Moab, Utah, is a small high desert town not particularly known for its museums in general, let alone museums for children. But if you think outside the box, there are museums aplenty for the kids in your group. After all, for children the discovery of the world around them is a sort of museum; by that definition, Moab is filled with some of the best museums for children in the Southwest.
Dinosaurs and gold and arrowheads, oh my! Yes, there is an actual museum in Moab, and it has very kid-friendly exhibits. A four-foot tall Utah Raptor leg fossil that dwarfs most children sends their minds spinning with thoughts of the ancient creatures that roamed what is now Utah. Displaying prospector artifacts, the museum showcases Moab’s vibrant mining history, which is filled with riveting characters such as Uranium King Charlie Steen and with boom-mentality history during rich strikes in the area.
With over 2,000 natural arches, this park is a natural playground and stunning visual experience for kids. A Junior Ranger program reveals the wonders of the outdoors to young land stewards while entertaining and (sneakily) educating them. Joining a guided tour of the Fiery Furnace section provides explanations of the sandstone wonders to older kids as they actively scramble, hop, and crawl across the landscape.
Vistas that stretch on seemingly forever, hidden delights such as less-traveled hikes, and the chance to river raft the mighty Colorado as it carves its way through Canyonlands are all outdoor museum attractions in disguise. The Canyonlands Junior Ranger Program, available June through August, interprets geologic mysteries for inquisitive kids. Cave Spring Trail leads to a preserved cowboy camp, complete with old wooden tables and knickknacks used in daily life.
This cool little place is a surprise in the desert. Supporting 200 varieties of birds and providing both a wooden walkway and a mile-long loop trail that are appropriate for strollers as well as unsteady little feet, the preserve is managed by The Nature Conservancy. Guided walks, possible sightings of interesting creatures such as the Northern Leopard Frog, and fun activities like a treasure hunt offer a natural museum experience that can entertain many kids (and kids at heart).
Go check out some preserved dinosaur tracks–talk about wowing the kids. Probably the adults, too. You can see the tracks as well as the petroglyphs from your car as you drive past, or take a hike out to the actual site and explore at leisure.
Fossils, petrified plant life, an old copper mine. Intriguing, active, and fun!