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Tribune Choice Awards: Destinations


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Second runner-up

At a glance

Utah at its best

You voted, and the results are in.

Allow us to introduce winners of The Salt Lake Tribune Choice Awards — your picks for the best Utah has to offer in dining, nightlife, arts and culture, recreation and destinations. Tribune editors weighed in as well, with their own selections in each category.

Did fellow readers get it right? Did we?

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Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area » Enjoy fishing and boating on the reservoir, take a dam tour or rent a raft and head down the Green River. Better yet, get a fly-fishing guide. Add to that campgrounds, beaches, hiking trails, geologic drives and nearby Vernal and its dinosaur attractions, and this is a highly underrated destination.

Family outings

People’s Choice

Winner

Natural History Museum of Utah » This 163,000-square-foot facility likes to tell visitors to "spend the day. You have 150 million years to cover." Judging from its popularity, many Utahns have accepted the invitation to see the $102.5 million facility, with its striking roof made of 42,000 square feet of copper, that opened in 2011. A research facility that is home to 1.2 million specimens and objects, the museum has major exhibits on sky, native voices, life, land, first peoples, gems and minerals, the Great Salt Lake, Our Backyard and Utah’s future. Special events and exhibitions make the museum a place that can easily be visited several times a year. A patio and coffee shop also have proved to be popular resting spots for hikers and bikers who use the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which runs near the building.


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First runner-up

Red Butte Garden » Stroll through the themed gardens, enjoy a picnic or join the masses for a summer concert at this 100-acre botanical garden, the largest in the Intermountain West.

Second runner-up

Lagoon » (See Editors’ Choice.)

Editors’ Choice

Winner

Lagoon Amusement Park » Many Utah families don’t consider summer complete without a visit to this venerable Farmington theme park. And those who don’t have the time or money to make it to Southern California for a Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios or Knotts Berry Farm adventure usually find Lagoon to be a nice alternative.

The family-owned park, founded in 1886 and on the same site since 1893, mixes history with thrill rides that include eight roller coasters. Pioneer Village shows off collections of guns, carriages and a number of original Utah buildings in a quiet end of the park. Combine that with the 1906 carousel, the wooden roller coaster built in 1921 and historic picnic pavilions where visitors can still bring in their own food, and you have a great place for a summer break.

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