Affordable travel packages that include a stop in Salt Lake City, Utah, are not complete without a visit to the Gilgal Sculpture Gardens. This one-of-a-kind public park features a number of rock sculptures and engravings all in a serene oasis that lets travelers forget they're in a city at all. The best part is that the small park is off the beaten path, tucked away between businesses and homes, and it is free for all visitors to enjoy.
A Stonemason Turns His Work Into Art
Thomas Battersby Child Jr. was a stonemason and a Mormon bishop in his lifetime, but in the 18 years leading up to his death in 1963, the Utah native dedicated his time to creating art out of stones, according to RoadsideAmerica.com. He named his backyard project "Gilgal," which is an Old Testament word for a circle of stones, and started by creating an altar. His work progressed to bigger and more intricate sculptures of people, animals and more. After Battersby's death, local residents worked together to preserve his rock garden, and it was eventually taken under the wing of the city's parks department.
Highlight of the Gilgal Gardens
There are 12 original sculptures throughout the grounds, along with more than 70 rock carvings that are engraved with Bible scripture and other literary works, the park's website states. The most prominent among the sculptures are a 25-ton Sphinx with the face of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, and a life-size statue of the sculptor himself. In addition to these, senior travel groups will also see various body parts carved from stone, such as a pair of feet that end at the ankle, throughout the grounds. The engravings cover a range of topics from religion to philosophy - some of the rocks bear passages from the likes of Sophocles and Rousseau.
Whether travelers are religious or not, they will surely enjoy a tour of the half-acre park, which is free and open to the public every day. This is a great addition to an escorted vacation, as it is conveniently located in the heart of Salt Lake City. Plus, a tour of the grounds doesn't take very long, leaving visitors plenty of time to see the many other sights that Utah has to offer.