hiking, stuffed mounted animals, family parks, Mormon history, and art await visitors to St. George Utah http://www.offbeattravel.com/st-george-utah-hiking-wildlife-attractions.html

Attractions, Hiking, and Family Fun in St. George Utah

With a little help from my friends, I'm standing almost at the top of a stone "sand dune" in Snow Canyon Park. Eons ago volcanic activity and windblown sand combined to create the geologically diverse state park. The day before my hike I was gazing at stuffed (mounted) animals from all continents in the world. St. George offers quite a diverse palette of experiences.

Our New Book

Saint George is not only a lovely and welcoming home to over 70,000 people, it offers its own great hiking, family attractions, and Mormon history both in St. George and in the enchanting town of Santa Clara. It was founded by the Mormons as a cotton-growing area earning it the nickname of Utah's Dixie. Despite the delightful weather, cotton farming wasn't successful. But the beauty of area, including the gorgeous red sandstone bluffs ringing parts of the city, have lured many to this laid-back welcoming city. And Zion National Park is only 30 minutes down the road.

Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum

The Rosenbruch Wildlife Museum in St George offers one of the most extensive and beautifully presented collections of mounted animal in the country. The two-level indoor mountain covers 35,000 sq. ft. The almost quarter mile of paved path takes visitors around the world for up close viewing of over 300 species of wildlife in their (recreated) natural habitat. Stroll the plains of Africa, the forests of North America, and the mountains of Asia.

One of the family-pleasing highlights is the motion-activated thunder and lightning storm that transforms the brightly lit habitat into a stormy night tableau.

Most of the large mammals were collected by the Rosenbruch Family over the past 40-years. All animals were legally hunted. The tableau depict not only the warm moments of animals life, but the darker ones as well

Snow Canyon State Park

The St. George tourism notes that "If it were anywhere else in the country, the spectacular geologic landscape of Snow Canyon State Park would probably be a national park." It is a dazzling park covering over 7,000 acres of diverse beauty in the 62,000 acre Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. Ancient lava flows and towering petrified rolling sand dunes beckon. Activities include hiking, rock-climbing, nature studies, wildlife viewing, photography, camping, ranger talks and junior ranger programs. There are more than 18 miles of hiking trails, a three-mile paved walking/biking trail and over five miles of equestrian trails. Not all trails are open year round. But our hike -- the short version of the Whiterocks Amphitheater trail -- offered a climb on ancient sand, cemented by time and vistas of stark beauty born of petrified dunes topped by wind-carved sandstone. Pick up a map as you enter the part. Pull over and pick your trail.

Pioneer Park

This 52 acre rustic community park is a family favorite and definitely picnic-friendly. Pioneer Park offers hiking trails, a junior size slot canyon, and a climbing wall -- among some of the reasons families flock to this park.

Art and History

For art-infused strolling March through December try the Tuacahn Saturday Market in the nearby town of Ivins. Admission is free. The setting is spectacular with red sandstone cliffs forming a background to the booths of local artists, crafters, and purveyors of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Tuacahn is also a performance venue with a full calendar of music and theater.

Mormon history is also part of St. George tourism and Ancestor Square encompasses Brigham Young's winter home, the art museum, opera house, and the Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museum.

There was one place we didn't get to visit but it certainly sounded intriguing. St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm known for its collection of dinosaur tracks. The site describes it as "The best preserved and most numerous of the tracks today form the in-place trackway and exhibits of the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm."

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Neala McCarten

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Updated: October 29, 2016

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