Thursday, April 25, 2019

9 Spring Family Activities in Utah County

Spring in Utah County is no doubt accompanied by loads of fun activities. However, if you are looking forward to some family bonding time, you might be interested in exploring family-friendly activities. Below is a list of 9 affordable family activities you can do while in Utah County.

1. Learn about Utah’s History

Utah County is home to the Native American tribes who besides their fascinating culture also happen to be the state’s original habitats. Therefore, it is no secret that Utah’s cultural history is one of a kind and visitors flock there all year round to explore it.

From well-preserved rock art messages in the ancient dwelling sites and sacred places to the free traditional exhibits at the local museums, you are bound to be captivated by Utah County's rich culture. If you are looking for a memorable experience with your loved ones in Utah this spring, make sure you check out these local museums:

  • Provo DUP
  • Lehi Hutchings Museum
  • Lehi Family Search Center
  • Camp Floyd State Park

2. Explore Thanksgiving Point

Thanksgiving Point is a nonprofit garden, farm, and museum complex situated in Lehi, Utah. Initially founded by Alan and his wife Karen in 1995 with the aim of giving back to the community, this spot is now a perfect place to make memories with your family and loved ones.

It has over four different family venues to explore at a relatively cheap price. You can, however, choose to pay $30 (per person) for the Explorer Pass that allows you to visit all their spots in one day.

Of course, there are numerous venues to explore, but if you are looking for an epic spring experience for your family, we would suggest these venues:
  • Farm Country
  • Butterfly Biosphere
  • Museum of Ancient Life
  • Ashton Gardens
  • Museum of Natural Curiosity

3. Hike Your Way through Utah

With springs bursting back to life and terrain being coated with green growth, Utah County presents no better time to explore and document its beauty.

Another reason why you will enjoy hiking Utah in spring is that the weather is just perfect: it is neither too cold nor too hot. You can, therefore, tag your family along without worrying much about dehydration.

Because of its terrain, Utah is home to tons of hikes. However, if you are looking for family-friendly treks, we would suggest these:
  • Dripping Rock
  • American Fork Canyon Nature Trail
  • Battle Creek Falls
  • Buffalo Peak
  • Grotto Falls

4. Explore Utah County Parks

Utah County is home to numerous awesome parks. So if you are looking forward to having some memorable spring moments with your family, we advise you to explore some of its great parks. Most of them have playgrounds where you can have an interactive experience with your little ones.

At the end of the day, you will have not only bonded with them but will have also given them a lifetime memory. We recommend the following playgrounds:
  • Cory Wride Memorial Park (Eagle Mountain)
  • All Together Playground (Orem)
  • Neptune Park (Saratoga Springs)
  • Wines Park (Lehi)
  • North Park (Spanish Fork)
  • Discovery Park (Pleasant Grove)

5. Spend a Family Day at BYU Outdoors Unlimited

Brigham Young University avails numerous recreational opportunities to visitors, students, and the entire Utah Valley community. From mountain biking, rafting, skiing, backpacking, or a day off with your family at the park on Saturdays, you can be guaranteed of an epic experience.

Outdoors Unlimited is open throughout spring from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday but remains closed on Sundays. Below are some of the spots you can choose to explore once at BYU:
  • BYU Botany Pond
  • BYU Bean Museum
  • BYU Museum of Paleontology
  • BYU Museum of Art
  • BYU Museum of People and Cultures
  • BYU Planetarium

6. Go For a Picnic

Generally speaking, Utah County has lots of beautiful places perfect for a family outing. Come spring, the beauty is magnified making the experience uniquely different altogether. Although the complexity and nature may vary, these spots below will guarantee you a great time with your family:
  • Salem Pond (Salem)
  • Highland Glen Park (Highland)
  • Nielson’s Grove Park (Orem)
  • Red Ledges Picnic Area (Spanish Fork)
  • Bicentennial Park (Provo)

7. Take a Drive through Provo Canyon

A drive through Provo Canyon exceeds your simple nature drive. With its breathtaking natural scenes and wildlife, you are assured of a satisfactory experience with your family members.

The deer, elk, and moose sightings are experiences you don’t want to miss. Along your way, you can choose to stop and hike Bridal Veil Falls before heading to the Vivian Park and driving through the South Fork Road to the end as you head home. The experience is simply awesome.

8. Visit the Provo Beach Resort

The Provo Beach Resort has tons of family activities such as bowling, indoor wave machine, miniature croquet, ropes course, arcade games, a carousel, and a toddler town. The wide range of activities ensures that there is fun for everyone, especially for kids. So make sure you tag your little ones along.

The recreational activities are relatively cheap. However, we would recommend you purchase the day pass which gives you day-long access to all activities in the Resort. Explore their official website to acquaint yourself with the offers and activities they have lined up this spring.

9. Indoor Swimming

It sometimes stays cold in Utah, even through April, making outdoor swimming less pleasant. But if you are in for some swimming activities and can hardly wait for summer, we would advise you to try some indoor swimming activities. Check out these spots:
  • Provo Rec Center
  • Lehi Legacy Center

The best thing about family spring activities in Utah County is that they are relatively cheap and less crowded. You can, therefore, be guaranteed of a wholesome family bonding experience within the scope of your budget. Even so, make sure that you plan your activities early in advance so as to make the most of it. Make sure you explore the respective official websites to book your tickets and acquaint yourself with the lined-up activities.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Brief History of Daughters of Utah Pioneers

A Brief History of Daughters of Utah Pioneers blog cover image

Utah has become a renowned tourist destination not only because of its scenic terrain but also because of its rich cultural history. It is no surprise that the state is dotted with numerous museums spread throughout the state – all in an attempt to preserve this important heritage.

One such example is the International Society Daughters of Utah Pioneers (ISDUP, DUP), a women’s organization that has been dedicated to preserving the history of Utah’s original settlers. Here’s everything you need to know about Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

large eagle statue over vintage sewing machines

Pioneer Memorial Museum

It may be the world’s largest collection of artifacts in this particular subject, featuring displays and collections of mementos dating back to the earliest settlers of the Great Salt Lake Valley. To be more precise, we are talking of historical culture dating as early as 10th May 1969 during the time of joining of the railroads at a location known as Promontory in Utah.

Pioneer Memorial Museum takes you back in history and gives you an insight of the pioneers who migrated over 200 miles seeking religious freedom. The same pioneers would later give rise to Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas.

The artifacts on display at the Pioneer Memorial are quite fascinating. The interesting part about these artifacts is that they are made of resources now scarce in Utah. You will be surprised as to how the pioneers had a skill in making remarkably ornate decorative arts.

To get an overview of the pioneer memorabilia collection at the museum, it is made up of paintings by noted Utah artists, pioneer portraits, quills, guns, clothing, books, furniture, a Conestoga wagon, samplers, medical and dental tools, a 1902 fire engine, a sewing machine, and much more fascinating artifacts.

You will be captivated by the sense of style and taste native Utah residents had. For instance, the display reveals of carefully tended luxury items ranging from small delicate items such as crystal salters to big bulky items such as the cumbersome pianos. Another interesting point to note is the fact that they owned some of the finest goods available at the time which were later brought in by railroad or by road using ox team.

front entrance to the Carnegie Library Building

A Brief History of Daughters of Utah Pioneers

Its history dates way back to 11th April 1901 when it was first organized in Salt Lake City. As the story goes, Annie Taylor Hyde, daughter to the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ John Taylor, invited a group comprising of 50 women to her home.

The aim of the meeting was simple: ‘To perpetuate the names and achievements of the men, women and children who were pioneers in founding this commonwealth.’

However, it was not until 1925 when it was legally incorporated. Over the years, the organization has slowly transitioned to become one of the most reliable sources of historical data related to natives of the state.

Perhaps, this has to do with the good leadership the organization has enjoyed since its early years. Among its past leaders is Kate B. Carter who served as Daughter of Utah Pioneers president from April 1941 until her passing in September 1976. Reportedly, she was the longest-serving of all its past presidents. Interestingly, she had also served as president of the Days of 47 parade from its launch in 1947 until her passing.

Currently, the ISDUP headquarters are based in the Pioneer Memorial Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. The organization is administered by a board and has its membership organized into ‘companies’. The presiding officers of these companies oversee the activities of ‘camps’ which are made of ten or more members within a specific geographical area.

signage for the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum

ISDUP Membership

Since the International Society Daughters of Utah was organized for historical and educational purposes, a membership plan is one of the ways for the management to coordinate its operations. It is, however, important to note that the organization is by no chance political or sectarian.

For women to be eligible for ISDUP membership, they should:

  • Be over the age of seventeen
  • Be of good character
  • Be a direct-line descendant or of legal adoption by a direct-line descendant with a pioneer ancestor

The organization defines a pioneer ancestor as someone who traveled through or to a geographical area covered by the State of Utah territory between the periods ranging from July 1847 to 10th May 1869. Some of these persons included were;

  • Wagon Company members (both Mormon and non-Mormon)
  • Mormon Battalion members who traveled within the specified geographical coverage before the completion of the railroad, 10th May 1869.
  • Johnston’s Army members who traveled to or through the geographical area under Utah territory between years 1857-1858 (Utah War).
  • Passengers from Ship Brooklyn who settled in San Bernardino, San Diego, or traveled through or to the geographical area covered by Utah territory.
  • Trappers and hunters
  • Freighters
  • Railroad workers within the Geographical area covered by Utah territory before 10th May 1869

Member Expectations

If you fit the criteria and become a member of the organization, you will also have your role to play. For instance, you are expected to play your part in ensuring that all your ancestors are well represented in their historic collection. Being a member also means that you can be elected or appointed to camp offices.

Women who are willing to join the organization but do not have ancestors who came into the state before 10th May 1869 are still welcomed aboard. However, they become identified as an ‘Associate of Daughters of Utah Pioneers’ and can participate in all the organization’s activities. The main notable difference of this group is that they cannot hold an elected office.

Aside from that, they seem to share almost equal privileges with main members.

Pioneer Memorial Museum Accessibility and Admission

Located on 300 N in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Museum acts as the base headquarters of ISDUP and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is absolutely free of charge!

It is, however, important to keep in mind that even while access is free, visitors are restricted from entering with cameras, video cameras, or personal scanners.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Everything You Need To Know About Flaming Gorge

everything you need to know about Flaming Gorge blog cover image

With over 207,363 acres of scenic landscape, deep glass waters flowing through the rugged landscapes, and one huge spectacular reservoir, it is no surprise why Flaming Gorge is considered a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an adventurous escapade while in Utah.

It is a destination encompassing thrilling limitless outdoor activities, thus a perfect spot to spend time with your loved ones all year round. The over 200,000 acres of land and water combined make Flaming Gorge a perfect scenic playground for camping, backpacking, boating, waterskiing, windsurfing, and not forgetting some of the best fishing in the west.

The ‘Flaming Gorge’ name was actually inspired by John Wesley Powell’s Green River expedition in 1869. As the story goes, Powell and nine other men boarded small wooden boats at the Green River with the aim of exploring the Green and Colorado Rivers. They slowly worked their way downstream and successfully completed their journey in late summer. Powell named it Flaming Gorge after he and his men saw the captivating view of the sun reflecting off the red rocks.

To date, visitors are still captivated by the revitalizing aura of rays of sunlight being radiantly reflected off in red and orange hues layering within the canyon walls, making them look as if they are on fire.

a lone boat in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Flaming Gorge Reservoir

Measuring around 91 miles, Flaming Gorge Reservoir has been confirmed to be the area’s most popular destination in Flaming Gorge. The waters of the reservoir are cool, even in extremely hot summers. It is, therefore, a loved destination for visitors seeking limitless adventure in boating, skiing, surfing, and house boating among other water sports.

Together with the Green River, the reservoir has made Flaming Gorge quite popular because of its record-breaking fishing. It is most famous for the good number of 30+ pound fish caught annually. The most recent record-setting trout went 51 lb 8 oz, but it is likely that there are yet bigger ones swimming out there waiting to be caught … who knows, you might snag the next record-breaker.

Don’t get me wrong: fishing in Flaming Gorge is by no chance monotonous as there’s a variety of other fish types, such as rainbows, kokanee salmon, burbot, smallmouth bass – just to mention a few.

Furthermore, the reservoir rises 502 feet above bedrock, has a surface area of 42,020 acres, and has a total capacity exceeding 3,788,900 acre-feet – making it the largest reservoir in Wyoming. You can, therefore, be guaranteed of plenty of much space, regardless of the traffic.

the calm waters of the Green River against the red rocks of Flaming Gorge

Green River

Since it feeds the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, it is not hard to explain why it is an equal attraction point when it comes to fishing activities. The Green River is considered among the best trail water fisheries in North America and is home to some of the best Rainbows, Browns, Cutthroats, and Cut-Bow Hybrid trout.

According to the Division of Wildlife Resources, the Green River has fish count reaching up to 22,000 per mile - between the dam and Red Creek rapids.

If it’s your first time in Flaming Gorge and you are seeking to explore the Green River, the Flaming Gorge Resort is known to offer guide services – with an option of supplemented transportation to and from the Green River and a hearty meal.

The guides will come to your aid if you don’t have your own boat but you can still easily rent one from the various rental shops available in the area.

You can choose between fly-fishing, spin-fishing, or a combo of both – it all depends on what you aim to achieve at the end of it all. Fly-fishing is no doubt fun in a river like this, but if you are looking forward to catching some of the biggest fish, I would recommend spin fishing as it makes it easier to get to the bottom waters where they are available in plenty.

If fishing is not your ‘thing’, you can still to explore other fun activities available on the Green River such as kayaking, canoeing, or even paddle-boarding. You can choose to row between the 1000-foot-deep canyons, or through the wide areas and get to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Either way, the experience will be one memorable one.

a bridge crossing a narrow part of the Reservoir

Other Activities

Activities in Flaming Gorge are by no chance limited to the reservoir and Green River, there are plenty of fun activities you can enjoy when not in the water. Regardless of the season, there’s always plenty of fun waiting for you to explore.

In the summer or spring, you can choose to explore the mountains and the surrounding scenery by hiking, mountain biking, or even scenic drives. One of the most popular trails is the Bear Creek Trail which starts right from Flaming Gorge Resort and goes for about 2 miles giving you a magnificent overlook of the reservoir. However, you are not limited to this trail and you have an option to pick amongst 10 other trails.

Come winter, there’s a different type of fun but still great altogether. Fishing is all year round, but you can still choose among other numerous winter activities such as snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and the Burbot Bash.

In spring, the activities are quite similar to those in summer – all but with a difference of traffic. If you hate congestion, this would be a great time for you since spring is considered off-season.

In spring, adventures are still unlimited but typically at a lower cost. This is usually because you will not have as much difficulty finding accommodations since the demand is quite low during this season.

Biking the trails in summer is limited, so spring is a great time to take advantage and enjoy the amazing scenery and wildlife without many limitations.

By heading out to Flaming Gorge, you can be guaranteed of unlimited fun with your loved ones. However, if it is your first time there, I would advise hiring a guide so as to get the best of experience. Also, in order to access Flaming Gorge, you will be required to have a ‘pass’ – which can be easily obtained from the visitor centers.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

7 Exciting Things To Do at Thanksgiving Point

For any visitor or local looking to have some memorable time in Utah, Thanksgiving Point is a venue you will not want to miss. Founded by Alan and his wife Karen in 1995, Thanksgiving Point was meant to express gratitude by giving back to the community.

Today, it is a nonprofit farm, garden, and museum complex located in Lehi, Utah. Its numerous venues make it a perfect place for making memories with your family, friends, or even business associates.

If you are looking forward to a planned trip to Thanksgiving Point, make sure to explore these 7 exciting activities available here.

1. Experience an Oasis In The Desert

The Ashton Gardens cover approximately 55 acres and includes 15 themed gardens. So, when you hear of an oasis in the desert, it is by no chance overrated. Planned by Salt Lake City architect Leonard Grassli, Ashton Gardens feature several themed garden rooms including Rocky Mountain Landscapes, a Monet Pond, and a rose garden growing over 60 different varieties.

Rejuvenate yourself as you get to enjoy the stately gardens, grand lawns, and the sight of the largest manmade waterfall in the Western Hemisphere. A stroll through the 15 themed gardens will take you past the cascading fountains in the Italian Gardens, to the Koi View Pier where you can choose to feed the fish and the Vista Garden from where you can enjoy a stunning bird’s view – just to name a few.

In between strolls, you can choose to make a stop at the Trellis Café best known for its artful stunning array of sandwiches. If you enjoy shopping, you can shop for snacks and souvenirs at the shop located in the Gardens' Visitor Center.

You can rent golf carts to cover more ground during your visit. But whichever means you chose to explore with, the stunning beauty is still inexhaustible.

2. Empower Yourself with Fitness Training

Once at Thanksgiving Point, you will have access to the Brick Canvas studios which offers a variety of services and treatments meant to help you feel your very best. Among their exclusive services are an organic spa, Bikram yoga, a nutritious café, a salon, and world-class fitness services tailored to help you get the best out of fitness training.

3. Visit a Real Working Farm

For the animal lovers, Thanksgiving Point offers you an opportunity to meet your favorite farm animals such as horses, goats, cows, chickens, pigs, and sheep at the Farm Country. If lucky enough, you might meet some other uncommon animals like llamas, peacocks, and alpacas.

You also get a first-hand opportunity to understand the operations of the farm, including chicks in the incubation station and bunnies in the rabbit hutch. Better for you if your trip is scheduled during April as you will get a chance to see the newest farm animals make their debuts in the spring.

This venue is specifically best for kids to explore as they get to see what it is like to be a farmer through practical life experiences. Besides feeding and petting the animals, you will enjoy a variety of other farm activities such as wagon rides, pony rides, and cow milking.

4. Visit the Museum of Ancient Life

Just as the name suggests, the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point exhibits some of the world’s oldest and largest collection of mounted fossils. After its opening in the year 2000, a group of Utah’s paleontologists came up with the idea of assembling the exhibits of the museum with an aim of taking collections out of cases, and putting them into an immersive environment.

At the Museum of Ancient Life, you will get the chance to view one of the world’s largest display of mounted dinosaurs – along with other 50+ hands-on exhibits. Don’t forget to check out the working paleontology lab where you will get a chance to view more interesting exhibits.

There’s also a large movie screen auditorium known as the ‘Mammoth Screen 3D Theater’ which shows science films relating to the museum exhibition during museum hours.

5. Explore the Butterfly World

Known as the Butterfly Biosphere, this venue is located at the Water Tower Plaza at Thanksgiving Point and leaves you with an experience like no other. Its 40,000 square foot space is home to over a thousand different butterflies from all over the globe.

In addition to the different butterfly species, visitors get to enjoy the view of 20 different species of tarantulas, fist-sized beetles, and other creepy-crawly organisms. However, the Butterfly Biosphere is a time-ticketed attraction venue. It is, therefore, important that you secure your tickets in advance to ensure admission.

6. Interactive Experiences at the Museum of Natural Curiosity

With its 400+ different interactive experiences, you can choose a new adventure each and every time you visit the Museum of Natural Curiosity. Adults pay $24.95 and children $19.95 for a single day, but considering that the daily activities are inexhaustible, the venue is totally worth your cash and time.

If you have kids, make sure to tag them along as this venue has numerous activities that will forever stick in your loved ones’ hearts. Crawl inside a 45-foot tall mountain head, explore ancient ruins and chambers in the rain forest, explore the town of Kidopolis and discover secret passages – the list is just endless!

7. Golfing at the Largest Golf Course in the State

Experience of how it feels to swing a golf club on the grounds of the largest golf course in the entire state. Thanksgiving Point Golf Club has a beautiful 22,000 sq. foot clubhouse with a spectacular 18-hole layout with over 55 acres of sand and 10,000 trees.

Its championship-caliber course is 7,716 yards long and stretches over more than 200 acres. In a span of fewer than 5 years, this golf course has already received numerous awards and accolades from the golfing industry.

Also referred to as a Johnny Miller Signature Golf Club, it cradles the most spectacular gardens in Utah, creatively using the natural mountain landscape to enhance your golfing experience.

These activities are just a small mention of the must-do activities you should try on your planned trip to Thanksgiving Point. The numerous activities at this spot make it an all-ages destination. So, regardless of your tastes and preferences, you can be guaranteed of activities that will spark your interest.