Tours of all sorts breathe life into Utah amusement

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    By Joy Engebretsen

    No more movie nights of just sitting inside the apartment. Provo is surrounded by fun things to do, which unfortunately are not very well known to the typical BYU student.

    Tours of museums, city streets, factories and old homes are a few of the many sites people can visit.

    To see some of Mother Earth”s amazing features the National Park Service gives tours through Timpanogas Cave National Monument. The National Park Service reports that the cave is filled with stalagmites, stalactites, draperies, flowstone and helictites. During mid-May to September tours are given with advance purchase of tickets. Tickets may be obtained by calling (801) 756-5238 or at the cave”s visitor center.

    The visitor center is located in American Fork Canyon at the bottom of the mountain. Visitors must hike 11/2 miles up the Mount Timpanogas to reach the cave.

    Peppermint Place, located in Alpine, is not very far from the caves. It is a novelty candy store and factory where self-guided tours allow a person to watch the candy being made.

    Donna Hills, the assistant manager said there are large observation windows for visitors to watch candy canes, suckers, gumballs and candy sticks decorated.

    Before watching the factory workers, a video is shown to the visitors.

    The tour is free, but don”t expect to be able to leave without buying some of the candy that appeals to the mouth as well as the eye. For hours of operation call (801) 756-7400 or visit 155 E. 200 N., Alpine.

    The history of Provo can be discovered through the Provo Historic Buildings Tour. The Utah County Visitor Information Center, located at 51 S. University Ave. #111, Provo, has a pamphlet and map which guides a person to the historic homes, schools, chapels, and court house located in Provo. The pamphlet has 22 sites to visit.

    For example, President George Albert Smith”s grandfather lived at 315 East Center Street in the 1850”s. He was sent to Provo to help with the Mormon colonization. For more information call (801) 370-8393.

    Riding on a golf cart is fun by itself, but learning about BYU campus is even more enjoyable.

    “The historical background about the buildings was very interesting and it made me proud to be a BYU student,” Crystal Moore-Walker, 20, majoring in history, from Bellevue, Washington said after her tour.

    Tours are given Monday through Friday, every hour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. According to Brenya Smith, a BYU tour guide, approximately 30 buildings are visited, including statues on campus, the Marriott Center and other sports facilities.

    Smith said, “We tell our visitors facts like, the business school is ranked 29th in the nation, only five percent of universities in the nation have cadaver labs like BYU”s, or that over 70% of BYU students are bilingual.”

    Another attraction with many languages offered is Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Guides there offer tours in 38 languages. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sponsors these free guided tours which feature historic sites, exhibits, movie theaters, parks, flower gardens, the world”s largest genealogy center and the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir. All of these exhibits are on 35 acres of downtown Salt Lake City.

    Three of the most popular attractions on Temple Square are the Conference Center and the two visitors” centers.

    The Conference Center is a 21,000-seat auditorium with a garden on the roof. Tours are given Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Sarah McEwen, a resident of San Diego, California visited the Conference Center last April. She said she especially enjoyed the sculptures of the heads of all the prophets since the restoration.

    The visitors” centers have exhibits about the church and its programs. The north visitors” center has an 11-foot statue of Christ with a recorded message about his purpose.

    NuSkin is a skin care company with its headquarters located in downtown Provo. The visitors” center explains the history of skin care and the process of how the company developed from a small family business to a large international corporation. The free tours are given on weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to noon and then 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For additional information call (801) 345-8687.

    Lehi Roller Mills is famous in Hollywood because the movie, Footloose was filmed there in 1984. Historically however, it is a mill that has been producing flour since 1906. Today you can still buy mill products from the small store nearby. The mill is located just west of I-15 exit 285 on Main Street in Lehi. For more information call (801) 768-4401.

    Another attraction in Lehi is the Historic Lehi Bus Tour. This tour travels back to the wild west by following the original Pony Express and Overland stagecoach to Camp Floyd, the largest military outpost in the United States in the 1850”s.The tour also visits the Carson Stagecoach Inn, built in 1858. The bus departs from the Lehi Historic Hotel at 394 W. Main, Lehi. Tours are for 20 or more people. For dates, times and rates call (801) 768-0307.

    There really is a lot to see and do in Provo and its surrounding cities. Residents of Provo can go to the Utah County Visitor Information Center to learn more about their state.

    “Some of [the locals] have no idea what there is available,” an anonymous employer at the visitor information center said. “They have lived here all their life and they still don”t know.”

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