Popsicle Blog Road Trip: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

Best Friends Animal Sanctuaryit’s been a while since i’ve shared an adventure from our road trip last year, and with the holidays coming up, i thought this one would be a good. lots of people will be giving their kiddies pets for the holidays, which reminded me of our visit to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. we visited it while staying in Kanab, Utah on the first leg of our road trip. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is located in Angel Canyon, and is the home to nearly 2,000 homeless animals. when you are thinking about getting a new pet, i can’t stress to you more that getting a pet from a shelter is the best thing you can do for an animal. these animal need you…and they are just the cutest. every day, more than 9,000 healthy and treatable dogs and kitties are killed in America’s shelters. but, there’s something all of us can do to help save those animals. Best Friend Animal Society has many shelters across the country, besides the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, all having the mission to SAVE THEM ALL!

it’s funny the things kids remember most about family vacations and what their favorite parts are, and if you ask my kids their favorite thing they did on our road trip, they will say….going to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. they LOVE cats…and all animals for that matter, so i guess that is why they really enjoyed visiting the Sanctuary. i agree with them, it was a very inspirational, educational and fun place to visit when you travel through Kanab, Utah.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is just amazing! first of all, it is located in the picturesque mountains of Kanab flanked with red rocks and beautiful wildlife. as you drive in, you will see mountain scenes and barn structures that have been seen in in movies on the big screen.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Movies Set

there are also large fenced in areas for rescued horses, cows and other livestock. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is enormous, when you arrive in the canyon, you immediately feel the peace and tranquility of a place where so many ancient peoples have gathered in centuries past, and where today, so many animals are loved and heal from their hard life journeys. the Sanctuary is home to dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, horses, pigs, goats, mules, sheep, burros and wildlife. the spacious area allows lot of room for animals to roam and heal.

Best Friends Animal Shelter KanabBest Friends Animal Sanctuary Kanab, Utah

when you arrive to the Sanctuary, you will park at the main lobby and then board a bus that will take you around the Sanctuary. the lobby area is beautiful, and there is a Wish Pond and a gift shop that proceeds go towards the Sanctuary.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Wishing PondBest Friends Animal Sanctuary LobbyBest Friends Animal Sanctuary Gift Shop

Take a Tour of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

before you head over to the Sanctuary, be sure to check the website for tour times and event schedules. there are general tours, wild life tours, parrot garden tours and even a lunch tour where you can eat at Angel’s Village. a cafeteria at the Sanctuary that serves lunch….vegetarian of course. nearly 30,000 people visit the Sanctuary every year to meet the animals and tour what has become the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals. tours are FREE.

Best Friends Animal Shelter Tours

once our tour bus was ready, we loaded onto it and headed into the Sanctuary to check it out. first up was Dog Town.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Dog Town Headquarters

that’s where all the dogs live of course. there are different designated building for groups of dogs with different needs. there are buildings for dogs who are ready for adoptions, and building for dogs with special needs, rehabilitation buildings and areas for dogs to play and roam.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Dog Townwe even got to meet a few of the dogs and get demonstrations from the dog handlers and volunteers on how to train and take care of the dogs.
Playing with the Dogs at Best Friendsnext, we got back on the bus to continue our tour of the Sanctuary. it’s quite impressive and very beautiful and relaxing. it’s a place of peace which is a beautiful thing. we passed by rescued chickens, the parrot garden and piggy paradise.

Best Friends Animal Shelter ChickensBest Friends Animal Sanctuary Cat World Area

we also visited the Horse Haven and fed this guy some special food to help with his healing diet.

Best Friends Animal Shelter Horses

we also drove by Angels Rest, a final resting place for Sanctuary animals who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in the last few years, and cherished companions of Best Friends members and staff. Angels Rest and Angels Overlook are celebrations of the everlasting bond that we share with animals. it is one of the most peaceful and serene places that can be experienced. surrounded by the beauty of Angel Canyon, the musical sounds of wind chimes ring with the slightest breeze. each marker is evidence of the love we hold for our pets. a visit to Angels Rest stirs emotions and kindles memories of our past animal friends. visitors can pay their respects to past Sanctuary friends or walk the meditation labyrinth, designed by Best Friends co-founder Cyrus Mejia.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Cemetary Gates

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Cemetary

finally, we got to visit Cat World, what the boys had been waiting for all day long. they just LOVE the kitties.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Cat World

here they got to play with the cats and learn about how they are cared for and how they are rehabilitated for adoption.

Best Friends Animal Shelter Cat HouseBest Friends Animal Sanctuary Cat World RoomsCats for AdoptionBest Friends Animal Shelter Kitty HouseCat World, like Dog Town, has many different buildings designated for different groups of cats with different needs. it was so heartwarming to see the boys pay loving attention to all the cats at the Sanctuary. they adore them.
Playing with the Animals at Best FriendsBest Animal Rescues in the Utah Best Animal Rescuesthey couldn’t get enough playtime with these kitties. but atlas, it was time to head back.

Best Animal Rescues in the US

Best Friends Pet Sanctuary is not just a pet shelter…it is so much more. it’s a haven for hundreds of animals nestled in between the red rocks of Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. i highly recommend a visit when you are in the area….lengthen your leash and experience for yourself the nature and nurture of the largest sanctuary of its kind in America. it’s a visit my kids and i will always remember. we now also want to SAVE THEM ALL and to find ways in our own community to help animals in need. we are so thankful to organizations like Best Friends Animal Society for there work with animals in need.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Utah

check out some more of our Popsicle Adventures during our summer 2014 road trip through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Yellowstone:

Where We Traveled
How We Traveled
Tahiti Village – Las Vegas
Denny’s and Fremont Street – Las Vegas
Cedar City KOA
Fort Zion – Utah
Zion National Park – Utah
Kanab – Utah
Historic Parry Lodge – Kanab, Utah
Coral Pink Sand Dunes – Kanab, Utah
The Real Up House – Herriman, Utah

Popsicle Blog Road Trip: The Real UP House

The Real Up House in Herrington Utah - Family Travelif you followed our road trip adventures last summer, you probably saw a few pictures from our photo shoot at The Real Up House. yes!!!! there is a real life UP House, a replica of Carl and Ellie’s colorful house from Disney’s movie UP. it is located in Herriman, Utah, just south west of Salt Lake City.

i had seen the The Real UP House in the news a few years back, and when our road trip route was planned to go through Utah, i was determined to have a family photo shoot there. i knew this would be a special opportunity and also a fun way to remember our road trip, so i made sure to bring Disney bound inspired clothing for the whole family to capture the moment perfectly.

The Up House - Family Travel Utah

seeing The Real Up House in person was magical. the architecture, every detail and the colors, are perfect. you feel like you are in the movie. just looking at it puts a smile on my face, it was such a fun and unique experience.

a family owns and lives in The Real UP House, so if you want to have a photo shoot at the home, you need to make an appointment and sign waivers. there is a small fee to use the outside of the house in your photos. it costs more money if you want to take photos on the inside…which is also decorated just like the movie….with Carl and Ellie’s furniture and decor! the homeowners also have props that you can rent to enhance your photos. if all that you want to do is drive by and snap a photo with your phone, there is no charge. but i highly recommend doing a photo shoot, even a mini shoot. you will be so glad you did. and DON’T FORGET TO BUY BALLOONS! you can’t take pictures at the Real UP House without balloons, they add so much to the photos….it is so worth it when you get adorable photos like these.

with the chaos of getting ready for our road trip, i was able to set up and book a photo shoot with The Real Up House, but unable to secure a photographer because i wasn’t certain what day we would be near Harriman. luckily, my brother was in Utah at the time, and him and Lynette (the home owner who is wonderful) were able to help capture photos of our family. the photos aren’t “professional”, but i love them and they are a fun memory of our popsicle adventure.

as you can see the boys had a blast reenacting the movie…Up House - Popsicle Blogas so did my husband and i.Up House - Best Places to Take Pictures in Utahwe took photos around every angle of the house, and got some great colorful shots.
The Up House - Family Travel
i couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to capture our family and the adventure we were on. the quote “Adventure is Out There” truly described this amazing road trip we were on.
Up House - Family TravelThe Real Up House - Family Traveli couldn’t leave without snapping a selfie with the UP House homeowner, Lynette. she is a wonderful person and we connected instantly. she has a wonderful story about how they became the owners of The Real UP House, and if you follow the Disney Blogs, you might recognized her as one of the Disney Mom panelists. also, be sure to check out her Disney inspired art pieces that she sells on The Real Up House website, they are pretty cool.The Real Up House in Herrington Utah - Leanneout of all the destinations on our trip, this was one of the ones i was most looking forward too. i love Disney so much, and the movie UP. also, i love bright colors, and have been dreaming of taking these photos for the longest time.Up House - Jill Parkin OC Mom Blogit was sad to leave when our photo shoot was over, but we had to continue our adventure. i know that the next time we drive though Utah, The Real UP House will be on out list of destinations. i hope that it is on your list too!
The Real Up House in Utah - Family Travel

check out some more of our Popsicle Adventures during our summer 2014 road trip through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Yellowstone:

Where We Traveled
How We Traveled
Tahiti Village – Las Vegas
Denny’s and Fremont Street – Las Vegas
Cedar City KOA
Fort Zion – Utah
Zion National Park – Utah
Kanab – Utah
Historic Parry Lodge – Kanab, Utah
Coral Pink Sand Dunes – Kanab, Utah

Popsicle Blog Road Trip: Coral Pink Sand Dunes

coral_pink_sand_dunes_kanab_utahduring our stay in Kanab, Utah, we really wanted to explore the area and find unique places to experience. one of the locals told us to check out the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, which is one of Utah’s State Parks. the Coral Pink Sand Dunes are located off a remote road between the east entrance of Zion National Park and a few miles west of Kanab.

we weren’t sure what to expect, and as we drove, we couldn’t see the sand dunes. we kept looking and looking, but they are nestled into the landscape. even when we arrived at the entrance, you couldn’t see how beautiful they were. it wasn’t until we walked down into them and started exploring that we realized how magnificent they were.

this is the area closest to the entrance. but this is just a small over look. once we started walking down into them, past the fences, towards the east where the dune buggies ride and then up one of the peaks….


that is where we had such a breathtaking view.

coral_pink_sand_dunes_utah_state_parkit was so peaceful and quiet. no sounds of the city, not even sounds of nature. just the quiet lull of the wind. as we walked along the main peak, we could look out and see the beauty of the Kanab mountains all around us…it was surreal.coral_pink_sand_dunes_utah

we played, jumped and ran around in the sand. it was a different experience than any of us have ever had. almost magical.

utah_state_parkcoral_pink_sand_dunes_southern_utahcoral_pink_sand_dunes_southern_utah_landmark it had to be one of the more special moments that we had as a family. just us. together. enjoying natures beauty and wonder.coral_pink_sand_dunes_kanab_utah_landmark

of course by the end of our visit, our shoes were filled to the brim with coral pink sand. a small price to pay to experience the beauty of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes.


tips for visiting the Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Kanab, Utah
• bring a water bottle
• bring snacks and drinks as there are located in a remote area.
• wear sun screen/sun hat
• if you bring a camera, make sure it is protected in a case or bag. flying sand will damage the lens.
• there is a small entrance fee (approx. $8)


and to read more about our Popsicle Adventures during our summer 2014 road trip through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Yellowstone:

Where We Traveled
How We Traveled
Tahiti Village – Las Vegas
Denny’s and Fremont Street – Las Vegas
Cedar City KOA
Fort Zion – Utah
Zion National Park – Utah
Kanab – Utah
Historic Parry Lodge – Kanab, Utah
The Real Up House – Herriman, Utah 

Popsicle Blog Road Trip: Zion National Park

zion-national-park-entranceafter we left Fort Zion, we continued our road trip heading to Zion National Park which is located in Southern Utah. it was our first time visiting Zion National Park and we had no idea what to expect. driving in, we got our first views of the mountains. our car was filled with oooo’s and ahhh’s. the mountains were breathtaking.

it costs $25 per vehicle or $12 per person to walk-in to the park. since we had planned on visiting many national parks on our trip, we found that our best choice was to buy a National Parks Annual Pass (thanks for the tip Michelle from Nature Play Trips). it was $80 and would pay for itself on this trip.

you can drive into the park with your vehicle, but places to park are scarce. most people walk in and take the tram to their desired hiking spot. we learned this the hard way. we thought we could drive in, park and then hike. that’s not how it works!zion-national-park-ticketsthese park trams run up and down the road in and out of Zion National Park all day long. you can get on one at the park entrance, or at any of the stops in town. they run every 10 minutes, so it is really easy and fast to get where you want to go.utah-zion-national-park-tramafter asking the rangers and locals which trails were best for families, we headed on the tram to our first stop. we wanted to go to a spot called “Weeping Rock.zion-national-park-tram
the Weeping Rock Trail is a half-mile round trip trail that leads you to a large rock ledge that is literally weeping water! the trail is fairly easy for everyone except for the fact it is uphill. but the trail is paved, and we had no problem hiking up to the weeping rock.


when we arrived at Weeping Rock, it was breathtaking. as you looked up at the massive mountain ledge, water gently showered over us. it was beautiful and a very special experience we shared as a family. it was quiet and calm and the beauty was overwhelming.weeping-rock-zionweeping-rock-zion-utah
there was an area where the cliff over hung, and you could go under the ledge and be protected from getting wet. that is where we could look out and see a amazing view of Zion National Park.

zion-national-park-weeping-rock it’s hard to describe how beautiful it was . it was just amazing.zion-national-park-weeping-rock-trailRead More…

Popsicle Blog Road Trip: Fort Zion in Virgin, Utah

Fort Zion Trading Post in Virgin, Utah. A fun stop to make on your travel to Zion National Park. #Utah #familytravel #travel #Zion when you’re on a road trip, you probably will be in the car for long periods of time. to break up those long stretches of driving, i recommend stopping at anyplace that looks cool along the way. a lot of times you will see signs promoting places to stop…or a place to get a local treat…or a historical site for the area. they don’t always end up being super exciting, but sometimes they are! it’s called exploring…and MANY times, these stops have been some of our favorite places to visit on our travels. don’t let the excuse of not wanting to get every one out of the car, or you need to get there faster discourage your decision to make stops along your route. everyone needs a break from driving and by stopping and taking a break to explore, you will probably continue your journey with renewed energy.

one of these impromptu stops we made along our road trip was Fort Zion in Virgin Utah. it is located on the side of the road just a few miles outside of west entrance to Zion National Park. it’s sort of a tourist trap….but a good one.

Fort Zion Trading Post in Virgin, Utah. #Utah #familytravel #travel #Zion

what draws you in, is the awesome little old wild west buildings and covered wagons. at least for me, it was a photographers dream with the detailed painted buildings, mountainous backdrops and perfect blue skies.


inside the main fort, there is a huge gift shop with everything you could image…from the old west to native American crafts and artifacts. there is also a restaurant that has burgers and homemade ice cream and treats that has gotten great reviews on Yelp and other websites.


my boys were very intrigued with everything, and the adventure in this stop was trying to make sure they didn’t touch anything!


you could even get your fortune told by Pappy.  my littlest boy Vann, thought this was soooo funny.

utah-fort-zion-family-fortune-telleroutside the main fort is where you find the great painted wild west buildings. to visit this area it costs $1 per person. there is also a petting zoo. you can buy carrots 3/$1 to feed them…animals such as lama, donkeys and deer.

my boys just needed to get their energy out and ran among the buildings and enjoyed the sunshine.


i had the best time taking photos of it all and taking in the beautiful landscape that surrounded Fort Zion Trading Post.

this is one of the many stops we made along our trip that we really enjoyed. it may have only been 30 minutes of our journey, but the memories of the fun we had will last forever.


read more about our Popsicle Adventures during our summer 2014 road trip through Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Yellowstone:

Where We Traveled
How We Traveled
Tahiti Village – Las Vegas
Denny’s and Fremont Street – Las Vegas
Cedar City KOA