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Jordan Nellis points out Jupiter to his mother, Brandee, at Clark Planetarium at The Gateway in 2003.
Museum: n. A building, place or institution devoted to the acquisition, conservation, study, exhibition and educational interpretation of objects having scientific, historical or artistic value.

We can thank the Greeks for the original idea of museums. Way back then, these were centers connected to the Muses, created as a place to cultivate learning and the arts. The idea soon spread.

One of the most famous museums of the ancient world was established by Ptolemy I in Alexandria some 200 years B.C. The first public museum was created in England in 1683 — the Ashmolean in Oxford. By then, the idea of collecting objects to study had become as important as the lectures and discussions of earlier museums.

It's a tradition that continues to this day.

Utah has more than 200 museums that, as the Utah Office of Museum Services points out, "offer you a rich and diverse experience in a wide range of subjects — from art, culture and history to science, botanical gardens and zoos."

Wherever you live in Utah, chances are very good that you are close to a museum, and chances are also very good that it will offer special summer programs to tickle your fancy, stimulate your imagination, stir your curiosity and evoke your creativity. Or you can plan your own fun, exciting, interesting, thought-provoking excursions to any of them.

Benson Grist Mill

What: Renovated mill, pioneer village, agricultural equipment and more

Where: 325 State Road, Stansbury Park

When: Monday-Saturday

Ages: All ages

How much: Free.

Information/registration: 435-882-7678;

Clark Planetarium

What: Astronomy stuff, star shows, interactive exhibits and more

Where: 100 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City

When: Daily

Ages: All ages

How much: Many activities are free; star shows are $6 for kids under 12, $8 for adults.

Information/registration: 801-456-7827;

Discovery Gateway

What: Rotating and permanent exhibits, daily workshops, special performances

Where: 444 W. 100 South, Salt Lake City

When: Daily

Ages: All ages

How much: Utah residents $8.50; member discounts

Information/registration: 801-456-5437

Hill Aerospace Museum

What: Learning Center activities including simulators, rockets and hands-on fun

Where: 7961 Wardleigh Road, Hill Air Force Base

When: Daily, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ages: All ages

How much: Free

Information/registration: 801-777-0312;

Living Planet Aquarium

What: Summer day camps; underwater life shows

Where: 725 E. 10600 South, Sandy

When: Day camps, various Tuesdays and Thursdays in June and July, 9 a.m.-noon; underwater life shows, Saturdays, 2 p.m.

Ages: Day camps for Tadpoles (ages 6-8), Sharks (9-10) and Whales (11-12)

How much: Day camps, $50 (discount for members); underwater life shows free with admission; $6 for children; $8 for adults

Information: 801-495-4445;

Monte L. Bean Museum

What: Saturday Safaris, Live Animal Shows, Nature Experienceships, Wildlife Adventures, Discovery Reading

Where: 645 E. 1430 North, Brigham Young University, Provo

When: June, July, August

Ages: Wildlife Adventures, 6-12; Nature Experienceships, 12-plus; other activities for all ages

How much: Saturday Safaris, $12; Nature Experienceships, $10; Wildlife Adventures $35; other activities free

Information/registration: 801-422-5051;

Museum of Ancient Life

What: Day camps on dinosaurs, bugs, space, robotics, etc.

Where: Thanksgiving Point, Lehi

When: Throughout the summer

Ages: 4-11

How much: $10-12

Information/registration: 801-768-2300; www.thanksgiving

Museum of Church History and Art

What: Permanent and rotating exhibits featuring LDS history and culture, interactive exhibits for children; group tours and activities

Where: 45 N. West Temple

When: Daily

Ages: All ages

How much: Free

Information/registration: 801-240-3310;

Museum of Peoples and Cultures

What: Mornings at the Museum; three-class sessions on pottery, archaeology and Kachina dolls

Where: 700 N. 100 East, Provo

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays

Ages: 3-12

How much: Free

Information/registration: 801-422-0020;

Pioneer Memorial Museum

What: Pioneer exhibits, activities and games

Where: 300 N. Main, Salt Lake City

When: Museum is open Monday-Saturday; special activities for kids after the parade on July 24th

Ages: All ages

How much: Free

Information/registration: 801-532-6479;

Treehouse Museum

What: Toddler Time, Theater Thursday, Alphabet Soup, ParticiPlayhouse, RAMPed Up Art and other activities

Where: 347 22nd St., Ogden

When: Daily and weekly

Ages: All ages

How much: Ages 1-15, $5 museum admission

Information/registration: 801-394-9663;

Utah Museum of Natural History

What: Adventures in the Natural World day camps

Where: 1390 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah

When: half-day, full-day and two-day camps, June 9-Aug. 15

Ages: Kindergarten through fifth grade; plus science classes for teens

How much: $96-$220; discounts for members

Information/registration: 801-581-5567;