By Renee Brincks, VIA Magazine -- Step into nature and let the kids explore at one of these great urban parks around the West. From Phoenix to Seattle, these alluring outdoor spaces offer more than a breath of fresh air, with amazing art and beautiful blooms, shady trails and stargazing.

Liberty Park, Salt Lake City, UT
Not far from the city's lively Ninth and Ninth neighborhood, Liberty Park feels like a leafy exhale. Here, you'll find the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts, an airy building filled with kachinas, crochet work, and pop culture–inspired piñatas made by American Indians, Anglo homesteaders, and global artists who have lived in Utah. In Tracy Aviary in the corner of the park, flamingos sunbathe; at midday, pelicans jockey into position for lunch. You might head to the nearby Park Café, a diner that serves all-American standards. The French toast is justifiably beloved. —R.B.

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