Saturday, May 10, 2008

Free Event of the Day- May 11, 2008

The Madeleine Festival of the Arts and Humanities presents Red Rock Rondo.

Folk musicians Kate MacLeod and Hal Cannon join chamber folk music ensemble blue haiku (Phillip Bimstein, Charlotte Bell, Flavia Cervino-Wood and Harold Carr) in performing Red Rock Rondo. Drawing upon an array of musical styles and a lively assortment of instruments, the group celebrates in song the life and history of Zion National Park.

Event: Madeleine Festival: Red Rock Rondo
Location: 331 E South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT
Phone: 801.328.8941
Time: 8:00 p.m
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map

Distance from:
Salt Lake City (downtown): 1 mile
Ogden: 37.4 miles
Provo: 45.1 miles
Logan: 82.1 miles

Hidden Falls- You Can Find It

One of the great things about Utah is the number of walking and hiking trails all over the state. There is everything to easy walks on urban trails to very difficult hikes in some of the most remote areas of the United States. Of course, there are many walks and hikes in between these two extremes.

One of my favorite easy hikes is one that even my youngest children can go on without difficulty. The Hidden Falls Trail is an extremely short trail, only about 0.25 miles long and has only about a 40 foot climb in elevation. The biggest obstacles on this trail are crossing over some rocks and boulders and the small stream. At the end of the trail you find yourself in a small box canyon with a beautiful waterfall that is about 40 feet tall.

At the base of the waterfall is a small, shallow pool that kids love to play in. There is an old, abandoned mine shaft just down from the falls that is gated up, but kids love to yell down the shaft and hear the echoes. Hidden Falls is a nice cool spot to visit during the hot summer months and is also a great place to start more strenuous hikes on one of the nearby trails.

Place: Hidden Falls, Mill B North Fork Trail
Location: Big Cottonwood Canyon, Parking Lot at the "S" Curve
Phone: None
Hours: Dawn until Dusk
Cost: FREE

View Larger Map
Distance from:
Salt Lake City: 20 miles
Ogden: 55 miles
Provo: 44 miles
Logan: 100 miles

Friday, May 9, 2008

Reminder- Happening Saturday, May 10, 2008

Just a reminder so you don't miss out on some great activities:

Saturday, May 10, 2008 is the opening of Timpanogos Cave National Monument. All 1.5 miles of the paved trail to the cave have been cleared of snow (yeah, that's right, they had to shovel the snow from the trail) and is ready for visitors.

Also on Saturday, the Golden Spike National Historical Site in Promontory, UT is offering free admission to the park. This is the anniversary of the driving of the final spike that finished the transcontinental railroad and there are all sorts of activities going on, including a reenactment of the Golden Spike Ceremony.

Take the opportunity to get to some of these great places in Utah this weekend.

Have a great Saturday!

Memberships- Choose Wisely, Then Have Fun

Do you or your family have a favorite place you like to go? Do you go, or want to go, again and again? One of the best ways to enjoy a venue like Hogle Zoo or Thanksgiving Point is to purchase a membership. Here are a few reasons why you might consider a membership, and a few things to consider before forking out the dough.

Memberships Might Save You Money

Buying a membership may be a wise choice if it will save you money. This depends on a couple of factors.

  • Will you go enough times to pay for the membership?

  • Do you live close enough to take advantage of the membership?

  • If you're a couple with no kids, going to Hogle Zoo once will cost you $16. You could buy a one year membership for $50, but you would need to go to the zoo four times for the membership to pay for itself.

    If you're a family, two parents, a 14 year old and two kids ages 11 and 8, one trip to the zoo will cost you $36. You could purchase a yearly membership for $65. Two trips to the zoo will more than pay for the membership.

    Distance is a factor as well. If you live in Logan, is the money spent on gas for the car and the two hours you will travel to the zoo worth the price of the membership? Can you make it to the zoo enough times for the membership to pay off? You might be better off going to the zoo once during the year and taking the extra money and using it for another activity.

    Memberships May Have Other Benefits

    Often, but not always, memberships to one attraction may also offer you entrance for free or for a reduced price at another attraction. Take this into account when purchasing a membership. What else might you be able to do with this membership?

    Some examples:
  • Hogle Zoo's membership offers a reciprocal agreement with many other zoo's around the country and a few in other countries. How often are you going to be in another state that is part of this reciprocal agreement? What you may not realize is that one of the places that has a reciprocal agreement with Hogle Zoo is the Tracy Aviary. Membership at the Hogle Zoo will allow you to visit the Tracy Aviary for FREE, but only on the first Thursday of each month. If the zoo is the place you like to visit most, but a visit or two to the Tracy Aviary would be nice- get a membership at the zoo.

  • On the other hand, if you purchase a membership to Tracy Aviary, their reciprocal agreement allows you to visit Hogle Zoo for FREE on the first Thursday of the month as well. But, hold on. Take a closer look at the Tracy Aviary membership. With your membership at the Tracy Aviary you can enter the Ogden Nature Center, Thanksgiving Point Farm, Hogle Zoo, and the Utah Museum of Natural History for FREE on the first Thursday of every month. You also get HALF PRICE anytime at the Living Planet Aquarium, FREE entrance to the Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park on any weekday, and FREE entrance to the Willow Park Zoo in Logan. If you want to visit Tracy Aviary the most and make an occasional visit to these other 6 places, the Tracy Aviary membership is for you.

  • Reciprocal Membership Agreements may include FREE admission, reduced price admission, or have admission restrictions (Please check each membership agreement carefully):

    Hogle Zoo Membership- Tracy Aviary

    Tracy Aviary Membership- Hogle Zoo, Ogden Nature Reserve, Thanksgiving Point Farm, Utah Museum of Natural History, Willow Park Zoo, Living Planet Aquarium, and Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park.

    Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park Membership- Tracy Aviary, Union Station Museums in Ogden (Utah State Railroad Museum, Eccles Rail Center, John M. Browning Firearms Museum, and Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum).

    Union Station Museums Membership (in Ogden)- Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park and the Odgen Nature Center.

    These are just a few of the reciprocity agreements that I've found. Other attractions may have additional agreements. When looking at purchasing memberships, ALWAYS ask about the benefits and if those benefits include reciprocity agreements with any other local attractions.

    Now find your special place, get a membership, and have a whole lot of fun.

    Feedback Fridays - May 9, 2008

    Each Friday I will post a poll with a question. Some will be entertaining and some are intended to help me create great posts for Things To Do, Utah. Here then, is the first poll for Feedback Fridays:

    Thanks for your input!

    Thursday, May 8, 2008

    Free Event of the Day- May 10, 2008

    National Astronomy Day 2008

    Saturday, May 10, 2008 is National Astronomy Day, and there are plenty of FREE activities going on for anyone who has an interest celestial bodies.

    The University of Utah Astronomy Department will be starting their day at 10:00 a.m. with telescopes pointed at the sun. As the sun goes down and it gets dark the telescopes will be pointed at anything they can find, including stars, planets, galaxies and nebulae. The Observatory is in the South Physics Building at 125 South 1400 East, Salt Lake City, UT.

    The Clark Planetarium in the Gateway Mall will also be holding events for Astronomy Day. Starting at 12:00 p.m. there will be science demonstrations, rides on the lunar gravity simulator, Science on a Sphere demonstrations, and a drawing for a telescope. A program on how to use a telescope will be given in the Hansen Star Theater at 4:30 p.m. All star shows will cost only $1.00 from 12:30 to 6:45 p.m. The Clark Planetarium is at 110 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT.

    At 4:00 p.m. live music will start, and then at 8:00 in the evening at This Is The Place Heritage Park, former Senator and astronaut, Jake Garn will give a 30-45 minute lecture about space and then telescopes will be provided by the Salt Lake Astronomical Society for viewing the stars, planets and anything else interesting that can be seen. Prizes, including a telescope will be given away. The Star Party will be held at the Bowery at the Park, located at 2601 East Sunnyside Avenue, Salt Lake City, UT.

    The Salt Lake Astronomical Society will continue to be busy as they host a star party at the Stansbury Park Observatory in the Tooele Valley starting at about dusk. A short 30-45 minute program will be given on astronomy, and then you can get a look at the skies through some amazing telescopes. The Observatory is located just inside the entrance to Stansbury Park at 15 Plaza, Stansbury Park, UT.

    If one of these locations is near you, try to get out to one of the star parties. They are a lot of fun and you get to see and learn some interesting things.

    Event: National Astronomy Day 2008 Star Parties
    Place: Various Locations (see above)
    Hours: Various (see above)
    Cost: FREE

    Free Event of the Day for May 9, 2008

    This Friday should be, weather permitting, a fun one for those who like to watch the night skies.

    The Salt Lake Astronomical Society is hosting two separate Star Parties at two Harmon's Grocery Store locations. The first is the Harmon's at the Brickyard Plaza and the other is the Harmon's in South Jordan.

    If you have never been to a star party, you're missing something special. My daughter and I just happened upon one once at the Harmon's in Taylorsville as we were picking up some milk for my wife. We decided to go over and check it out.

    Members of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society had brought their telescopes (some rather large ones), set them up in the parking lot, and allowed anyone who wanted, a peek at the moon, stars and planets that could be seen that evening. Harmon's even had provided some treats. Patrick Wiggins, member of the society and NASA Ambassador to the Solar System, was also there answering any questions we might have had.

    That evening, I got a real close up look at the mountains on the moon and saw Jupiter and several of its moons. Way cool! If you get the chance, drop on by and take a look. You'll be amazed by what you can see. The Star Parties run from dusk, weather permitting, until everyone is ready to go home.

    Event: Star Parties
    Locations: Harmon's in the Brickyard Plaza, 3200 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City, UT and Harmon's in South Jordan, 10500 South Redwood Road, South Jordan, UT
    Phone: 435.882.1209
    Hours: Dusk until Late
    Cost: FREE

    View Larger Map

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City: 8.1 miles (Harmon's Brickyard)
    Ogden: 43.5 miles (Harmon's Brickyard)
    Provo: 31.2 miles (Harmon's South Jordan)
    Logan: 88.2 miles (Harmon's Brickyard)

    Bridal Veil Falls- Walk, Hike and Picnic

    The first time I ever went to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, I don't remember seeing the waterfall. How could I miss it? It's right there, bigger than life, in your face and hard to miss. I was more than fascinated with the aerial tram that climbed its way from the side of the Provo River to a location high above the falls on the top of sheer cliffs. The tram, often cited by locals as the steepest aerial tramway in the world, was amazing to watch- and I wouldn't go anywhere near it as I'm afraid of heights.

    The tram was destroyed in an avalanche in 1996 and for a while after that, the area became kind of junky, vandalized and only a place for a short stop to see the falls on the way through the canyon.

    Recently, I was back at Bridal Veil Falls again. The tram has not been rebuilt, but the entire area around it has. There is a park with picnic and barbecuing areas with plenty of parking (in a couple of parking lots). Lots of trees surround the grassy picnic areas, but it is open enough to toss around a Frisbee or a football. The park is set right next to the Provo River and it is just a short walk up the paved Provo River Parkway Trail to Bridal Veil Falls.

    The Falls are impressive. The water comes from a year round spring the flows over the edge of the cliff and falls over 600 feet through a double cascade. The water expands from a narrow point at the top of the falls to a wide, lacy veil. Thus, Bridal Veil Falls gets its name.

    At the bottom of the Falls is a small shallow pool that people love to play in. Just a bit further up the paved Parkway Trail is a dirt trail that takes you right up to the base of the lower cascade. It is a steep, but fairly short hike that most people can make in a matter of 10-15 minutes. You get a great view of the canyon and river below.

    There is a separate trail that goes up to the top of the falls, but it is a steep and difficult climb and should not be attempted unless you are a serious hiker or climber.

    The Provo River Parkway Trail that runs through the park and past the base of the falls is a 14 mile long paved trail that runs from Utah Lake to Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. This is a great place for walking, jogging and bicycling.

    Take an afternoon and enjoy Bridal Veil Falls.

    Place: Bridal Veil Falls
    Location: About 2 1/2 miles up Provo Canyon on Highway 189 on south side of the road.
    Phone: None
    Hours: Provo River Parkway Trail is open 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    Cost: FREE

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City: 45.8 miles
    Ogden: 81.2 miles
    Provo: 10.8 miles
    Logan: 126 miles

    Utah Trivia Thursdays- May 8, 2008

    Did you know that Utah has...

    5 National Parks- Arches, Canyonlands, Zions Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef.

    7 National Monuments- Cedar Breaks, Natural Bridges, Dinosaur, Rainbow Bridge, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanogos Cave and Hovenweep.

    2 National Recreation Areas- Flaming Gorge and Glen Canyon.

    6 National Forests- Ashley, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-LaSal, Uinta, and Wasatch-Cache.

    Almost all of these areas are within a days drive of any location in Utah (often less than a day) and nearly all (or parts of them) are easily accessible by car.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Free Event of the Day- May 8, 2008

    The Mind Marathon at the Orem City Library will take on Edgar Allen Poe, master of the macabre. Best remembered for his tales such as "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Telltale Heart," Poe is also the nearly universally acknowledged inventor of the detective story, beginning with "Murder in the Rue Morgue."

    His was a relatively short and tragic life, marred by tragedy and suffering, but his works stand as classics of American Gothic literature.

    BYU's Dennis Perry will give an introduction to Edgar Allen Poe in the Storytelling Wing at 7:00 p.m.

    Place: Orem Public Library
    Location: 56 North State Street, Orem, UT
    Phone: 801.229.7050
    Time: 7:00 p.m.
    Cost: FREE

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City: 40.0 miles
    Ogden: 75.4 miles
    Provo: 4.9 miles
    Logan: 120 miles

    Saturday (or any day) in the Park- Murray Park

    When you get to be my age (ok, I'm not that old) reaching back into your childhood becomes an exercise in selective memory. Those things you tend to remember are those that had the biggest impact on your life- good or bad. Among some of my fond memories are the many visits that I made to Murray Park with family, friends and one or two dates.

    I learned to ski there (mostly I learned how to fall off my skies). I remember playing on the old World War II airplane, sliding down the twisty slide and hiding in the cement igloos. We went to the Salt Lake County Fair at the park and swam in Little Cottonwood Creek on hot summer days and ice skated in the winter. I took a date on a picnic to the park once and forgot to bring along the food.

    The old airplane is gone, as are the twisty slide and cement igloos. The Salt Lake County Fair has been moved to a new location in the valley, but, Murray Park has only gotten better with age.

    The park is somewhat hidden from the main streets that surround it and when you're in the park you feel like you are nowhere near a urban area. No matter where you are in the park, you can only see small portions at a time, making the park seem deceptively small. This is a park that literally has surprises around each turn in the path.

    There is a rose garden and statue of Chief Wasatch at the State Street entrance to the park. Just a little further in is a large Gazebo (which can be rented for parties) surround by a large grassy area and a beautiful arboretum with walking paths winding through it.

    Across the road from the arboretum and grassy play area is the Park Center, an aquatic and fitness center (there are extra charges for using the facilities). Just up the road is the outdoor ice rink (available only in the winter) and a great children's playground- even the a. Across the street from the playground is the outdoor pool that has a large waterslide (entrance fee applies).

    The wide expanse of park behind the outdoor pool is one of my favorite areas of the park. It has several large, open areas for playing football, soccer or flying a kite. The the area is broken up by a large hill in the west-central area. Kids love this hill for running and rolling down in the warm months and sledding down in the winter. That hill is where I first strapped on a pair of skis.

    This is the area that has some more fun playgrounds and pavilions with picnic tables. To the south of this area is the amphitheater, hidden back among the trees. During the summer, plays and musicals are performed in front of large audiences.

    Murray Park has been around for a long time, as attested by the huge trees all through the park that offer shade for picnickers and parents resting while their children play. With the popularity of this park in the center of the Salt Lake Valley, I look for this park to just get better with age.

    Place: Murray Park
    Location: 296 East Murray Park Lane, Murray, UT
    Phone: 801.264.2614 (Murray Parks Department)
    Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    Cost: FREE- some activities in the park do have associated fees, such as the Ice Rink, Swimming Pools, and the Amphitheater.

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City: 9.0 miles
    Ogden: 44.4 miles
    Provo: 37.2 miles
    Logan: 89.1 miles

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    Free Event of the Day- May 7, 2008

    Do you like good music? How about good jazz music? The standards and boogie-woogie?

    On Wednesday, May 7, 2008, local musicians C.J. Santoro and the East Street band, will be playing the old standards, boogie-woogie, and more at the Union Station in Ogden. Join the crowd for some great oldies starting at 7:30 p.m. Admission is FREE.

    Place: Union Station- Jazz at the Station
    Location: 2501 Wall Avenue, Ogden, UT
    Phone: 801.393.9890
    Time: 7:30 p.m.
    Cost: FREE

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City: 37.2 miles
    Ogden (downtown): 0.5 miles
    Provo: 78.8 miles
    Logan: 47.6 miles

    Timpanogos Cave - Don't Eat the Ants

    The very first time I hiked to Timpanogos Cave, I was 8 years old and went with my Cub Scout Troop. If I recall correctly, I had never climbed a hill quite that steep and I was afraid of heights. It seemed as if the trail would never end and that the mile and a half climb must have taken hours to get to the cave entrance. It probably took less than an hour, and my scoutmaster kept me going and occupied by pointing out plants and animals along the way.

    The scoutmaster was, I definitely recall, slightly odd, and had a fascination with everything along the trail. Showing us how to make the snapdragon flowers open and close their mouths was neat. Having us pick up and eat the large black ants wasn't (they did NOT taste like grapes like he claimed). But, it did make the hike interesting.

    The hike up the trail is actually quite stunning, through the brush and trees on the lower part of the trail, then you come to the portion of the trail that lets you get a panoramic view of American Fork Canyon. Along the way you'll see all kinds of plants and small animals. Take a pair of binoculars to get really good views of the other side of the canyon and down into Utah Valley. You may even get a glimpse of a Mountain Goat or Bighorn Sheep.

    The hike is moderate to difficult, but the trail is fairly wide and is paved all the way up to the cave.

    At the top of the trail is what you really hiked all this way to see- Timpanogos Cave. The 45-60 minute cave tour is led by a ranger who will tell you the history of the cave and point out all of the different features of the cave.

    Timpanogos cave is actually three different caves; Hansen Cave, Middle Cave and Timpanogos cave. The three caves are connected by man made tunnels. Hansen Cave was discovered first and many of the formations were damaged or destroyed before the caves became national monuments. Fortunately, Middle Cave and Timpanogos Cave were found later on and were protected from the damaged experienced in Hansen Cave.

    Inside the cave, which maintains a temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you will see helictites (hollow straws of rock), cave bacon, cave columns, cave popcorn and many stalactites (they hang from the ceiling) and stalagmites (grow upwards from the floor). The largest, most impressive stalactite in the cave is known as the Great Heart of Timpanogos.

    My favorite portion of the tour is when the tour enters a chamber where the ranger turns out the lights. Absolutely no light enters this part of the cave and it is so dark nothing can be seen, not even your hand right in front of your face.

    At the base of the trail is the visitor's center where you can watch a film about the cave and see exhibits about caves. This is great place to either start or end your hike to the cave. There is also a snack bar and gift shop located at the visitor's center.

    Timpanogos Cave will open for visitors this weekend, Saturday, May 10, 2008. This is a great activity for couples or families. Bring some water, but just remember- don't eat the ants!

    Place: Timpanogos Cave National Monument
    Location: State Highway 92, American Fork Canyon, UT (follow the signs)
    Phone: 801.756.5238
    Hours: May through Labor Day 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (first and last hike times are 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.)
    Cost: American Fork Canyon Entrance Fee: $3.00/car
    Timpanogos Cave Entrance Fee: $7.00 for adults (16 or older), Children (6-15) $5.00, Children (3-5) $3.00, Infants (0-2) FREE

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City: 34.9 miles
    Ogden: 70.3 miles
    Provo: 18.7 miles
    Logan: 115 miles

    Book Talk Tuesday- May 6, 2008

    Utah Curiosities by Brandon Griggs is a book from publisher Globe Pequot, who is known for their interesting and quirky travel guides. Utah Curiosities is another book in the state "Curiosities" series in which authors find those hidden gems in each state and share them with those who wouldn't ever see them otherwise.

    Everyone knows about Utah's great skiing, the saltier-than-the-ocean Great Salt Lake, and the multitude of national parks and forests. But, on the way to those attractions, you'll miss some other cool and quirky ones if you don't have this book.

    How about a festival where llamas are the guests of honor? Do you know where to go to ride "Old Woodie," one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the United States? There is a place in Utah where the Sphinx has the face of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church. Have you ever visited the grave of "Old Eph?"

    This book is great for first time visitors to Utah as well as life long Utahans. I guarantee, even if you've lived here your entire life, like I have, you will still find something in this book that will surprise you.

    The only drawbacks I see in this book are the lack of color photos which would enhance the descriptions and be much better than the sometimes not completely clear black and white photos. But, overall, a really fun book with good information about Utah.

    Highly Recommended. 4 out of 5 stars.

    Monday, May 5, 2008

    Free Event of the Day- May 6, 2008

    Jammy Time at the Murray Public Library

    The Murray City Public Library is holding a story time on May 6, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. in the Story Time Circle. This activity is for children 2 to 7 years old and their families. Activities include stories, songs, fingerplays, and action rhymes. Come in your pajamas (optional), and have some bedtime fun.

    Place: Murray City Public Library
    Location: 166 East 5300 South, Murray, UT
    Phone: 801.264.2580
    Time: 7:00 p.m.
    Cost: FREE

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City: 9.4 miles
    Ogden: 44.8 miles
    Provo: 36.3 miles
    Logan: 89.5 miles

    Free Event of the Day- May 5, 2008

    FREE Family Monday the Utah Museum of Natural History

    On the first Monday of each month, the Utah Museum of Natural History opens its doors for extended hours and FREE admission. Monday, May 5, 2008 is a Free Family Monday.

    Head up to this great museum on the campus of the University of Utah. Free tours will be given today at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

    This evening, between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. live physics demonstrations will be given in the lobby of the museum. The demonstrations are intended to show kids (and adults) how much fun science can be.

    Roam the museum, taking in the exhibits of caves, dinosaurs, Fremont culture in Range Creek Canyon, an exhibit featuring the National Wildlife Refuge System (only on display until May 26, 2008), the earth and earthquakes (including a live seismometer), a mine you can walk into, minerals, and don't forget to check out the working Paleontology lab.

    As an added bonus, head on over to the John Widtsoe building (just a short walk from the museum) to the rooftop observatory and join in the free star party! Don't pass up the chance to see all of these amazing exhibits for FREE.

    Place: Utah Museum of Natural History
    Location: 1390 E. Presidents Circle, University of Utah Campus, Salt Lake City, UT
    Phone: 801.581.6927
    Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    Cost: FREE

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City (downtown): 3.0 miles
    Ogden: 39.3 miles
    Provo: 45.8 miles
    Logan: 84 miles

    Tracy Aviary- Not Just for the Birds

    Field trips in elementary school, trips with scout troops, visits with my family (my parents and my own kids)- I have lost count of how many times I have been to the Tracy Aviary. But, you know what? It never gets old. I mean never. With about 400 birds representing nearly 135 species, it always seems like there is something new to see each time you visit.

    Tracy Aviary is located just south of downtown Salt Lake City in Liberty Park in the southwest corner of the park. During the summer, with all the trees, plants and flowers, it is a beautiful and cool place to hang out for an afternoon. There are winding paths all through the aviary taking you past birds that you may have seen in your backyard and birds that most people will never see anywhere else but the aviary. Many of the birds on display here are considered rare or endangered.

    In one of the newest exhibits in the aviary, "Destination, Argentina," visitors see birds that live in or migrate to Argentina. The exhibit has a free flight aviary- you go inside the exhibit and the birds are flying all around you. You can also see black-necked swans and Chilean flamingos.

    Attend the outdoor bird shows and see fantastic birds do some amazing tricks. The bird shows run from May 13th through September, Tuesdays through Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. (show are held only on Saturday and Sunday until after Memorial Day).

    It's a guarantee that you will find a favorite bird- mine has changed over the years, from the bald eagle to the condor to the pelicans. Which one will yours be?

    Tracy Aviary does have an entrance fee- Adults are $5.00, children 4-12 are $3.00, and children under 3 are free. There is a family membership (2 adults and 2 children) for $40 per year. If you have more than 2 children, it is $8.00 for each additional child on the membership. But, here's a great deal to use- if you have a Hogle Zoo membership (see the blog post on Hogle Zoo) you can get into Tracy Aviary for free on the first Thursday of every month. Or, if you purchase a membership to the Tracy Aviary you can get into the Ogden Nature Center, Thanksgiving Point Farm, Hogle Zoo, and the Utah Museum of Natural History for FREE on the first Thursday of each month. You can also get FREE weekday admission to Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park, FREE admission to the Willow Park Zoo in Logan, and half price admission to the Living Planet Aquarium. If you plan on visiting any of these places, a membership to Tracy Aviary isn't just for the birds.

    Place: Tracy Aviary
    Location: 589 East 1300 South (enter Liberty Park on 900 South), Salt Lake City, UT
    Phone: 801.596.8500
    Hours: Summer (March -October), 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Winter (October - February), 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Cost: $5.00 for adults, $3.00 for children (ages 4-12) Free for children 3 and under. FREE on the first Thursday of each month for Hogle Zoo members.

    View Larger Map

    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City (downtown): 2.0 miles
    Ogden: 39.5 miles
    Provo: 43.1 miles
    Logan: 84.2 miles

    Sunday, May 4, 2008

    Things To Do, Utah- This Week, May 5 to May 10, 2008

    There are lots of activities, events and places to see this week. Many are free and a few are relatively inexpensive.

    Monday, May 5, 2008
    • Utah Baroque Ensemble Spring Concert, a musical preview of the ensemble's 2008 European Tour, 7 p.m., library fireplace, Orem City Library, 58 N. State. Free.
    • Live Animal Show at the BYU Bean Museum, at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tonight's topic is reptiles. 645 E. 1430 N., BYU Campus, Provo, UT. Call 422-5052. Free.
    • Community and Family Night at the Springville Museum of Art, 126 E. 400 South. at 6 p.m. Join the staff at the museum for presentations by children's book illustrator Howard Fullmer and story-teller Ginger Parkinson, followed by a children's art project. Free.
    • Utah Museum of Natural History, Free Family Monday (first Monday of each month). Tour the museum and view exhibits. Physics demonstrations in the Museum Lobby from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 1390 East, Presidents Circle, U of U Campus, Salt Lake City, UT. Call 801-581-6927. Free.
    Tuesday, May 6, 2008
    • Live Animal Show at the BYU Bean Museum, at 7:30 p.m. Tonight's topic is adaptations. 645 E. 1430 N., BYU Campus, Provo, UT. Call 422-5052. Free.
    Wednesday, May 7, 2008
    • Live Animal Show at the BYU Bean Museum, at 7:30 p.m. Tonight's topic is Utah's Plants and Animals. 645 E. 1430 N., BYU Campus, Provo, UT. Call 422-5052. Free.

    Thursday, May 8, 2008
    • Live Animal Show at the BYU Bean Museum, at 7:30 p.m. Tonight's topic is Ecosytems. 645 E. 1430 N., BYU Campus, Provo, UT. Call 422-5052. Free.

    Friday, May 9, 2008
    • Live Animal Show at the BYU Bean Museum, at 7:30 p.m. Tonight's topic is Invertabrates. 645 E. 1430 N., BYU Campus, Provo, UT. Call 422-5052. Free.

    Saturday, May 10, 2008
    • Live Animal Show at the BYU Bean Museum, at 1:00 p.m. Today's topic is reptiles. 645 E. 1430 N., BYU Campus, Provo, UT. Call 422-5052. Free.
    • Astronomy Day 2008 at the University of Utah, The observatory will be open at 10:00 a.m. and into the night for viewing the sun, moon, stars and planets. Roof of the John Widtsoe Building, President Circle, U of U Campus, Salt Lake City, UT. Call 801-581-6901.
    • The Murray Concert Band, conducted by Dr. Craig Ferrin, will present a free concert on Saturday, May 10, at 7:30 pm at Murray High School, 5440 South State Street. There will also be a drawing for free prizes. Call 801-944-1359. Free.

    Continuing Events
    • Minerva Teichert "Pageants in Paint" exhibit, BYU Museum of Art, Provo campus, through May 26, 2008. Call 422-1140 to schedule a tour, must be arranged at least a week in advance. Family-oriented tours on Monday evenings. Free.
    • Art at the Main (Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 363-4088) — "Animals, Animals, Animals," featuring art by Caryn Feeney, through May 10.
    • Sam Weller's Gallery on the Mezzanine (Sam Weller's Bookstore, 254 S. Main, 328-2586) — "News From Nowhere: Installation by Richard Zimmerman" through June 13.
    • Archeology Inspired Art Show Professional and amature artists from all over Utah and surrounding states are often inspired by the archaeological sites they encounter. Come and see their artwork that is inspired by Utah's archaeological past. 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. until May 10, 2008. 300 South Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, UT. Call 801-533-3582

    Golden Spike National Historic Site

    On May 10, 1869 the final rail was laid and the final spike driven for the transcontinental railroad. The east and west coasts were now united by a transportation system that could carry people and goods far more easily and conveniently than ever before. The place where the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads met, where the two engines, Jupiter and No. 119, faced each other nose to nose was Promontory Summit, Utah.

    The Golden Spike National Historic Site is located 32 miles west of Brigham City, Utah and is a fascinating place with great historic significance. There is a visitors center where there are interesting displays on the transcontinental railroad, slide shows and films about the railroad and the driving of the final spike. Just don't expect to see THE golden spike- it's not there. It is at a museum at Stanford University.

    The main feature of the site during the summer are the two replicas of the original steam engines, the Jupiter and No. 119. From May 1 through Labor Day, the engines are on display and operate daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Saturday's the two locomotive are drawn head to head and the Golden Spike Ceremony is reenacted. In the winter months the locomotives are stored in the engine house.

    There is a walking trail- the Big Fill Loop Trail which a mile and a half long trail that lets you walk on the original Central Pacific grade. See the Big Fill where a ravine was filled in to allow the trains to maintain a 2% or less grade, climb the ravines and over the fills. Remember, construction was done by hand with the help of some explosives.

    You can also take two auto tours- the East Auto Tour and West Auto Tour. The East tour is a 2 mile loop drive. You'll see the Union Pacific's last cut; several trestle abutments and fills; drive through cuts made by blasting rock; and walk to the Chinese Arch, a natural limestone formation, a memorial to the thousands of Chinese who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad. Descend the steepest mile of railroad grade in Utah as you leave the tour.

    The West Auto Tour is a 14-mile loop drive. You'll see the Union Pacific parallel grade; pass through several cuts; view fills, a stair-step cut, rock and wood culverts, and a distant glimpse of the Great Salt Lake. Pass the spot where the Central Pacific workers laid 10 miles of track in one day.

    Normally, entrance to the historic site is $7.00 per car, which isn't bad for a family. This Saturday, May 10, 2008 is the anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike. There locomotives will arrive at 9:30 a.m. and it will be a day of festivities. There will be bands and choirs, and Anniversary Program, an historic photograph recreation of the Champagne Photo, steam demonstrations, and reenactments of driving the last spike. These activities should have some fun for the whole family and the park will be open FREE of charge for the day. Get out there and have some fun. Oh, and don't forget the camera.

    Just a couple of suggestions. Take a picnic (or at least some food) if you plan to spend the day. There are no concessions, only vending machines. Also, check your gas gauge when you turn off at Brigham City. There is are no gas stations once you leave Corinne- about 25 miles away from the park.

    Place: Golden Spike National Historic Site
    Location: 32 miles west of Brigham City, UT via Utah Highway 83
    Phone: 435.471.2209
    Hours: 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's
    Cost: $7.00 per car (May 10, 2008 is a FREE day)

    View Larger Map
    Distance from:
    Salt Lake City: 86.7 miles
    Ogden: 52 miles
    Logan: 50.3 miles
    Provo: 128 miles