Liberty Park is not your typical park…
Liberty Park has a colorful history with roots beginning in 1847. Prior to being a park, the land was maintained and used as a mill and farm, until 1881. In 1881, Salt Lake City bought the land and began being used for recreational purposes. In 1938 the Tracy Aviary was established, but that’s not where the parks relationship with housing animals began. In 1911, inside the park, was a cage of monkeys as well as some deer; this area was named Hogle Zoo. Each year, the park brought in more and more animals; in 1916 was the parks first elephant. By 1931 Hogle Zoo was overgrown and was relocated to it current location at the mouth of Emigration Canyon.
The Aviary started in 1938 from a generous man donating his private bird collection to share with Salt Lake and its community. It has grown into what is now known as The Tracy Aviary. The Aviary holds a collection of birds, where many are considered rare or endangered; anyone can visit the Aviary to explore and learn more about birds.
In the years following, the paddle-boats were added along with playgrounds and a carousel. Much of what the park was used for can still be enjoyed today! Of course original amenities have been updated, but paddleboat rentals are still there, even a handful of rides for children to enjoy – a ferris wheel, swings, and a couple others. Liberty Park was dubbed Utah’s Central Park, by the Deseret News because there is so much to do!!
Today you’ll find a cute little place to eat, sandwiched between the pond and the rides. The menu consists of, not only a lunch menu with local, grass fed beef hamburgers and french fries, but they also offer breakfast and brunch options that look amazing.
Whether you chose to purchase food at the park or pack your own food, you can easily spend a full day and probably not get to everything. The park offers: 2 playgrounds, splash pad, large grassy areas, picnic tables, grills, pavilions, horseshoe & bocce ball pits, Seven Canyons Fountain water play area, swimming pool, basketball & volleyball & tennis courts, folk art museum, rides, a small fish pond, large lake – with ducks, a bridge, paddleboat rentals – a green house, a 1.5 mile path that’s popular for jogging, rollerblading, and cycling.
Not only is there a swimming pool and a splash pad but the Park has created quite the water fountain feature called Seven Canyons Fountain. This amazing fountain is for children AND adults to wade, play and cool off in the water. It represents all the greatness the Salt Lake Valley Canyons offer: showing City Creek, Red Butte, Emigration, Parleys, Millcreek, Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood canyons. It is a replica of the streams, rivers and lakes that are found by exploring the valley’s canyons. The water runs through what are like adjoining gutters and the water is collected and gathered in lakes and pools of water; none of them are deep, but just enough for children to safely play.
Our family had the best time playing here during our long weekend, celebrating the July Fourth holiday. Families were grilling, chasing their dogs (leashed dogs are allowed) and children, slack lining, driving RC cars and basking in all that this local, free park has to offer! It is also rumored that Liberty Park has a great Pioneer Day celebration ending their day with fireworks display on the 24th of July.