Sunday, October 28, 2012

Utah - Antelope Island

We wanted to really be able to experience the Great Salt Lake, and Antelope Island State Park offered exactly that.  After looking online, we decided that Saturday would be the best day.  That's the day the park was having a Junior Ranger program about sea monkeys.  Fun!

I got the kids up and out the door early with the promise of a special breakfast.  Krispy Kreme doughnuts!  We stopped in Layton, Utah, which is on the way to Antelope Island, for our treat.  Full of sugar, we headed on over to the park.

We drove across the causeway and arrived on the island with about 30 minutes to spare before the sea monkey program.  Just enough time to check out the visitor center and get Junior Ranger books for the kids.

causeway to island

Finally, it was time to learn about the sea monkeys.  There are kits that you can buy at toy stores and raise your own sea monkeys, maybe you have seen them.  The "monkeys" are actually brine shrimp that live in super salty water, like the Great Salt Lake in Utah.  These little creatures are basically the only thing that can survive in such salty water. 

The Ranger teaching the program was very patient with the kids.  She first told them all about the sea monkeys.  Then, she gave each child a little cup and led them down to the water to wade in and catch some.  After everyone had their fill of catching them, she took a cupful back up to the pavilion and set up a microscope for the kids to get an up close look.  The kids loved it!

With the program done, we had a quick lunch and then went exploring.  We saw lots of birds, a coyote, some antelope, a snake, and bison.  (The park rangers are quick to tell you that they are NOT buffalo, they are bison :).  Um, ok.)  We have seen lots of buffalo (bison?) in Wyoming and South Dakota, but never on a beach.  It was an odd sight!

At the far end of the island is an old ranch open to park visitors, Fielding Garr Ranch.  The ranch house, built in 1848, is the oldest house in Utah that remains on its original foundation.  When you enter the ranch yard, you are given a walking tour self-guide.  With this map in hand, we explored the house, barns, livestock pens, spring house, etc.  We skipped seeing Garr Springs, the freshwater source for the ranch.  One of the rangers warned us that there was an injured bison in the vicinty, beware.  Yikes, no thanks!

It was nearing sunset, so we made our way to Bridger Bay.  We wanted to get in the water.  I would say swim, but that's not really what you do there.  You float.  The water is so super salty that you lay back and just easily float.  I hate to admit it, but I chickened out.  Remember all those sea monkeys?  Yeh, the water was full of them.  Ew.  The kids didn't care, they all floated around until they got tired of it.  I did wade out in the water with them.  I just couldn't bring myself to lay down in it!  The park has pay showers with warm water for those brave enough to float with the sea monkeys.  A handful of quarters later, the kids were all cleaned up and we were ready to go home.

Bridger Bay

We had a really fun day.  Long, but fun :).


  1. Melonie, after reading your comments each day, I just have one word each time--Wow! From overseeing 10 kids in your front yard to swimming with sea monkeys and watching buffalo (er, bison!) at the beach, I think this is amazing what you're doing with your kids. The world is their classroom. They are learning so much they will not forget and way more than they will remember from a textbook!

  2. We did this yesterday!1 Thank you so much for your tips.

    1. Oh, how fun! Antelope Island is such a neat place, isn't it?

      You are very welcome...I'm happy to know our tips were a help to you :)