UT Posted in Utah November 11, 2015 by Catherine Rees Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know About Utah From A to Z From highlights of our state’s history, to its natural beauty and even Utah’s stereotypes, here are some of the best bits of Utah… from A to Z. Arches National Park Umberto de Peppo Cocco/flickr Featuring Delicate Arch, the icon on our license plate, Arches National Park also includes more than 2,000 other arches. It’s red-rock beauty at its finest. Beehive vxla/flickr Our state symbol, representing Utahns’ industriousness and spirit of cooperation. Coincidentally, we produce some delicious honey here, too. Copper loco steve/flickr The Kennecott Copper mine is one of the largest open-pit mines in the world, and produces 275,000 tons of copper every year — it’s the second-largest producing copper mine in the country. The mine is ¾ mile deep and can be seen from space! Dinosaurs David Fullmer/flickr You’ll find Dinosaur National Monument near Vernal. The Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry features over 1,500 dinosaur bones from eleven species, including allosaurus, stegosaurus and diplodocus. In addition to the 150-million year old bones, the park also includes petroglyphs created by the Fremont Indians between 800 and 1,200 years ago. Emigration Canyon Jacqueline Poggi/flickr At the mouth of Emigration Canyon, you’ll find the This is the Place Heritage Park. The site is where Brigham Young, leader of the Mormon Church, stood and proclaimed, “This is the right place. Drive on!” Also in the canyon: great hiking, tons of wildlife (including moose!), Hogle Zoo and Ruth’s Diner...with some killer mile-high biscuits. Fry Sauce Jimmy Emerson, DVM/flickr A mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise, fry sauce was invented by the founder of Arctic Circle more than 60 years ago. Some Utahns can’t even fathom eating fries without it. Out-of-state transplants and other Utahns think it’s the most disgusting thing ever. Regardless of your feelings about the tangy dipping sauce, it’s definitely a Utah thing. Great Salt Lake Steve Way/flickr The water level of the Great Salt Lake varies, but generally it covers over 1,700 square miles. It’s all that’s left of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which once covered much of the state. The only wildlife that survives in the salty water is the tiny brine shrimp, but you’ll find plenty of wildlife around the lake’s banks and marshes. Hogle Zoo Jake Pollmann/flickr Utah’s largest zoo sits in the mouth of Emigration Canyon. You’ll find more than 800 animals at this 42-acre zoo, which is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Many of Hogle’s animals are rescued from circuses or smaller zoos. Inversion Don LaVange/flickr Utah is a beautiful state, but during winter months the Salt Lake valley suffers from a phenomenon known as “inversion.” Normal atmospheric conditions include cold air higher up and warm air below, but in an inversion it’s the opposite. Basically, all the pollution from our industries, vehicles, and wood-burning fireplaces gets trapped in the bowl created by our mountains. The air quality gets bad, and we try to escape to higher elevations (or Southern Utah) for some fresh air. Jello FraserElliott/flickr I’m not sure how Utahns became so consumed with Jello. We love to combine it with weird things, like shaved carrots, and call it “salad.” It’s not… it’s sugar, flavoring and gelatin. Kids MycameraAndMe/flickr Utah has lots of ‘em! We have the highest number of children per capita in the entire nation. Everywhere you go in this state, you’ll find plenty of adorable, miniature Utahns (and a small percentage who are not as adorable). Utah is full of family-centric activities and venues. It’s a great place to raise kids. Liquor Matteo Pacciatti/flickr Liquor in Utah is controlled by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which basically means that you have to buy your booze at the State Liquor Store. You can’t get it on Sundays or state holidays, and you’ll pay more for it here than in neighboring states. We also have a host of confusing liquor laws that govern the dispensing of beverages at bars, clubs and restaurants. Locals have learned to live with it; tourists are befuddled. Mormons John Phillip Green/flickr It’s what many think of when they think of our state. Mormon pioneers founded Utah, and their descendants still prosper here. Utah is becoming more diverse every year — the state as a whole is only about 64 percent Mormon now — but the Church (with a capital “C”) still has a lot of influence. Natural Beauty Clint Losee/flickr We’re incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful state! People come from all over the world to stand amazed at our sweeping vistas, towering mountains and stunning red rock. For residents, it’s all right in our own backyards! The diversity of our natural beauty is fabulous too. You can ski fresh powder at Brighton in the morning, then drive to St. George and make a late tee time — all in the same day! Olympics DaveO/flickr We hosted the 2002 Winter Games, and the state has never been the same. In addition to making a lot of revenue and gaining the attention of the entire world in 2002, we continue to benefit from the Games. Venues such as the Olympic Oval in Kearns and Olympic Park in Park City continue to train future Olympic athletes and provide recreation opportunities for Utahns. Polygamy (and Polygamy Porter) Phil Whitehouse/flickr Yes, it was a Mormon thing. No, the LDS Church doesn’t sanction it anymore. But yes...it still exists to a small extent here in Utah. The recent popularity of the television shows “Sister Wives” and “Big Love” put Utah back in the spotlight regarding polygamy. As a side note, Wasatch Brewery’s Polygamy Porter is one of its most popular brews. There’s no connection to polygamy...other than the play on Utah’s history. Quilting MJB/flickr Many Utahns have some mad skills when it comes to handicrafts and art. Quilting is just one of the many things we take for granted here. That quilt your cousin made would astound someone from any other state...here, so many talented people create quilts that no one thinks twice about it. Republicans Curtis Fry/flickr Utah is heavily Republican, and we have some pretty famous politicians. Orrin Hatch, U.S. Senator for Utah, has represented the state since just after the dinosaurs departed (just kidding...his first term was 1977). Back in 2008, 75 percent of Utahns identified themselves as Republican. Democrats do what they can to balance the roster: Salt Lake City has typically voted in a Democrat mayor, for instance. Salt Flats Wayne Stadler/flickr The Bonneville Salt Flats are world famous for auto speed records. They’re vast, barren and usually hard enough to provide a great surface for car racing. And, they look pretty cool too. TImpanogos Eric Ward/flickr Mount Timpanogos is a well-known landmark in Utah County, and Utahns from all over the state visit Timpanogos Cave every year. If you want to learn the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite, this is the place to go. Uinta Mountain Range JWe/flickr The Uinta range is highest mountain range running east to west in the lower 48 states. It provides incredible scenic beauty and tons of recreation opportunities. The famous Mirror Lake Byway winds through a small portion of the range, and you’ll find more than 1,000 natural lakes in the Uintas. Virgin River Diana Robinson/flickr The 162-mile-long Virgin River runs through Zion National Park and provides fishing, rafting, and a cool splash through the Narrows. It was designated as a Wild and Scenic Utah River in 2009. Wasatch Mountains Bryant Olsen/flickr The Wasatch Mountains are often the first thing visitors notice about our state as they approach the Salt Lake International Airport — and they’re awe-inspiring. The canyons along the range provide tons of outdoor recreation, including fishing, camping, hiking, and of course...skiing! Xeriscaping Bryant Olsen/flickr Utah IS a desert, even though it’s hard to remember that when it’s snowing outside. Especially in the Southern part of our state, temperatures and climate make it difficult and expensive to maintain a thick, lush lawn. We’re a state that watches its water usage carefully, why not xeriscape? It’s not just a Southern Utah thing anymore...folks in the Salt Lake Valley and beyond are joining in. Less mowing and more time to play! Yurts TheVikingYurt/Facebook When you live in a place that gets covered by snow for much of the year, you tend to look to other cultures in remote places for inspiration. Yurts, popular in much of Central Asia for thousands of years, are fun in Utah, too! You can dine at the Viking Yurt in Park City or the Yurt at Solitude during winter months. Or, you can stay overnight in a yurt in several spots in Utah’s canyons. Zion National Park Steve Corey/flickr Our most-visited National Park, Zion sees well over 3 million people every year! Many of those folks are Utahns, who know that the park is just teeming with wildlife and stunning natural beauty. Hike through the narrows, climb to the top of Angel’s Landing, or go river rafting...it’s all right here in Utah’s backyard! I know I’ve left out SO many of Utah’s very best things (I only have 26 letters, after all). Tell me what I missed in the comments!