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Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Vacation Highlights

We spent the last week on a much needed vacation with the family. It was great. We went to St. George had a blast. Our kids' needs and likes have changed a lot since we were there last, so our vacation was full of lots of new things. Here's the highlights and some tips for having a fun, frugal summer vacation in Southern Utah.

I made the kids pose for this picture of a "shoe tree." Don't know the story behind it, but it was awesome to see hundreds of shoes signed by their previous owners and hung on a random roadside tree.

We visited Zion Canyon. This is the hike to Weeping Rock. Water in a desert is quite a sight. The hike's not long, but it is quite the incline. I did make it to the top, which was a big accomplishment.  $25 for a week long pass to see Zion. They have a free shuttle that drops you off at several hikes along the canyon, no road traffic is allowed to park and hike. The shuttles are great and an easy way to travel with kids.
We also saw the Angel's Landing and the Court of the Patriarchs, pictured below.

We had a picnic at the Zions Lodge....
Then we stopped at a Trading Post around Rockville, UT. It had these cool replica period buildings. If you look close you'll see the Virgin Bank and Virgin Hotel.....hummmm.

We visited the Ghost Town of Grafton. I know why no one lives there. It's hard to find without GPS. It was worth the trip and their cemetery is humbling and peaceful. Truly a sacred place.

And of course we practiced our swimming tricks. Thanks Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Richard & Aunt Elaine for the house. We had a great time.

Tips for traveling to St. George:
There's tons to see for free--the St. George Temple, Brigham Young's House, Jacob Hamblin Home--for those of you who are history/ religion buffs. There are also 3 splash pads in Washington City (near St. G) or in Ancestor Square. There is also Sand Hollow Rec Center--they charge, but my kids had a great time, so it's probably worth it.

There a tons on parks so make a picnic and go to the park. We played volleyball and had lunch at local parks a few times and it was fun. Parks also make great "potty breaks" along the trip. McDonald's has free mini ice cream cones at the St. G location, or other inexpensive treats if you need a break.

The golden jewel of the trip was taking the girls and my nephew to Tuachan's "Aladdin." If you haven't visited Tuachan, it should be on your bucket list. The stage is set into the natural stone and dirt landscape. The actors were great, and even signed autographs after the show and took pics with the guests. I have some to post later. It was funny and well worth the ticket price. We will definitely go again. This is not a cheap event and kids under 3 are not allowed, but it is an amazing experience. (And no, they didn't pay me to say anything.)

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