fun things to do with kids pioneer places utah   Travel for Kids
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Pioneer Places

On the great westward migrations in the 19th century, Utah was a destination for settlers traveling the Mormon Trail; pioneers headed to California continued on through miles of sagebrush and desert, and had to go north or south around the Great Salt Lake. Parts of northern Utah are still quite uninhabited and it’s not difficult to imagine immigrants crossing the wilderness and mountains in slow-moving covered wagons. Kids can get a first-hand look at the frontier life around northwest Utah, or just across the border in Idaho.


Benson Grist Mill (State Road 138) – Visit one of the oldest buildings in Utah, the Benson Grist Mill, built in 1854.  Along with the impressive four story Mill is a blacksmith shop, furnished log cabins, windmill, old barn and handmade wooden wagons.

    The Mill has living history events -  demonstrations (candle dipping, quilting and rug making), activities (kids can try carding wool, churning butter, tying knots, playing pioneer games), and wagon rides. Click here for details. 
    Benson Grist Mill is easily accessible from Interstate 80, just west of Salt Lake City.
    American West Heritage Center (Wellsville) – American West Heritage Center is a living history museum where kids can experience life in a Shoshone encampment, fur trader camp, pioneer family settlement, and 1917 farm. Ride in a horse drawn wagon or handcart, pet goats and pigs, try out a bow and arrow, or wash clothes by hand. Watch demonstrations of carding and spinning wool, cooking over an open fire, and woodworking. There are also special events such as baby animal day, hay jump, corn maze and Christmas activities, click here for details. The center is open year round.
  Fort Hall (Pocatello, Idaho) – Fort Hall was a key point on the Oregon and California Trails, and a rendezvous for trappers. The fort offered pioneers and settlers a blacksmith shop to repair wagons and shoe horses, carpenter shop to fix wagons, and trading outpost to replenish supplies. Today kids can go inside into a tepee and replica log buildings of the shops, trade rooms, sleeping quarters (don't miss the baby cradle), and check out exhibits about the Shoshone-Bannock tribes and daily life in the fort. Fort Hall is open May to Labor Day.
      Next door to the fort are picnic tables, a playground with swings and slides, and shade trees.
kids books
Heading West  
Heading West
Pat McCarthy

Pictorial history of journeys west, pioneer children and daily life, Native American culture, firsthand accounts, plus 21 activities – make cornbread and apple butter, build a little log cabin, churn your own butter, dip candles, and more. Excellent historical illustrations, and good for older kids. (Chapter book)


(More children's books on other Utah pages)
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