Just a mile a way from our home, Memory Grove provides a charming connection between Temple Square and City Creek Canyon. A dog lover's paradise, pooches are welcome to go for a swim in the hot afternoons.
Here's Eli running in delight to tell me how he just saw three fawn pugs that remind him of Zoe.
Walking hand in hand with Brooklyn. Can I just say that I absolutely love hanging out with my children? This picture says so much. I feel pretty blessed right now to get to enjoy every stage from Princess Sofia backpacks to grown-up conversations about algebra.
Straight up from Memory Grove is the Utah state capitol where Papa Kay once worked. Such a majestic building.
A glance out to the valley below.
Pausing for a family photo. And yes, Annika is dressed in her Tigger costume.
The big kids were pretty proud to beat us down the hill.
While not quite as awesome as the Parc Tete d'Or in Lyon, Liberty Park has won my heart by sharing a similar vision--just on a smaller scale. Grassy spaces, play structures, a carousel, gardens, mini-zoo (or aviary), small lake, open-air theater, and a running path around the periphery. Now if only we could add crepes and gaufres...
On the positive side, unlike the Parc Tete d'Or, Liberty Park has a splash pad. (And flushing toilets instead of the Turkish variety.)
Despite wearing her suit all evening, Annika never got wet.
Playing at the park on a different day, in surprise, surprise, the same swim soup.
Even better than the splash pad is the Seven Canyons Fountain where the kids can climb and wade. Water flows down representations of all seven canyons before finally collecting in a miniature Great Salt lake.
On this particular day, I met the mother of the young girl to the right and discovered that her children also participate in the International Pathways program at Emerson Elementary. One thing led to another, and we now teach a cooperative preschool together.
Other options include feeding the geese...
...or hanging out at the playground on the opposite side of the park.
It's not every mother who has to instruct her nine year-old to put down her knitting and play. When Talia learns a new skill, she embraces it with zeal. Thanks for teaching her, NomiAnn!
While still part of Liberty Park, Tracy Aviary deserves a sub-title of its own. I went with fairly low expectations, but was delighted to discover how fascinating a "bird zoo" can be.
Wait a second, that's not a bird, that's an Annika.
Our very own chain gang.
Just what we didn't need--more water to play in.
One of the owls...
...and my favorite bird, the king vulture. After listening to the caretaker teach all about the virtues of vultures, I'm a convert.
The Clark Planetarium
A perk for retaining my Nebraska citizenship (aka, procrastinating a trip to the DMV for a new license) is that I can use my Omaha Children's Museum pass for reciprocity at all the places that recognize the ASTC passport program (Association of Science and Technology Centers). In other words, we have been able to get free admission to four places: the Clark Planetarium, the Leonardo, the Natural History Museum, and the Museum of Natural Curiosity. Hooray! This awesome benefit will only last for a few more days until my membership expires, and then I suppose I will have to capitulate and identify myself as a Utah native. In the meantime, it's been a great way to explore some new places.
Here we are at the Clark Planetarium getting ready to watch a show. I have to admit, I was a bit underwhelmed by the planetarium itself, but it was under construction for a major remodel and promises to dazzle when it reopens in October.
Jason called to tell us that we should check out the Leonardo when a helicopter landed right by his work for the grand opening of its new exhibit, Flight.
Bored with nothing to do? Might consider constructing one of these.
Inside, the Leonardo was pretty fantastic as well. The exhibits were all hands-on, kind of like a Children's museum, but with a more scientific focus that appealed to the older kids as well. Here they are in the space tunnel. I liked the vignette of children watching the lunar landing on TV in the background. It reminded me of how Papa Kay was allowed to stay home from school to watch when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took their first steps on the moon.
I think DaVinci would have liked to see this.
Talia sketches as she watches a video of a hummingbird in flight.
Annika is in the pilot seat, but doesn't seem to be paying much attention to where she's going.
Reddi-wip is ready for take-off.
Brooklyn soars from the flight simulator as well.
While not part of the museum, Eli got to explore the mechanics of flight while shooting air rockets at a Father-Son activity held at Lindsey Gardens.
Back to the Leonardo, other sections of the museum are filled with more great fun, such as this green screen.
Who knew that the great void was actually filled with smiling heads?
The Leonardo houses a couple huge Lego stations, one on each floor. I'm sure that if I decide to invest in a membership, I won't have any trouble convincing Jason of the value.
Brooklyn guides a flock of birds through this Murmuration. Both therapeutic and mesmerizing, I played with it for a long while myself until I realized some kids were waiting.
Here's Eli figuring out some circuits in Leonardo's workshop.
I love how Annika went straight for the wrench. Talia's fiddling with some magnetic marble tubes in the background.
We discovered that it's nearly impossible to speak when your feedback loop is delayed.
Mirrors make tessellation patterns even more interesting.
Get back in yer cage!
This organic sculpture between floors is beautiful.
And of course, everybody appreciates experiments with Diet Coke and Mentos. But did you know that Tic Tacs work as well?
Last but not least, during our most recent trip we painted in Leonardo's studio.
While the original objective was not finger painting, Annika definitely got a bit messy.
Taking a pause from the museums, let's skip to a Sunday afternoon where we found the graves of Jason's great-grandparents, Marie Vogini Heaps and Albert Heaps. If I remember correctly, they lived in a small home just a couple blocks from where we now live.
Here's another random one. We headed to Logan one Saturday afternoon for a casual reunion with some of Jason's high school pals. While I can't explain why I forgot to take a picture of Jason and his friends, I did take this odd one of Talia's legs.
Salt Lake Rec Centers
Back to exploring the town, we invested in a family membership to all of the local recreation centers. Just up the street is a rink where we can now skate. Annika took to the ice surprisingly well.
Of course, she also likes to stop and eat the "snow" off her blades. Yuck!
Cute munchkins cooling off on a hot summer day.
Our second week here, we discovered another way to cool off--STAT swim team. Brooklyn and Talia were brave enough to compete in a meet after just two practices. Way to go girls! Here they are warming up at the Fairmont Aquatic Center.
Playing in the Fairmont park after.
This spinny tire is the best! (Not that I would ever want in it.)
No fear of heights for this gal!
On Wednesday nights, Fairmont also hosts a great farmer's market with live music...
...and tasty eats like these Polish pierogi. Well worth the wait in line.
And with that, I think I'll conclude the first installment of our adventures in discovering Salt Lake. After all, it's lunch time!