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A Must See For Any Visitor To Salt Lake City, Utah

This Is The Place Heritage Park

Utah Historical Monuments and Pioneer Village

"I can't imagine visiting Salt Lake City without also experiencing these incredible monuments and the historic village."  Robert B. - Maine

Nestled at the foot of the majestic Wasatch Range in Salt Lake City, Utah, This Is The Place Heritage Park is a living history museum that offers a vivid, immersive glimpse into the pioneer heritage and early settlement of the state. Spread across 450 acres of picturesque landscape, the park commemorates the arrival of the Mormon pioneers, led by Brigham Young, to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. It is a place where history comes alive through carefully preserved historic buildings, engaging exhibits, and lively reenactments. Visitors from Utah and beyond will find themselves transported back in time, experiencing the challenges and triumphs of the early settlers. Please note that This Is The Place Monument is a prior name for This Is The Place Heritage Park.

Historic Buildings

Pioneer Homes

The park features numerous authentic pioneer homes, each meticulously restored to its original 19th-century condition. These homes offer visitors a chance to step inside and see how the early settlers lived, with period-appropriate furnishings, tools, and household items. The Brigham Young Forest Farmhouse, for instance, provides insight into the daily life of the Mormon leader, while the Andrus Halfway House highlights the transitional housing that many pioneers built while establishing more permanent homes.

Shops and Trades

This Is The Place Heritage Park is also home to a variety of historic shops and trades that were essential to pioneer life. The blacksmith shop, with its roaring forge and skilled smiths, demonstrates how metal tools and implements were made. The tinsmith shop shows the delicate art of creating tinware, a vital trade for the settlers. Visitors can also explore the ZCMI Mercantile, modeled after Utah’s first department store, offering a glimpse into the commercial life of the 19th century.

Churches

The park includes several historic churches, reflecting the deep religious roots of Utah’s settlers. The Pine Valley Chapel, a stunning replica of the original built in 1868, stands as a testament to the faith and community spirit of the pioneers. This quaint, whitewashed chapel often hosts services and is available for weddings, providing a serene and picturesque setting for sacred ceremonies.

Retail Gift Shop

The Deseret Book Store

Located within This Is The Place Heritage Park, the Deseret Book Store offers a wide range of items that celebrate Utah’s heritage. From pioneer-themed books and crafts to unique souvenirs and handmade goods, the store provides visitors with the opportunity to take a piece of history home. The shop also features local artisans' work, including pottery, textiles, and jewelry, ensuring that every purchase supports the continuation of Utah’s rich cultural traditions.

Monuments and Statues

This Is The Place Monument

Description: This iconic monument, erected in 1947 to commemorate the centennial of the Mormon pioneers' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, is one of the most recognizable features of the park. It stands prominently at the entrance, welcoming visitors to the park.

Significance: The monument features a statue of Brigham Young, along with his companions Wilford Woodruff and Heber C. Kimball, looking out over the valley. This sculpture captures the pivotal moment when Brigham Young declared, "This is the right place," signifying the end of the pioneers' arduous journey and the beginning of their new settlement.

The Pony Express Statue

Description: This dynamic statue captures the essence of the legendary Pony Express riders, who played a crucial role in delivering mail across the American West during the mid-19th century. The statue is situated near the park's entrance, making it one of the first monuments visitors encounter.

Significance: The Pony Express was a vital communication link for the isolated communities of the early frontier. This statue pays tribute to the bravery and endurance of the riders who risked their lives to maintain these connections, highlighting an important chapter in the history of the American West.

Brigham Young Statue

Description: Another prominent statue of Brigham Young is located within the park, separate from the main This Is The Place Monument. This statue focuses solely on Brigham Young, depicted in a thoughtful pose.

Significance: Brigham Young was a key leader in the Mormon migration and settlement of Utah. This statue honors his leadership, vision, and the pivotal role he played in establishing the community in the Salt Lake Valley.

The Mormon Battalion Monument

Description: This monument is dedicated to the Mormon Battalion, a group of Latter-day Saint volunteers who served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1847. The monument features figures of battalion members in uniform.

Significance: The Mormon Battalion’s service is a significant part of Utah’s history. Their journey from Iowa to California and the work they performed along the way were crucial in the westward expansion of the United States. This monument honors their sacrifice and contribution to the country.

The Pioneers Children’s Memorial

Description: This touching memorial is dedicated to the children of the pioneers who endured the hardships of the journey and settlement. The statue features children playing, capturing the innocence and resilience of the young pioneers.

Significance: Many children suffered greatly during the trek west and in the early years of settlement. This memorial acknowledges their struggles and celebrates their enduring spirit, reminding visitors of the sacrifices made by even the youngest pioneers.

Native American Heritage Monument

Description: This monument honors the Native American tribes who originally inhabited the Utah region. It features representations of Native American figures and symbols significant to their culture and history.

Significance: Recognizing the deep and rich history of Native American tribes in Utah, this monument serves as a reminder of their legacy and contributions to the region. It promotes understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage that predated the arrival of the pioneers.

The Handcart Pioneer Statue

Description: Depicting a family pulling a handcart, this statue is a tribute to the Mormon handcart pioneers who traveled on foot to the Salt Lake Valley, often carrying all their worldly possessions in small, two-wheeled carts.

Significance: The handcart pioneers symbolize the extreme faith, determination, and sacrifice of those who made the arduous journey under incredibly harsh conditions. This statue commemorates their endurance and unwavering spirit.

The Seagull Monument

Description: This monument features a seagull, the state bird of Utah, which played a miraculous role in saving the early Mormon settlers' crops from a cricket infestation. The seagull is depicted mid-flight, exuding grace and strength.

Significance: Known as the "Miracle of the Gulls," this event is a significant part of Utah’s pioneer history. The monument honors the seagulls that helped preserve the settlers' food supply, symbolizing divine intervention and the resilience of the pioneers.

The Women’s Legacy Memorial

Description: This statue celebrates the contributions of pioneer women. It features a woman in pioneer attire, symbolizing the strength, determination, and critical role of women in settling the West.

Significance: Women played essential roles in building communities, raising families, and contributing to the economic and social development of the pioneer settlements. This monument pays tribute to their often-overlooked but vital contributions.

The African American Pioneer Monument

Description: This monument honors the African American pioneers who were part of Utah’s early history. It features figures representing African American settlers and pioneers, acknowledging their presence and contributions.

Significance: African American pioneers contributed significantly to the development of Utah, despite facing numerous challenges and hardships. This monument recognizes their efforts and ensures their stories are included in the broader narrative of Utah’s history.

Annual Events at This Is The Place Heritage Park

1. Christkindlmarkt

The Christkindlmarkt at This Is The Place Heritage Park is a beloved annual event that brings the charm and warmth of traditional European Christmas markets to Utah. This festive market features a variety of vendors who offer an array of unique, handcrafted items, perfect for holiday shopping. Visitors can browse through stalls filled with artisan crafts, homemade ornaments, and delightful holiday decorations. Food vendors serve traditional European fare such as bratwurst, roasted nuts, and warm pastries, while local artisans offer specialty goods including handmade jewelry, woolen goods, and unique gifts. 

The market also hosts live entertainment, including carolers, musicians, and performances that celebrate the spirit of the season. Children's activities, such as storytelling sessions and visits with Saint Nicholas, add to the family-friendly atmosphere. Christkindlmarkt attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, creating a bustling, joyful environment. The picturesque setting of This Is The Place Heritage Park, adorned with twinkling lights and festive decor, enhances the enchanting experience for attendees of all ages.

2. Pioneer Day Celebration

The Pioneer Day Celebration is another highlight of the year at This Is The Place Heritage Park. Held on July 24th, this event commemorates the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley. The celebration includes historical reenactments, parades, traditional pioneer games, and crafts. Attendees can explore the historic buildings, watch blacksmith and woodworking demonstrations, and participate in activities that showcase pioneer life. The day concludes with a spectacular fireworks display, lighting up the night sky in honor of Utah's pioneer heritage.

3. Haunted Village

Every October, This Is The Place Heritage Park transforms into the Haunted Village, offering a spine-chilling experience for those who dare to enter. The Haunted Village is a popular Halloween event featuring haunted houses, spooky trails, and eerie reenactments. Visitors can wander through the darkened streets of the village, encountering ghosts, ghouls, and other frightful characters along the way. This event is designed to provide thrills and chills, making it a must-visit for Halloween enthusiasts. The Haunted Village is suitable for older children and adults who enjoy a good scare and appreciate the eerie atmosphere of a haunted historic setting.

Group Meeting Spaces

Corporate Events and Conferences

This Is The Place Heritage Park offers a range of venues perfect for corporate events and conferences. The newly renovated Garden Place features modern amenities while maintaining its historical charm, making it ideal for meetings, retreats, and corporate gatherings. The venue can accommodate large groups, providing state-of-the-art facilities in a unique, inspiring setting.

Family Reunions and Picnics

Families seeking a memorable venue for reunions or picnics will find numerous options throughout This Is The Place Heritage Park. The Bowery Pavilion, surrounded by lush greenery and scenic views, offers a spacious area for large family gatherings. With picnic tables, BBQ grills, and plenty of open space for games and activities, it’s an ideal spot for creating lasting memories.

Weddings

The park's historic chapels and beautiful outdoor settings make it a popular choice for weddings. The Pioneer Pavilion, with its charming rustic décor, provides a romantic and intimate space for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Additionally, the park’s experienced event planners are on hand to assist with every detail, ensuring that each wedding is as unique and special as the couples who choose to marry there.

Visitor Experience

Engaging Exhibits and Activities

Visitors to This Is The Place Heritage Park can engage in a variety of activities that bring history to life. Daily reenactments, including pioneer craft demonstrations and interactive exhibits, allow guests to experience the skills and trades of the 19th century. Children and adults alike can try their hand at candle making, weaving, and even milking a cow. The park also hosts special events throughout the year, including holiday celebrations, historical reenactments, and festivals that showcase Utah’s diverse cultural heritage.

Scenic Train Rides

Families seeking a memorable venue for reunions or picnics will find numerous options throughout This Is The Place Heritage Park. The Bowery Pavilion, surrounded by lush greenery and scenic views, offers a spacious area for large family gatherings. With picnic tables, BBQ grills, and plenty of open space for games and activities, it’s an ideal spot for creating lasting memories.

Heritage Village

The Heritage Village is the heart of This Is The Place Heritage Park, featuring a collection of historic buildings and streets that recreate a 19th-century pioneer town. Visitors can stroll through the village, exploring the various homes, shops, and public buildings that illustrate daily life during the pioneer era. Interpreters in period costume are on hand to answer questions and share stories, enhancing the immersive experience.

Wildlife and Natural Beauty

Beyond its historical attractions, This Is The Place Heritage Park is also a haven for nature lovers. The park’s extensive trails and open spaces offer opportunities for hiking and birdwatching, with stunning views of the Wasatch Mountains and the Salt Lake Valley. The natural beauty of the park provides a serene backdrop for reflection and relaxation, complementing the rich historical experience.

Educational Programs

The park offers a variety of educational programs designed to enrich visitors' understanding of Utah's history. School groups can participate in hands-on activities that align with state curriculum standards, making it an invaluable resource for educators. Additionally, the park hosts workshops and lectures on various topics related to pioneer life, ensuring that there is always something new to learn.

Visitor Amenities

To enhance the visitor experience, This Is The Place Heritage Park provides a range of amenities. The park features ample parking, accessible facilities, and friendly staff who are always ready to assist. The on-site café offers a selection of refreshments and meals, allowing visitors to enjoy a leisurely lunch without leaving the park. For those looking to extend their visit, the park is conveniently located near several hotels and other accommodations in Salt Lake City.

Community and Cultural Events

This Is The Place Heritage Park is a hub of community and cultural events, celebrating the diverse heritage of Utah. From pioneer-themed festivals to multicultural celebrations, the park hosts events that bring people together and foster a deeper appreciation for the state’s history and cultural diversity. These events are often accompanied by live music, traditional dances, and artisan markets, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere.

Main Season Activities List:

Pony rides
Train rides
Petting zoo
Pioneer crafts and games
Blacksmith demonstrations
Woodworking demonstrations
Gold panning
Horse-drawn wagon rides
Historic home and building tours
Native American village tours
Sheep herding demonstrations
Summer camps for children
Interactive exhibits
Candle making
Leatherworking
Quilting demonstrations

Hours of Operation:

- The Monuments are open to view
- The Village and Shops are generally open year-round between 10 am and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday)
Admission:
- The monuments may be viewed free of charge.
Village Entrance Fees (2024)
- Children rates range between $5.00 and $15.00 (depending on the season)
- Adults and senior rates range $5.00 and $19.00 (depending on the season)

Address

This Is The Place Heritage Park
2601 East Sunnyside Avenue
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Driving Directions from Downtown Salt Lake City

Route Overview:

From downtown Salt Lake City, the park is easily accessible and just a short drive away. The most direct route takes you eastward through the city, transitioning from urban streets to scenic parkways that lead into the foothills.

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Start on South State Street (US-89) - Head east on South State Street (US-89) toward East 400 South (also known as University Boulevard). 

  2. Turn Right onto East 400 South - Continue on East 400 South for approximately 1.5 miles. You will pass through the University of Utah campus area.

  3. Merge onto Foothill Drive (UT-186) - As you drive east, East 400 South will become Foothill Drive (UT-186). Stay on Foothill Drive, following signs for the University of Utah and the Hogle Zoo.

  4. Turn Left onto Sunnyside Avenue (UT-65) - After about 2 miles on Foothill Drive, turn left onto Sunnyside Avenue (UT-65). You will see signs for the Hogle Zoo and This Is The Place Heritage Park.

  5. Continue on Sunnyside Avenue - Drive approximately 1.2 miles on Sunnyside Avenue. The road will take you past the Hogle Zoo on your right.

  6. Arrive at This Is The Place Heritage Park - The entrance to This Is The Place Heritage Park will be on your right shortly after passing the Hogle Zoo. Look for the large sign and the entrance gate.

Estimated Travel Time: The total driving distance from downtown Salt Lake City to This Is The Place Heritage Park is approximately 5 miles, and the drive typically takes around 15 to 20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

Parking: Upon arrival, you will find ample parking available near the entrance of the park. There are designated areas for cars, buses, and accessible parking spaces for visitors with disabilities.

Tips for Visitors

  • Traffic: Traffic can be heavier during peak hours, so plan your visit accordingly to avoid delays.
  • Public Transit: For those preferring public transportation, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) buses serve routes that stop near the park. Check the UTA website for the latest schedules and routes.
  • Weather: Given the park’s elevation and outdoor setting, check the weather forecast before your visit and dress appropriately for seasonal conditions.

By following these directions, visitors can easily reach This Is The Place Heritage Park and monuments to begin their journey into Utah’s rich pioneer history.

Whether you are a local resident or a visitor from out of state, This Is The Place Heritage Park offers a unique and enriching experience that captures the essence of Utah’s pioneer heritage. With its blend of historical exhibits, engaging activities, and beautiful natural surroundings, the park is a destination that appeals to all ages and interests. As you walk through the park’s historic streets, participate in hands-on activities, or simply enjoy the stunning views, you will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the courage, resilience, and spirit of the pioneers who shaped Utah’s history.

Learn more at - https://www.thisistheplace.org

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