Sept 16 - 19, 2006, we took what we call a “mini-vacation.” We travelled to Southern Utah, stopping to see Historic Cove Fort, spent some time in the city of St. George, and visited Zion Canyon in Zion National Park. While we were in St. George, we adopted a puppy.
A night in Scipio
We departed early in the evening on Friday, 15 Sept and decided to stop somewhere for the night instead of going all the way to St. George. I figured someplace close to Fillmore would work best and settled on a Super 8 in Scipio, UT.
This motel/hotel (really a “hotel” because the rooms were accessed from the inside corridors) was a pleasant surprise. It is relatively new, was very clean, and featured a nice, warm indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna. There was a halfway decent complimentary breakfast which featured an assortment of carbohydrate-loaded items like waffles, muffins, toast, and cakes.
Definitely a good choice for lodging.
Historic Cove Fort
Our first stop after leaving Scipio was the Historic Cove Fort visitors center which lies between Fillmore and Beaver, just off I-15 north of the I-70 interchange.
The historical significance of Cove Fort is this: In 1867, Mormon prophet and church president Brigham Young called Ira Hinckley to go and build a fort on Cove Creek to serve as a way station between settlements.
Because the fort was established in an area which was frequently travelled by native American tribes, some of which were hostile or had unknown dispositions against the Mormon, settlers, the design of the fort was adapted with an emphasis on protecting its occupants.
Eighteen foot mortared rock walls with spaced out rifle ports at the top surround the fort. Our guide told us the rifle ports were never used and Ira Hickley and his family established good trading relationship with area indians.
The fort and nearby outbuildings were owned privately for most of the 20th century. However, in the 1990s, the LDS Church was given the property and has turned it into a tourist attraction fully-staffed by Mormon missionaries ready to give you all the information you might want about the fort, its history, or the meaning of our existence on this world.
Maya took pictures at Cove Fort with our older Canon PowerShot S10. She took some great pictures, as you’ll see below.
- Google Map of the location of Cove Fort
- LDS Church’s official site about Cove Fort
- Another site about Cove Fort
Pictures from Cove Fort
Fiesta Fun Center
This trip was, admittedly, hastily planned at the last minute. I used Google to try to find places and activities for us to do while we were in St. George. A couple visitor-information sites recommended the Fiesta Fun Center as a fun place for kids of all ages.
The FFC features an arcade, soft-play area, bumper-boats, miniature golf, kiddie go-karts, regular go-carts, and a small restaurant.
For our visit, we did miniature golf, soft-play, kiddie go-karts, and the arcade.
The miniature golf was clean and well-laid out, but kind of bland. Some of the holes were somewhat challenging, but none featured animatronic obstacles or anything fancier than a “loop-di-loop.”
Writing this prompted me to learn a little about the history of miniature golf and it seems modern (post-1990) miniature golf attractions have lost much of the artistic elements frequently featured by parks in the years before.
The kiddie go-karts were slow-moving, fun-decorated, battery-powered bumper cars that went around an L-shaped track. While I thought it couldn’t possibly be fun going so slow, our kids didn’t seem to mind that the cars were only moving at 2 miles per hour. Their tickets bought them a long time in the cars.
The arcade had a nice mix of ticket-dispensing games and traditional modern arcade games. There were also a couple air-hockey tables. Our kids concentrated on the ticket-dispensers and managed to tally up over 200 tickets from 45 tokens with which they redeemed for some plastic flutes, rubber balls, candy, lip gloss, and a couple other novelties.
The soft play area was smallish in size and seemed aimed more at kids in the 2-4 age-group.
Christine and I had never been in Zion Natioal Park or Zion Canyon despite having lived in Utah either all our lives or since childhood, so we decided to go check it out.
I knew the way, for the most part, because I was alog for the first FloydShow Sons Of Nothing put in 2002 on at a private party in Rockville which is just west of Springdale where the south entrance to Zion Canyon is.
Again, by virtue of Google, I knew about an IMAX theater at the south entrance to Zion Canyon and I knew about a big-screen feature they played there called Treasure Of The Gods which was about Zion Canyon, so we planned to do that and then see what else we wanted to do.
The film was awesome. Very entertaining and informative. It should have been in 3D, though.
The Zion Canyon Theater is located within walking distance from the entrance to the park, so we talked to a guy standing at an information booth and he told us: $20 would get our whole family into the park (for 7 days, in fact). The National Park Service operates a fleet of shuttle buses that carry visitors up and down the canyon and the free shuttle service is the preferred way of getting from place to place in the park.
We mulled it over and decided to make a day of it and ponied up the $20 to enter the park.
Our first stop was the Zion Canyon Human History Museum where we watched a superlative-filled 22-minute video on the park.
Our next stop was the Zion Lodge. On our way, the shuttle bus stopped at a couple stops to let people out and bring other people on. As we approached one of the stops, I recognized someone standing next to the stop. It was Pete Ashdown — Utah democratic candidate for U.S. senate. Pete appeared to be working with a cameraman to videotape something - maybe a campaign spot.
Why do Pete and I keep crossing paths? Maybe it’s just because he’s very busy campaigning.
At the Zion Lodge, we had a quick lunch and then set out for a short hike to the Emerald Pools.
After we got back from the hike, we boarded the shuttle bus again and went up to the shuttle stop at the top of the canyon: Temple Of Sinawava. We walked the paved trail north for about 1/3 mile before deciding the kids had enough of the walking and hiking. We headed back to the shuttle stop and then back to the visitors center at the bottom of the canyon.
It was early evening when we arrived back at the Zion Canyon Theater parking lot. We went back to St. George, had a late dinner, and went to sleep.
- National Park Service info for Zion Park
- TravelWest.net’s info for Zion Park
- Utah’s official state tourism site info for Zion Park
- Official site for the Zion Canyon Theater
We also spent some time swimming at the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center, doing laundry at a laundromat, and visiting Sue’s Pet Castle where we met our new puppy that we named Spike.