Winter time in Southern Utah is a great time to explore some of the area’s hidden gems. In addition to outdoor activities, there are many things you can do indoors. Typically the winters here are mild. It does get cold but the temperature averages just below freezing to 10 degrees Celsius, primarily at night. During the daytime hours it usually gets up to about 60 degrees F.

St. George Children’s Museum

View of the music room at the museum. Lots of hands on instruments.

The Children’s Museum is nestled in downtown St. George at the old Dixie Academy building. The historical Dixie Academy opened its doors in 1911. Teaching many students from Dixie High School and what was back then, Dixie State College. As well as preserving the building itself, they have kept it a place of learning. Which gives the Children’s museum a wonderful place to be. The museum itself was founded in 2011 but came to the Dixie Academy building in March of 2013.

As if one floor wasn’t enough, the museum is two levels. The purpose of the Children’s Museum is to allow children of all ages to learn, explore and create. Each room is kid-friendly with lots of interaction. Kids of all ages, adults included, can sit in the president’s chair or scale castle walls while fighting a dragon. The possibilities are endless.

Winter hours are 10 AM to 5 PM Tuesday through Saturday, admission is $5 a person and children under 2 are free. This is one of the most popular winter activities.

Fiesta Fun

A view when you walk into the door of Fiesta Fun, arcades, grill and laser tag facility

Our Fiesta Fun Family center is another hub for indoor activities. Although they do offer some outdoor activities like bumper cars and Go Carts as well. The Bowling Alley is equipped with over 20 lanes, various bowling balls, and shoe rentals. If you’re not the bowling type, don’t worry, the rest of the building is packed with arcade technology complete even a classic game or two of Pacman and pinball.

Another great part of the facility is the 2-story Laser Tag arena. Team up with total strangers or girls versus boys and do your best under the black light to avoid being spotted by an opponent. After running around working up an appetite, walk across the room and they have a grill. The Grill is complete with pizza, burgers, and salads for those eating healthier. Fiesta fun also has a great space for hosting birthday parties and larger groups.

Hours are Monday through Thursday 10 AM to 11 PM, Friday and Saturday 10 AM to midnight and Sunday’s 11 AM to 9 PM. Pricing depends on the attractions you decide to do!

Brigham Young Winter Home

Brigham Young's Winter Home open for tours year-round, especially in the winter.
Photo Credit: Hike St. George

Brigham Young was one of the first “snowbirds” to come to Southern Utah. The year-round sunshine helped to ease his arthritis. His winter home is located in the heart of St. George. It was built in 1871 and after he died, the home was passed around until the LDS church bought it and began the restoration process. Now the home is open to the public for tours, as a museum.

 House of Jump: Trampoline Park

The House of Jump is one-of-a-kind in Southern Utah. Providing 25,000 sq. feet of pure bounce. Besides the main trampoline area, there are 2 dodgeball arena’s, climbing walls, and a stunt pit. In addition, 2 “warp walls,” “aeroball” and virtual reality. There is an activity for every age here! They love to host birthdays and larger groups as well.

The House of Jump is open Monday through Thursday from 3 PM to 9 PM, Friday 1 PM to 10 PM and Saturday 11 AM to 10 PM. Pricing varies depending on age and the amount of time you want to spend.

The Grip: Ninja Gym

If you’re looking for one of those hole-in-the-rock winter activities, The Grip Ninja Gym is a blast! in Southern Utah. Since September of 2018, they have been open, offering classes as well as open gym time for anyone to enjoy the facility. Take a chance at being a ninja on the various types of obstacles similar to that of NBC’s hit show, “American Ninja Warrior.” This particular place is sure to get the wiggles out and is fun for all ages. Locally owned and operated by 2 American Ninja warrior competitors themselves, the idea is to make fitness fun.

Open Gym hours are Tuesday through Thursday 7 PM to 9 PM with Friday and Saturday hours 6 PM to 10 PM.

All in all, there are plenty of winter activities in Southern Utah. Be sure to plan a visit to one, if not all, of the places when you arrive for your adventure tour with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours.

Written By: Kathryn Bowler

Lonny Boy’s Barbecue is family-owned with only one goal in mind, to make the greatest bbq “this side of the Mississippi.”

In the Kitchen

In order to achieve the best barbecue, the pulled pork and beef brisket are smoked for over 12 hours alone. Your sniffer will smell juicy aromas from State Street in Hurricane because the smoker is on the outskirts of their parking lot. Wafting downtown with campfire smells, is one way to wrangle in the masses for some delicious BBQ. According to Lonny Boy’s, their food is said to “Improve test scores, enhance the immune system, increase fertility, cure cancer, and end loneliness.” It is that good! Keep an eye out for that saying and many others posted around the restaurant.

Appetizers, Meats & Sides

Barbecue chicken on french fries named "Frychos"

Lonny’s menu is simply nothing short of homestyle comfort food. Start off the meal with a great appetizer like “Frychos”, a delectable combination of french fries covered in any choice of meat and barbecue sauce. For those not as daring, they have chicken wings and regular BBQ nachos. The most popular entrees for ultimate hunger are one and two meat plates with your choice of meat and a few sides. They have a sampler for deciding what meat you want is difficult when they all look absolutely pig-out worthy. They also offer full and half racks of ribs drizzled in signature barbecue sauce.

Their sides are ones that typcially only reach your tastebuds when grandma is in town. Buttery Garlic Red Mashed potatoes, Mac ‘n Cheese, Baked Beans, and hush puppies make an appearance. Give the “Fried Cauliflower” a try, it’s an item that sets them apart. It’s a tasty and unexpected adventure for your mouth with the mild taste of cauliflower and the crunch of some good old fried batter. As a bonus, it’s a great way to get the kids to eat their veggies!

For anyone 10 and under, the kid’s menu offers a great selection of meats and other typical kid-friendly food items. Choose between pork, brisket or chicken, a pork sandwich, corn dog or chicken fingers! These meals include fries and a drink.

Sandwiches & More!

Besides meat and potatoes, sandwiches like the “Thunderbird”, half and half pork and beef brisket for the indecisive, and the “KING” pulled pork with a “crown” of coleslaw and of course, the crispiest bun west of the Mississipi. Keep in mind that they do have smoked chicken and turkey that can be dressed in any style or sauce.

In addition to their in-house menu, they have a bulk menu that allows you to buy pounds of smoked pork, brisket, and even a whole chicken. Also, they have a variety of their sides available in quart and pint sizes. Too bad you can’t take the barbecue with you on the plane!

Since it can’t make your flight smell heavenly, bring the barbecue to your hotel room and enjoy yummy food. Especially if you’re looking to feed a family or group of 6-8 people. The “Family Meal” is perfect. With choices of beef, pulled pork or chicken and 4 pint-sized sides and a half dozen cornbread muffins or rolls, assuring that there is something for everyone.


To quench thirst, they have a variety of Coca-Cola products like Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Barq’s Rootbeer and many other classics. Lonny Boy’s Barbecue also serves beer and wine.

Atmosphere

When a guest walks in the door at Lonny’s, they know they’ve arrived at the barbecue hub. After taking advantage of the perfect photo opportunity on their 4-seater motorcycle out front. Warm, smoky aromas steal away their appetite. Lonny Boy’s Barbecue challenges that “I don’t think I’m hungry” thought. Be prepared to think again! In addition to the air, the lighting is cozy and the decor is simply rustic. It feels like home especially so, when seating is up to you.

Starting is as easy, and more delicious, as the assembly line at your local Cafe Rio. After grazing the menu overhead, start at the “order here” sign and watch the barbecue magic happen. After that, pick up and pay for your food at the “pick up here” sign. They have an assortment of BBQ sauces at the table as well as next to the fountain drinks. Most people wander over there after getting their food to see about adventuring into some new flavors, or to get more barbecue sauce! Because a little more BBQ never hurt anyone!


Location and Hours

Lonny Boy’s Barbecue is located in downtown Hurricane, UT on State Street. Take Exit 16 for Hurricane from I-15 and hop onto State street. Be on the lookout for the 4-seater motorcycle in front of the restaurant. If you’re coming from Zion or Springdale, it’s a half-hour drive. In addition to an appetite, Google Maps can direct you here as well. They are open Monday through Thursday 11 AM to 9 PM, Friday and Saturday 11 AM to 9:30 PM and closed on Sunday.

“Put some south in your mouth” as Lonny Boy’s Barbecue says, after exploring over 16,000 acres of Southern Utah nature on the seat of an ATV or UTV on a Half-Day Sunset Adventure with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours.

Written By: Kathryn Bowler

In the spring of 2015, Southern Utah introduced one of Utah’s first interactive desert gardens. The garden was built in an effort to teach a healthier way to landscape in the dry desert. But another main function of the garden is so parents can teach their children about the beauty of the desert. Since the garden is high up on the parkway over looking the city, the views from the garden itself are breathtaking. You can see the entire Saint George valley area and even further on the many clear (non-polluted) days we have. The Red Hills Desert Garden is a project by the Washington County Water Conservancy District (WCWCD), the City of St. George and the Virgin River Program. Not only will you see a lot of native plants but the have replicated a slot canyon where you can walk through and see the area’s endangered fish species. Along the paths you might also spy some 200 million-year-old dinosaur tracks, keep your eyes open!

Getting Here

Nestled on a sandstone bluff, this nature spot overlooks all of St. George City. The views of the historic heart of downtown, old airport hill, and surrounding mountains in the distance are sure to please. Aptly named, it’s location is on Red Hills Parkway. Easily accessed from exit 8 off of I-15 and a 1.3-mile drive northwest. Likewise, a simple navigation in Google Maps will bring you to this hidden gem in Southern Utah too. Once you arrive you will find there are bathrooms, drinking fountains and a gazebo area with shade and seating. Throughout the entirety of the space, there are signs directing you around to the different sections. As well as, covered benches and swinging seats scattered in the garden.

Flora

Over 250 different types of plants contribute to the flora of the year round garden. The indigenous plants include succulents, cacti, and many other desert species. The Beavertail Prickly Pear cactus makes an appearance throughout the design space. In Spring and Summer you will see the incredible magenta blooms of the Beavertail Prickly Pear Cactus.  The Jumping Cholla is a plant you are sure to see adventuring with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours. Blooming red in the Fall, it’s sharp spines will “jump” on you at the slightest brush. Hence the name “Jumping.” Not the prickly cactus type? Look for the soft Coral Rain Lily. A very drought-tolerant pink colored flower that blooms in the spring. The over 250 varieties of plants at the garden are all indigenous to our local area. See if you can find all 250 different plants at the garden!

Fauna

As a result of the man-made stream that runs through the garden, the Virgin River Program was able to bring in some rare and endangered fish. The rare and beautiful Virgin River Chub is among five other fish that make up part of the fauna of this particular area. At the end of the slot canyon, the stream flows through a few viewing spaces where you can try to spot the different variety’s of fish. Typically you will see many types of lizards, squirrels, rabbits and maybe even the Mojave Desert Tortoise . The Mojave Desert Tortoise is among the species of turtles or tortoises protected and preserved in Southern Utah. Only a few feet from the Red Hills Desert Garden you will find a special conservation area for the tortoise.

Events at the Garden

The Red Hills Desert Garden involves the community with events and workshops held year-round. Xeriscaping is the highlight of the garden, known as landscaping in a “style that requires little to no irrigation.” There are special events held on the property through out the year. Mid-October, they decorate for the Scarecrow walk and Haunted Canyon. Scarecrow’s of all fashion line the sandstone walkways of the garden. Just a few days after Thanksgiving The Red Hills Desert Garden becomes a holiday wonderland. Thousands of colorful, twinkling lights glisten alongside the garden. Thousands of bright, cheery lights wrap around the 5 acres. Don’t forget to check with the City of St. George to see when events are happening at the Desert Garden.

The garden not only raises awareness of conservative water use in the desert but does a spectacular job showcasing Southern Utah’s unique flora and fauna. Hop off the plane, step out of the car, its the perfect place to go and stretch your legs with views like no other! After you’ve done that, head on over to your Full-Day Adventure with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours and keep an eye out for these indigenous plants.

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.

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.

 

There are a lot of free activities for kids in Southern Utah. The St. George area is a year-round recreational haven for singles, couples and especially for families. There are so many free activities for kids they will never be bored. There are parks for the kids, and adults alike, strategically placed all over town, Dinosaur tracks, museums, ATV riding, bike trails, petroglyphs, tons of water activities and so much more.

Thunder Junction All Abilities Parkthunder-junction

Thunder Junction, an all abilities park, has recently opened in St. George, UT. This is a special one of a kind park where no one is left out. Everything is accessible to everyone regardless if you are in a wheelchair, use crutches or not. The park has a dinosaur there with some really great features like an “erupting” volcano, splash pad and a 1/4 -scale train that has a 2,700-foot track.  This remarkable play space offers accessible and sensory-rich play space that will enchant and delight children and adults with or without disabilities.

Pioneer Park

Pioneer park is one of the most fabulous and free places to visit in the St. George, UT area. It is not your typical park because there is no grass or playgrounds. You have an entire 52-acre park that is a natural playground just waiting for you to explore. If your kids love to climb on rocks, then this is the place to come to. You can stay close to the parking area and still be able to climb several rocks or you can take the trail and find the historical pioneer cabin, Boy Scout Cave or connect off on another trail system to explore the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The views from the top of Dixie rock are out of this world!

Adjacent to Pioneer Park is the Red Hills Desert Garden. The primary focus of the garden is to teach and promote water conservation and landscaping principles but it is really so much more. There are waterways where you can hop on rocks to get over the water or take a bridge, watch the fish swim on by red-hills-13or you can head over to the view area. With the viewing area, the public can view the Virgin River’s native fish in the fish’s habitat. The Plexiglas panel is a great way to see how fish live in the lakes and streams in the area.

A fun surprise is the faux rock replica of a slot canyon. The canyon walls tower over you and kids love the feeling they are on a mountainous hike complete with overhanging archways. After checking out the “slot canyon” don’t forget the bonus trail over to the boulders where the kids can enjoy lots of rock to climb on and caves to explore.

Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks

About 15 miles outside of St. George is the Warner Valley Dinosaur Tracks. This area is popular with adults and kids alike because it’s easy to get to as well as having the ability to see over 400 dinosaur tracks in one concentrated area. With many of the dinosaur tracks, you can see the toe pads and claw marks. You can see dinosaur footprints left behind by dinosaurs from the eubrontes and the grallator groups from the early Jurassic period. It is always fun to compare your foot size to a massive animal that roamed the earth many, many years ago.

Little Black Mountain Petroglyph Site

This popular destination is just a few miles south of St. George on the Arizona strip alittleblack-5-lnd well worth the drive out. The Little Black Mountain Petroglyph site dates back over 6,000 years with over 500 individual rock-art designs, petroglyphs and elements on the cliffs and boulders. Along the 1.2-mile groomed trail you will notice the petroglyphs are mostly on the south side of the rocks and boulders.  Kids really love this outdoor activity. While you are there don’t miss going over to Glitter Mountain too.

In the same area as Little Black Mountain Petroglyph site you will also find Sparkle or Glitter Mountain.

Glitter Mountain is an old gypsum mine just one mile over the Utah state line into Arizona. It is a huge glittery mountain of fun! The gypsum looks like glittering crystals you can take home with you.  Don’t forget to bring something to chip away gypsum fragments from the pit. If you don’t want to chip off any rock, then you can just pick up a piece of the glittery rock from the thousands that are scattered on the ground. Bring a bucket to put the gypsum in so you can take a souvenir back to family and friends.

St. George City Town Square Park

Town Square Park is located in downtown St. George City, inside the historic district on Main Street. This park is fabulous for children and adults alike. There are several dramatic water features, a great splash pad fountainst-george-town-square with jets that spray high into the air to cool off in the summer months. Adults and kids really like the lazy river running throughout the park. They can wade in the water of the river to cool off their feet or play in the splashing waterfall. There is a lot of grassy area as well as pavilions with tables and chairs for relaxing. One of the newer additions to Town Square Park is the Carousel. It is a classic 36-foot carousel that features over 1000 lights, two sleighs and 30 beautify hand-painted horses. Children and adults alike can’t resist an old-fashioned carousel!

The St. George City Children’s Museum is also located within the park. This is a great place to take kids of all ages. The museum has ten exhibit rooms so everyone can have a blast.  In these areas is where everyone is encouraged to touch, feel, play and explore with everything. You can do everything from milk a cow to be a fireman for the day. There are two floors to the museum where there is everything from a science area to music and bubble rooms. You can spend an hour or a full day at this fantastic children’s museum.

Southern Utah has so much to offer no one can be bored, unless they choose to. When you are visiting Southern Utah, you will find there is something for everyone. The best part is that not all activities have to break the bank! After your ATV tour with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours there is still time in the day to relax and take in some free activities.