Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Zion: Day 5

It was our last day in Zion, and usually Dad likes to be up early and on the road for home so we can get everything cleaned up. But today he forced himself to slow down and stretch out the vacation for one more day. We started by sleeping in all the way to 7:30am. Amazing, huh?

After breakfast we wanted to stop by a state park called Sand Hollow. After being disappointed by Quail Creek early in the week, we weren't sure what to expect. This reservoir is beautiful, though. It is easily the best "water" state park we've been to. There are gorgeous red rocks that the boys enjoyed throwing into the lake.

We walked along the shore for a little while and watched the birds on the water. There were buffleheads and red-breasted mergansers. We also found some really cool rocks called Moqui marbles. There were tons of them on the shore. We enjoyed this gentle stroll, skipping stones and taking pictures as much as anything we did on this trip.

Dax was in rock-throwing heaven.
At first we thought the Mokoi Marbles were rabbit or deer dung.
The layers of rock are soft enough to break with your fingers.
The red rocks and the crystal clear water was gorgeous.
Mark and Dad had a great time skipping the flat sandstone across the water.
There were lots of little curves and crevices in the sandstone.
We need to come back with a boat!
That wasn't the end of the Sand Hollow, though. We drove around to the other side of the reservoir and there is a really nice beach. Above it on the hill there is also a sandy area for ATVs. We headed down to the beach and played in the soft sand, but the water was really cold this time of year, which seemed to affect everyone but Dax. By the time we left, Mom was planning a trip back to Sand Hollow State Park.
The beach was nice, though we heard the swimmer's itch can be bad.
The boys didn't mind freezing their toes off.
The sand on the beach was soft and very red.
We had meant to avoid St. George on this trip, but we really wanted to check out the Johnson Farm Dinosaur Museum, which was created in 2000 when a construction crew flipped over a piece of sandstone and found a very clear dinosaur track. The museum is still in the works, but there are an amazing number of dinosaur prints, and a wide variety of other things, too. There are swim prints, mud cracks, and many other types of trace fossils. It will be interesting to see what they do with this museum in the future as it is currently an active dig.

The museum also has some interactive elements that we loved. Seth liked the room with toy dinosaurs, especially the triceratops with a bite out of it. Dax liked the dinosaur rubbings that you could do with the side of a crayon. Mark liked the sandpit where you could make your own dinosaur tracks. And Mom liked the origami station, where she made a pterodactyl and a T-rex. We ended up spending almost 2 hours checking out this dinosaur spot.

We always love a new dinosaur adventure!
There are so many trackways in this area.
This is one of the few displays you can touch (if you're standing on one foot).
You can't touch these even if you're standing on one foot.
Dax was pretending he was the dinosaur that made this track.
The boys are running away from a pretty terrible meat-eater.
Outside the museum you can take a picture.
We'd never seen a track making activity.
By then it was lunch time, and in the spirit of keeping things cheap, we had lunch at Costco. Since we were in St. George, we decided to try a few more indoor sites as it was raining.

The Church runs four sites in St. George. The first was Brigham Young's Summer Home. We had struck out on an earlier attempt to visit, but this time we were in luck. It was really cool to see the prophet's study where he received revelations, and though the house was a mansion for the times, it was very practical in terms of space. There were three bedrooms upstairs: for Brigham, for his wife, and one for the housekeeper. Downstairs there was a kitchen, a dining room, and a receiving room with an old piano for entertaining guests. We learned that St. George was originally started as a cotton mission, meaning saints were called to leave the Wasatch Front and go south to grow cotton. The "George" is George A. Smith, grandfather of the prophet, who was known as the Potato Saint because he planted potatoes along the Mormon Trail, and then made sure that the immigrants ate the peels so that they didn't get scurvy. So we will be calling the town Potato St. George from now on.
It doesn't look rainy, but it was.
The Pioneers painted all the pine to look like different kinds of fancy wood.
Our second stop was just down the street at the Tabernacle. We've visited the Salt Lake, Paris, Provo (now a Temple), and of course, Alpine, but it was really cool to see the Tabernacle in St. George where Lorenzo Snow gave his famous speech about tithing. One interesting fact about the balcony is that Brigham Young thought it was too high, so he made them lower it 5 feet. This means that you go up the spiral staircase to the landing, then down 5 steps into the balcony. We probably enjoyed this tour more than any of the day.

The chairs are beautiful, but not very comfy.
There's Lorenzo Snow at the pulpit! No, wait, that's just us.
Every prophet except Joseph Smith has spoken at the St. George Tabernacle.
The third stop was the Temple Visitor Center. The boys were excited to see the cannon, which was used to crush gravel into the ground to make a more solid footing for the Temple. Seth also had a great time "coloring" temples on the digital screen. There was a beautiful Christus statue, too, and one of the sister missionaries sat us down and talked to the boys about Family Home Evening.
The boys already had this temple in their books.
Seth wanted to watch all the videos with President Monson which Mom thought was darling!
We decided we might as well hit the last church history stop in St. George, which is actually in Santa Clara. We drove out to Jacob Hamblin's home. We didn't know a lot about Hamblin (well, Mom did) but he was a diplomat between the Church, the United States, and the Indians in the area. Everyone respected him as a fair, honest man. His home was much more humble than Brigham Young's, with a kitchen and two bedrooms, along with a storage space downstairs. Upstairs was one large room where the family lived, as well as a loft that could hold many beds so that travelers could stop and stay if necessary. One strange thing was the door on the second floor that opened to the eaves. They think this was because they used the eaves to hang food and linens to dry. We were really impressed with the kind of honest, simple man Jacob Hamblin was.
We're glad the boys are great at these old sites. They know a lot about the Pioneers.
After that, we started the long drive home, but there was one more adventure. After stopping in Beaver to find the kids Wendy's, Mom and Dad decided to hold out for Cluff's Car-hop in Fillmore. It meant eating at near 7pm, but it was worth it. They have the best fries and burgers in the whole state! We even had homemade hot fudge shakes afterward.
The shakes are great! Not pictured: World's best french fries and amazing burgers.
We arrived home at 9, and Dax and Seth had been asleep for awhile. Luckily they went right to bed. Mom and Dad were super-tired, too, but we managed to get the trip cleaned up and put away by 10 pm so we could fall into bed. This was definitely a trip that we'll always remember.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh! Those rocks! They're so cool, huh?! My kids love finding them at the sand dunes, although we've had a few times they've picked up rabbit poop instead! :)

    We did the dino museum, too! We must have missed you again by a day or two.


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