Seven Peaks Fun Center, an offshoot of a chain of water parks and family-entertainment centers, emulates its four sister locations with a jovial collision of bowling and restaurant eats. Although the Sandy location opened recently, its collection of recreational activities is evolving faster than that of an Olympic video gamer, with laser tag, indoor mini golf, and a full arcade currently in the works.
Dan McManus discovered early on that his path through life wasn’t going to be an earthbound one. It was 1977, Dan was in his teens, and he had just taken his first hang-gliding flight. Since then, he has dedicated his life to the sport, soaring from cliffsides in the US, New Zealand, Central America, Costa Rica, the European Alps, and the Pyrenees of Spain. At Point of the Mountain Flight Park–Southside, Dan and Hildegard leads passengers on tandem flights over the beauteous Utah landscape. Passengers enjoy a blend of relaxing views and exhilarating rides on each trip, along with instruction on how to steer the giant wing and use the CB radio to signal airborne truckers.
At Golden Tan, the staff offers a variety of services that helps guests bronze their bods, whiten their teeth, and slim down. UV tanning and spray tanning help customers achieve their desired levels of beachy bronze or pass for Midas descendants, and an array of moisturizing, antioxidant-packed lotions aims to intensify tans. Teeth-whitening sessions and Formostar infrared body wraps further help clients create their ideal looks at multiple area locations.
At Bad Lands Bow Hunters' indoor range, archers take their place in one of 12 lanes and send arrows flying at moving targets up to 40 yards away. Bowmen and women nock their arrows on the bowstring and point them downrange at targets shaped like deer and turkeys hiding among the trees. At one station, archers walk up several steps onto a wooden platform that mimics outdoor shots attempted from an elevated tree stand or a public pool’s diving board.
Frolicking in a 500,000-gallon wave pool, plummeting from 100-foot free-fall slides, and drifting along a 1,200-foot lazy river with 5 mph currents are just a few of the diversions found within Seven Peaks' net of water parks. The aquatic havens spread across Utah, Missouri, and Indiana, luring families and adventurous kayakers with forests of twisting water slides such as the Provo location's Boomerang, which sends passengers ricocheting down three stories. Calmer fun awaits at child-friendly areas such as the Salt Lake location's Dinosaur Bay, where toddlers splash and ride small slides, and lazy rivers welcome both whippersnappers and adults hoping to relax.
In addition to its water parks, Seven Peaks manages a fleet of fun centers in Utah and Missouri. Visitors to the Lehi location enjoy rides on a pirate ship or in bumper boats, and guests at the Orem location can putt through a glowing, neon mini-golf jungle lit by black lights, or whack at the imagined faces of arch-nemeses in the batting cages.
Traditionally, if you wanted to find out the length of a giraffe's tongue, you'd have to hide in a tree with a ready hand and a yardstick. Utah's Hogle Zoo has streamlined the process, however: one of its animal encounters allows guests to feed the long-necked creatures alongside a keeper, who will happily tell you that their purple tongues stretch for 20 inches. The giraffes are just one of more than 800 animals inside the zoo grounds. Spanning 42 acres of verdant hillside property, the exhibits strive to showcase fauna in arenas that mimic their natural habitats.
The polar bear inside Rocky Shores—the zoo's largest exhibit to date—lumbers through a landscape inspired by North America's western coast, with a pool that affords guests underwater views of the bear’s attempts to secure its swim cap. Snow leopards, Siberian lynxes, and amur tigers prowl the Himalayan-inspired scenery of the Asian Highlands. At Elephant Encounter's African Lodge, visitors can touch an elephant skull or a rhino horn before glimpsing the pachyderms in the flesh. Summer shows send eagles and hawks swooping overhead in the Wildlife Theatre. From loping wolves and toothy crocodiles to the sagely gorillas of the Great Apes house, the beasts all benefit from the staff's enrichment efforts, which encourage learning as well as instinctual behaviors.
As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Utah's Hogle Zoo demonstrates a commitment to wildlife conservation that extends beyond its gates. Many of its special events contribute funds to preservation programs. For example, the Orange Utahn Art show raises donations for endangered primates, selling original works by both local artists and the zoo's orangutans, who compose colorful paintings. Guests can even get a closer look at imperiled species by saddling up on top of one—the Conservation Carousel arrays 42 hand-carved sculptures of at-risk animals, such as the red panda, the giant panda, and the false panda, which is just a black poodle that rolled in some paint.