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Six great local parks & museums for children in Southern Utah

 

 

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.

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Free Activities for Kids in Southern Utah

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.

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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.

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Not quite sure which ATV Adventure tour is right for you?

At ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours we believe in offering a variety of tour lengths to accommodate all of our guests. We offer three different tour lengths so there is always an option to suit everyone’s needs. Our adventure tours include the “Sandstone Teaser” which is a 3-hour adventure tour, the “Rattle Snake Round-Up” that is 4 hours in length (the most popular tour) and lastly, the “Red Rock Rally” full day adventure with a tour length of 5 hours. We are also happy to say we now offer an add-on of the longest Zipline and Rappel in Southern Utah!

  • 20160801_0815143-Hour Sandstone Teaser Tour

The Sandstone teaser 3-hour ATV adventure tour climbs halfway up the gorgeous Red Plateau of Sand Hill in Sand Hollow State Park and passes through red rock monuments with spectacular views of lakes and different mountain ranges. This tour covers 15 – 20 miles and you are able to reach the minor sand dunes where there are typically smaller sand hills and bowls we love to treat our guests to. This tour is a full loop so there is no backtracking on the ride and new terrain is covered throughout. This is a great tour for those who are limited on time and just want to get out into the beautiful backcountry of Southern Utah. You will take home some amazing photos and lasting memories. Just be warned, the time goes by rather quickly and this tour will leave you wanting more. Our guests usually tell us they will be back for a longer tour. This tour is suited for someone that is short on time and still wants to hit the sand dunes.

  • Half Day Rattlesnake Round-Up Tour

Our half day, 4 hour, ATV tours rise to an elevation of about 3500 feet with spectacular views of lakes and different mountain ranges. You will often see the entire St. George Valley as well as all the way to Zion National Park and Gooseberry. You will climb high enough to reach the MAJOR Sand Dunes where the BIG hills and sand bowls are located. Nothing beats the rush of driving down the big sweeping hills or driving higher and higher on the sand bowl! We also include a “SAND BALLET”, an experience you will never forget! You will also go to a huge box canyon where your imagination can run wild with thoughts of this being a hiding place for the outlaws back in the day. This tour is a progressive trail experience where you gradually gain more confidence in your driving abilities and each person is at their own comfort level, we do not push anyone to go outside their comfort level. Remember safety is our # 1 concern and all of our guides know how to be safe yet give you an adventure of a lifetime. This tour is suited for anyone from the very beginner rider to the more advanced rider.

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  • Full Day Red Rock Rally Tour

The full day, 5 hour, ATV adventure tour is packed full of action and adventure. It covers all the riding area of our Half Day Tour including “Jurassic Park”. Jurassic Park is an amazing area where mother nature has crafted out the sandstone hills to look like various per-historic creatures, sculptures, faces and one hill even looks like a huge cruise ship. You’ll have time to stretch your legs, hike around, climb on the creations and take amazing photos. You’ll enjoy a delicious picnic lunch and be able to swap stories about everything you have done and seen so far. Our guides will also be able to spend more time in the major sand dunes where all the huge hills and sand bowls are located as well as take you out to the “Flintstone House”. This is creation of mother nature that takes you back to the era of the Flintstones cartoon. Listen careful and you just may think you hear Barney and Fred saying “Yabba Dabba Do”! This tour covers 27 – 30 miles, so keep your eye peeled for the rock formations that look like a gigantic turtle or even a dinosaur head!  Our ATV Adventures are something that you will never forget and are something you will experience in no other place in the world. This tour is suited for anyone from the very beginner rider to the more advanced rider.

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  • Zipline Tour

We have recently paired up with our good friends at Paragon Adventures to offer something so unique, you won’t find it anywhere else! Ride ATV’s in the beautiful southern Utah desert and then zipline 800 exhilarating feet over a beautiful box canyon where the colors of the canyon walls will amaze you. When you get to the other side you will have the option to rappel down a sheer cliff wall as well as challenge yourself with a couple of great rope ladders to get back to the top.  After experiencing this amazing adventure tour, you will never look at adventure quite a the same.

 

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TUACAHN AMPHITHEATRE-A SOUTHERN UTAH FAVORITE

 Tuacahn Amphitheatre is a popular attraction for tourists and locals in Southern Utah. With spectacular views, nestled between 1500-foot red rock cliffs, with shows and entertainment you will never forget.  During the summer months they feature Utah’s finest actors, in some of Broadway’s greatest productions.  This unique outdoor theater is enhanced by Southern Utah’s famous red rock and natural desert scenery, which makes every show unique. Every year thousands of people from all over the world come to experience the beauty, performances, actors, and atmosphere that only Tuacahn offers.


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PETER PAN

Everybody can experience magical childhood memories, and dream a little when they watch J.M. Barrie’s famous story Peter Pan.  They bring the story to life right before your eyes in the red rock canyon with Pixie dust, pirates and Neverland.  They brought this show back after ten years, and the stadium was packed with anticipation from opening night on. They bring the story to life with majestic views, and the panoramic background is sure to leave you stunned.  You will witness Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and the Children flying over the stage just like in the classic version we all remember and love.  Peter Pan will run through mid -October 2016. 

 

HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME

Tuacahn will take you back in time to the 15th century in Paris.  Based on the novel and traditional songs from the Disney feature, as well as new songs, you will love this performance.  This story has a message that will touch the heart of all ages, and is about being a true hero.  They put a new twist on the show, but you will still see Victor Hugo’s original message of honor, love and betrayal.  Don’t miss the Hunchback of Notre Dame beginning in August 2016.

 

TARZAN

As the cool fall weather arrives, and Halloween is all around us, come experience the best show for the season, Odyssey Dance Theatre’s Thriller.  For many locals, this is a tradition during the Halloween season.  From the amazing costumes, dancing, comedy, and of course scenery, this show is truly something the family will never forget.  You will experience it all; skeletons, Frankenstein, werewolves, and mummies.  You can bring a warm blanket, snuggle up, and they have warm delicious hot chocolate available.  Thriller starts October 21-29, so get ready for crisp fall weather, laughs and spooky scares.

 

 

THRILLER

As the cool fall weather arrives, and Halloween is all around us, come experience the best show for the season, Odyssey Dance Theatre’s Thriller.  For many locals, this is a tradition during the Halloween season.  From the amazing costumes, dancing, comedy, and of course scenery, this show is truly something the family will never forget.  You will experience it all; skeletons, Frankenstein, werewolves, and mummies.  You can bring a warm blanket, snuggle up, and they have warm delicious hot chocolate available.  Thriller starts October 21-29, so get ready for crisp fall weather, laughs and spooky scares.

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CHRISTMAS IN THE CANYON

Tuacahn’s Christmas in The Canyon is November 27th through December 21st.  There is no better way to get into the best season of the year, then experiencing this magical presence of lights and festivities.  You can also enjoy Christmas items and Holiday gifts located at the Tuacahn Gift Gallery.  They offer delicious Holiday treats, hot chocolate and Christmas music.  They present a popular live Nativity which is a family favorite tradition.  You can take the kids to see Santa Claus, and ride a Holiday train.   This is an event that the entire family will cherish, and there is no better way to feel the Holiday magic then experiencing it at Tuacahn.

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Premier Boutique Hotel – INN on the CLIFF

The Inn on the Cliff offers an inviting, luxurious and contemporary style accommodation in St. George,UT.  They are located directly on the cliff above the Boulevard, overlooking the breathtaking scenic community of St. George. The Inn on the Cliff is also a short distance from the airport and many hiking trails. It’s a unique way to capture the beautiful scenery of Southern Utah, and Inn on the Cliff offers more than just accommodations.

The luxurious rooms offer panoramic windows and a private deck with every room. Every room guests can experience views of the St. George LDS Temple, historic Towne Square and Pioneer homes. In the distant view you will capture the amazing and colorful sandstone formations of Snow Canyon and Zions Canyon. The rooms have a contemporary feel with charm and comfort at every level.

While visiting the Inn on the Cliff you can enjoy and award winning cuisine at the Cliffside restaurant. This is contemporary American dining at its finest. The outside patio offers stunning views of the entire St. George community. They were voted “Best patio dining in Southern Utah” 2015, and “Best of state winner” 2016. This is a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else in Southern Utah.

Remember when you are in St. George to enjoy all the outdoor activities Utah has to offer, and come take a tour with ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours. We look forward seeing you on your next visit!

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