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Events are those great, fleeting opportunities for adventures in learning.
Events are those great, fleeting opportunities for adventures in learning.
Though it's hard to review something that hasn't happened, and once it has, the opportunity has passed,
the Goschoolers team will try to give you a heads up on great events and
we base our reviews (when applicable) on the past experiences of attendees.
If you wish to review an annual event you've attended,
click HERE and we'll publish your thoughts when it rolls around in years to come!
ONCE A YEAR:
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR:
Location: Utah State Capitol, SLC
Dates: 4th Monday of January and going 45 days
Review: The State Capitol during the legislative session is an exciting place to be! The Goschooler trip was a lot of fun, and I had a few take-aways from it all. First, I dressed for comfort, but felt under-dressed. Almost everyone, including school kids on field trips, were in "Sunday best." I didn't get any judgement vibe for my jeans, but if you want to blend, go fancy. Second, parking IS a challenge! We lucked out by spotting someone walking to his car and following him, but if you have a time deadline, leave plenty of time for finding a spot and hiking in. Third, though they offer tours during senate and house debates (and I had originally planned to go then) I think it was perfect to be able to wander in and out of the galleries (on the 4th floor) as interest waned, and see the rooms later when they were empty so we could ask all our many, many questions at our leisure. Both galleries seemed pretty packed, though there was a decent coming and going, so finding a chair for everyone in a large group all at once may be a challenge. Our tour guide, Emmy Lou, was WONDERFUL. So knowledgeable and patient and related so well to the kids. I was impressed with all of the docents I spoke with. The desk outside the visitors center has self-guided tour pamphlets, AND a picture scavenger hunt to utilize. The kids loved that. Tours start every hour on the hour. The upside of joining a tour is that you have access to a few parts of the building that are otherwise locked when not in use. The tours, however, cover only highlights, which is fine because they are about an hour long and longer would be A LOT. But there is so much to see around the capitol - maps, displays, fantastic murals, artwork, sculptures, etc.. So, if you have the attention spans and plan to eat at the capitol, you could take in some debate, do a tour, eat AND wander and spend the better part of the day there! There is even a lot to see out on the grounds! Fourth and finally, if you go while the Legislature IS in session, contact your representatives to let them know you are coming. Though I know mine (Rep. Curt Webb) on a some-what personal basis, I was surprised and delighted at how accommodating he was to meet with our group. Each Senator and Representative has an intern who can handle such requests, so it is certainly worth asking, though I am sure there are days their schedules are too full for such encounters. But it really did make a great day all the more special! Anyway, everyone there, from our Representative to his staff to our Goschool group made me proud to be a Utahan. Hope your visit leaves you with the same impression!
Location: Capitol Theater, SLC
Date(s): The Little Mermaid, March 30-April 2, 2017
Review: WOW! We’ve seen two of Ballet West’s Fairy Tale Series and they are absolute GEMS! As a rule, these shows are brief and narrated which may be of help to younger audiences. But they are fantastically staged - stellar costumes, choreography, and special effects. And the Ballet West II company and Academy gives an impressive and mature performance that won’t lead you wanting for that magical wow-factor. My general notes for seeing any ballet production with kids are these: 1 - sit as close as you can afford; 2 - sit on an isle in case you need a fast getaway; and 3 - prepare to be a great audience by reviewing etiquette like no talking during a performance, clapping whenever you see something you like, and dressing up to make it more special. There are only a few matinees for each of these shows, so purchase your tickets as soon as possible. (Other notes: leave time for parking downtown, which is free at metered stalls after 6pm and on the weekends. The Capitol Theater has cushions available to sit on for little ones. They are free last I checked, and are available at the coat check, though they do tend to run out so get yours as soon as you arrive. There are NO babes in arms allowed. Finally, if you have a student ID, high school and college students may purchase up to 2 tickets for $15 each the day of the performance. This offer is based on availability and doesn't apply to every show, but if that is you, ASK! What a great way to get to the ballet!)
Location: Ellen Eccles Theater, Logan UT
Dates: March 24, 25
Review: My children are enchanted by each production they see done by Cache Valley Civic Ballet. They are huge ballet fans too, but in my experience, most small children enjoy live theater. Tickets to this show range from $12-25, but often, students k-5 can attend free with an adult ticket purchase, so be sure to ask the box office before purchasing! (These discount tickets can't be booked online but CAN be over the phone, and in person.) Children under 5 are only permitted at the matinee on Saturday.
Event: Multicultural Night
Location: Logan Tabernacle
Date: Friday, April 8, 7pm
Review: This is an Annual World Cultures Night at the Logan Tabernacle. The event includes music and dance from several different countries of the world. My family LOVES free events, LOVES cultures, and loves the undiscovered. This event is all three. THAT said, we didn’t take the kids last year because something about concerts in the tabernacle, we’ve learned from past experience, makes my kids go WILD. So we made it a date night and left disruptive audience members home. Last year, the performance was brief and talent levels were pretty varied. Not all the performers were from the culture they were representing. On the flip side, one performer WAS, but performed a piece that didn’t relate to her home country at all. So this event is not a rich sampling of culture. But it was very fun. So if you enjoy live performance with a little bit of cultural flair, it’s likely to be a hit for your family.
Location: Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, USU, Logan UT
Date: Saturday, April 9, (start time guess - 2pm)
Review: Annual, free, spring scrimmage game of USU's football team. My family attended once years ago. It was great to bring the kids for a taste of college football. They were little, got bored, we left early and didn't feel bad because it was FREE. Cheaper Aggie swag is for sale at this event, so bring money and suit the sports fans up!
Event; Japan Fest
Date: Saturday, April 30
Review: This free event has grown considerably in 20 years! Live Japanese drumming performances are definitely one of the highlights gracing both stages of the event. The kids loved coloring and people watching. Japanimae costumes and characters abound, as well as folks in traditional kimonos and Japanese sandals. Not all performances are culturally authentic, which is a disappointment, but it’s good to have something to see. Otherwise, food and craft vendor booths can fill time and empty wallets. Overall, it’s a fun festival but 2-3 hours is plenty. Parking in the Salt Palace was free in 2015. I simply told the gate attendant I was attending Japan Fest - no other validation was required. (Warning: some costumed attendees were creepy and overly sexualized, despite the venue’s request costumes remain family friendly. It wasn’t so much that it would keep our family from attending, but the warning may help your family to make a different decision.)
Event: BATC Career Days
Location: Main Campus of BATC, Logan UT
Date(s): Wednesday and Thursday, May 4-5
2015 Reviewers: Kathleen S, Melinda G.
Review: Targeted for 7-9th grade students, it is sponsored by the 4-H USU Cooperative, BATC, Cache Valley Electric and all the surrounding school districts.
My son (16) thought it was a really fun event. He's been accepted to USU but is taking some gap time to figure out what he really wants to do with his life. From the perspective of someone attending with the rather serious intent to gather information to help him decide on a career path, he was disappointed. He felt serious inquiries distracted from the fun and entertainment goals of the event. He said he really enjoyed it though, and it's great as a general educational activity and is perfectly suited to kids who aren't thinking too seriously about their future yet. It seemed better suited to giving an idea of what's out there than helping one decide what they actually want. ~Kathleen S
This was not at all what I had thought it to be! Was it worth it? Yes. The basic idea behind the career days, at least in my perspective, is to show the kids in a fun way what a career would look like. When we arrived we were places with a large group of students. Then you have 45 minutes to walk around and look at different career options, get some hands on experience doing different skills. After the 45 minute time is over, your group moved to a new area. There were 4 areas this year, and they were somewhat related by career paths, when applicable. My feedback: 1) It seemed many of the booths didn't go out of their way explaining the actual job or training needed for their booth. It was up to the students to ask questions, and get info. While I am not against a student led or directed learning, in that atmosphere, it seemed a little overwhelming. Also many students really were only there to do the fun things and have a day off, or out! 2) I would recommend this for the younger ages, or those who are still looking into career fields. Those still uncertain of their path or options. My older daughters (16, 14) already (kind of) know their paths, therefore a lot of it was unnecessary, but a great experience! I didn't take my 13 year old, thinking it would be "boring" to him. However next time we attend I'd definitely take him.
Even though only one booth really help inspire my daughters in their chosen field, they did have a great learning experience. They were able to do and see things that they would probably never do had they not gone. Even though we were with a large group of public school kids, it really wasn't much of a problem. The areas are large and set up with plenty of room for the kids to explore. We were able to also discuss options and find out about programs available at the BATC.
Would I go again? Yes. However I'd use the things I've learned to bring my children who would benefit most from it. Also as a side note, even though it was mentioned when we signed up, take into consideration the weather! We were rained on for about half of our outside rotations! We were not prepared for this, however they did walk around and try to get those wanting shelter into it. We found a nice tree! Also good walking shoes are strongly recommended. My daughter and one other girl came in sandals. They really regretted that later! Not just because of the water, but also the amount of walking! So when in doubt just grab your rain gear, and wear good walking shoes!
~ Melinda G
Event: Cache Rock and Gem Show
Location: BATC, 1000 West and 1400 North, Logan Utah
Dates: May 5&6, 10am-8pm; May 7, 9am-6pm
Review: We found ourselves at the Cache and Gem show a few years back because it was something free we could take the kids to. We completely loved it! We went in the last few hours of Saturday as things were wrapping us. We had the place to ourselves, but more delightfully, we had the attention of the rock and gem enthusiasts to ourselves as well. Some were nervous about little people touching, but most were excited to pass on their passions to the next generation. The show even included a for-kids touching station where they could play with various rocks, learn about their properties, and even take some home. If I remember correctly, there were little purchases my kids were anxious to spend their own money on, so have them bring a few dollars. And some of the jewelry was truly stunning, so if you like hand-crafted pieces with a story, bring your own money too!
Location: Mariott-Slaterville, UT (near Ogden)
Date: Friday, May 6, Education Day
Reviewer: Carrie (5 kids ages 10-1)
Review: INFORMATION ON ADMISSION ON EDUCATION DAY COMING SOON. We went to the Utah Renaissance Festival on the last Friday May (2015). This venue is all outside and closes if it is too rainy or muddy. The kids loved seeing all the weapons on display. There were several booths that were engaging and took time to tell the kids all about that time period. We especially enjoyed the Roman solider booth. It has been too rainy the entire month and we weren't able to see the Knights of Honor tournament and I think that would have been a real highlight! One of the knights kindly showed us his joust and lance, etc and told the kids all about how the tournament works. There are several 'stages' with different things going on throughout the day. They post a schedule. It includes music, magic (which was not as exciting as my group had hoped) storytelling, dancing and acting. I would recommend a jogging stroller. It would be difficult to push a regular stroller on the grass/dirt fields when it has been wet. The booths that weren't selling anything really were great! The men and women really try to be in their roles and they interact with the kids so well. They welcomed all questions my inquisitive boys had.
Event: Farm Fest
Location: Wheeler Historic Farm, Murray UT
Date: May 21, 10am -2pm
Reviewer: Needed! If you've been in years past, please click HERE to review. If you go this year, do the same and we'll republish your thoughts next year!... Though we haven't attended Farm Fest, my family has enjoyed other activities at Wheeler Farm. If you've never been, it's always fun to just go look around - and FREE! Bring money for wagon rides ($2), cow milking ($1) and tours of the buildings ($4) - by Steffanie.
Description: Enjoy a great day at the Farm and celebrate spring and summer! One hundred plus vendors, blacksmith demonstrations, wool spinning, Farmers Market sneak preview, farm demonstrations, live music, and watch the sheep get their “summer haircuts”!
Location: Cache County (2015 specifics TBA)
Date(s): Memorial Day Weekend May 27-30
Review: NEW LOCATION! SEE LINK ABOVE. OTHER CHANGES WILL BE NOTED AS THEY ARE ANNOUNCED. Our family has enjoyed this Rendezvous for many years. First, it just seems like a nice excuse to head up the canyon and get away. (Though I'm not sure it will be held up a canyon this year.) The cost, $2/person, seems reasonable. There aren't the "performance-centric" events we love at the Renaissance Festival, but we have a lot of fun wandering the vendors tents and buying or bringing lunch to enjoy. If you go, try to time your visit to coincide with any of the competitions they hold. Our favorite, from a few years back is the Caber Toss. Nothing beats grown men in kilts hefting tree trunks into the air! Every year I swear I'm purchasing some authentic garb that is for sale and seems reasonably priced. And still, we lack in our ability to blend! But if you have pioneer, trapper/trader, or Native American clothing, WEAR IT! It will make your day all the more fun. The entire event is outside so plan to be in the elements. (It rains every year, and can get pretty nippy in the mountain air.) Also, the trails and walk-ways are pretty rough, so strollers aren't convenient. A wagon or trail stroller is more ideal. The restrooms are port-a-potties, so go before you go if you have kids that don't like that option. Finally, if you bring money to spend and food to eat and can catch the competitions, you might enjoy 3 hours or more there. But outside of shopping, eating, and games, there isn't much to do (unless you go really crazy and join the period-appropriate campers) so 2 hours will be plenty.
Event: Gallery Walk
Location: Downtown, Logan, UT
Date: Friday, April 8, 6-9pm
Review: My family LOVES the Gallery Walk put on the second Friday of every even month at various downtown art galleries in Logan, UT. We love the art. We love the chance to visit with artists. We love walking our beautiful city. We love the yummy FREE treats various destinations share. When we hit a Gallery Walk that has ALL that AND live music, we feel we're in heaven! We like keeping kids who may wish to grab/touch contained in strollers - easier to maneuver for us, and no worries about damaging art either. Our favorite destinations on the walk include Cafe Ibis (for the live music and amazing spread of fresh food), Needhams Jewely Store (for the chocolate fountain and because my 5 year-old loves to try on wedding rings!), Winborg Gallery (for the beautiful art depicting local scenes and familiar scripture stories), the Artist's Gallery (for the amazing variety and friendly faces), and finally when they participate, the Episcopal Church (for the room to spread out while we enjoy the art). We've loved taking the kids, but we like making this a date-night special too - having an early dinner at a downtown restaurant and doing the walk after.
Location: USU, Logan, UT
Dates(s): April 16 (and repeating every month on the third Saturday) from 11am - 2pm
Review: Our family went to the kick-off of Family Saturdays at the Museum and it was a HOME RUN! Bravo! Reviewing a museum can be a little tricky, because sometimes it's only as good as the exhibit, but the artwork currently on display is FANTASTIC! We spent a good 2 plus hours at this FREE event, and might have enjoyed more (were it not for a fidgety two year old), but we can't wait to go back! We were told if you plan to come every six months, you will always see something new, but we loved what we saw so much, I'm betting we won't wait that long. The docents were enthusiastic, and were great with little kids (a combo that seems rare at the University). On Family Art Days, the museum offers hands-on activities for the kids related to the art. My kids loved it. The activities WERE strongly related (and not lame coloring sheets) to the art we saw, which made it all the more fun. My hubby took my crazy little guy through the art building when his attention was spent and they enjoyed hearing music students at practice as well. (Parking wasn't even that bad! If you are less familiar with the University, the closest lot is on the south side of 700 N. and near the Performance Hall. However, you can get to the museum by wandering through the building directly across the street diagonally from the Aggie Ice Cream parking lot too. And what a great excuse for a treat!)