fun spot for date night or family time. Both are FREE.
3. Outdoor movie night. Lots of parks all over the country sponsor Free Family Movie nights. We built our own movie screen this year, and hold regular showings in our backyard for family and friends. It's a great memory!
4. Plan a family game day. Each year we hold our annual Family Olympics. We compete in hard core events like Monster Melting, Ping Pong toss, Eraser Bowling, three-legged races, potato sack races, and a variety of other quick paced games. This was our third year, and it was the best ever. Taking a cue from the "Minute to Win It" game show, we put on own spin on a 15 quick games and competed for the most coveted prize--giant candy bars. This was a great way to work on team work and communication, while under the clever guise of fun family time.
5. Reading. After all that fun, we had to have some down time. We loved going to the library and book store events. Barnes and Noble is still holding their kids contest, where kids can earn a free book for reading. Download the journal here. You have until Sept. 1 to get your free book.
6. Geocaching. Warning--this is not for the faint of heart, or very small kids. Geocaching is basically treasure hunting with clues and a GPS. There are many websites that have directions to caches all around the country. Google your area and "geocaching" and you should find a list of local treasure hunting sites.
7. Farmer's Markets. Support local businesses, especially farms! We visited Wheeler Farm and Gardner Village's Farmer's Market--both have great local produce, honey and arts & crafts. Support local economies!!
8. Food Trucks--not necessarily a "summer time" only thing, but lots of fun. Waffle Love, taco trucks and Moe's Sports Grill and hundreds of others are worth a visit. Also taking the kids to the local Snow Cone shack is a cheap, easy, quick bit of fun.
9. Historical Sites. If you know me, you know that Washington, DC is one of my favorite places on the planet. Strange, I know--could have something to do with being raised by a history teacher, or the fact that I am a nerd, and love learning. Some great sites around SLC that I highly recommend are: Utah State Capitol-free, open 7 days a week, kid friendly, amazing grounds (click here for details). Cathedral of the Madeline- beautiful Catholic church, free tours, amazing architecture (details here) .Beehive House- free tours, Mormon Church leader Brigham Young's house, great history, really cool old stuff (details here). Walking Tour of Temple Square-even if you've lived here your whole life, it's worth checking out (details here). Taffy Town- free tours teaching how some of the best treats are made. Hiking- Donut Falls or the Grotto on Mt. Nebo loop--fairly family friendly hikes, with amazing views.
10. Be Adventurous! I got some good advice this summer from an older gentleman at a Farmer's Market. He said, "Do something that scares you each day, and you will live with little regret." So whatever it is that you want to cross off your bucket list, and have been hesitant about...GO DO IT! You won't regret it!
~Live Up Summer!