A swath of sage-covered valley floor along Utah's busiest interstate is the last place you'd expect to find a 55-acre botanical garden, a paleontology museum, and a demonstration farm. But Thanksgiving Point, 25 miles south of Salt Lake City off I-15, surprises in many ways.
Alan Ashton, cofounder of the early software maker WordPerfect Corp., bought the once-desolate piece of land near Lehi more than two decades ago as a gift to his wife, Karen. Together, they have transformed it into a wondrous destination for all ages.
What can you do at Thanksgiving Point? Among other things, you can milk a cow in Farm Country; dig for dinosaur bones at the Museum of Ancient Life; traverse an indoor rope course at the Museum of Natural Curiosity; or stroll through tulip beds reminiscent of the Netherlands at Ashton Gardens. The grounds really shine in April, when visitors from across the state arrive for the Tulip Festival, a celebration of the nearly 300,000 orange, yellow, pink, and lavender blooms blanketing the grounds.
And, it turns out, the Ashtons aren't done developing the property. A fifth attraction, an enormous interactive butterfly habitat that houses thousands of the colorful insects from around the world, opened in early 2019.