Note: Call Monday, July 23rd after 9 a.m. to verify availability. Tuesday, July 24th we are closed for Pioneer Day.

Things to see in salt lake city – Gilgal Sculpture Garden

Gilgal Sculpture Garden Sign

You can go look at the classic list of things to see in salt lake city, but if you want to find something that is not considered a point of interest. Gilgal Sculpture Garden is the place you need to go for a hidden and generally unknown attraction.

Where?

As a Salt Lake City local of 7 years it was just last week that I heard of it. This odd and curious Salt Lake City Attraction is located right next to trolley square and along stop number 15 on the US Bus Salt lake city tour.  See the map below for this tour Destination location while visiting salt lake city.

Who?

The creator of this park was a bishop from the LDS church named Thomas Battersby Child, Jr. (1888-1963)The sculptures in the garden are meant to portray different accepts of the mormon religion. 

He began building the garden in the back yard of his family home in 1947, when he was 57 years old, and continued to pour his time and money into the work until his death in 1963. Child named the garden Gilgal after the Biblical location where Joshua ordered the Israelites to place twelve stones as a memorial. The name “Gilgal” is sometimes translated to mean “circle of standing stones,” an appropriate appellation for a sculpture garden. Gilgal is also the name of a city and a valley in The Book of Mormon, a sacred scripture in Mormonism.
Wikipedia.com

“Can I create a sanctuary or atmosphere in my yard that will shut out the fear and keep one’s mind young and alert to the last, no matter how perilous the times?”
Thomas Battersby Child, Jr.

Crisis in the Garden!

Thomas Child employed several gardeners to maintain the lovely plantings in Gilgal Garden. After his death, the garden became increasingly overgrown and unkempt. In 2001, the Salt Lake County Master Gardener Association adopted Gilgal Garden as one of its community projects. Since then, Master Gardener members have donated thousands of hours of labor clearing out overgrown areas, tilling in new mulch, and planting new flowers and shrubs.

In 2013, the Salt Lake City Council approved funding to replace the garden’s very old irrigation system. The new system provides a much more predictable and sustainable way of caring for the plants, shrubs, and trees in the garden.  The Salt Lake Master Gardener Association has redesigned the plantings to be more water-wise and to bloom three seasons of the year. The plantings will even have interest even in the winter.-Gilgangarden.org

What?

This LDS garden is full of art and floral landscaping. The sculptures use the natural landscape to form few introspective art pieces that can only leave the viewer wondering what sparked this creation? A child expressed his feelings for his garden in writing: “If you want to be brought down to earth in your thinking and studying, try to make your thoughts express themselves with your hands.” – Desert News

Child went to incredible lengths to obtain huge stones weighing up to 62 tons for his sculptures. He had great respect for the natural beauty of his materials. He traveled the state, scouring mountainsides and streambeds for “a boulder in which I could put over the idea and tell the story and still have it a stone.” Child often hired large trucks and heavy equipment to extract the stones and bring them to his yard.-Gilgangarden.org

Below are many samples of the salt lake city art.

Sculptures in Gilgal's Garden

Stone arch and many other art pieces on the east half of the garden.

Entry rock and first art piece

Entry rock and first art piece.

When?

Gilgal Garden  a is open to visitors during the following hours:

  • April–September — 8 am to 8 pm daily
  • October–March — 9 am to 5 pm, weather permitting

The Garden is closed on Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving Day.
Wikipedia.com

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