Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point is a great destination for families – or a romantic date. My husband and I have celebrated two wedding anniversaries at Ashton Gardens, several years apart. It's the perfect place to walk hand in hand and talk about anything, surrounded by the beauty and variety of nature.
Ashton Gardens would be a completely different experience with children, but still lots of fun. The gardens were popular with families during our visits. There are many interesting features for kids to discover, and lots of open space for running, outdoor voices and rolling down a big, grassy hill.
Thanksgiving Point is a sprawling campus that includes Ashton Gardens, plus a children's museum, dinosaur museum, a farm, a golf course, movie theaters and restaurants and more. This variety, combined with a convenient location, makes Thanksgiving Point one of Utah's top destinations for families.
Here are my tips for making the most of your visit to Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point.
Ashton Gardens is located at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah – about 30 minutes' drive from downtown Salt Lake City. You'll see the Thanksgiving Point museums and movie theater from Interstate 15, but Ashton Gardens is a few blocks farther west.
Driving your own car is the easiest way to visit Thanksgiving Point. A UTA Frontrunner station is located about one mile from Ashton Gardens.
We spent about 2-3 hours each time we visited Ashton Gardens.
When to Go
Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point are open year-round and there is something beautiful and interesting to see in every season.
My anniversary is in June, and that's an excellent time to visit. Everything is in full bloom, the weather is warm and the roses are especially beautiful. The grounds are so large that you shouldn't feel crowded, even on the most popular summer day.
The Tulip Festival is held at Ashton Gardens for about four weeks in April and May each year. This popular event typically attracts 100,000+ visitors. It's an annual tradition for many locals.
Luminaria is a nighttime winter event held from Thanksgiving through the New Year. Ashton Gardens are filled with light during this season. Guests walk through a mile of lighted scenes and are treated to a view of 5,000 luminaries that act as pixels and create a series of images on the huge grassy hill.
I have also visited Ashton Gardens in October. It was just as beautiful as in June. Seasonal flowers were planted in the beds and the colors were completely different from other times of year.
What to Bring
Wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes and sun protection. It's a good idea to bring your own reusable water bottle too. We found water bottle filling stations inside the gardens.
You may want to bring snacks or sandwiches too. You'll be able to stay longer – especially with kids – if you have something to eat. Picnic tables are located in several places inside Ashton Gardens. The Trellis Cafe is located near the entrance at the top of the hill.
Ashton Gardens is divided into 15 themed gardens over 50 acres. Here are our favorites.
A large series of waterfalls have been built into the hill at Thanksgiving Point. These serve as the backdrop for Ashton Gardens' amphitheatre. The walking path leads visitors above the falls and around the amphitheatre. It's a nice place to stop and rest, or roll down the big grassy hill.
The Rose Garden is always at its peak during our June anniversary. This is a wonderful place to walk around and take photos of all the different varieties. A large, curved arbor creates a scenic backdrop.
Koi View Pier
The koi pond is sure to be a hit with kids. You can purchase food to feed these colorful fish.
This walled garden is a fun discovery. A wide tunnel marks its entrance from two directions. Inside, you'll find benches and a fountain, and lots of lovely plants and flowers
The multi-tier fountain is the most striking feature of the Italian Garden. Water falls down a long series of steps, from one basin to the another until it reaches a pool at the bottom.
Light of the World Garden
The Light of the World Garden is the highlight of Ashton Gardens for many visitors. This garden features a series of larger-than-life sculptures depicting the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The landscaping is different from any of the other gardens. Each of the sculptures has scriptural references close by. It's a special and inspirational place.
Golf Carts and Segways
Golf carts and Segways are available for rent. If I were to visit with my mom or anyone else who can't walk long distances, I would definitely rent a golf cart. It would be a wonderful way to share the beauty of Ashton Gardens with her.
For everyone else, I feel that walking is the best way to experience the garden. It's meant to be enjoyed slowly. Golf carts can't access all the walking paths.
Shopping and Dining
Ashton Gardens has an on-site restaurant, gift shop and nursery near the entrance. There are shops and restaurants in other parts of Thanksgiving Point too.
Lehi has many other casual restaurants and an outlet mall within a couple of miles of Thanksgiving Point.
Where to Stay
Thanksgiving Point is conveniently located between Salt Lake City and Provo, so it's an easy day trip for most Wasatch Front residents and visitors to Salt Lake City.
We booked a hotel near Thanksgiving Point for our last anniversary visit to Ashton Gardens. There are several to choose from, mostly moderately-priced hotels from well-known chains. We chose Home2, which has a complimentary breakfast and a kitchenette in every room.
Click the button below to check availability and reviews for hotels near Thanksgiving Point at TripAdvisor.com.
Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point is an urban treasure, and the kind of destination that can be whatever you want it to be. For us, it's a romantic anniversary outing close to home. For other families, it might be an exciting outdoor adventure with kids.
Whatever it is for you, I hope that our experience has helped you plan a wonderful day at Ashton Gardens.
For more information, please visit the official Ashton Gardens website at https://www.thanksgivingpoint.org/experience/ashton-gardens/