Romance blooms at Ashton Gardens

Posted By Allison on Jun 21, 2012

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My husband and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. This year, our celebration included a romantic afternoon at the Thanksgiving Point Gardens. Our family has previously visited Thanksgiving Point’s sprawling campus, which includes a dinosaur museum, a farm, a children’s garden, a golf course, movie theaters and restaurants, but we had not yet seen the main gardens. This seemed like a perfect opportunity.

Tips for visiting Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Utah | | spring | summer | Tulip Festival | Cornbelly's | anniversary ideas | romantic getaways | travel | Utah County

June is an excellent time of year for a garden visit and Ashton Gardens exceeded my expectations as the setting for a romantic afternoon. We did not pick-up a map at the admissions desk, but meandered around the garden’s 55 acres for about three hours, discovering something new around every turn.

Our first “discovery” after wandering down the hill from the main building was hard to miss. It’s the largest man-made waterfall in the Western hemisphere. The waterfall is the backdrop for a large amphitheatre and we watched children roll down the grassy hillbefore walking up and around the falls.

A short time later, we happened upon the Rose Garden which was in full bloom. Between the picturesque arched pathway and the many colorful rose varieties, it’s hard to take a bad photo here. We know, because our little camera was recently drenched in a rainstorm and we took all these photos without a working viewfinder.

A short bridge brought us next to the koi pond. At first, we enjoyed watching the few koi near the bridge, until we followed the stream to a pond filled with dozens of these colorful fish. Here, we found coin-operated fish food dispensers and watched the children around us toss pellets to the swarming fish below. We thought of our own children and how they will enjoy the koi pond when it’s their turn to visit these gardens.

Thanksgiving Point Gardens

We discovered a set of columns at the top of a small hill where we enjoyed a lovely overlook, an iron carousel covered in flowers, and a fountain cascading down a set of stairs through a dozen bathtub-shaped receptacles. The “No Swimming” signs were well placed, because it might have been tempting to soak in one of them. My favorite area was the Secret Garden. This garden is walled and somewhat concealed, so without a map I really did feel like we had discovered something special.

Since my visit, the Light of the World Garden has been completed. It features 15 larger-than-life sculptures depicting the life and mission of Jesus Christ. I can’t imagine a more peaceful and beautiful setting for an inspirational garden of this type.

Thanksgiving Point Gardens

Golf carts and Segways are available for rent, but unless you have mobility problems, I recommend seeing the garden on foot. The expansive views and individual plants and flowers are meant to be enjoyed slowly. Furthermore, Segways might be fun for a unique first date, but they are not remotely romantic. You can’t stroll hand-in-hand or enjoy a conversation on a Segway.

I look forward to bringing our children back to discover Ashton Gardens in their own way, but that will be a completely different experience. I am still enjoying the memory of our romantic afternoon so much, there’s no need to rush.


How else can I help?

Need a place to stay? You have lots of options since Thanksgiving Point is conveniently located between Salt Lake City and Provo. You’ll find several new hotels near Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. Check availability and reviews now at TripAdvisor.

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Hi there! I am the founder of Tips for Family Trips. I am a married mom of two children, ages 10 and 12, living near Salt Lake City, Utah. We took our first child on a two-week road trip when she was four weeks old and we have been traveling as a family ever since. We love to get out of the house to see and do fun things, both far away and in our own neighborhood.


  1. Was a little surprised to see the cross and read that they have Segways and golf carts. Guess they’re catering to all tastes.
    It’s an amazingly beautiful place, perfect for an anniversary celebration. Happy Anniversary!

    Post a Reply
    • Yes. The headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is located in Salt Lake City and Utah is mostly Christian in general, so the Inspiration Garden fits the local personality. I think that riding a Segway misses the point of going to the gardens, but if you want a Segway experience in a beautiful place, then Thanksgiving Point does indeed accommodate all tastes.

      Thanks for the anniversary wishes! It was a great day.

      Post a Reply
  2. I’ve traveled through and to Utah often and find it so diverse in its beauty! But I didn’t know about these gorgeous gardens. I’ll have to check out your post on Red Butte now. Happy Anniversary!

    Post a Reply
    • Thank you! There are many diverse attractions in Salt Lake City and we have just discovered its beautiful gardens in the last few years ourselves.

      Post a Reply


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