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Liberty Park submarine prank to raise funds for museum

Published April 2, 2013 4:31 pm

Liberty Park • Yellow submarine is part of a push to fund Museum of Natural Curiosity.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

April Fool's Day presented the opportunity for Thanksgiving Point to prank Utahns with a curious event — a yellow submarine stuck in the pond at Salt Lake City's Liberty Park.

The colorful contraption, too large to sink in the shallow waters, piqued the interest of onlookers, thus fulfilling its intent.

Britnee Johnston, communications manager for Thanksgiving Point, said the allegedly submersible craft is actually an object of art created by Highland resident Andrew Smith.

More "random acts of curiosity" will unfold through the summer, Johnston added, to raise the final $3.4 million in funds need to build the $27.7 million Museum of Natural Curiosity, set to open at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi by spring 2014.

Smith, creator of the notable submarine, began making kinetic sculpture — art that moves through the power of water, wind, electricity or some other means — about 13 years ago.

"I weld junk together and make it work," Smith said.

His yellow submarine is made of multiple spare parts, with the main shell coming from an abandoned military water tank. Smith also attached running boards from an old truck, gadgets to resemble control panels and an old trampoline frame.

The yellow submarine initially served as a float in a Lehi parade a few years back before getting repurposed as an April Fool's joke.

After spending a few hours in the Liberty Park pond Monday, the 400- to 600-pound art object was rescued and hauled away "to an undisclosed location," Johnston said.

As for Smith, 34, his hobby is quickly mushrooming into a niche career. These days, he busies himself fabricating large mechanical objects that will be part of the stage decor for conservative icon Glenn Beck's live "Man in the Moon" event to be held July 6 at the USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City.

"I'm kind of a kid at heart," Smith said of his curious work. "I've always enjoyed playing."

cmckitrick@sltrib.com

Twitter: @catmck —

Yellow submarine launches fundraiser

The Museum of Natural Curiosity, set to open in spring 2014 at Lehi's Thanksgiving Point, will feature a rain forest, waterworks and a kid-sized city called Kidopolis.

The planned facility needs $3.4 million more in funding to reach its $27.7 million goal.

O To learn more or donate, go to RUcurious2.org or MuseumofNaturalCuriosity.org.