Things to do in Utah

I don’t know about you guys, but, while I love my home and I try to make it a place of peace and comfort, I would rather be out of it. The world is such a big place with so many fun things to do. It wasn’t until last year that I started getting passes to some of my favorite places each year, and I wished that I would have done it sooner! While it costs some money up front, there is no better feeling than getting up in the morning and knowing that me and my children have an awesome selection of things to do that day! Because of that, I have put together a list of places in Salt Lake and Utah County, that you may not have known, offer cheap prices or awesome deals on passes! Below you will find the link to each place as well as a link to a BETTER deal if I can find one for you!

And while I know that I only did the work for some of my personal favorite Utah options, if they don’t apply to you I encourage you to take the time to look into your favorite rec center’s passes, or the local pool and more! There are options that will allow you to save money and get out of the house! You just have to do the research!

Seriously guys, there is nothing better than getting out. Even if it’s just to watch your kids run around, get some good ol’ vitamin D, and enjoy spending time together!

UTAH’S HOGLE ZOO
Daily Rates:
Adult: $14.95
Child (Ages 2+): $10.95
Toddlers 2 and under are free

There are 9 different Hogle Zoo pass options ranging from $79.00 a year to $1,000.00. (Obviously, that last one is a group rate.)

Some of the benefits, depending on the package that you choose are:

– Free general admission for TWO named adults in the same household
– Free general admission for immediate children or grandchildren under the age of 18
– Discounted Zoo Lights admission (this is the only event that you don’t get in free)
– Free or discounted admission to 125 zoos and aquariums nationwide
– Members only zoo time. Sunrise and Sunset times where only members can enter the zoo.
– 10% off of food and gifts
– Free rides on the train or carousel or discounted punch passes, again according to which pass you choose
– Free guests every time you visit. (Depending on the pass there may be only 1 free guest or 2)
– You CAN take in your own food! This is such a HUGE PLUS! I pack in snacks and sandwiches and drinks and we are set!

I was unable to find a discount, but this is one of my personal favorites. My boys run around, play in the splash pad, and play on the play ground! Sometimes they look at the animals and sometimes they don’t, but either way, we’re out in the sun. The kids run until they can’t anymore and we absolutely LOVE this pass.

Click HERE for the link to Utah’s Hogle Zoo to view membership options!

Freebies2Deals-HogleZooHogle Zoo Splash Pad

PASS OF ALL PASSES

This pass is often under rated because people don’t know what it includes besides Seven Peaks Water Park. So, while the water park is AWESOME and has locations in Orem and in Salt Lake City, there are so many other benefits. This card is one you want to carry in your wallet.

Here are the daily rates for Seven Peaks Water Park:
All Day Pass: $24.99
All Day for Children (48 inches or less): $19.99
After 4:00 PM: $15.99
After 6:00 PM: $9.99
Toddlers 2 and under are free

On top of the entrance fee, you should expect to pay for tube rentals and parking. They do not allow you to take food into the park, but they do have a section where you can place your cooler and return when you choose to eat. That being said, you will need to pay for food if you don’t want to carry it in.

You can purchase a Pass of all Passes for $39.99 off of their website which will pay for itself in your first visit.

Now, this is a great deal but here are some of the other options that you have with your Seven Peaks Pass of all Passes.

– Free Orem Owlz games. My husband and I took our boys to this, sat on the grass, ate a hot dog and enjoyed each others company. They also have a giant playground for children as well as a supervised bounce house area for children. SO FUN!
– Towne Cinemas Movie Theater in American Fork has all movies for $1.50 and your pass of all passes gives you a discount on the movie price and concessions.
– Utah Grizzlies games are such a good time! If you haven’t gone, you need to! Even if you don’t like hockey, it’s an experience that everyone should have!
– Real Monarchs. For those that don’t know, this team is associated with Real Salt Lake (Soccer) and you can attend their games as well!
– You can attend select athletic events for BYU, the U and UVU.
– Rocky Mt. Raceway in the past has offered FREE admittance, I spoke with a rep today that said that it’s up in the air as to whether or not it will be free this year or if it will be discounted.
– Tracy Aviary has $1.00 Tuesdays where every pass holder will only pay $1.00 for admittance.
– SCERA shell outdoor theater only accepts your pass during the summer. Last year it offered 1 free ticket to each pass holder to one outdoor play. This year they are currently looking at whether or not they will offer the free option again, or if it will be a discount. It will be decided as summer approaches and they will announce it on their website.
– Scales and Tails is a location where you can go to experience up close, controlled (thank heavens) encounters with reptiles and other animals. They are only open on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and your pass gets you in!

As you can see this is an awesome option for multiple opportunities to get out of the house! We can’t get enough of ours, and it MORE than pays for itself!

Click HERE for the Groupon Deal for $19.99

It can also be found on City Deals in multiple varieties (some include tubes and parking) but click HERE for basic link! You can also view the other options from this link.

Seven Peaks  Orem Owlz Tracy Aviary

THANKSGIVING POINT

There are four different venues that you can access at Thanksgiving Point. Each of those venues offer so many fun opportunities, and Thanksgiving Point offers multiple different passes to meet each persons needs!

The four different venues are:
Museum of Natural Curiosity (KIDS LOVE THIS!) It truly is spectacular!
Farm Country (Again, children go nuts here!)
Thanksgiving Point Gardens
Museum of Ancient Life

Here are their daily prices:
Museum of Natural Curiosity
Thanksgiving Point Gardens
Museum of Ancient Life

Adult: $15.00
Children (ages 3-12): $12.00

Farm Country:
Adults and Children are both $7.00. This price includes a pony ride for kids ages 3-12 and a wagon ride for everyone.

The membership prices range from $75.00 – $600.00 for a year.

The package that we found the most beneficial for us was the Family pass. This includes Two adults in the same address and their dependent children.

The benefits of having a membership to Thanksgiving Point, aside from free access to all 4 venues are:

– 50% off admission for any guests that you bring with you. This is awesome. Why? Because it’s more fun for mom (or dad) when you have a friend that you can chat with while your children run wild!
– 10% off food, retail and signature experiences.
– Early notification for camps, classes, events and other programs.

Your kids, and maybe you (depending on how much sleep you got the night before due to your little children) could LITERALLY stay here all day long.

It’s well worth the investment!

Click HERE to take a better look at the options and look into getting your membership!

Thanksgiving Point  Discovery Gateway

CLASSIC FUN CENTER

DISCLAIMER Classic Fun Center doesn’t actually have a pass.

Classic Fun Center is NOT the same as it was when I was a child. It’s so cool now and my kids LOVE it! There are three different sections that seem to target each age group and their interests.

The Skating Rink, Bouncing and Inflatables and what they call the Climbing Space Station. (Pictured below)

My kids ask to go here every single day and while we don’t, I love that this is an option because it doesn’t break the bank. There are locations in Layton, Orem, and Sandy.

General Admission Prices:
1 Hour: $6.00 and they get 5 free tokens.
Each additional hour is $2.00
Funlimited Day Pass: $15.00: This includes 20 tokens, 20 tickets and a $3.00 meal deal.

This is a cheap option if you are just wanting to get out of the house!

Classic  Classic fun center

CONNECT PASS

The connect pass allows you to visit 15 different locations 1 time over whatever period of time you select. While there are different lengths of time on the options that you can select, I am highlighting the 365 day option!

Over 365 days you get to visit the following locations:
– Clark Planetarium Dome Theater
– Clark Plantarium 3D Imax
– Discovery Gateway
– The Lion House Pantry (they offer you a free meal)
– Natural History Museum of Utah
– Red Butte Garden
– Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
– Thanksgiving Point Gardens
– Thanksgiving Point Museum of Ancient Life
– This is the Place Heritage Park
– Tracy Aviary
– Utah’s Hogle Zoo
– Utah Olympic Park
– Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Assuming that you paid for 1 adult and 1 child at each of these locations, you would spend $284.78 based on their daily admission rates. In the same scenario, the Connect Pass would cost you $135.00 and save you $149.78.

Purchasing the connect pass will cost you $75.00 per adult and $60.00 per child through the Groupon Link HERE.

Clark     This is the Place

Discovery Gateway

THE LIVING PLANET AQUARIUM

The aquarium is such a fun place to take your family! We love that it’s indoors so it’s nice to visit on those hot summer days and when it’s freezing outside! It’s a great place for your kids to learn and explore!

Daily Admission Prices are:
Adults: $17.95
Students and Teens: $14.95
Children (Ages 3-12): $12.95
2 and under are free

The memberships prices are good for 1 year and here are the costs:
Adults: $59.95
Teens and Students: $54.95
Children (Ages 3-12): $49.95
Family Membership: $175.95 (This includes 2 adults and 4 children)
Family Plus Membership: $249.95 (This includes 2 adults, 4 children and 2 additional guests)

Go to the aquarium 4 times and you’ve paid for your membership! Having a membership also offers you discounts on gift shop purchases, cafe purchases, penguin encounters, birthdays, Tuki’s Island Play and Party Center is free and there are exclusive members only activities!

HERE is the link to check it out now!

Aquarium  Penguins

I know that this is a lot of information! But, I hope that by reading through it you feel a little less stressed about trying to find the activities that are going to be right for you and your family when trying to get out of the house, especially this summer!

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7 things my divorce taught me about marriage

So yeah, I was 22 when I filed for a divorce. How embarrassing is that? I was distraught. Never wanted the world to know that I had failed at being married. I could not have been more positive that I was going to be the black sheep in the world of people my age, especially since I had a 1 year old. I prepared myself to be shunned and was in the process of figuring out how to be okay on my own, forever. Once I got out of the dramatic stage, feeling bad for myself and my situation I found that sadly, it wasn’t as uncommon as I thought to be young and divorced. It was around that time that I started to put a lot of thought into why we live in a time where divorce is so common and for some so easy. So with that I started digging deeper into my divorce to find what I could walk away with to prepare for my future, whatever that may hold. Before I dive into the things that I learned, I need to say that divorce IS sometimes the only answer. There will be people out there that tell you that any relationship can be fixed and that you should fight forever to make it work. But it’s to those of you that are in abusive relationships whether verbal or physical. It’s to those that are victims of infidelity, to those that are taking second place to drugs, alcohol or other addictions that seem to be endless, it’s to you that I say, it’s okay to say, “I’ve had enough…”

The first thing that I learned is that marriage is NOT 50/50. Nor is it 100/100
I think that we’ve all heard many times in different variations that marriage requires both people doing an equal amount of work. I can’t tell you how many people gave me this piece of advice prior to my first marriage. “Now listen honey, marriage is 50/50, always make sure that you are doing your part.” And they were right. Every person in a relationship has a part, or a role. Each person needs to make a contribution to your home and family each day. It is something that will make or break a marriage.

On the contrast I had also been given the advice that marriage was 100/100. “Sweetheart, you need to make sure that you are giving your all to your partner not half of you. They should be your focus.” Again, there is truth in this nugget of good willed advice. Each person should live their life with the intent to make their spouse happy. They should consistently be trying to find ways to strengthen their relationship and should often go the extra mile for their significant other.

So what is the correct percentage of how much I should contribute to my marriage you ask? Well, the answer is simple and I have found through the best and the worst days that there is no correct answer. There is no consistent percentage that will yield the healthy marriage that we are all searching for. I don’t know about you, but each day the amount of energy that I have to offer is different. Each day has so many different variables that can contribute to how much I am able to offer my spouse and being human, he is the same. There are days where I’ve been peed on by my baby one to many times, my 4 year old has been in timeout at least 5 times and it’s only 9:00 AM. Days where I’m going on my 3rd day without a shower. Days when I get halfway through the grocery store before giving up and buying a frozen boxed dinner, and then while trying to clean up the flour my child scattered all through the house it burnt anyways. We end up ordering pizza.It’s on those days friends that I am not capable of offering 100% to my marriage. I cannot even offer 50%. Who knows how much I honestly even have left in my tank. But in a healthy relationship, my spouse makes up the difference and fills in those gaps. On the days that he is dragging himself into bed, and he’s only able to offer 20%, it’s my turn to give him 80%. You will find that each day, as the variables of your life change, what you are able to offer will change as well. Marry someone that understands that. That doesn’t expect you, even on your worst days to offer more than you are capable. Marry someone that is willing to meet you not halfway, but where you need them.

Number two is, put on something a little less comfortable. (Whoever said it’s more comfortable obviously never put it on.)

Now I know that there are woman out there that have been blessed to feel “in the mood” just as much if not more so than their husbands, but then there are the rest of us. Those of us that find ourselves calculating how long it’s been since the last time that we were intimate and saying “ah, I should probably do that tonight.” Now, either way, whichever category you fall in, the lucky or the unlucky when it comes to your libido, affection in every form is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. The reality is that while some of us feel like it’s a cruel joke that our husbands are always feelin’ it while we are somehow wired completely the opposite, it’s not just your husband that needs it.

How awkward is it for me to say that if you aren’t enjoying your intimate life, it’s about time you start having open conversations about why you don’t like it? Well, no matter the discomfort some may feel it’s the truth. Do you need a romantic night to feel in the mood? Great, make sure your spouse knows that. Everything needs to be laid out on the table. It is through intimacy that you will find a connection that is found through no other avenue of a relationship.

Affection comes in so many ways other than sex and sometimes I think that as you grow together it’s easy to unknowingly move apart. Do you hold hands when you walk down the street, or at the grocery store? Do you say I love you every time you hang up the phone? Does your spouse know that you find them attractive? Do you kiss them when they come home and before they leave? Affection is, regardless of it’s form one of the most important ways of showing your love. No matter where your relationship currently stands, I can promise you that putting on something a little “more” comfortable will make the harder times of your marriage easier to bare.

Three. Go to bed angry.

I can’t even tell you how many nights I have spent up fighting for the sake of NOT going to bed angry. Let’s have a quick talk about why you should ABSOLUTELY go to bed angry.

I don’t know about you, but the night time, when you’re tired physically, mentally, emotionally and more, does that really seem like the ideal time to try and have a rational conversation to you? I mean, maybe it does. I have found that when I force myself to try and fix a problem late at night, I often out of frustration find myself saying things that cannot be taken back. Things that of course I didn’t mean, but once those things have left my mouth, they aren’t going back in.

Also, I’m kinda a crazy emotional monster sometimes. Especially when I’m tired. Would I admit that to my husband? Never. But it’s more than true. Anyone else ever have a fight late at night and as your head hits your pillow you can’t help but think “WHY CAN’T HE JUST UNDERSTAND? I’m making complete sense, it isn’t rocket science.” But when you wake up in the morning you think, “I wasn’t making any sense at all. Let’s hope he doesn’t remember that.” And even if you TRIED to continue the argument, you couldn’t back up your very well thought out, brilliant points from the night prior. You then find yourself a little embarrassed for making such a big deal out of something that really never would have mattered if you hadn’t have been so completely and totally exhausted.

Fourth is all about exploring the world together. Even if you can’t afford it..

Now, I am of course not suggesting that you go into debt to travel to the places that you’ve always wanted to see. What I am suggesting however is that you see the world for the beautiful place that it is from close up. Sometimes I struggle looking at Instagram and Facebook posts because I see all of these people whether friends, family or people I know from high school that have struck success in some way or another. So while I’m sitting on my bedroom floor covered in I don’t know how much spit up folding laundry, they are on a beach in Tahiti or walking the Great Wall of China and I find myself feeling frustrated and defeated.

I want to travel too! I want to take my husband and go on some special adventure, but we don’t have the money. So instead when date night comes around we go to one of the same five restaurants we always go to and we head home. It’s led me to wonder if the world is only meant to be explored in places that you can only get to by plane. I’ve had to ask myself if the beauty of the world can only be found in places that cost more than I make in 3 months? In the past year, my husband and I have found that there are mountains to be hiked, rivers to be waded. There are trails to be ran and sunsets that are begging to be seen. The hole in the wall restaurants that you find are important. And so is that favorite place that you go to when you want to pack a picnic and get away from the world. Life is about the time that you spend together, it’s not about where it’s spent.

It’s a hard one, but number five is: I love my husband first and my children second.

One of my first memories was made in my moms bathroom while I watched her do her makeup. Hearing my mom tell me, “honey, I love you more than you will ever know, but I love daddy most.” I was so sad and I felt like it was so wrong at that time. I never forgot those words and when I had my own children I promised myself that I would never pass that on to my kids. After my oldest son was born I dedicated my life to him, as seems normal. Date nights were short and sweet because I needed to get home to the baby, even though he was safely with my mom. Our nights never consisted of anything remotely romantic because I was WAY to tired from investing all of myself in our son. It wasn’t until my marriage became difficult that I realized that what my mom had said had been true. Even though as a child it was hard to hear, it was one of the many reasons that my parents marriage held strong all of those years.

Children are your heart ya know? They are everything. Everything that you do revolves around what is best for them. And that is perfectly fine. There is however a line that needs to be drawn in the hypothetical sand. Make time for date nights that include conversation about more than your children. Again, while this might seem IMPOSSIBLE, try to save at least a tiny amount of your energy for intimate time with your man. A couple that loves each other first, and is united in their efforts to raise happy and healthy children will see that they are more solidified in their relationship. They will find themselves on opposite sides of the fence when their children try to manipulate them less then those that put their children first and their spouse second.

Sixth. The “D” word is not a part of your vocabulary.

Do you remember that couple in high school that was together and then apart, and then back together and then apart, or wait…were they together? The truth was that you never knew because it wasn’t that important to them. What wasn’t that important? Commitment wasn’t that important. When you get married, you are married. It’s no longer easy to break-up in a moment of anger and then decide the next morning after a good nights rest and a yummy bowl of Apple Jacks that you made a mistake. Divorce is not a threat. It isn’t something that gets brought up because you’re sick of picking up laundry that didn’t make it into the hamper for the millionth time. It’s not something you throw out as an option because you haven’t been getting along lately. Since my divorce, people often ask if we can get together because they need to talk to someone that understands. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to say that this is not the area of expertise that people seek my advice for, it is usually the case that someone wants to know what I did to find happiness after hell. Ultimately, unless you fall in one of the categories previously mentioned, you need to understand that marriage takes work and there is no free pass that excuses you from trying to seek ways to make what appears to be a broken marriage work.

Lastly, the comfort that comes from marriage is great. But it is not an excuse to let yourself go.

I’ve gotten myself into hot water with this topic before but I stand strong in my stance that just because your husband loves you, it doesn’t give you an excuse to lose yourself. Remember when you were dating and you would stop before their house to apply a fresh layer of lip gloss, run a brush through your hair and spritz some perfume? Remember how you would shop for the perfect outfit for special occasions or dig through your closet and settle on the 7th outfit that you tried?

Regardless of what anyone says, being physically attracted to the person that you are with plays a significant roll in your relationship. Physical attraction is one of the prime traits that drives you to getting to know someone better. It’s what pushes you to talk to the guy in your stats class. Not because you know anything about him, but because he’s hot. Right?

Now, am I telling you that it’s not acceptable to put on a few pounds or decide not to do your hair and makeup sometimes? I would be a hypocrite if I was. And while I hope not to offend, the harsh reality is that while your spouse loves you for who you are on the inside, they also love who you are on the outside. They love the angry face you make when you’re mad because they find it cute. They love that you scoot really close to them in bed at night leaving them next to no space to sleep. They love that right? Or maybe I just tell myself they do because….I definitely do that. They love the broken parts of your soul. They love the dark and bright sides of you. But, no matter how many small random reasons they have to love you. No matter how strong the connection of your souls may seem. It is my firm belief in which I will always stand my ground that the physical connection that you feel, the electricity that runs through your body when your hubby puts on those jeans that you love and some cologne, he feels the same way. I promise you that he will appreciate it, no matter how big of a sacrifice you have to make to put it in, he will appreciate the effort that you make to keep that spark alive physically.

The truth is that every marriage will find themselves slammed up against the rocky shore by waves that seem to be relentlessly trying to break them apart. No marriage is exempt from hard times. It’s how tightly you hold onto each other during each merciless crash that will make all of the difference. So does it make sense taking advice from a woman who’s marriage fell apart? Maybe. Or maybe not. Who would have thought that divorce made me better at marriage? But what I can tell you is that my divorce not only changed me as a person, but it changed the wife that I choose to be. Maybe my marriage didn’t end on my terms, but it was an opportunity to better myself and I’ve found peace, love and success as I’ve changed the things that may have helped create cracks in the foundation the first time around. Thank heavens for second chances huh? While it may not be my story, and for some it’s best that it’s not, make sure that every day you are doing everything it takes to make your first time a charm.

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