Tuesday, April 11, 2017

36 hours in Kanab

DAY 1:       Arrive in Kanab, Utah

1:00pm - 5:00pm  DREAMLAND TOURS 

After a scenic four hour drive to Kanab from Utah County, we were so excited to meet up with Brett, our guide from Dreamland Tours, at Glaziers Grocery Store parking lot. He was a kind fellow who quickly made us feel comfortable and excited to check out their Mystical Slot Canyon with dinosaur tracks. While we signed release forms, Brett asked if we would like to stop at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park to let the kids get some pent-up energy out. We, unanimously, agreed to do just that. We stopped there for about 30 minutes or so, but easily could have spent an entire day running, jumping and digging in the soft, cool pink sand. (side note: you can rent ATVs at the state park main entrance) All ten children jumped out of the suburbans, threw off their shoes and headed up the hill into the park without any hesitation.

They ran down the big hills so quickly that we couldn't keep up and didn't really try, since we could see them from the top. The juxtaposition between pine trees and Sahara desert-like sand is just so cool.

After getting sufficiently covered in sand head-to-toe, we climbed back in the vehicles and went off-roading to the dinosaur tracks. Brett took us to one of the most concentrated section of footprints ever found. He calmly and patiently pointed out the small and large tracks and just let the kiddos run up and over the slick rock.

Most of the time, the kids ran ahead and played and found their own tracks (some real, some not):

Finding this "quicksand" was one of the highlights of the dinosaur stop - we could hardly pry their little bodies out of this to continue on our way to the slot canyon.

The drive to Mystical Slot Canyon was seriously SO much fun - deep, deep sand and ruts and ups and downs...Brett was a skilled driver and let our children squeal and hang out the window and have the very best time. We quickly ate a snack at the suburbans and headed out through the slot canyon. The red rock with green foliage was stunning.

Brett, once again, pointed out the different rocks, formations and interesting features that we should be aware of...even the kids were interested - which, as parents, we recognized as a win!

A bit of scrambling as we hiked through the canyon...apparently, this boulder had been recently deposited that month during a flash flood (sure glad we were not there to witness that!)

The little ones loved being able to run through the canyon and hear their yells echo against the canyon walls.

After playing and hiking for four plus hours, we all were famished. Brett recommended Big Al's and HOLY COW, it did NOT disappoint! Yummy burgers and milkshakes for the adults (and McDonalds for the kids - they are next door to each other).  Dreamland Tours cannot be missed!

6:00pm - Dinner at Big Al's

I really don't need to say much, just look at this burger. Go there, trust us.

After dinner, we were all exhausted, so we headed to our rooms at the local Holiday Inn Express. The rooms were clean, the staff was friendly and there was a pool. When traveling with children, a pool is an awesome bonus!

DAY 2:

9:00am -12:00pm : Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

We headed to the outskirts of Kanab for a free tour of the acclaimed Sanctuary. Because we have so many young children, it was easier for us (and Best Friends) to go on a CD guided tour of the grounds, but you can take the 2 hour tour in one of their vehicles with a guide.  They are open seven days a week, just make sure you call first and make a reservation.  It is a mighty impressive place where animals are saved and rehabilitated. Did you know that Best Friends funds thousands of animal shelters throughout the USA? Yep, it's that cool. After the tour, we browsed their gift shop and information center - there is a doggy pool right outside the front doors for those hot days.

Once the kids got good and whiney we headed to a super cool picnic area on the Best Friends property. Check out that rock overhang for shade! There are so many hikes that we wished we had had time for, but we will be back!


Right in town we found the most amazing park.  It's right by the city pool (which can rival any big city pool by the way). We easily spent a couple hours here playing on the swings, flying our drone, and running around.  There's a splash pad a skate park and even a pump track here.  If you follow us on Instagram (which you should) you know we LOVE pump tracks.  They are the perfect place for little mountain bikers to hone their skills  We didn't bring our bikes on this trip which we really regretted once we saw that pump track.  We won't make that mistake again!

5:00pm - 8:00pm -  LITTLE HOLLYWOOD

Did you know that Kanab is universally recognized by the film industry as "Little Hollywood"? At this free museum you can explore dozens of old movie sets that have been preserved here.  When you first walk in there is a cute gift shop that had every kind of cowboy hat and cool dream catcher you can imagine.  We ushered our kids through that part as quickly as we could. 😏

Through the big doors in the back you get to the old western town.

Everything is hands-on and most buildings and "props" have signs with information about what movie it's appeared in.

This museum is amazing - it is more like an incredible movie set playground.  Our kids played tag and hide and seek all over this place.

Once it started getting dark, Sherriff Jason (and owner of the venue) got us all dressed up in costumes to make our very own western called "How the West was Lost."  We kinda thought this was a "dinner and show" type place.  Little did we know we were the show! That was infinitely more interesting and exciting for our kids. Some of us were saloon girls, some Indians, some cowboys, and this bad guy here:

He then walked us through our parts, complete with sounds effects, lighting and music.  We all thought this was the coolest thing ever!

After our show we sat down to a home cooked chuck-wagon meal - brisket, baked beans, salad with home made dressing, scalloped potatoes, hot rolls.  We've done a lot of cool and interesting things but the Little Hollywood Museum still tops the list as the kids most favorite.  It's a must do in Kanab!!


Mossy Cave Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park

This short hike has a big pay-off. There are steep parts (which are probably shaded in summer), and flat parts, and bridges to hike, and wading water pools, and waterfalls, and hoodoos...you name it, it's most likely on this hike.

The water was frigid, but the warm sunshine made it all worth it.

Our kiddos (okay, and even us adults) played behind the large waterfall. So. Much. Fun.

We spent quite a bit of time building dams, playing in the dirt, the water and just soaking up the last bit of our trip.

Look at the view, not too shabby! So, if you have an hour to spare, drive along Scenic Byway 12 and stop at the Mossy Cave Trail.

So here are the deets:

STAY: Holiday Inn Express  Clean rooms, free breakfast, nice pool, $100ish/night

EAT: Big Al's  Burgers, milkshakes, Diet Coke

DO: Dreamland Tours expert guides through backcountry sites. Varying lengths/price
        Best Friend Animal Sanctuary free 2-hour tour. Register beforehand
        City Park pool, playground, bike/skate tracks, bathrooms, grassy area for picnics
        Little Hollywood Museum free museum.  Chuck-wagon lunch: $15 , dinner $20
        Mossy Cave Trail less than a mile round trip. Perfect hike for kids

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