Huntsville: "The Sin & Salvation Tour"
Locals jokingly refer to visiting Huntsville as taking the "Sin and Salvation Tour." Founded in 1860, this tiny town, somewhat removed from the civilization of Ogden below, is known best as the home of the state's oldest operating watering hole. The town is about 15 miles east of Ogden on Utah 39; it'll take you 20 to 25 minutes to get there, but it's well worth the drive.
First, stop at the Shooting Star Saloon, 7350 E. 200 South (tel. 801/745-2002), for a draft beer and one of the best -- and sloppiest -- hamburgers in the state. Established in 1879, this is said to be the oldest continuously operating saloon in Utah. The decor is eclectic, to say the least -- dollar bills are pinned to the ceiling; the walls are decorated with animal-head trophies, steer skulls, a stuffed St. Bernard's head, and cowboy art; the handsome oak back bar was built in 1895. A pool table and a jukebox round out the fun. The Shooting Star is open Wednesday through Saturday from noon and Sunday from 2pm; it usually closes around midnight, depending on business. Operating under Utah's liquor laws as a tavern, the Shooting Star serves beer only, and no one 20 and under even with parents, is permitted in the saloon.
Now that you've done a bit of sinning, head to the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity Trappist Monastery, 1250 S. 9500 East (tel. 801/745-3784; www.holytrinityabbey.org), for a bit of saving. To get here, take Utah 39, turn southeast (right) at the Huntsville American Legion Hall, and follow the signs. This community of about two dozen monks established themselves here in 1947 to live "an austere and simple life of prayer and manual labor." They farm; raise Herefords; and sell books, freshly made peanut butter, preserves, and their renowned honey. The reception room and chapel are open to the public, and visitors are welcome to attend any of the scheduled services. Call for the current schedule.
A Historic Family-Fun Center in Farmington
Lagoon, 375 N. Lagoon Dr., Farmington (tel. 800/748-5246 or 801/451-8000; www.lagoonpark.com), is a delightful combination of amusement park, water park, and historical park. Swimming was the original attraction; then, in 1906, an early version of a roller coaster opened. Next came a carousel of 45 hand-carved animals (still in operation today). Now the park is filled with more than 125 rides, including Wicked, a twisting coaster that rockets riders to the top of the first hill at 40 mph -- not for the faint of heart! The park also has a Midway with games, shops, food courts, and more. Lagoon's Pioneer Village represents Utah past, with one of America's finest collections of horse-drawn carriages, plus a gun collection and exhibits of pioneer and American Indian artifacts. You can also browse through 19th-century shops and ride a stagecoach or train. If it's water you want, visit the Lagoon A Beach, with a 65-foot twisting, turning, enclosed tube ride, three serpentine slides, and white-water rapids. The less intrepid can enjoy a lazy river with crystal-clear waterfalls, exotic tunnels, steamy hot tubs, and sultry lagoons.
Admission costs $42 for adults and children 51 inches and taller, $36 for children 4 and older but under 51 inches tall, $22 for toddlers 3 and under, and $29 for seniors 65 and over. The parking fee is $8 for cars and pickups, and $10 for oversize vehicles and vehicles with trailers. The park is open daily, usually from 10 or 11am, between Memorial Day and Labor Day; and weekends from mid-April to May and the month of September; hours vary so call for the current schedule. The park is closed in winter, but opens for a special Halloween event for 3 or 4 weeks in October. To get here, from I-15 northbound, take exit 322; southbound, take exit 325.
Lagoon has an RV park and campground with more than 200 shady sites, both pull-through with hookups and grassy tent sites. The campground has a ministore, and campers receive Lagoon admission discounts. Rates range from $28 for tent and no-hookup RV sites up to $34 for pull-through RV sites with full hookups.
Escape to a Wildlife Sanctuary
For a delightful escape from civilization, visit the Ogden Nature Center, 966 W. 12th St. (tel. 801/621-7595; www.ogdennaturecenter.org), a 152-acre wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation center where injured birds are treated and released back into the wild. There are trails (including one fully accessible trail) for warm-weather strolling or, when snow blankets the ground, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Watch for golden eagles, prairie falcons, goshawks, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, and long-eared owls. A Learning and Visitors Center houses hawks, ravens, and other birds, plus a variety of exhibits and a gift shop. The center sponsors naturalist-led educational programs; call ahead or check online for a schedule. Admission is $4 for ages 12 through 54, $2 seniors 55 and over, $2 for children 2 through 11, and free for children 1 and under. Hours are Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday 9am to 4pm. To get here from I-15, take exit 344 and head east on 12th Street. Allow at least 2 hours.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.