20 Fun Things to Do With Your Kids in Salt Lake City, Utah

160735798Salt Lake City is filled with fun attractions for kids of all ages. Here are some of our favorites.

  1. Family History Library—Visit the Family History Library and learn about your family tree.
  1. Clark Planetarium—You can explore science and space in this downtown attraction.
  1. The Leonardo—This museum has interactive exhibits, classes and workshops about science, technology and art.
  1. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum—This downtown museum has interactive fun that the whole family will enjoy.
  1. Olympic Snowflake Fountain—The public fountain is the perfect place for kids to cool off and expend energy at the same time.
  1. City Creek Center—This downtown mall has shops, restaurants, events and retractable roofs.
  1. Liberty Park—Spend time feeding ducks, sledding, swimming and playing volleyball.
  1. Tracy Aviary—Here you can see hundreds of birds and many different wildflowers.
  1. Salt Palace Convention Center—Many events are held here, like Outdoor Retailer and Comic Con.
  1. Abravanel Hall—Take your children to the symphony for a musical treat.
  1. Wairhouse Trampoline Park—This park has dodge ball courts, foam pits, basketball lanes and an open jump court.
  1. Red Butte Garden—These botanical gardens are home to many workshops and activities for children.
  1. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium—This is the ninth biggest aquarium in the United States, with four large exhibits.
  1. Utah’s Hogle Zoo—The zoo has a new African Savanna, with animals seen on safari.
  1. Wheeler Historic Farm—Kids can ride wagons and milk cows for one to two dollars, or you can walk around and explore free of charge.
  1. This Is the Place Heritage Park—Brigham Young and the pioneers first entered Salt Lake City where this park is located. It has activities for kids, like panning for gold, pulling handcarts and making handkerchief pioneers.
  1. Lagoon—Visit Lagoon-a-beach, Pioneer Village and partake in fun rides.
  1. Snowboard Resort—Ski here in the winter, and hike in the summer. Check out family movies and live concerts in the summer as well.
  1. Utah Olympic Park—Home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, this park has a variety of family activities all year.
  1. Ice Castles—Check out the magnificent ice castles in Midway. Your children are sure to love this winter wonderland.

These destinations are only the tip of the iceberg. With so many options, you’re sure to have a fun filled day in Salt Lake City.

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The Redwood Forest: Where Everyone Should Go in His or Her Lifetime

462548299There is nothing quite like the redwood forest in scope and wonderment. There are two distinct species of redwoods, with the common names giant sequoia and coastal redwood. Each of these species grows hundreds of feet all and dozens of feet wide, and many are thousands of years old.

Where to See Redwoods

You can see redwoods in a variety of locations in California, including the following:

  • Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park—This park is in a beautifully remote location in Northern California, between Crescent City and Eureka. You can hike from the forest to the ocean, and it’s a popular camping destination. Peaceful Roosevelt elk roam freely on the land.
  • Redwood National Park—This forest was the Forest Moon of Endor in the Star Wars films. It is an International Biosphere Reserve, and it contains more than 35 percent of all the remaining old-growth trees. Coastal redwoods are the tallest living things on earth.
  • Muir Woods National Monument—This redwood forest is just 12 miles from San Francisco. It’s easily accessible and has many hiking trails. Muir Woods can be crowded at times, and the trees aren’t as tall as those in other forests; however, it can be perfect for those visiting San Francisco.
  • Yosemite National Park—This famous and enormous park is located four hours east of San Francisco. The Mariposa Grove is the largest redwood forest in Yosemite; however, it is closed until spring 2017. You can see other giant sequoias outside of Mariposa Grove.
  • Big Basin Redwoods State Park—Big Basin is located in the mountains in between San Jose and Santa Cruz. It’s less crowded than Muir Woods and is California’s oldest state park. It has 80 miles of trails, many waterfalls, and borders UC Santa Cruz.
  • Petrified Redwood Forest—This redwood forest was turned to stone by nature. Volcanic ash covered the trees during an ancient eruption, and the trees have slowly become petrified as a result. This park is privately owned, and it’s more of an attraction than a colorful forest.
  • Sequoia National Park—This park has the biggest giant sequoia trees, with 18 of the 30 largest specimens in the world. General Sherman, the most massive tree in the world, is located in this forest. Tunnel Log is also located here and is the famous “drive-through tree.”

The redwood forest is a natural place of wonder, where the air is crisp and time appears to stand still. When you step inside the forest, you’ll feel transported into a magical wonderland like you’ve never experienced before.

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Take a Road Trip to New Mexico and Visit all the Locations Where Breaking Bad was Filmed

175585631For six years the characters on Breaking Bad thrilled and delighted millions of television viewers. But one of the show’s most impressive and memorable characters wasn’t a human being at all. It was the city of Albuquerque, the real-life setting for the vibrant fictional universe created by the Breaking Bad production team.

To give the show a more authentic feel, producers chose to film it almost entirely in New Mexico. The haunting, wind-swept, desolate New Mexico landscape served as the ideal setting for this bleak but mesmerizing program. Actual Albuquerque locations formed the backdrop for many amazing scenes, and it was Albuquerque in particular that left a lasting visual impression in the minds of viewers.

Even though Breaking Bad is no longer on the air, the locations where its most memorable scenes took place are still around. They’ve now been reinvented as tourist attractions for those who can’t let go and want to immerse themselves in the Breaking Bad experience.

Organized tours of the most significant sites are available. But most visitors prefer to customize their trips so they can follow in the footsteps of Walter White all on their own.

Northeast Heights Neighborhood

This is the part of the city where the infamous “Heisenberg” actually resided. While you can’t go inside (a real family lives there) you can drive by the outside of the house where Walter White and his nefarious alter-ego rested their heads each night. Hank and Marie’s home is also in Northeast Heights, and you’ll be able to find that up in the foothills of this quiet, attractive residential neighborhood.

Other noteworthy Northeast Heights locations include La Palomita Park, where Mike used to take his granddaughter, and Paul’s Monterey Inn, the steakhouse and bar where Jesse and Walter often met to plan strategy. Unfortunately the latter is no longer open for business, but at least for now its exterior remains fully preserved.

If you’re in Northeast Heights around lunch or dinner time you can stop in at the Savoy Wine Bar & Grill (a Walter White favorite, and still open) for a bite to eat. And if your car is getting a bit dusty from the desert winds by all means head on over to the Octopus Car Wash for a quick hose-down. The Octopus is the real-life version of the A-1 Car Wash, which Walter bought and ran as a front for money laundering.

Downtown Albuquerque

Northeast Heights and downtown Albuquerque have the densest conglomeration of Breaking Bad-related attractions.

The list of destinations worth visiting in the downtown area includes Jesse Pinkman’s house, Jesse’s parents’ house, Taco’s hideout, the parking garage where Walt planted a bomb in Gus Fring’s car and the car park where Hank got in a shootout with the Cartel.

Albuquerque is a highly walk-able city and these and other downtown destinations are easily accessible on foot. But if you’re a cycling enthusiast you can sign up for a Breaking Bad bicycle tour sponsored by a bike-rental store called Routes Rentals. Or if you want something more relaxing you can relive your Breaking Bad memories in an open-air trolley operated by the aptly-named ABQ Trolley Company.

TV Shows End but Great Memories Are Never Cancelled

The locations we’ve suggested are just a sampling of the Breaking Bad locations you can see—and sometimes even enter—if you visit the Albuquerque area. Maps available online can provide you with the names and addresses of many more points-of-interest.

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Plan a Trip to Sedona, Arizona This Summer

149376451Located in the heart of Arizona, Sedona is a magnificently beautiful desert town. This vibrant arts community is ripe with sightseeing adventures that are perfect for a summer getaway.

  1. Red Rock State Park

Just like its name implies, this park is full of beautiful red rocks, which are part of a 286-acre natural preserve. Tourists can hike these rocks and check out the vibrant wildflowers, panoramic vistas and unique birds. Hikes are available both during the day and at night.

  1. Slide Rock State Park

This park used to be an orchard and now has the fast-flowing channel, Oak Creek, running through it. The creek is perfect for both wading and swimming, as well as for other water activities. Oak Creek is the perfect way to cool off on a hot day while taking in breathtaking views all around you.

  1. Cathedral Rock

The famous landmark is located inside the Coconino National Forest in Yavapai County. At an elevation of 4,921 feet, this rock is perfect for brave hikers who love scenic views. Cathedral rock has been photographed frequently for its majestic beauty.

  1. Stargazing

Since Sedona has almost no light pollution, it is ideal for stargazing. The desert valley is free from dense and towering trees, making the stars more visible in the night sky. In fact, stargazing was named the “Best Thing to Do in Sedona.” Astronomers lead stargazers on tours through this breathtaking valley.

  1. Off-Road Jeep Tours

For rugged, fast-paced tours, choose an off-road Jeep tour. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to see canyons, trails, scenic rims, mines and a ghost town. A Jeep’s open structure can make you feel connected to the landscape while being able to traverse it quickly.

  1. Arts

Check out Sedona’s strong arts scene and pick up a piece of handcrafted jewelry or wall art from an independent artist.

  1. Spas

Sedona has many spas available to tourists who want to relax and get pampered. Since Sedona is such a peaceful place in and of itself, it’s the perfect getaway for a spa retreat.

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Tour the Beautiful Monument Valley

529253159The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is an expansive and majestic valley in Arizona and Utah, situated inside the Navajo Nation. The naturally formed sandstone towers stand 400 to 1,000 feet tall. The valley is an impressive 91,696 acres and extends into Utah. This historic location is often featured in print and film, including postcards and advertisements.


This valley was originally a basin, but over a process of millions of years, sediment formed and was pushed up from pressure below. This sediment formed a plateau, and over the next 50 million years, water and wind eroded the land. What remains are the majestic towers, including the Mitten Buttes and the Merrick Butte. The Monument Valley has been a popular shooting location for films, particularly old Westerns, such as those for which John Wayne became famous.

Tourist Activities

Off US 163 and north of Kayenta is a visitor center where you can book tours, eat in the Navajo restaurant, and peruse the gift shop. Navajo residents who work as tour operators lead Jeep tours inside the park. If you would rather drive yourself, you can follow the 17-mile road that takes between 30 minutes and one hour to traverse. There are also hiking tours, which can be up to several days in length, many of which also incorporate horseback riding. One mile from the visitor center are local vendors who sell arts and crafts, souvenirs, and Navajo food.

Lodging and Accommodations

Camping is available inside the park at the Mitten View Campground. Visitors can also stay in the View Hotel, which has a great view of the Mitten Buttes. In order to ensure lodging, you’ll want to book your room in advance. Options outside the park include hotels and camping in Page, which is three hours away, and Kayenta, one hour away.

How to Get There

Monument Valley is near the southeast corner of Utah, along the Utah/Arizona border. Find the entrance slightly east of Highway 163. There is a five-dollar fee to use the park, and specific tourist activities are dependent upon the time of year.

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Best Family Cities In Colorado


When people move to the Centennial State, some strive to find the best family cities in Colorado. The following locales are desirable places for families to live because they offer affordable housing, prosperous economies and top-notch schools:

Erie, Colorado

1. The town of Erie offers a historic business district with new sidewalks and numerous popular shops. Many residents earn substantial incomes. They can enjoy a local balloon festival and fair every year.

Fruita, Colorado

2. Fruita is a city that features lower housing expenses than most other urban areas in Colorado. It plans to create additional parks in the near future. Numerous people visit it for outdoor recreation.

Superior, Colorado

3. A town called Superior is located in Boulder Valley. It has a sunny climate and some of the best primary schools in the state. The local government intends to add a spacious new park soon.

Lone Tree, Colorado

4. Lone Tree is known for its great schools, thriving economy and medical facilities. The health care industry provides plenty of high-paying jobs, and many locals appreciate the ability to reach nearby Denver via train.

Lafayette, Colorado

5. Lafayette has a relatively walkable downtown district, interesting local shops and an excellent school system. It is also comparatively inexpensive to buy a home in this family-friendly city near the state capital.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

6. Steamboat Springs is a popular skiing destination with a top-notch school system. Many advanced courses are available to students. Locals also benefit from tourism-related employment and tax revenue.

Parker, Colorado

7. Parker features a recently constructed library, comparatively low real estate prices and convenient access to hiking areas. This town occasionally hosts major sporting events. Students receive above-average scores on tests and local family incomes are high.

Louisville, Colorado

8. The city of Louisville also reports higher test scores than the average district in Colorado. It is known for high-tech firms, including a spacecraft manufacturer. Locals benefit from easy access to major highways and the state’s largest city.

Most of these locales are near Denver. They have become the best family cities in Colorado by prioritizing their public infrastructure, recreational facilities and education services. To keep learning more about life in this region, please follow American Southwest Magazine.

Best Places In Nevada To Visit


In 1964, Nevada became the 36th state to join the union. Even though it is the seventh largest state in area, it remains sparsely populated due to its sometimes, harsh environment. Despite that, visitors will find many fascinating places to explore. Here are some of the best places in Nevada to visit.


Las Vegas

Gambling is legal in Nevada and no place takes advantage of that quite like Las Vegas. Fondly known as Sin City, millions of people flock to Las Vegas every year to indulge in games of chance, dine in world famous restaurants and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Known as an adult playground, the city has plenty of entertainment options suitable for young visitors, as well. Some of the most popular attractions include the Shark Reef aquarium, the Secret Garden at the Mirage and the dancing fountains at the Bellagio.


Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a huge expanse of water straddling the border between Nevada and California. Boating, water skiing, swimming and mountain biking are among the many activities that attract visitors during the hot summer months. During the winter, it is a popular place for winter sport enthusiasts with numerous ski resorts featuring runs suitable for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.


Ghost Towns

If you feel like scaring up a specter or two, you will not want to miss the opportunity to visit one of the state’s many ghost towns. Many of the buildings in Rhyolite, on US 95 in the Bullfrog Hills, are still standing. Ruins include the Bottle House and the old railroad depot. The Goldwell Open Air Museum sits near the south entrance to town and contains numerous unique sculptures. Admission to the museum is free. Metropolis is on I-80 outside of Wells. This town is smaller than Rhyolite and many of its buildings are now in ruins. Visitors here can explore an old bank/hotel, a schoolhouse and the cemetery.

Whether you like to gamble, ski, or explore locations steeped in the history of the wild, wild west, Nevada has plenty of interesting places to visit.

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Most Haunted Places In Arizona


With a history that begins more than half a century ago when the first European settlers arrived, it is no wonder that Arizona is among the most haunted places in America. From creepy old hotels to a spooky theater and a now defunct prison, ghost hunters can find plenty of spooky places to explore. Here is a short list of the most haunted places in Arizona.

Jerome, Arizona

Known as the Wickedest City in the West, Jerome is home to what many consider to be one of the most haunted spots in the state. The Jerome Grand Hotel is housed in a former state hospital that opened in 1927 to treat mentally ill patients and local copper miners who suffered hideous injuries while plying their trade. The hospital closed in 1950 but reopened in the late 1990s as a hotel. Many visitors have reported poltergeist-like activity involved appliances coming unplugged and electronic equipment malfunctioning or mysteriously moved to difference locations. Add to that cries of distress and phantom nurses roaming the halls and you may find this a difficult place to get a good night’s sleep.

Tombstone, Arizona

The Birdcage Theater in Tombstone is a former brothel, gambling parlor and saloon that now serves as a tourist attraction. Plenty of people have reported seeing the ghosts of dancers, gamblers and cowboys, which is understandable considering more than a dozen gunfights took place on the property before it closed in 1889. Many former employees claim to have seen and heard spooky things and some visitors claim the ghosts have even followed them home.

Yuma Territorial Prison

Old prisons are prime spots for paranormal activity and the Yuma Territorial Prison is no exception. The two most haunted locations on the grounds are said to be the visitors’ museum and an especially creepy spot known as the Dark Cell where prisoners were often confined for days on end. Many visitors who have crossed the threshold to take a closer look report feeling anxious and some have even reported feeling a pinch or two. The spook within the Dark Cell is attracted to the color red and small children. Meanwhile, in the museum, employees claim to hear a woman singing in the early morning hours. The museum is also home to a poltergeist that plays with money and is particularly fond of dimes.

Go if you dare, but if you find yourself in any of these creepy landmarks, do not be surprised if you run into an otherworldly visitor or two.

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What Casino Games Have The Best Odds?


A vacation at Vegas is nothing if you are not visiting the casinos, placing the bets and trying out your luck. Or, at least that is how most people feel. However, it is also a fact that many of these happy-go-lucky adventures have a very poor knowledge of things such as edges, house percentages and the best and the poorest odds.

So, what most do is they stick to slot machines and give the tables a miss. However, this is the biggest mistake you can commit if you are really eager to win some money. The truth of the matter is that the house percentages are far lower in most common table game situations as compared to slots. Yes, if you are not a seasoned poker player, you should not jump on a Texas Hold’Em table since chances are you will be easily outwitted by experienced players—for POKER IS TOUGH.

Casino Games with the Best Odds: Blackjack, Craps, Roulette

Yes, these are the games where you stand the best chances of winning. In Blackjack, for example, you play only against the dealer and the house has only a negligible 1% edge over the player. The rules of playing the game are fairly easy and there are scores of internet sites where you can do some preliminary research and even get a bit of a practice under your belt before you hit the table for real.

The same goes for Craps. All those shoes or boxes, we agree, may come appear a bit intimidating to a first-timer. But once you know the rules, playing the game is really easy. And, bets are almost 50-50, so little house edge again.

As for Roulette, as long as you are playing reds or blacks, the house enjoys an edge, but a very slim one, owing to the green 0 and 00 slots which are common to all American wheels. You can also place your bet on a single number and if you win, you will be paid out 36 to 1. However, we strongly advise against going for fancy roulette combinations. They may appear tempting in many cases, but in reality, the house enjoys a high edge on most of those combinations.

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Happy betting!

Whitewater Rafting In Arizona


Although there are several ways to experience the Grand Canyon, one of the wonders of the world, seeing it from a raft on the Colorado River is an unforgettable whitewater rafting in Arizona experience. Trip lengths can vary, and the weather conditions also vary during the year, making it important to do some research.

Trips lasting between three and 13 days are offered by several local operators, although many of these begin from Page, AZ or from the floor of the canyon, after a memorable hike down. Lake Mead or Diamond Creek are the popular ending points for the longer whitewater rafting trips, and many trips include the added excitement of a helicopter ride out of the canyon. You can choose a trip where oars are used to propel the boat, or a motorized boat trip.

Weather conditions in and around the Grand Canyon should also be taken into account, and temperatures of around 110F during July are not uncommon. Whitewater rafting trips in Arizona’s Grand Canyon typically take place during May to October, but be prepared for changes in the weather and the canyon’s dry and hot climate. Regardless of when you go rafting, a trip on the Colorado can be the trip of a lifetime and the unique chance to see the fantastic colors of the canyon up close.

A lesser known option for whitewater rafting in Arizona is the Salt River, located just over two hours drive from Phoenix. There are actually more rapids on the Salt River, according to experienced rafting guide James Wilkes, who has been guiding rafters here for over 16 years. Wilkes also points out the advantages of the river being more accessible, and that rafting trips on the Salt River commence during late morning, eliminating an early start.

Trips vary in length from a half day to five days and include a delicious lunch, as well as the opportunity to experience over a dozen class 3 rapids. The best time of year to experience the power and beauty of the Salt River is during march or April.

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