The Most Random Place to Visit in Utah


It was Field Trip Friday. The kids were in the mood for something out of the ordinary. A trip, perhaps? I suggested the zoo- there were some excited kids. I suggested this random sculpture garden Bonnie had mentioned once- no one voted for that one. I suggested going to the sculpture gardens followed up with a trip to Bruges Waffles & Frites in Salt Lake and ordering a huge cone of fries with dipping sauces- everyone voted for it.  Buckle up- this sculpture garden is a wild ride.

Gilgal Garden: Sculptures by Thomas Battersby Child, Jr

“Most Salt Lake City residents have never heard of Gilgal Garden, or the sculptures. Neither did many of Child’s neighbors know what was in his backyard in the mid-twentieth century. Child often said that he hoped the garden would “inspire viewers to ponder the unsolved mysteries of life and struggle to find their own answers.” Well aware that many people thought Gilgal Garden was strange, he still hoped they would accept its challenge. “You don’t have to agree with me,” he explained. “You may think I am a nut, but I hope I have aroused your thinking and curiosity.” (1)

First of all, there is not a lot of information out there about these sculptures. I thought there would be plaques by each one, explaining what the artist was thinking. Nothing. There are sometimes random scriptures etched in stone at your feet, not attached to the work and it leaves you wandering if this is a clue to what he was thinking or if this is just an unrelated thought that he liked.


A sphinx with the head of Joseph Smith on the left. On the right, a huge statue with a boulder as the head- you can see Jack walking along a trail behind it.


 “Online sites that mention Gilgal Gardens all comment in some form that it is clear that the gardens were one man’s passionate expression, even if years of concentrated study have been unable to determine exactly what he was trying to say.” (2)


This was a fun place for the kids to explore. There were fun nature paths to walk through and many had flowers taller than the kids, which they liked.


Above: Cayden is sitting in front of a sculpture of the artist himself with his tools. Pretty cool that he was wearing brick pants, eh?

Above: Couldn’t resist these cute little feet!


We were off to Bruges Waffles & Frites. Yummy! It was so hot outside- we actually ordered water to go with our fries. Those bottles served us well at the zoo in addition to the two I’d brought as well. It was nice to sit in the shade and sit for a bit before walking some more at the zoo.


The train ride!


A very hot rhinoceros

I didn’t realize that the polar bear and sea lion exhibits were open! They were wonderful! There were misters all over the zoo (thank goodness!) and the sea lions were so playful! I’m looking forward to going again

That was a marathon of a day but new experiences all around. I was so glad to have gone and have actually thought about Gilgal Gardens a lot since then. I’m just so curious….. What WAS he thinking?!

One response »

  1. The gardens are crazy! I actually had pictures of my kids taken in that garden! At the time Ty was so little and we were there in the late Fall I didn’t pay too much attention to the sculptures, but it looks like it was lots of fun!

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