13 Things To Do in Zion With Kids That Don't Include Hiking
When visiting Zion with kids, there are so many great hikes that are easy and doable for all skill levels. You may have a list a mile long of all the hikes you want to do with the kiddos on your trip to Zion. I don't blame you. There are a lot of great hikes. But what do you do when the kiddos get tired of hiking and need a break? Is the vacation over?
Whether you have kiddos who love to hike or kiddos who would rather be playing video games in the hotel room, it's good to have some backup activities to break things up and keep it fun.
I have put together a list of the best things to do in Zion with kids that don't include hiking.....yay! These are all things in Zion or super close to Zion that you can do with your kiddos when they need a break from hiking.
13 THINGS TO DO IN ZION WITH KIDS THAT DON'T INCLUDE HIKING
1-Zion Nature Center
2-Grafton Ghost Town & Cemetary
3-Bike the Pa'Rus trail
4-Sign up for a Ranger-led activity
5-Play on the lawn at the Zion Lodge
6-Drive through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
7-Play on the playground at the Springdale Town Park
8-Visit the Springdale Library
9-Tube the Virgin River
10-Visit the Zion Human History Museum
11-Swim and play in the Virgin River
12-Complete the junior ranger handbook and get a badge
13-Walk through the shops and art gallies in Springdale
1-ZION NATURE CENTER
The Nature Center in Zion is located next to the South Campground and features daily youth specific programs. Everyday at 3 pm and 4:30 starting after Memorial Day and ending Labor day weekend, kids will learn about powerful geological forces and much more. All programs are carefully developed by staff to create a fun and enjoyable learning experience for visiting youth and their families.
2 - GRAFTON GHOST TOWN
If you are a history buff, prepare to nerd out on this quaint little ghost town located 20 minutes outside Zion National Park. Grafton was established in 1859 by Mormon settlers who built their homes here in hopes of flourishing cotton crops & farming.
Allow an hour or two to walk around and experience this old town. Although Grafton has been abandoned since the mid-1900s, it has been well preserved and cared for over many years. You can access some of the homes, but not all of them & there is no access to the school house.
Make sure not to miss the cemetery just up the road. Reading the old headstones in the historic graveyard is a somber reminder of the difficult times residents faced in the adversity of the hot desert & limited resources at that time.
3- BIKE THE PA'RUS TRAIL
The Pa'Rus trail is a relaxing, easy, 1.7-mile (one-way) biking and walking path that takes you along the Virgin River and ends at Canyon Junction (the shuttle stop that takes you into Zion Canyon). The trail starts at the Visitor Center and goes along the South Campground. It takes you over several beautiful bridges that cross the Virgin River.
Our favorite thing about the Pa'Rus trail is all the places to stop and let the kids play along the river.
There are lots of great bike rental shops in Springdale. The most convenient rental shop is Zion Outfitters, located right next to the walking entrance of the park in Springdale.
4 - SIGN UP FOR A RANGER-LED ACTIVITY
Enhance your understanding and enjoyment of Zion National Park by participating in a ranger program. Topics include geology, plants, animals, human history, and more. All ranger-led programs are free and for all ages. Check the park's visitor center and bulletin boards for times, places, and subjects.
Check out one of our favorite ranger-led programs every evening, May through October, at 8:30 pm at the Watchman Campground Amphitheater. Discover what makes Zion such a special place with topics ranging from animals, people, geology, and history.
Ranger-led Patio Talks occur daily at the Zion Canyon Visitor Center Plaza at 10 am and 2:30 pm.
5 - PLAY ON THE LAWN AT THE ZION LODGE
Hop on the shuttle and ride into the canyon without the expectation of hiking. Get off at the Zion Lodge shuttle stop and let the kids run and play on the big lawn under the most spectacular cottonwood tree. Bring a frisbee or soccer ball with you to play with.
The Zion Lodge also has a small cafe called Castle Dome Cafe, where you can get a soft-serve ice cream cone to enjoy while you sit on the lawn.
The Lodge also has a great gift shop that is fun to look through.
6 - DRIVE THROUGH THE ZION-MOUNT CARMEL TUNNEL
The Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel is a spectacular entry into Zion National Park with a 1.1-mile long tunnel along hwy 9.
Construction of the 1.1-mile Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel began in the late 1920s and was completed in 1930. The tunnel has three sets of windows to look out, so roll the windows down, go slow, and enjoy the ride.
7 - PLAY ON THE PLAYGROUND AT THE SPRINGDALE TOWN PARK
The Springdale Town Park is located right in town with 360-degree views of towering Zion cliffs. The park has a great playground with swings, slides, and plenty to entertain the kiddos. There are also lots of shady trees and picnic tables. The park features a gazebo, grill, pickleball court, sand volleyball court, and tennis court.
8 - VISIT THE SPRINGDALE LIBRARY
The Springdale Library is located right next to the Springdale park. This library is the perfect spot to bring the kiddos for some quiet time. The library also features some beautiful Zion artwork.
9 - TUBE THE VIRGIN RIVER
The Virgin River is prime for tubing from May to July, depending on the spring runoff levels. Rent or buy a tube at Zion Outfitters in Springdale and enjoy a leisurely 2-mile float through Springdale.
There are also some great spots along the Pa'Rus trail to splash and play in the water with tubes.
10 - VISIT THE ZION HUMAN HISTORY MUSEUM
The Zion Human History Museum is a great little museum displaying artifacts and archival materials from the permanent collections of Zion National Park. The exhibits showcase the rich human history of Zion and illustrates the effects water has had upon both the peoples and the land. Exhibits include topics such as geology, plants, animals, survival, and community.
We love the shaded viewing deck at the back of the museum for watching sunrise and sunset.
Don't miss the 22 minute film, We The Keepers. It is such a beautful movie and so well done.
11 - COOL OFF IN THE VIRGIN RIVER
There are so many great spots along the Virgin River to play on the shore and swim in the water. All along the South Campground, there are shady and sandy spots to throw out a blanket and chill for the afternoon on a hot day.
12 - BECOME A JUNIOR RANGER
Explore. Learn. Protect. This is the motto of the Junior Ranger program.
Zion offers a Junior Ranger experience for ages four and older. The self-guided activity booklets are available for free at the visitor center, the Zion Human History Museum, and the Nature Center. You can also download the booklet ahead of time.
Children aged four and older can complete pages in the booklet and attend a ranger-led program to earn their Junior Ranger badge for Zion National Park. After completing the booklet, the kids will present their book to a ranger, take an oath to protect the park, and get a lovely keepsake badge.
13 - WALK THE SHOPS IN SPRINGDALE
Springdale is a great walking town filled with art galleries, cute little tourist shops, and rock shops. What kid doesn't love a rock shop? Spend the afternoon walking from shop to shop. To make it a little more fun, hit up one of the many ice cream shops along the way.
Keep this list handy when you are hiking Zion with kids. Use it when the kids get a little tired of hiking or when they just need a change of activity to rest their cute little hiking legs.