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Explore Popular Utah Attractions
There are so many fascinating attractions throughout Utah that your most difficult task might be narrowing down your itinerary. Whether you are interested in heritage sites, botanical gardens or zoos and aquariums, you will find memorable attractions in the Beehive State.
Sanctuaries, Zoos and Aquariums
If your travels take you to Kanab in Southern Utah, schedule a stop at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. It’s among the largest sanctuaries for abandoned or abused animals anywhere in the United States. Stop in at the Welcome Center to get on a tour when you arrive.
Salt Lake City is home to the Hogle Zoo. In operations since the early 1930s, the Hogle Zoo now encompasses more than 42 lush acres that make you feel like you have entered an entirely different world. The zoo is home to more than 800 animals. Among the top attractions is the Himalayan Village that protects five different endangered Asian cat species. The elephant encounter is also a big draw, as is the white rhinoceros. Make sure to leave some time to explore the Tracy Aviary’s more than 400 birds.
Are you fascinated by sea creatures? Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah, should not be missed. Here, you will get an insight into the creatures that live in the Utah waters, as well as numerous South American species, creatures of the Antarctic, and other ocean animals. You can also meet two of their relatively new residents, the two-toed sloths, before walking through their unforgettable shark tunnel.
If you are staying in Salt Lake City, the Red Butte Garden and Arboretum is sure to capture your imagination. It’s run by the University of Utah (USU) and includes more than 100 acres of botanical gardens. It also provides acres of native vegetation, as well as numerous hiking trails that run through it all. Its springtime displays are particularly popular, as they offer up stunning displays of nearly half-of-a-million blooms. If you visit in the summer, be sure to attend their delightful concert series.
If Ogden is on your travel itinerary, pay a visit to the Ogden Botanical Gardens. Colorful blooms can be found throughout the garden, and visitors flock to the memorial gardens and the arboretum. The five pergolas in the Entry Garden are sure to grab your attention, and the Rose Garden, Oriental Garden, and the Terrace Native Plant Garden are also favorites.
USU also runs the USU Botanical Center in Kaysville. There are more than 300 shrubs and trees in the arboretum and the gardens are truly inspiring. You can also come here to bird- and wildlife-watch, view the urban fishery, or walk/bike the trails. There are also numerous workshops and other educational events available. There’s even a seasonal farmers market here!
The Utah State Capitol
One of the most popular attractions in Utah is the State Capitol Building. Located in Salt Lake City, architecture buffs are sure to recognize its impressive neoclassical Corinthian style and marvel at the towering dome. Guided tours, including a Pioneering Women Tour, are available and self-guided tours are also allowed. In addition to the lavish interior décor and impressive murals, visitors can quietly observe Legislative Sessions and explore the Gold Room.
There is seemingly no end to the opportunities to explore heritage spots and other historic attractions throughout Utah. Even roadside attractions will get your attention, like the Hole N" The Rock near Moab in Central Utah. It’s truly one of the most unique homes you will ever see. The one-time home of the Christensen family, this 5,000-square-foot home is literally carved out of a massive rock. It’s hard to miss! Short tours are available, and the property offers art galleries, gift shops, and even a zoo.
Are you a film buff? If so, schedule a trip to see Little Hollywood Land (aka Frontier Movie Town) in Kanab. This Southern Utah town has been the set of more than 100 movies and television shows. Take a tour, enjoy the museum and delight in the theme-appropriate food in this unique location.
St. George Utah Temple, also in Southern Utah, is home to what is considered the oldest temple still operating and used by the LDS Church. The site itself encompasses more than six acres and the historic temple’s architecture is stunning. Also run by the LDS Church, Temple Square up in Salt Lake City offers visitors a glimpse at the fascinating church and local history. It’s also considered the home base of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
If you are interested in learning more about World War II, Wendover Air Base is sure to capture your imagination. Here, you can learn about the Manhattan Project and its history as a bomber training site.
If sporting fun is on your mind, take a trip to explore the Utah Olympic Park in Park City. Home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, you can explore the training facility, as well as the George Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum and the Alf Engen Ski Museum.
The largest known Fremont Indian village was uncovered in Sevier. The museum on site highlights recovered artifacts, and guests can enjoy thousands of fascinating rock art panels. Speaking of art, if you are in the Price area, visit Nine Mile Canyon. Known as the “World’s Longest Art Gallery,” the 46-mile-long “gallery” is filled with carvings and rock drawings by ancient peoples. It’s an experience you won’t forget!
The Frontier Homestead State Park in Cedar City acts as a living museum with historic buildings, mining equipment and an example of a Paiute camp that would have been active during the state’s pioneer days. Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, a trip over to Wheeler Historic Farm will give you insight into the life of citizens living here in the 19th century. Take one of the historic home tours, visit the farm animals, and join in the family-friendly activities, all designed to take you back through time.
Our favorite attractions in Utah
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Originally established in 1971, the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is located in southern Utah in Kanab. A nonprofit organization focusing on animal welfare, Best Friends is the largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals in the country.
Visitors can first stop by the Welcome Center, and enjoy tours of Dogtown, Cat World, Bunny House, Parrot Garden, and Wild Friends. Best Friends is found in Angel Canyon near the Arizona border.
Historic Wendover Airfield
Located on the Nevada border in northwestern Utah, the Historic Wendover Airfield is a World War II Army Air Force museum in Wendover. Formerly the Wendover Air Base, the airfield features interactive exhibits and WWII artifacts.
The Historic Wendover Airfield is home to the annual Historic Wendover Air Show and HWA Hall of Honor Museum. Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the site also features the Enola Gay Hangar Restoration project, and even vintage aircraft rides.
Hole In the Rock
The quintessential roadside attraction, the Hole In the Rock is located in central Utah near Moab. Found on Highway 191 – you really can’t miss it – the Hole is a historic home covering 5,000-square-feet.
The former home of the Christensen family, Hole In the Rock is now available for 12-minute tours. The Canyonlands Country site also features an exotic zoo, souvenir shops, art galleries, and plenty of photo ops.
Little Hollywood Land
Also known as Frontier Movie Town, the Little Hollywood Land is located in southern Utah in Kanab. Founded in 1924, Little Hollywood was the filming site of over 100 movies and a multitude of television shows.
Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Little Hollywood also features the Frontier Movie Town Museum, gift shop, photography studio, and Chuckwagon Cookouts Grub and Entertainment eatery.
St. George Utah Temple
For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George Utah Temple is located in St. George in southern Utah.
As the oldest temple still in use by the LDS Church, the building’s striking architecture is more faithful to the original Nauvoo Temple than later LDS temples – making it a St. George landmark.
The St. George Utah Temple site covers six acres, as the structure itself encompasses 110,000 square feet. Completed in 1877, the temple features a public meeting house and visitors center.
Owned and operated by the LDS Church, Temple Square is a 10-acre destination perfect for a look at some of the history pertaining to the church and its ties to the area.
Set in Salt Lake City, ideal for visitors from Ogden, North Salt Lake, and Sandy, the Temple is one of Utah's most popular destinations.
Temple Square is home of the Salt Lake Tabernacle – don't miss out on a performance from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Plan a visit to the Family History Library and the Church History Museum to gain some perspective on the LDS influence in SLC and the entirety of Utah.
Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum
Founded in 1959, the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum is located in northeastern Utah in Vernal. Covering two acres, this 22,000-square-foot museum focuses on anthropology, geology, and natural history.
Utah Field House visitors may dig for fossils, stroll through the dinosaur garden, and explore the museum. Permanent exhibits include Discover Dinosaurs, Journey Into the Jurassic, Explore the Eocene, and Rocks Revealed.
Utah Olympic Park
The site of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Utah Olympic Park is located in Park City – set 30 miles east of Salt Lake City in northern Utah.
Operated by the Utah Olympic Legacy – part of the Utah Athletic Foundation – the park currently serves as a training facility for Olympic-level and advanced athletes.
Utah Olympic Park is home to the 2002 Winter Olympics & Ski Museum, along with the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center – housing the Alf Engen Ski Museum and the George Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games Museum.
Utah State Capitol
Completed in 1916, the Utah State Capitol building is located on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City, Utah.
As the house of government for the state of Utah, it holds the chambers and offices of the Utah State Legislature, Governor, Attorney General and more.
Designed by Richard A. Kletting, its striking neoclassical Corinthian architecture most notably features a dome which reaches 285 feet above Capitol Hill.
Visitors are invited to the first floor of the building, which offers exhibits, a gift shop, and tours through the building’s lavish interior.