In a few hours from now the official Easter weekend will begin.
Those planning extended stays away have, no doubt, finalized their travel plans.For those planning to sleep in their own beds, raid their own refrigerator, limit travel to daylight hours and aren't yet sure what to do, here are a few suggestions for Wasatch Front residents:
Skiing: Utah resorts are currently offering some of the best skiing in the entire country. Base depths at most resorts are well over 100 inches, and new snow early in the week has left ski conditions, as one visiting Californian said, "truly excellent."
Cross-country skiing is another option. It can be as easy as a walk around the block or as challenging as a skier wishes to make it. There are groomed tracks at Alta, Soldier Hollow (final weekend), Solitude, Sundance and Park City. Rental equipment is also available.
Snowbasin will hold an Easter egg hunt on Sunday, starting at 9 a.m., on Little Cat for kids 5 to 10, as well as one in Wildflower Meadows for kids 4 and under.
The Easter bunny will visit Deer Valley's Snow Park Lodge on Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m., distributing goodies and greeting kids.
The Canyons will hold an Easter egg hunt for kids on the mountain. One area will be for infants to age 4 and another for ages 5 to 10.
Snowbird will offer a unique twist to the Easter egg hunt with a "beacon hunt" on Saturday. To promote avalanche awareness, five avalanche beacons will be buried in a one-acre area of Gad Valley. Prizes will be awarded to those who find the beacons, which will be buried in packs under the snow. The event is open to anyone with a beacon, probe and shovel. Registration is from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.Snowbird will also hold an egg hunt for kids ages 4 to 11 on Chickadee Hill, starting at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Snowmobiling: There are a number of nearby areas where people can go riding, and they need not tow machines along with them. Snowbird (877-810-0060) and Deer Valley (435-649-1000) offer riding opportunities. Riding and rentals are also available at the Thousand Peaks Ranch in Weber Canyon (888-304-7669) and at Daniels Summit, northeast of Heber (800-519-9969). Along with lodging, Daniels also features good food. Guided rides and rentals can range from one hour to all day.
Biking: There are a number of great family biking opportunities, weather permitting. One of the more popular is riding the seven-mile causeway to Antelope Island. The road is flat with little traffic. A number of riding opportunities also are available on the island along paved roads and dirt trails.
Another is a ride around Farmington Bay Bird Refuge. The ride can start at the Davis County Courthouse (State and Main) in Farmington. Riders can then head west to the edge of Farmington Bay Bird Refuge and then on to the refuge. Great wildlife viewing opportunities abound.Another option would be to start at the Weather Bureau building east of the airport ride west along the airport bike path, and then connect to the frontage road that parallels I-80 to the Great Salt Lake (25 miles round trip). Again, the road is flat with not much traffic.
Tubing: Two areas offer lift-served tubing: Gorgoza Park (800-678-9915), just east of Parleys Summit, and Soldier Hollow Park (435-654-2002), west of Heber and site of the 2002 Olympic Nordic events. This is the final weekend for tubing and cross-country skiing at Soldier Hollow.
Heber: Besides tubing at Soldier Hollow, a short distance away is the Homestead, which offers swimming in pools but also in the famed crater, where water temperatures remain consistent and comfortable, even in the winter. There will be a traditional Easter egg hunt and a visit from the Easter bunny, along with the resort's famous brunch on Sunday (435-654-1102).
Antelope Island: The island is a great place to visit and either hike about or view wildlife. More than 700 buffalo roam the island, and it's not difficult to spot one of the shaggy animals wandering about. On Saturday an organized bird walk will be held along the Mountain View trail at 2 p.m. On Sunday a bird-watching walk around the Fielding Garr Ranch will start at 2 p.m. Both will be led by park naturalists. Those joining the walks should have sturdy shoes, water, binoculars and a snack. Call 810-721-9569.
Ogden: The annual Easter Rendezvous at Fort Buenaventura is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The event is a re-enactment of the spring gathering of mountain men at this site between 1825 and 1840. Trappers met to trade pelts and buy supplies. Part of the event will be a trader's row, which will feature pre-1840 goods. Members of the Free Mountain Trappers will be in authentic period dress. There will also be a Dutch oven cook-off, canoe races, shooting contests and how-to workshops. The park offers walking trails, pond for canoeing and fishing, a black-powder shooting range, a trading post and camping facilities. Admission is $3 per person.
The Golden Spike National Historic Site, located west of Brigham City at Promontory, features railroad memorabilia and replicas of historic steam engines, as well as information about the meeting of the rails from east to west, which took place at this site.Also, there's the Eccles Dinosaur Park, which features life-sized replicas of more than 100 dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. The hands-on education center is great for kids. The park is at 1544 E. Park Blvd. in Ogden. Call 866-TOP-UTAH, or visit www.ogdencvb.org.
Davis County: A trip to the S & S Railroad and Museum is a nice family option. Train rides are available on 7-inch-gauge or 24-inch-gauge rail. There's also a collection of 90 engines and cars and a replica of a freight station. Call 801-451-3278 for information.
Located on Hill Air Force Base is the Hill Aerospace Museum, with more than 70 actual aircraft, missiles and aerospace vehicles. The museum is east of I-15 near Roy.A number of Easter egg hunts will take place throughout Davis County on Saturday. For locations and times, visit www.utah.com/daviscounty/.
Salt Lake City: City Creek Canyon is open again after being closed for a few months. This is a great place for a family hike or picnic weather permitting, of course.
There's always Hogle Zoo and Tracy Aviary, and across from the zoo is This Is the Place Heritage Park, with a whole village of early buildings.A tour of the downtown area features a number of popular historic sites, including the state Capitol, the Governor's Mansion, Temple Square and the Lion House.
Park City: This was, of course, one of the key locations of the 2002 Winter Games, and there are a number of opportunities to review Olympic sites. Six miles from the city is the Utah Olympic Park, which includes ski jumping and bobsled venues as well as an Olympic ski museum.A number of the buildings along Park City's historic Main Street actually date back to the early silver-mining days. Today there are plenty of opportunities to shop and enjoy fine dining.
Logan: The American West Heritage Center features a living historic site of the Old West. A number of hands-on activities make it enjoyable for all ages. (800-225-3378). Few people probably know it, but there's the Willow Park Zoo in Logan, which features more than 600 animals, including elk, deer, black bear and wolves. (435-750-9893).
Fishing: There are a number of good fishing spots, whether interests are with spin casting, traditional baits or fly fishing. The latest reports show fishing is good at Echo Reservoir, Rockport, Weber River, Jordanelle, Provo River, Currant Creek and Scofield. For a complete, up-to-the-minute report, visit www.wildlife.gov/fishing.
Take a drive: The state government has put together a book showing 27 well-traveled roads (paved) and 58 not-so-well-traveled roads (mostly unpaved) that lead to or past some of Utah's more scenic spots.There are also "Watchable Wildlife" drives. A book published jointly by state and federal agencies points out the best places to see specific species of Utah's prized wildlife, all the way from elk to bluebirds. Both books are available at the Travel Council building south of the State Capitol.
Golf: With all the good weather in recent weeks, many of the state's golf courses are open. If the weather dries up for the weekend, which is in the forecast, then play will be open.No question, there's lots to do and getting there won't take much drive time. The problem will be, as always, picking from the many options and then squeezing everything within the allotted time.