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.
Could you survive a zombie apocalypse? Zombie Apocalypse’s haunted house dares guests to live out this scenario trapped inside the XSI Factory, where haunted scenes tests their mettle against the unrelenting forces of diseased, flesh-hungry corpses. In this interactive setting—designed by professional set crews and manned by gorily outfitted actors—guests put their survival skills to the test to see if they can get past the hoards of the undead who crave nothing but your brains or the unlimited borrowing privileges for your Encyclopaedia Britannica collection. The set design and zombies' costumes and makeup realistically immerse guests into the terror, and they are also encouraged to dress up and do their best zombie impressions. To avoid the long lines, clients can purchase fast-pass tickets or opt for the VIP package to get mauled within the sinister scenes faster.
The Living Planet Aquarium has become one of Utah´s most unique and popular attractions, and is definitely a must-see if you are planning a trip to Utah. Exhibits feature sharks, rays, seahorses, jellyfish as well as octopus, eels, starfish, amphibians, trout and other freshwater species.
The Heber Valley Railroad whisks railroad buffs and the locomotive-curious through the scenic Provo Valley. The railroad crosses through the same scenery and buildings that travelers would have spotted at the turn of the century, making for a tour that’s family friendly, educational, and charmingly pictorial. This deal is valid for two children's tickets on any one of the following excursions:
Shafts of sunlight pierce Tracy Aviary’s dense conifer forest, sending great grey owls into hiding until nightfall, when they emerge to hunt silently above the treetops. The Owl Forest is just one of five diverse ecosystems that dot the aviary’s eight acres. Nearby, at the South American Pavilion, aviary keepers tend to keel-billed toucans as their colorful beaks break through the cereal boxes in which they incubate. And on the Kennecott Wetland, visitors can espy long-billed curlews and American coots roosting in the tall grass.
In addition to providing a diverse habitat in which native and endangered species can thrive, Tracy Aviary’s curators strive to educate visitors about threats to avian species and to encourage stewardship. To that end, the aviary frequently hosts bird encounters, small group talks with avian keepers, and even the opportunity to feed various species.
More than two decades ago, Angy Ford, the owner of Bravo Arts Academy, taught her first piano lesson. In the years that followed, Angy’s student base steadily grew, taking over her home-studio space and filling it with noise like a college roommate with no conception of personal space. Angy was heartened by this positive response and overwhelmed by the number of students knocking at her door, so she moved her operation to its current Ogden studio space, which, like the home studio that came before, has continued to expand. Here, Angy couples her bread-and-butter music classes with a host of other engaging pursuits—from art classes to dance lessons—that help kids develop confidence, coordination, and artistic skills. The academy’s facilities invite tots to tumble over thick foam, ballerinas to pirouette over a floating marley floor, and pianists to tickle the ivories in a group setting.
Broken down by age group, the academy’s offerings include preschool, where classes are kept small and incorporate sign language into the curriculum, and extends all the way to private music lessons for adults. Angy models her daycare after the best practices she observed while visiting more than 50 childcare centers, encouraging creativity and learning rather than running infants through daily gauntlets of strength.
On Friday the 13th of July, Go Tri sponsors its annual series of nighttime races with routes wending paths between local landmarks such as the Eagle Mountain City Center, Nolan Park, and the scenic Ranches neighborhood. Donning glow-in-the-dark outfits to increase visibility, without carrying a night light on a transatlantic extension cord, runners can dart through the half marathon, adopt a casual pace during the 5K, or go stride-in-little-stride with youngsters during a short fun run that ends at Nolan Park’s splash pad. At the finish line of each race, participants can cool down and refuel on complimentary snacks, while prizes honor the fastest and most festively dressed runners.