Food in Southern Utah is very diverse. From American to Italian foods around the world and back again. The Red Fort Cuisine of India is becoming the talk of the town with its recent opening in September of 2018. Toasty aromas of curry spices, ginger and a slight hint of coconut greet hungry guests. The service is efficient, friendly and professional. Certainly making it the perfect stop after working up an appetite adventuring with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours.

The Red Fort Delhi, IndiaThe main gate on Independence day at Red Fort Delhi, India

The restaurant name refers to a Red Fort in Delhi, India. The name Red Fort is the English translation from “Hindustani Lal Qila” Referring to its sandstone walls and corridors. The Mughal Dynasty built the Red Fort and lived in it until the late 19th century. It is now home to local art, events, and fascinating museums. Every year on August 15th, India celebrates their independence from the United Kingdom. The night before, Prime Minister Narenda Modi delivers an “Address to the Nation.” Then posts a tri-color flag at the main gate of the Red Fort in Delhi. Followed by singing their national anthem, watching parades and pageants showcasing the feat of their triumph.

Location & Hours

At a glance, it might be a little more hidden than most eateries in St. George. Just south of exit 8 on I-15, it’s tucked behind the Red Rock commons shopping plaza. The Red Fort Cuisine of India is across the street from Courtyard by Marriott Saint George and up from the TownePlace Suites by Marriott. Directions can be found on their website or easily maneuvered in Google Maps.  The Red Fort Cuisine of India is open Monday-Saturday, closed Sundays. They are open from 3 PM to 10 PM for the perfect late lunch and dinner. Plus, if you’re not up for going out and are wanting to stay in the comfort of your hotel give them a ring and enjoy delicious takeout.

Unique Atmosphere

The restaurant environment is similar to the food that is served. Warm, ambient lighting with culture-specific decorations. Namely arches, golden elephants, plants and vibrant colors. In addition, the service staff, waiters, hosts, and even the table bussers are dressed in typical Indian clothing. Unlike most American restaurants where you leave with a doggy bag and feel 20 pounds heavier, the food is served in well-proportioned amounts.  Hammered silver-like dishes are brought to your table, with the rice in its own dish to the side. The seating is comfortable and well spaced.

On the Menu

Appealing to all walks of food life, they offer gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian dishes. Not a fan of spicy food? Here that’s not a big deal, you can order any meal at mild, medium, hot or very hot spice levels. I for one, love curry. The “Chicken Coconut Kurma” with mild heat had great presentation and even better taste! Thirsty? Another menu favorite is the “Mango Lassi,” a typical Indian drink consisting of fresh mangoes and homemade yogurt blended together. There are two other flavors as well, Strawberry and Rose. They also offer a careful selection of beers and wines. The menu was a bit overwhelming at first because they use correct Indian cuisine terminology. Luckily they do describe the dish’s contents and preparation under each name. Phew!

Above all, Red Fort’s Indian comfort food is the best pit stop after experiencing adventure with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours. The majority of those visiting the Red Fort Cuisine of India say that it is the most genuine Indian cuisine of Southern Utah.

 

Written By: Kathryn Bowler

 

Paradise Village at Zion, a master planned vacation resort community, was voted 2016 Best in State and is located in Santa Clara UT. It is home to some of the most beautiful vacation rentals, second homes and even primary residents in the area! These aren’t just your regular resort style homes though, enjoy arcade games, Jacuzzi’s, views and even green space. You will only be minutes from Tuacahn and about a 45-minute drive from Zion National Park!

Paradise Aesthetic and Amenities

Firstly, the views are unreal at the Paradise Village at Zion community. The majestic mountains of Snow Canyon State Park, Red Cliffs preserve and Red Mountain surround this incredible 25.5-acre area property as well as the lush ground on the property. Each home is equipped with modern technology, comfortable beds, and beautiful decor. All the homes are immaculate inside and out.

Not to mention the vast amenities. Most of the homes come equipped what a hot tub on the balcony or backyard and some even have a private swimming pool. Onsite there are also several pickleball courts, a sand volleyball court, a wonderful palm tree-lined pool area, a very large spa-like hot tub, and clubhouse with a fitness center and lounging areas. There is even a grocery store down the road from the property. All the amenities combined provide a supple resort-like relaxation. Currently, they are working on the finishing stages of a private water park and lazy river. All of this is included with your own private resort style home.

An accommodation for everyone.

Most importantly are the homes themselves! Paradise Village, part of Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals, is the place for vacation rentals, a second home or even a primary residence. They offer a variety of sizes of homes in the community. They are sure to have just the size vacation home you are looking for right here in Southern Utah. Southern Utahs Best Vacation rentals have homes from 1-bedroom to 9-bedroom. The smallest home offered is a 1 bed/1 bath spacious Casita, that comfortably sleeps two guests. If you’ve got up to 24 in your group, the 6 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a double-decked house will be perfect. With the largest home having 9 bedrooms I am sure they could accommodate almost any size party! Paradise Village is the place for any occasion.

Location, Location, Location!

Paradise Village is on the outskirts of Saint George about 10 minutes northwest in the city of Santa Clara, UT. A 5-mile radius accesses historical downtown Santa Clara, Snow Canyon State Park, and the world-renowned  Tuacahn Amphitheater. Tuacahn amphitheater is a fantastic venue to be able to take in a Broadway show with the red rock beauty surrounding you. There is also backyard access to bike paths, underground lava tubes near and numerous hiking trails.  Take a short 5-minute walk and you are at Gubler Park. Gubler Park has Baseball fields, playgrounds, pickleball courts, and even a splash pad! Not to mention its only about a 45-minute to Zion National Park. Due to the location of this property, you are in solitude but still close to everything.

How to book a stay?

Above all, Utah’s Best Vacation Rentals provides all the pricing, sizing and booking abilities you will need for your next getaway! Booking online is simple and fast. Not tech savvy? Give them a call to book and ask any questions. ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours is proud to say we are partners with some of the best vacation rentals in Southern Utah. Furthermore, don’t forget to mention your stay at Paradise Village and receive discounts on Tuacahn tickets as well as a discount on your next adventure tour with ATV and Jeep Adventure Tours.

Senior Guide Rob Olson

Rob Olson

Adventure Tour Senior Guide, Rob is originally from Seattle, Washington. Hanging up his raincoat, he came to Southern Utah to retire from UPS and care for his mother. Not to mention the 360 days of sunshine and fun! He revel’s in sharing an excellent level of service and focus, in addition to his adventuresome track record. Besides guiding in the sand dunes, Rob spend’s his time studying the universe, golfing, hiking and SIM racing. He also loves to occasionally dine-in at Cappeletti’s, a local 4 star Italian restaurant. After working with AJAT for almost 4 years now, he wants every one of his guests to leave with a lifetime memory of visiting southern Utah.

 

John Couture

Adventure Tour Guide John Couture

While John was trekking across the United States from Connecticut, he stumbled upon the ambiance and more relaxed pace of life we harbor here in Southern Utah. Previous to joining our crew as Guide and Mechanic, he worked as a service technician for a company in Connecticut and a natural gas company in Colorado. John’s favorite part about Sand Mountain is the open trail, especially in the spring and fall. Outside of making sure our machines are up to par, he enjoys tending to his family’s vegetable garden, day-tripping on his motorcycle and travelling the beautiful USA. John owns his own off-road machines as well and loves to ride in the wilderness and go rock crawling. Too him, the best part about touring with ATV & Jeep is that our guests get to see areas they wouldn’t see normally on a hike.

 

Cary Glade

Adventure Tour Guide Cary Glade

Cary was raised in Utah’s capital Salt Lake City. After serving in and retiring from the United States of America Air Force, he came to live in a land of unlimited adventures. Also a place where family and friends love to come visit and play. Cary explains the best thing about being a part of the AJAT family is the diverse and unique people that adventure with him. He too owns a few Can Am ATV’s and a Side-by-side that allow him to further explore Southern Utah. Even when Cary isn’t out guiding, you bet he’s discovering new trails on Sand Mountain. To him, the perfect outdoor adventure time falls between the equinox’s. Cary has been an adventure Tour Guide for over 2 years now and believes that our excursions are a “Once in a lifetime experience!”

 

Tammy GladeAdventure Tour Guide Tammy Glade

We are beyond lucky to have Tammy providing wonderful memories for our guests alongside her husband, Cary. Tammy grew up in Fredonia Arizona. Now she continues raising her family in Southern Utah. She loves showing off our beautifully unique surroundings. Particularly with new people from all around the world. Tammy loves Saint George because of its colors and wonderful year round weather. Our adventure tours, from her standpoint, are the best and safest way to get to know Sand Mountain. In addition, Tammy’s favorite part of Sand mountain just so happens to be going to the Flintstone house. A special spot that mother nature created, where our Full-day Adventures often stop for lunch. 

 

David Cox

Adventure Tour Guide David Cox

David grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. He and his family decided to move north after his retirement from law enforcement. David has been riding ATV’s since the age of ten years old. Since then he has set his heart on adventuring alongside the temperate fall weather here. David’s other interests besides equipping our guests with unforgettable moments, are hiking and mountain biking. He also does a phenomenal job guiding our Off-road Van Excursions. Spotlighting ancient history, dinosaur tracks and pioneer heritage. Besides the fact that “we get paid to play,” Dave’s favorite part of sand mountain are the Navajo sandstone rock formations.

 

 

Bill McKinney

Adventure Tour Guide Bill McKinneyBill and his family traveled south from Northern Utah to bask in his retirement from owning his own company and to take part in the adventuresome lifestyle here in Southern Utah. In his own side-by-side machine Bill adores taking his grandchildren out the most. Since Bill has been with AJAT, he has come to savor meeting new people. He believes that we are an awesome tour company because we are where safety and fun meet. It cannot get any better than that. Bill is very fond of riding the big sand dunes on Sand Mountain in the Fall.

 

Alan Haycock

Adventure Tour Guide Alan Haycock

Alan fell in love with Southern Utah after calling Utah County home for most of his life. He loves gliding in the sand with our guests. Before catching up on sunshine, he finished his career as a coal miner. What brought him to southern Utah was the snow, or lack of it!  He is fascinated by the Iron Oxide in the sand. Which is responsible for it’s deep orange and red hues. Alan likes living only 2 short hours from anything you can imagine doing outdoors. Other than guiding for ATV and Jeep, he enjoys smoking meat in his charcoal smoker. He is quite the grill master! The Sand Highway on Sand Mountain captures his love to have a blast exploring the desert. If you want to see “mother nature in her raw,” adventure with Alan.

Dave Holton

Adventure Tour Guide Dave HoltonBorn in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dave came to Southern Utah for “the life.” Dave loves being a part of ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours, connecting with new people and riding through our awesome scenery. His favorite part of Sand Mountain ties between Jurassic park, wind- carved animal shaped sandstone boulders and Owl’s Nest. Where if you’re lucky, you will see a mother owl nesting. On the side, he dabbles in fishing, rock crawling and loves to travel the world. Dave shares that we provide safe and fun adventures while producing only the grandest memories.

 

Written By: Kathryn Bowler

There’s something extraordinary about golfing in the desert. It’s an experience one maybe doesn’t usually imagine themselves in, but should not be overlooked. What better place to enjoy it for yourself than Southern Utah, with its stunning red rock mountains and gorgeous national parks?

There are a number of golf courses in St. George, Utah, each boasting breathtaking views and intriguing layouts amidst unique desert scenery. Whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned player, here are nine golf courses you’re sure to enjoy:

Sunbrook Golf Club

First up is Sunbrook Golf Club, which offers a great variety of holes for players of all levels. There are three courses at Sunbrook for a combined total of 27 holes. The Pointe is great for beginners, but is not without some challenges, including one hole bordering a desert cliff. The other courses, Woodbridge and Black Rock, are more difficult but fair. Sunbrook also features sand traps full of vibrant red sand, making for an interesting look next to the well-maintained fairways.

Dixie Red Hills Golf Club

Nestled among sandstone cliffs, Red Hills Golf Club is a treat to play. It’s only a 9-hole course, making it great for a quick game. Novices and pros alike will enjoy the scenery, shooting around boulders and cliffs. It also includes many trees, providing welcome shade during the warmer months. All of this makes for a popular course that books up quick, so be sure to get your tee time in early!

Southgate Golf Club

While not as challenging as some of the other courses in the area, Southgate Golf Course offers fun for everyone. The front nine runs alongside the Santa Clara River, providing water hazards to several holes. The back nine involves a lot of walking, but you’ll enjoy the views so much you’ll hardly notice. Southgate also has a driving range and learning center, with award-winning PGA professionals and instruction programs to help you up your game. For more information, click here.

The Ledges Golf Club

Located just outside of St. George, The Ledges is generally not very busy and has a number of perks. Their clubhouse is great for hosting events, they have a fantastic restaurant, views of Snow Canyon State Park, and vacation rentals located around the course for the perfect golfing vacation. The course itself is 18 holes, and well-maintained. Most of the course is challenging but fair, however Hole #15 is known for being one of the toughest in the St. George area. Start booking your stay or tee time here.

Green Springs Golf Course

If you’re looking for a challenge, look no further than Green Springs Golf Course. Located just ten minutes from St. George in Washington, UT, this beautiful course includes views of Pine Valley Mountain and Red Cliffs State Park. Don’t let the lovely sights lull you into a sense of security, because this course can be tough. Several of the holes are unforgiving, including the two signature holes, 5 and 6, which involve shooting over a ravine. Combined with a great price and well-maintained grounds, this course is sure to be a great time. Check it out!

Coral Canyon Golf Course

Conveniently located right off I-15 in Hurricane, UT, Coral Canyon possesses a great mix of holes for your enjoyment. With breathtaking views of Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, this course is all about color and is built around natural land formations. They also offer individualized golf lessons, working with you directly on whatever parts of the game you desire.

Sky Mountain Golf Course

Named for its many elevated tees, Sky Mountain’s views can be so awe-inspiring you may find yourself distracted from the game more than once. Owned and operated by the City of Hurricane, this course is well-maintained and boasts panoramic views of Zion National Park and the Pine Valley Mountain Range. They also possess a driving range, instructors for lessons, and the nearby Sky Mountain Grill is great for a post-game meal. Click here for more information.

Sand Hollow Golf Course

The course at Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane has everything you could want. With a driving range, a clubhouse containing gourmet dining and Pro Shop, and villas or rental homes for vacationing, this secluded resort makes for the perfect little hideaway off the beaten path. It also boasts two separate golf courses, the 18-hole championship course plus a 9-hole “links style” course for more casual games. The back nine of the championship course play along a ravine for a thrilling experience. For more info, click here.

Entrada At Snow Canyon Country Club

The last, but not least, of our list is a private country club, but guests of the Inn at Entrada are also welcome to the golf course there as well. If you’re planning a luxurious golfing vacation, this may be the place for you. Their 18-hole course is challenging, well-maintained, with an incredible layout built in and around black lava flows. Top-notch service and amenities, and regularly ranked among the top ten golf courses in Utah, Entrada may be exclusive but it is definitely worth it! To start planning your stay, click here.

If you are looking towards Southern Utah for your next family vacation, we have some favorite spots we think you should check out. Most of our staff lives in St George and have become well versed in the many attractions and activities around here. Our top “to-do’s” are listed below, let us know if you have any other favorites that should have made the list.

Lava Tubes at Snow Canyon State Park

The lava tubes in Snow Canyon State Park and the perfect adventure for family fun. There are 3 main tubes that you can explore and a few others that require some tights squeezing to enter. Inside you can find geological wonders and cooler temperatures. Some of the paths require a little bit of climbing so we suggest bringing a headlamp and backpack if you really want to explore. This excursion can take as little as 30 minutes or as long as 2 days if you explore in depth.

Zion National Park

If you are in the area and have the time, we highly recommend spending some time in Zion’s National Park. Zion offers great hiking and camping for all ages and experience levels. For the beginner we suggest the riverside walk, for the adventurer we suggest spending a day hiking the Angel’s landing trail. For a full list of our favorite hikes in Zion click here.

Kanaraville Falls

Kanaraville Falls is a beautiful hike that takes you on an adventure through a slot canyon with extraordinary views and a chance to climb up a waterfall! This hike is growing in popularity, but doesn’t have the same crowds that you will find in some of the larger national parks. This 4.8 mile hike is great for most ages, but keep in mind there are some trickier parts that might not be a great fit for young inexperienced hikers. Bring shoes you can get wet, some sunscreen, a camera, and an adventurous spirit to make this hike a memorable experience.

Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon

Hoodoos rock structures that resemble a totem-pole. These large structures are formed through erosion of land overtime, and range from 5 to 150 feet tall. One of the most common places to find these glorious formations is right next door in Bryce Canyon National Park. The variety in the rocks makes for a fun learning experience for children and geological enthusiasts alike! To learn more about these exciting formations check out this article on Bryce Canyon Geology.

Outdoor shows at Tuacahn

Tuacahn is a world famous outdoor amphitheater just a short 18-minute drive from St George, UT. The theater boasts visits from world famous performers and frequent Broadway shows. Their family-friendly season make this theater a must for any family vacation. Experience some of your Broadway favorites like you never have before with advanced technical design and the unique backdrop of Southern Utah red rock. For more information and a list of events visit their website  here.

ATV Adventure

Our final “must” for the St George area is taking an ATV adventure tour with our staff. A great tour for any level of experience would be our three-hour sandstone teaser. This adventure is perfect for individuals who don’t have a ton of time, or just want to try out an ATV ride. You will explore the beautiful Sand Hollow Park visiting geological sites and experience breathtaking views all guided by our skilled staff. This adventure covers 14-18 miles of unrepeated terrain. Climb red rock and glide over sand dunes in this thrilling adventure. To book this adventure click here.

Once you have decided on Southern Utah for your next vacation the first step to planning the perfect trip is figuring out where you are going to stay. Luckily, there seems to be a never-ending list of accommodations to make your trip a memorable one. You could try camping in Zion National Park or visiting one of the various RV Parks in the area. If you are anything like my family, you will want to spend at least a few nights in a hotel. There are several high-quality hotels in the St George area, from family and budget friendly to resort quality spots that are perfect for a romantic getaway. Here is a list of some of our favorite places to crash after a full day of adventures.

Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites

The Crystal Inn Hotel & Suites is an excellent hotel for a family vacation. Their prices are very modest without skimping on any of the commodities. This Hotel offers free WiFi and parking, a pool with excellent views, and a fabulous hot breakfast. Travelling with a pet? Crystal Inn allows you to bring your fur babies with you for a small fee. Reviewers frequently cite them as a relaxing, clean, and comfortable getaway.

Best Western Abbey Inn

The Best Western Abbey Inn is another perfect spot for family trips in the St George area. They are located right in the middle of town making for easy access to several downtown restaurants and stores. This hotel includes all the usual amenities and more such as, a fully operational business center, a convenience market and gift shop, guest laundry, bus and RV parking, an extraordinary pool area complete with an indoor hot tub and kids pool, and last but certainly not least, an exceptional free breakfast with an omelet bar, waffle maker, bacon, and other tasty items.

Wingate By Wyndham

The Wingate by Wyndham is an excellent spot for both personal and business travel. This hotel is right next door to a plethora of local restaurants and a large shopping complex. The hotel offers a free shuttle service to any location within a 5-mile radius of the hotel as well as a complimentary bike rental service making this the perfect hotel for anyone traveling without their own vehicle. This pet friendly hotel offers free breakfast and WiFi, a fabulous pool area, and complimentary viewing access to all Sunday NFL games.

Inn At Entrada

Tucked inside a gated golf community you will find the luxury resort Inn at Entrada. Located just outside of Snow Canyon State Park, this hotel makes for the perfect getaway with easy access to several nearby golf courses, Tuacahn Theater, or the world-famous Zion National Park. Amenities include an outdoor pool, spa and wellness center, family rooms, and of course access to the Entrada golf course (once

Inn on the Cliff

Inn on the Cliff is the epitome of a perfect getaway resort. Each room includes a private balcony, Simmons Beautyrest Plush Mattress, 50” HD Plasma Smart TV, and complimentary breakfast delivered to your room. Other amenities include: Netflix access, fitness center, outdoor pool and hot tub, refrigerator, and personal Keurig with your choice of tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. Recently ranked as number 7 on Trivagos “18 Spectacular Hotels You Must Add To Your Bucket List”, this hotel is sure to make your stay a memorable one.

 

Southern Utah is home to some brilliant desert scenery. While certainly beautiful, it can be difficult to imagine the landscapes as anything but the sun-drenched hills and valleys, dotted with dry brush and framed by red sandstone cliffs. However, millions of years ago, this land was very different. For example, in the late cretaceous period (somewhere around 75 million years ago), half of Utah was under water, while the other half was part of the island continent of Laramidia, the western portion of what would eventually be North America.

Before that, during the early Jurassic period 200 million years ago, Southern Utah consisted of a floodplain 2, where lakes, streams, and mudflats would form and evaporate on a seasonal basis. These waterways were frequented by dinosaurs, who left behind evidence of their existence in the form of tracks made in the soft mud and river sediments. Many of these tracks were preserved after the water all dried up, and can be seen today in a number of track discovery sites around St. George, UT.

Here are two of the best places to see them for yourself:

Warner Valley Dinosaur Track Site

In 1982, a site containing dinosaur footprints was discovered by Gary Delsignore while he was exploring Warner Valley. Upon initial examination, the site was thought to have around 160 tracks. However, it was reevaluated in 2010, when paleontologists discovered the site actually contains over 400 tracks, and 23 trackways (which are a series of tracks left by the same animal) 3.

While they cannot know the exact species of dinosaur just from footprint alone, paleontologists use the sizes and shapes of the tracks to tie them to groups of dinosaurs who may have made them. The tracks at Warner Valley fall into two types called Grallator and Eubrontes, and paleontologists have theorized what specific dinosaurs may have made them.

All of this information and more can be found on panels at the site, which is accessed by a short hiking trail near Hurricane, UT. The site is free to visit, and most of the tracks are congregated in one area indicated by signs. The trail is under a half mile round-trip, very easy to navigate, and consists of a short, steep hill before reaching the site itself. It’s a great hike to bring your kids, who will love the sense of exploration and discovery as you come right up to the tracks themselves.

Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm

What better way to escape the summer heat than a dinosaur museum? The Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm is located in St. George, UT, and contains a multitude of well-preserved tracks and other fossils. It was discovered in 2000 when Dr. Sheldon Johnson was leveling a hill on his land, and found tracks preserved between the layers of sandstone. He and his wife worked to protect the location, and eventually donated the tracks and land to the city of St. George.

The museum was built on top of the site. While a bit on the small side, it hosts thousands of tracks and is full to the brim with fun and educational things to see and do. It includes a preparation lab where trained volunteer’s clean fossil samples, and a classroom with rotating exhibits and activities.

Viewing of the tracks themselves begins with a short video about the site and what’s to be found there. After that, visitors are free to stroll around a boardwalk built over the original track surface. There are several plaques along the path to explain what to look for and where (some of the tracks can be hard to spot without the helpful guides). Besides the footprints, there are also marks identified as tail dragging, swimming tracks, and even prints from dinosaurs sitting or lying down.

Towards the end of the boardwalk path there are many other fossil types and replicas to view and learn about, and there are some beautiful murals throughout the facility. The museum is staffed by friendly volunteers who are happy to share their knowledge about the site and the species that lived there long ago. All in all, this museum is a fun and intriguing peek into what life may have been like when dinosaurs roamed the land.

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  1. & 2. Information taken from panels at the Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks Site

 

 

Southern Utah is known for Zion and Bryce National parks but there is so much more to do and see, especially with children. The area is filled with wonderful neighborhood parks, tons of history and historical areas, several State Parks and even ghost towns. It seems like there is a park, playground or pond in almost every area of the Southern Utah. Washington County actually wants to have a park or pond accessible to every residential area that is within walking distance and they are doing a good job of providing that. Here are just a couple of our favorite parks/playgrounds for the kids.

Downtown St. George City….

Dixie Rock at Pioneer Park

Every visit to Southern Utah should include a visit to Pioneer Park (a.k.a. Dixie Rock). This is actually a city park that encompasses 52 acres of incredible hiking, rock climbing, slot canyons and caves. There area areas to have an afternoon picnic, BBQ or just to take a well-deserved rest scattered throughout the park. From the top of the Dixie Rock you can see the entire St. George valley, White Dome, Zion National Park and Arizona. While you are there don’t forget to hike up to Scouts Cave and try to go through the “slot canyon”. Both very popular places in the park.

Red Hills Desert Garden

Right next to the Dixie Rock is one of the newest parks in Southern Utah is Red Hills Desert Garden. This is the first desert conservation garden the state of Utah. The park includes a man-made stream with water pumped directly from the Virgin River with 6 native fish species as well as over 170 species of drought tolerant plants. There is a replica of a slot canyon that towers well over 7 feet in the air. While walking around in the slot canyon you will find a fantastic area where there are acrylic windows placed in the faux rock. These windows allow you to get a peak at the aquatic life living in the river. Parts of the river are made to be crossed because you will find huge rock stepping stones to navigate over to get to the other side. There is plenty of seating scattered throughout the park as well.

Town Square and Carousel

Just south of the Dixie Rock is the Town Square with a splash pad, lazy river, a vintage carousel and the Children’s Museum. This is a truly wonderful town square and park. The main attraction is the lazy river and the splash pad. The man-made river meanders through out the greater portion of the park. There is a rock waterfall on the north end of the river that flows into very shallow water where the kids can bet their feet wet but still be safe. There are also large sitting rocks in the middle of the river to relax on. You can’t miss the splash pad for great summer fun. This is the largest splash pad in Southern Utah and is usually filled with kids cooling off. To the west side of the park is the Vintage Carousel where people of all ages can go for a spin on their favorite horse or in a carriage seat. There is ample seating, shade and picnic areas, bathrooms and huge grass areas throughout the Town Square as well.

The Children’s Museum

Just next door to the town square is the Children’s Museum. The museum is fairly new and a favorite in the community. It is free for all children to enter and explore. The museum encompasses 3 floors and 10,000 square feet. Your children will be able to explore everything from prehistoric animals, milking “cows”, pretending to be a knight in a castle, a mechanic working on cars and so much more. They have a sports room, science, music, art and theater exhibits as well as an airport where every child can be the pilot! The Children’s Museum also has special exhibits throughout the year and is a favorite place for most of the local children to be free and creative.

Thunder Junction Park

The newest park on the south west side of St. George is Thunder Junction. Thunder Junction is the only all abilities park created for children in Southern Utah. Thunder Junction features a volcano pavilion for parties, lunch, etc. If you use the BBQ grill, then the volcano actually starts smoking to simulate an eruption! This prehistoric themed city park has everything from splash pads to water features to a vast amount of playground equipment. Everything in the park has been made so that a handicapped child can still have just as much fun as anyone else. There are handicapped accessible ziplines, swings, water features as well as a train ride that circles the park and crosses the park to give everyone a fun scenic tour of the park. There is a massive dinosaur with a double slide built in the tail and a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull that sprays water out of its mouth. Thunder Junction is truly a unique park for everyone of all ages.

Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum

The Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum occupies more than 35,000 sq. feet where visitors can see over 300 different species of animals found throughout the world all displayed in their natural habitat. Different parts of the world make up the displays. There is the mountains of Asia, the plains of Africa and the forests of North America. One of the main highlight of the museum is the 2-story mountain. The mountain has waterfalls and speakers that give the sounds of the animals and even a periodic thunder and lightening storm can be heard. You will see preserved animals such as mountain lions, elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep, buffalo, crocodiles, giraffes and even a snarling cheetah as well as a vast variety of birds. There are also 100’s of insects and a wonderful butterfly collection. There is also a large kid’s room that has a full-size tree house, reading nooks, climbing area, a camping play area and a large variety of animal pelts, fur and horns that the children can touch and explore. Just outside of the museum is one of the best information and gift shops in the area.

The National parks are a must see but don’t forget about visiting the local parks as well.

Christmastime is a time full of tradition and wonder. Many families celebrate with food, music, gift-giving and other traditional activities that have been passed down from generation to generation. It is a time when people both young and old get together and share in the joyful sense of Christmas spirit. All these elements, and more, are reflected in the St. George Dickens’ Festival every winter.

It began in 2001 by some of the same people who founded the Dickens’ Festival in Salt Lake City. By now, the festival has been an ongoing tradition for over 30 years, and when you attend one yourself you can easily see why. Recreating the 19th century London of Charles Dickens’ stories, the festival is engulfed in an atmosphere that evokes the Christmas spirit in such a natural, yet thrilling way. Booths fill the Dixie Convention Center, arranged in narrow, winding paths to resemble crowded London streets. Vendors who run the booths are required to adhere to strict codes, to uphold the festival’s themes. The booths are all decorated to resemble Olde English shops, and those working inside them are dressed in period-appropriate costumes and speak in their best British accents.

Entertainment abounds at the festival, where music and laughter fill the air. A variety of performances can be viewed from two stages in the convention hall. Mini productions of Scrooge and Oliver play every night, as well as performances by local dance and music groups. There is also a number of actors in costume performing “street theater” as characters inspired by Dickens’ work, including orphans, pickpockets, Queen Victoria, Fagin, and Scrooge himself. Father Christmas is there all day each day, ready with a smile to hear your Christmas wishes. The same man has played the part for over 30 years, and his skill in the role is a big draw to the festival for many families. Beyond a visit with Father Christmas, there are a number of other activities to delight the children, including brass rubbing, candle dipping, costume dress-up, and one year there were even live reindeer to see.

Food is available through catering by the convention center, and a number of booths also sell sweet treats and delectable goodies. The smells coming from Mr. Bumble’s Buns are irresistible, thanks to the variety of cinnamon rolls offered there. Other treats commonly found include fudges, pastries, popcorn, and Pioneer Valley’s excellent selection of jams and syrups.

The booths provide a fun and thrilling shopping experience. Many of them contain handmade artisan items, such as beautiful soaps, hand-carved wooden objects, knitted or crocheted toys and clothing, and much much more. It’s a great place to find unique Christmas gifts for friends and family, and the variety of shops makes it easy to get something for everyone.

Held in the last week of November, in the Dixie Convention Center, the Dickens’ Festival is a wondrous experience. The music, entertainment, food, shopping, decorations, all set against the backdrop of 19th Century London, combine to form an atmosphere that is certain to appeal to your sense of Christmas Spirit. Make a visit to the festival this year, and it will surely become a new tradition for your family to share for years to come.

If you are looking for a way to put some education in your next family vacation to St George, we have a few spots that are sure to be a crowd pleaser. St George is full of historical locations, geological sites, and educational museums. Listed below are some of our favorite kid-friendly educational activities to enjoy during your next visit to St George.

Historical walking tour of St George

Taking a self-guided walking tour of the Downtown area in St George is an excellent way to learn about the towns rich history. This is the perfect educational activity for the family and includes many locations where experienced tour guides can give you in depth descriptions of each building. The Chamber of Commerce in St George also provides a detailed description of each location on their printable tour map which can be found here.

Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum

The Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum is home to a vast display of animals from all over the globe. This museum is a great educational outing for any age. They have electronically guided tours, so you are able to move at your own pace. Their dedicated space for young children will engage your youth in educational hands-on activities that will make for truly memorable experiences. This museum is a non-profit and contributes to the preservation of wildlife.

Red Hills Desert Garden

If you have been to St George you have probably heard of the “Dixie Rock”, but a newer attraction recently to make its appearance just East of the famous stone is the Red Hills Desert Garden. This garden features a wide variety of desert plants and live native fish that can be viewed through plexiglass windows in their man-made slot canyon. You can experience the whole garden in less than an hour, but we suggest taking your time learning about the many exhibits there. Be sure to watch the ground, as historic tracks are nestled in the rock between the displays! For more information visit their website here.

Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum

The western sky aviation warbird museum is a non-profit aviation museum dedicated to preserving, restoring, and displaying aircraft. Many of the planes were used in World War II or the Korean War. Most of the staff at the museum are experienced aviation experts and are happy to answer any questions you have. Many of the aircrafts are still flown today on special occasion so be sure to check with staff if there are any special events during your stay where you can see these warbirds take flight. The museum also features visiting aircrafts, so each visit could be entirely different. There is not entrance fee to the museum, but a $2 donation is suggested.

Dino Cliffs Dinosaur Tracks

The Dino Cliffs Dinosaur Tracks is a .5-mile family-friendly hike that rewards hikers with a stunning view of ancient dinosaur tracks rumored to be from the Jurassic period. This excursion is a short 15-minute drive from St George and allows for the whole family (including pets) to scramble around stunning red rock formations. Be sure to bring sunscreen as much of this hike is in direct sun.

ATV Off-Road Van Tour

This list wouldn’t be complete without including our amazing Southern Utah van excursions. These tours are extremely affordable and educational. On tour you will see petroglyphs, a gypsum mine, the historical remains of Fort Pearce, and real fossilized dinosaur tracks. The best part about visiting these locations on a tour, is you have an experienced guide who can share history and details you may have missed visiting these locations on your own. For more information on our van tours click here.