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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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Outdoor Adventure – How to prepare for Southern Utah

Outdoor Adventure” should be the nick name for Southern Utah.

  Utah is one of the top destinations in the country for anyone who likes the outdoors.  There is a vast amount of outdoor activities and always something to fit everyone, especially in Southern Utah. If you like ATV riding, off-roading, hiking, rock climbing, cycling, jet skiing, boating, fishing, golfing or even just taking in the beautiful scenery then Southern Utah is the place for you.

The weather can change drastically from over 100 degrees in the peak summer months to under 30 degrees at night in the winter months. You may not run into any snow in the winter in St. George, UT but just 40 minutes away you can be snow skiing or hiking in the snow. The weather may be semi-warm at Zion National Park in the winter but the water is very cold, be prepared.  If you are planning on a trip to the area, then you need to be prepared for your adventure.

Dress Appropriately100_0843-small

  • Dressing in layers, even in hot weather, is always a good idea. You can always take off layers if you are warm but cannot add layers if you are cold. It is also important you always have a pair of long pants with you, even in the summer. Certain times of the year it is always a good idea to have a hat or some rain gear in your backpack in case you get that quick rain squall.
  • A couple of different pairs of shoes are the most important pieces of clothing to have with you. If you are hiking on a graded trail or at the water, then a pair of sandals could be OK but if you are visiting Zion National Park or going on an ATV adventure then you will need a sturdy paid of closed toed shoes.
  • Do not forget to bring a good pair of sunglasses that have a UV rating with you. The summer sun can be a bit intense at times so don’t forget to protect your eyes. Bring a good pair of sunglasses you won’t mind if they get dropped in a river or a sand dune.
  • Small First Aid Kit
    • Always bring a first aid kit with you when in Southern Utah. Throw it in your backpack when you go on an adventure because you never know if you might get a blister from hiking in new hiking boots.

    Don’t forget SUNSCREEN

    • ALWAYS BRING A GOOD SUNSCREEN WITH YOU! Our sun can be intense in the summer so it is imperative you have a good sunscreen. DO NOT be afraid to use it often.
    • Even in the winter months we can have very high UV ratings so use sunscreen in the winter months as well.

    sand4Lip Balm

    • ALWAYS remember to bring plenty of lip balm with you. Remember your lips can get sunburned too.

    Water and Food

    • You will need to make sure you are ALWAYS hydrated!! You can never drink enough water in the desert. So, if you are hitting the trail, on an ATV adventure in the dunes, on the rocks or even in the water make sure you are bringing more water than you think you will need. If you are going on a tour, then ask if they provide water for you so you can lighten your load.
    • You will also want to pack a few small snacks like trail mix or protein bars, just in case. When you are out hiking trails, on the water or in the dunes, don’t forget to keep up your energy. Again, if you are taking a tour, ask if they provide snacks for you.

If your trip to Southern Utah includes an ATV or side-by-side UTV adventure on the best sand dunes in Utah, then just call the friendly staff at ATV & Jeep Adventure Tours and let them handle everything for you. The friendly staff can also help you find local accommodations and even other adventures such as zip lining, helicopter rides, mountain biking or even horseback riding with our partner companies.

Southern Utah is a year-round travel destination that has so much to offer. It is only a short two-hour drive from Las Vegas or a four-hour drive from Salt Lake City. Don’t miss out on one of the best outdoor travel destinations in the United States.  Outdoor Adventure