Guest Post by Maria Panter
I've been in Provo for too long…luckily, I finished my degree at BYU last December so I am freeeeeee! Don't get me wrong, Provo isn't all bad – I'm just excited to move on to new places and get away from those crazy student drivers! 😉
On the positive side, Provo is actually a pretty good place to be if you have young kids! Below are my top five favorite things to do in Provo that won't cost you a dime! Obviously, my list leans towards the outdoorsy side, but any of these activities would be easy to do as a mom trying to get out-and-about with her kids. (As easy as wrestling toddlers by yourself gets that is.)
1. Bicentennial Park & Boardwalk: This is a lovely park nestled right up next to the foothills in Provo. You need to visit this park for three reasons:
(1) It has a beautiful wetlands boardwalk with the Nuttall Spring.
(2) It has fun park (with swings for the kids) that kicks it up a notch with rock-climbing walls, balance beams and the metal kid version of a handheld zipline.
(3) The park has a huge field with some rolling hills that would be good for sledding in the winter, or a scenic picnic in the summer.
2. The Monte L. Bean Museum: The Bean Museum got a makeover a few years ago and it is sweet! I am actually surprised they don't charge a dime to go here with your kids. The museum is chock full of animals displayed in their natural habitats. This is a great place to visit with the kids on a rainy day or on a blazing hot day (when you just want to hide inside). (Tip: They also host free FHE live animal shows!)
3. BYU South Campus Nature Walk & Duck Pond: When I attended BYU this was my favorite place on campus! BYU invested a lot of money into landscaping south campus into a gorgeous scenic trail. The trail is paved and shaded, making it an good nature walk on a hot day. My favorite part of this little area is the stream that follows the path with the occasional waterfall. Don't forget to bring some frozen peas to feed the ducks (unless you have a kid like mine who is more interested in chasing them)! (Tip: There are baby ducklings as of right now!)
4. Bridal Veil Falls: This adventure is a quick drive up Provo Canyon to the tallest waterfall in the state. Park the car at Bridal Veil Falls Adventure Park or Nunns Park and take an easy stroll up to the falls. The path is paved: you could also bring the stroller or let your kids bring their bikes. Once at the falls, you can dip your feet in the bottom or buy 25 cent fish food to feed the giant fish (this is actually more fun than it sounds because the fish are crazy). If you are feeling extra energetic there is a switch back path up to the first cascade. (Tip: This area has seasonal closures until the snow melts. Make sure you call the Provo Rec office or check recent Tripadvisor reviews to see if it is open.) You can visit my Wanderookie site for specific GPS coordinates/directions to this place if you need.
5. Pioneer Park Splash Pad: There is an excellent splash pad located at Pioneer Park! The splash pad has different splash sequences with an extra large shaded pavilion right next to it. I also like this park because it has lots of big trees for shade. The splash pad does turn off for a few minutes every hour to encourage kids to take a break and re-sunscreen. When this happens, kids can play at the fenced playground also right next to the splash pad. (Tip: the splash pad is normally running from Memorial Day to Labor Day. On Saturdays in the summer, the farmers market closes parking immediately around the park.)
Probably the best tip I have to offer is getting your kids outside and exercising at least an hour a day! (At least that is what my pediatrician tells me and I see no reason to disagree.) Hopefully this list will make that goal a lot easier!
If you are feeling extra motivated to get outside with the kids this year, you can visit my Wanderookie site for family friendly hiking trails in Utah.