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.
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 a while. 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.
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 petroglyphs, 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. Its 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 a while. (Oil from our skin makes the rock inscriptions fade, so no touching!)
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 of 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 is only a dollar less than a swim pass–definitely worth a couple of slide rides.
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 inhabitants 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.
Bonus: Visit Utah’s Other “Mighty 5”
We visited Arches National Park as part of a larger road trip, which I think many people do. Utah calls its National Parks the “Mighty 5.” We wandered through the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. Peaked into the Narrows in Zion (Zion is also amazing in winter.) Sat in the shade at Capital Reef, and got lost in the canyons (figuratively) in Canyonlands. If you go in winter, make sure to check out these tips for visiting Zion and Bryce Canyon in winter. If you are in Utah in winter, don’t miss the ice castles in Midway.
More Utah Posts
- Best Hikes Around Kanab, Utah
- Things to Do With Kids in Moab and Arches National Park
- Five Hikes In and Near Arches National Park
- Things to do Near Zion National Park
19 thoughts on “Five Things To Do With Kids in Moab and Arches National Park”
Pingback: Five hikes for kids and families in (or near) Arches National Park - TravelingMel
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.
Swimming is definitely a fun activity! Worth learning just to go down the water slides 😉
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.
We are big into museums, too. They can be such a good introduction to a new place.
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.
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 🙂
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!
It’s both aesthetically beautiful and historically significant. Such a great spot to visit.
Potash road was in Disney’s The Lone Ranger. It was cool! I really like when movies use real locations rather build their own replica or use a green background. I would love to visit this place someday.
That’s pretty interesting. It’s fun to see movie “sets” in real life.
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!
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!
I would love to try swiming there! The picture looks fun :D! I’m going to have my first ever hike this weekend as well.
Have fun on your hike!
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.
Glad it’s helpful. I agree, the Junior Ranger programs are so great for getting kids even more interested in the parks.
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!
Moab is all about outdoor physical activities!