Thursday, June 14, 2012

Trails, Rails and Rockets

There is a fantastic drive thats cut a loop through northern Utah, and in the process, takes you from the 19th century to the 21st, from high desert to wetlands, and give you a nice resting spot for lunch in between.
Head out in the morning, especially in the summertime for a cooler drive, and go to the Golden Spike National Historic Site (take I-15 to just north of Brigham City and get off on Promontory Road, or Highway 13 and head west).  This landmark is the spot where the transcontintental railroad linked the United States from east to west for the first time.  You can watch a movie about the building of the railroad, walk out to the spot where the Golden Spike was driven, see a replica of the spike in the museum, and watch rebuilt locomotives like the ones that met there run up and down the track.  You can even drive along the original railroad grades, listening to a program about the railroad on your radio.

When you've got your fill of railroads, head back to Highway 83, but instead of turning right and heading back to the interstate, hang a left and head north towards ATK Thiokol.  This is the company that built the booster rockets for the Space Shuttles and is working on rockets for the next generation of spaceflight.  In front of their main offices, right off the highway is the Thiokol Rocket Garden.  This outdoor museum is a collection of rockets used on missiles, right up to the Space Shuttles.  It is a self-guided tour with plaques at each rocket explaining what the rocket is for.  If you want to get a feel for how big the shuttle boosters were, there is a hollow segment of the rocket that makes a great photo op- especially with the kids standing inside.  Warning: bring mosquito repellant.

Next, follow Highway 83 north again, until it meets with Highway 102 (Faust Valley Road).  Highway 102 loops around to the east, heading you back towards I-15.  But, keep an eye out to the north side of the road for Marble Park, just to the east of the Valley View Cemetery.  This privately owned park, open to the public, is a fascinating use of old farm implements.  Swings, teeter-toters and other jungle gym type toys await.  A creek runs through the middle of the park and a bowery, made of old railroad ties from the Great Salk Lake railroad causeway, make a great place to sit down, relax and have lunch.  Be sure to see the timeline of history, from pioneer days to the space age, again made out of farm implements and scrap metal.

When you're ready to jump back in the car, head east again on Highway 102 until you reach I-15.  From here, head south until you get to the Forest Street exit.  Get of the interstate, turning west and drive about a half mile until you read the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.  Here you will find a great education center that teaches you about the birds that pass through the refuge on their migratory flights or those that make the marshes their home.  You can follow a paved trail through the marshes looking for many of the bird species you learn about in the education center.  If you'd like a guided tour, they are given every Friday and Saturday at 9 am and 1 pm.

When you're done spotting birds, head east on Forest Road to go right into Brigham City for a refill on drinks or some food at some great old diners.  If you have time, you might even visit a museum or two in Brigham City, such as the Brigham City Museum or the Brigham City Depot.

All these stops, not including food or gas, will only cost you the entrance fee to the Golden Spike National Historic Site, which at this time (2012) is just $7.00 per vehicle ($5.00 per vehicle in the winter).  It's a day-long trip that will keep the kids occupied and won't break the bank.
View Northern Utah Loop in a larger map

Friday, June 1, 2012

In Utah, June Is A Month For Festivals

It's June.  School is out.  Kids are excited (parents, maybe not so much).  The heat of the summer has yet to set in.  And all around Utah, cities and towns are holding celebrations and festivals.  It's really amazing how many different events take place in Utah in June.  Below, I've created a list of festivals going on this month.  I'm sure these aren't all of them, but they are fun, and most have free admission, though some specific events might have small costs.  I've included links to festival websites where available.  I'll also be writing about some of these in the coming weeks..

June 2, 2012- Utah Lake Festival, Utah Lake Marina

  • Celebrate Utah Lake with free food (hot dogs and popcorn), crafts for kids, boat rides, sailboat regatta, and hay rides.  Since it is also free fishing day in the state (no licenses required on June 2), there will be instructions on fishing with local experts, as well a free use of fishing poles and bait to try your hand at fishing in Utah Lake.  The fun starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 2 p.m.

 June 2-9, 2012- Springville Art City Days, Springville
  •   This week long festival celebrating the place that art plays in Springville has a little something for everyone.  Most are free to the public.  Parades, fireworks, hot air balloon festival, talent shows, hot dog eating contests, and of course art festivals.  Check the website for a day by day, detailed schedule of events.  Don't miss this event voted two years in a row as "Best of Utah County."
 June 6-9, 2012- Saratoga Splash, Saratoga Springs
  •   Head down to Saratoga Springs to have enjoy this celebration that includes water fights (with the fire department using fire hoses), dances, monster truck rides (small fee), a pie eating contest, talent competition, and a free concert with Moosebutter.
June 8-9, 2012- Scottish Days & Highland Games, Lehi
  •   This festival is held at Thanksgiving Point, just off I-15 in Lehi.  Admission to this event is $15, but kids 11 years old and under is free.  There are all sorts of events based on Scottish culture including athletic events, piping and drumming, and things for the kids.
June 8-9, 2012- Orem Summerfest, Orem
  •   Held at Orem City Center Park, Summerfest includes an art festival, carnival rides, parades and fireworks.  And don't miss the car show and a chance to see the Air Med helicopter up close.  The Rotary Club will be serving breakfast on June 9th at 8 a.m. for $2/person or $10/family.
June 15-16, 2012- Chalk Art Festival, Gateway, SLC
  •   Come to The Gateway in downtown Salt Lake to see some amazing chalk art drawing by both children and adults.  There are some truly incredible artists and you will be blown away.
June 16-23, 2012- Cedar Hills Family Festival, Cedar Hills
  •   This is a family oriented festival in Cedar Hills that includes a movie in the park one evening and a concert in the park the next evening.  There is also a parade, children's games and buried treasure, and capping it all off, fireworks!  There are ticket purchases required for some events, such as for the Swim Night and Dinner at the Park.
June 17-23, 2012- Strawberry Days & Rodeo, Pleasant Grove
  •   In Pleasant Grove there will be concerts in the park, free family swim, a carnival (costs extra), tours of the Pioneer Museum, a "mammoth" parade, fireworks and more.  This is also the venue for the PRCA Strawberry Days Rodeo (tickets required).
June 21-24, 2012- Westfest, West Valley City
  •   Celebrating West Valley City's diversity, Westfest features a parade, multicultural entertainment,  a reptile show, the National Guard climbing wall, a West Valley Police K-9 demonstration, concerts and fireworks!  Held at Centennial Park, this a fun festival that grows each year.
 June 23-30, 2012- Lehi Round-up Celebration, Lehi
  •   Movies nights in the park, a real live cattle drive down Main Street with Longhorns, Cowboy Poetry ($5 tickets), 1/2 price swim day, arts in the park, parades (yes, two of them), and a dirt dance at the rodeo grounds.
June 28-30, 2012- Taylorsville Dayzz, Taylorsville
  •   I'll admit, since Taylorsville is my hometown, I'm a bit biased towards this festival, but I'm amazed at how it's grown and gotten bigger and better every year.  The Utah Symphony will be performing a patriotic concert on Thursday, June 28th and finish it off by playing the 1812 Overture, complete with cannons being fired by the Wasatch Cannoneers.  On Friday, June 29th, the Surf City Allstars will be performing with great summertime music.  On Saturday, June 30th, Jay White, a Neil Diamond impersonator will be making his third appearance at Taylorville Dayzz.  The last time he performed, nearly 30,000 people were in the park to listen.  Those people also came to see Saturday night's fireworks show.  It is synced to music and has become one of the best free firework shows in the state.  Don't forget the Saturday morning parade, the car show and burnout competition, the petting zoo, and the carnival (tickets cost extra for the rides and petting zoo).
There you have it.  Some GREAT festivals around the state, mostly free or with lost cost events as part of the festival.  Like I said, I know this isn't all of them.  If I haven't mentioned one that you really like or you think others should be aware of, let us know in the comment boards.  I'll do my best to get it added to the list.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Things To Do, Utah- Now on Twitter!

We're at it again!  Expanding our reach to give you great information about Utah no matter where you are.

Follow us on Twitter for information and quick updates, share information with us, or even ask us questions!

Utah has amazing places and things to do and see.  Don't miss out on any of them.  Follow Things To Do, Utah on Twitter!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Things To Do, Utah- Now On Facebook

We've been sharing some of our favorite places to visit around Utah for several years now.  All of those reviews have been posted here on the the Things To Do, Utah blog.

Now, we're expanding!

We're now on Facebook and we're inviting you to "Like" us.  The Facebook page will be the place where we share daily updates from Utah newspapers, websites, blogs and any other places we find that has great information on what is happening around this great state.

We'll still be blogging with in depth reviews, photos, maps and information about amazing places to visit and trying to help you save money doing it.

So, head on over to Facebook!  "Like" us!  And share with everyone your favorite things to do and places to go in Utah.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend 2012

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, the official, unofficial beginning of summer.  School will be ending soon and the kids will be looking for things to do.  We're back again to help you fill your summer with fun trips and activities that won't break the bank.  We've been all around the state, to zoos, museums, parks, natural wonders, historic sites and more and have found some pretty amazing things our state has to offer.

Here are a couple of coupon offers to get your summer started:

  • Thanksgiving Point has a Google Offer, $15 entrance fee to the gardens, museum, movie and farm.  This offer is expiring shortly, so take advantage now.
  • Kennecott Copper Mine Visitors Center has a coupon, good through May 31, 2012, waiving the $5 entry fee to the Copper Mine.
Look on the right hand side of the blog for a list of places we've written about in the past.  Sign up for our email list and we will send you news about updates and specials.  Recommend us to your friends on Facebook by clicking the "Recommed" button.  Help us spread the word about the Things To Do, Utah blog and we'll keep adding new, fun and amazing places all summer long.