If you’re looking for fun things to do with kids in Salt Lake City, Utah, Clark Planetarium should be first on your list! With over 10,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, families can have hours of fun while learning. There’s so much to do here, so you’ll need to plan out your trip. Between the shows and exhibits, you could spend a full day here and still have fun. For a complete guide on visiting Clark Planetarium, keep reading.
What is Clark Planetarium?
Clark Planetarium is a large museum with interactive exhibits that help people learn about space and science in a fun way. It was formerly known as Hansen Planetarium, and it’s been a cornerstone in Salt Lake City for over 50 years. In fact, Gateway wouldn’t be the same without it. It was one of the original structures in Gateway!
Many people grew up going to this museum, and they continue to bring their children. However, Clark Planetarium Salt Lake City is great about updating its exhibits, so it’s always fresh and new. Though they mostly focus on educating people on space through their activities, shows, and exhibits, they also focus on the science behind space.
How Do I Get to Clark Planetarium?
Clark Planetarium Utah is located right in downtown Salt Lake. It’s at the center of Gateway, about a block from Vivint Smart Home Arena. The convenient location is also close to the freeway and Trax stations, making it convenient to visit. For directions from Vivint Smart Home Arena to Clark Planetarium, click here.
Clark Planetarium Address
Directions to Clark Planetarium
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Clark Planetarium Hours:
Sunday-Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Thursday: 10:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday-Saturday: 10:30 AM – 11:00 PM
How Much Does Clark Planetarium Cost?
Free! To get into Clark Planetarium store and exhibits, there is no cost. You read that right – it’s free to visit. On top of the free exhibits and activities, you should plan to pay for parking and additional shows. Clark Planetarium shows are space and science-based, but they’re made for younger audiences. While people of all ages will enjoy the movies put on, kids will especially enjoy them.
Clark Planetarium Theatre Ticket Prices
- Adults: $7.00 before 5 PM, $9.00 after 5 PM
- Kids under 12: $7.00
- Kids under 2: Free
Parking at Clark Planetarium
Most people that visit Clark Planetarium park in the Gateway parking garages. While there are free spots lining the main road running through Gateway, many of these fill up fast. Parking garage prices are free for the first hour, $2.00 for up to two hours, $3.00 for up to three hours, and over 4 hours $7.00. Sunday parking is free.
If you don’t plan to take your car, take advantage of the downtown TRAX systems. You can take TRAX downtown for a low cost, or if you’re only going a few blocks, it’s free. If you live nearby, taking TRAX is an easy option that drops you off less than a block away from Clark Planetarium’s entrance. This is really nice during the holiday season when Gateway gets crowded.
Where to Eat Near Clark Planetarium
If you’re going to be hungry, don’t plan on eating at Clark Planetarium. However, because Clark Planetarium is located inside the Gateway, there are tons of food options to choose from to keep you full. While there isn’t food inside of Clark Planetarium, just a few steps away there are fast-bites, like Costa Vida and Panda Express. There are also upscale dining options, like California Pizza Kitchen, Tucanos Brazilian Grill, and Fleming’s.
What to Do at Clark Planetarium
When it comes to Clark Planetarium, the real question is what will you have time to do? There are so many fun activities and exhibits that you will definitely want to make this an all-day event! When planning your visit, make sure you know what kind of exhibits you’re planning to do and whether or not you will have to pay for the activities. Here is what to do at Clark Planetarium:
Hansen Dome is one of two theaters at Clark Planetarium. Here, the screen is in an actual dome shape. The Hansen Dome Clark Planetarium shows are under the dome, so the show is all around you! It really immerses you into the show and children love it.
This is a must-have show to experience. The shows typically run about 30 minutes to an hour, so even kids will enjoy them. Every few months, they change out the shows playing, which means you can visit over and over again for a new experience.
Cosmic Light Shows
Looking for a great date night activity once you’re in the city? Inside the Hansen Dome on weekends, Clark Planetarium laser show plays. These shows are geared more toward adults and play later at night, like 10 PM and 12 AM. Some shows they have had in the past are Laser Led Zeppelin, Rock the Dome, Pink Floyd the Wall, and more. They sync up the light show to music, and it’s an adult experience perfect for date night.
If you love space, the Imax is what you’ll need to do. Many people come to visit the Clark Planetarium Imax Theatre because of the stunning visuals and great documentaries that are featured. With a giant screen and 3D experience, this Imax Theatre will showcase space in a whole new light. You’ll feel like an astronaut yourself!
There are plenty of interactive exhibits at Clark Planetarium Salt Lake City. From Earth exhibits to space exhibits, you’ll spend hours doing the different activities! One of the best activities includes viewing a real moon rock, which is one of the largest on public display. Then, you can explore what Jupiter’s moon Io looks like. Bathed in red light with large rock formations, your child can write a code to make a rover that explores Io.
There is also an exhibit that explores space weather, which is really fun. The controls are all short so that kids can reach them, and you can sit back and watch as they explore. Make sure to check out the giant pendulum as well! Every few minutes, it knocks over a piece of metal, and it teaches your child about the Earth’s rotation.
A great thing about Clark Planetarium is that the activities are fun, but they also teach your children about science. It’s a STEAM-focused museum, so while they have fun, they’re also learning. Between the low-cost, tons to do, and learning opportunity, it’s no surprise why people come here.
The Clark Planetarium also sees a lot of school groups. They are usually there during the weekdays, so if you don’t want it to be too crowded, plan to go in the afternoons or evenings.
Science Gift Shop
Once you’ve explored all there is to explore in the interactive exhibits, check out the science gift shop! Here you’ll find toys and activities for kids of all ages that enjoy science and want to learn. It’s one of the largest science gift shops you’ll find.
Clark Planetarium Tips
- Park on the street or inside Gateway parking garages
- Stop for a quick bite before Clark Planetarium
- Check out one of the shows by purchasing tickets beforehand
- Give yourself enough time to explore the interactive exhibits
- Go to the gift shop afterward to find cool science toys
Clark Planetarium is a fun activity for people of all ages to enjoy. If you’re looking at things to do in Salt Lake City, UT before you move there, this is one you definitely need to check out. And if you’re in the process of moving or planning on moving to Salt Lake City, give Wasatch Moving Company a call where we’ll help you pack, deliver your furniture, and make your move easy!