Five things to do with kids in Moab and Arches National Park

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Five things to do in Arches National Park with kids and families

We didn’t know what to expect to find in Moab other than arches, slick rock, and mountain biking. All that is there, of course, but there is a whole lot more to do, too.

Take a Hike

Check out my five favorite hikes for kids and families.

Get Rangery

Whether you want to become a Junior Ranger or just learn from a Park Service Ranger, Arches National Park has you covered.

Check in at the visitor center to pick up a Junior Ranger book (or download it before you go). Kids write and draw about what they’’ve learned while visiting the park. When the booklet is completed, they get a junior ranger badge (or you can buy a nicer patch in the gift shop).

The Park Service offers a guided ranger walk most days fall through spring, and an evening ranger talk at the Devils Garden Campground Amphitheater. While most ranger walks are pretty basic, in my opinion, they are a nice introduction to a new place. I find I always leave with some new information and it’s nice to have someone else answer my kids’ questions once in awhile. Attending a ranger walk is one of the optional activities included in the Junior Ranger program. Find times and locations at the visitor center, or check the Visitor Guide before you go.

Taking the Junior Ranger oath.

Taking the Junior Ranger oath.

Read the Writing on the Wall

There are several places to see “Indian Writing” in the area, but one of the most accessible is along the Potash Road, Scenic Byway 279. The Fremont, ancestral Puebloan, and Ute people left images all over the area between 600 A.D. and 1300 A.D. The Fremont art includes older portrayals of animals, lines of hand-holding men, and triangular figures with horns, spears, and shields. The more modern petrolgyphs, including horse riders and hunting motifs appear to be the work of the Ute Indians in more recent times.

Turn onto Potash Road from Hwy 191 between the entrance to Arches and crossing of the Colorado River. It’s about five miles to the two signed pullouts. The pull outs are on the river side of the road and the petroglyphs are on the wall across the road. Bring a chair to sit and gaze at the petroglyphs for awhile. (Oil from our skin makes the rock inscriptions fade, so no touching!)

"Indian Writing" petroglyphs in Arches National Park

“Indian Writing” petroglyphs.

Swim

The Moab Aquatic Center is an amazing facility for any town. The fact that it is in 5,000-person Moab, makes it all that more impressive. There are a couple outdoor pools, but they were not yet open when we visited — too cold still.

We needed showers and an escape from the rain, so we donned our suits and jumped into the indoor pool. There is a large section with a fountain for little kids, a big pool for everyone else, a diving board, high dive, and water slide. The boys and I climbed the steps and slid down the tunnel slide over and over.

If you just need a shower, you can pay for that, but it’s only a dollar less than a swim pass–—definitely worth a couple slide rides.

The swimming pool and slide at the Moab Aquatic Center in Moab, Utah.

Bobbing in the pool at the Moab Aquatic Center.

Museum of Moab

We didn’’t have time to get to the Museum of Moab, but I wanted to check it out. From dinosaurs, to rocks, to mining, to early inhabitant and pioneer history, you can learn about it at the museum.

Find it at 118 East Center Street, just down from the Information Center.


We went to Moab and Arches National Park as part of a bigger tour that also included several state parks in Utah, Bryce National Park, and the Grand Canyon. I highly recommend adding Arches to your southern Utah road trip itinerary. We also wanted to visit Zion National Park with kids, but had to save that for next time.

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19 thoughts on “Five things to do with kids in Moab and Arches National Park

  1. Pingback: Five hikes for kids and families in (or near) Arches National Park - TravelingMel

  2. Abhinav Singh

    Being an adventure junkie, the trek looks most appealing to me. I wish I could swim though. I need to learn swimming. I end up sulking at the swimming pools of beautiful places like this.

  3. FS Page

    I love visiting museums everywhere I go. They tell a lot about the history and culture of the place. Junior ranger badge sounds such a fun activity for kids. Moab was not known to me till date. Thanks for introducing me to a lovely place.

  4. Only By Land

    The kids must have loved searching the walls for Indian writing, I can imagine how excited they’d be when they found some! I can imagine how excited they’d be to become a ranger too! The swimming baths look fun too, this is a perfect itinerary for kids, and for adults to be with them of course. I’d love to take my daughter on exactly this itinerary.

    1. Mel Post author

      Thanks! The kids did have a great time and this trip was really catered to them. Although we did throw in a couple things for me 🙂

  5. Lois Alter Mark

    I agree that a ranger tour is always a good introduction to a park, and I love the idea of the junior rangers. I think it really gets kids involved. The Indian writing on the wall sounds so interesting and a great way to get a sense of a culture’s history. I’d love to plan a trip here!

  6. Tania Mukherjee

    Reading the old inscriptions on the Potash Road sounds so interesting. I wish you had time to visit the museum, we would have known more about the place.I laughed when you said its good to have others answer your child’s questions sometimes! 😀 Kids are always filled with questions. Sigh!

    1. Mel Post author

      I love that they are so curious…it’s just nice to have someone else help me out! 🙂 Yes, Potash Road was very cool and we will get to the museum next time!

  7. Vrithi Pushkar

    My daughter and nephew just love the junior ranger programs and they learn so much for it. Thanks for sharing such an informative post. We plan on visiting Arches National Park soon. This is going to be helpful.

    1. Mel Post author

      Glad it’s helpful. I agree, the Junior Ranger programs are so great for getting kids even more interested in the parks.

  8. Ticking the Bucketlist

    I love places where I can add some physical activity…the hike sounds so much for fun. Will make sure I pack well for the same…shoes , sun hat et al. The pool seems like a good way to cool off after the hike!

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