Pioneer Day is a special day in Utah where we celebrate the pioneers crossing the plains and settling our great state of Utah. We are both from pioneer heritage and so we have many family stories that help us appreciate these men and women who worked so hard to come to Utah.
Pioneer Day is the perfect time to teach your families about the pioneers, and there are lots of spots throughout Utah to have a great Pioneer Day. Here are some ideas on Things to do on Pioneer Day in Utah.
We love this fun little village in Provo. It’s FREE to visit and the volunteers do a great job of making everything fun. Make sure to play pioneer games at the school house, and watch the blacksmith work on his tools. They always have extra fun things on Pioneer Day!
One of our favorite state parks, This is the Place has a lot of great pioneer activities all year round. Everyone dresses and acts like the pioneers would, and they teach you about the life they lived. They have extra activities going on on Pioneer Day (July 23 & 25 in 2022), including parades and candy cannons. It’s a fun spot to be a pioneer. This is the Place Heritage park is located in SLC across the street from Hogle Zoo.
Every year during the month of July, you can go on a FREE historic scavenger hunt through Gardner Village in West Jordan. The village is so pretty to walk through, and it’s fun to learn the history of the area. They decorate with red, white, and blue for the month of July, so there are lots of great photos spots. Also, when you’re done, you can earn a small treat for finishing the scavenger hunt.
This museum is located in downtown Salt Lake City. It is a huge museum filled with old pioneer relics, including a piano that made it across the plains and Brigham Young’s wagon. This museum is run by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and they have tons of satellite museums all through Utah. These smaller museums are sometimes only open on Pioneer Day, so check and see if there is one near you. Here is the list of museums. Entrance is FREE to all of their museums.
The LDS Church has a Family Discovery Center in Salt Lake and one in Lehi. These fun buildings provide ways to learn more about your heritage. You are given an iPad to use and explore through the different areas where you can see what famous people you are related to, as well as important events during your lifetime. Our boys love taking photos in different costumes. It’s fun for the whole family. All of this is FREE.
This museum is located just west of Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We love how hands-on and interactive this museum is for children. Our boys have fun learning the history of the pioneers here because they can play and explore as we work our way through the museum. This is a great FREE place to spend an afternoon.
Walk on a Pioneer Trail
There are a few hikes that have a focus on the pioneers. You can walk in the same place as the pioneers on the Mormon Pioneer Trail near East Canyon State Park between Salt Lake and Park City. It was neat to tell pioneer stories as we walked this beautiful little trail. We also like to walk the easy Temple Quarry trail at the base of Little Cottonwood and read the signs about how they mined the granite for the temple at this location. The Pioneer Register Trail in Capitol Reef is a neat historic trail where you can see pioneer names and dates etched into the canyon walls. You can also climb to the top of Ensign Peak which commemorates Brigham Young and the pioneers overlooking the valley.
This little park located in South Jordan shares the history of the Holt Family, and is a fun spot for a picnic, and some pictures.
This state park is located in Cedar City and has a small museum, as well as some fun pioneer activities outside. You can wash clothes like the pioneers and try to pack everything you need in the wagon. Make sure to ask about the Junior Ranger program.
The Territorial Statehouse is the first capitol building of Utah. It was built in Fillmore, but everyone decided they didn’t like driving down there in wagons for a meeting, so the capitol was moved to SLC. You can still walk through the original building.
Camp Floyd is a state park located in Fairfield and teaches about the time when Johnston’s army lived out here, and how the pioneers dealt with the army. There are some interesting things to learn here about the army back then, and the pioneers.
We love stopping in Cove Fort just before the 1-70 meets the 1-15 near Fillmore. This amazing fort is a great place to explore and the tours teach so much about life during the pioneer times. FREE.
Fort Bluff is a bit of a drive from the Wasatch Front, but it is a great pioneer spot. There are lots of hands-on activities for kids, and our boys really enjoyed playing here. This FREE adventure is worth the drive when you head to Southeastern Utah.
Fort Deseret is one of the few forts left standing that the pioneers built. By standing, we mean that most of the walls are still there. It is located outside of Delta, and is a neat place to look at the forts that the pioneers built when they first settled. FREE.
Of course you can go to the Days of 47 Rodeo and other activities. This is the big celebration for Pioneer Day in Salt Lake City. There is a lot to do. You can check the schedule of events here.
Take a tour of the Beehive House to learn about Brigham Young and his time as governor of the state of Utah. This house is beautiful and filled with many pioneer artifacts. The home is located on Temple Square in Salt Lake. FREE.
Brigham Young had a winter house in St. George. You can take a FREE tour of the house and grounds.
We learned some very interesting stories about Jacob Hamblin when we visited his house near St. George. He did many great things for building relationships between the pioneers and the Native Americans. His house is another fun FREE tour to help you learn about the pioneer times.
Hurricane has a little museum and heritage park that you can visit if you are in Southern Utah. This museum is small, but it has the oldest piece of wedding cake, which was fascinating to our children.
Some of my ancestors helped to settle Layton, so we stopped in this museum to learn about the history of the area. FREE.