Kim and I really enjoyed watching the musical “Wicked” earlier this year, so we thought we would see ‘the rest of the story’ and attend the “Wizard of Oz” production at the outdoor Tuacahn Theater near Saint George.
Rather than merely drive I-15 to and from, we decided to take a less direct route and explore some lesser traveled roads along the way.
For many years I have wanted to ride over the Nebo Loop. Since the autumn leaves were starting to come on, we decided that now would be a good time. We were a few weeks early and the lighting was poor, but it was still an enjoyable and scenic ride.
Several years ago I took my sons Gary and Kevin and we attended the Manti Temple just prior to Kevin entering the missionary training center. Kim had never been, so we decided that now would be a good opportunity to visit that historic temple. We ran into some road construction one half mile from the temple, which almost caused us to miss the 11:30 AM session, but we just barely made it. I think Manti and Salt Lake are the only two temples (at least in Utah) that did perform live sessions rather than the newer movie-based sessions.
After the session we found some picnic tables and took a break for lunch. We then worked our way south to Salina, took I-70 to I-15, and pressed on to our motel in Saint George. We had just enough time to check into our motel and get a quick dinner before heading up to the theater.
The Tuacahn Theater is in a narrow red-rock canyon northwest of Saint George. The venue is very nice with small waterfalls and a swift stream running down the middle of the main sidewalk. There is also a gift shop and several shops to buy refreshments. They even have various pre-show activities and entertainment.
The product of “Wizard of Oz” was nicely done, but I have always thought it was kind of an odd story. It was entertaining and worth seeing, but it was not nearly the caliber of “Wicked”.
Saint George Church Historical Sites
We hoped to attend a session at the Saint George Temple, but it was closed for cleaning. So we spent our morning visiting some of the nearby church historical sites. We started with the new (since I was there last) Visitor’s Center and then took an interesting tour of the Tabernacle. We learned that the wood for the Temple came from Mount Trumble, where we were earlier this year, while the wood for the Tabernacle came from Pine Valley. They painted the pine to make it look like various hard woods.
We also took a tour of Brigham Young’s Winter Home. All of the tours were enjoyable and informative.
Prior to leaving town we stopped at Nielsen’s Frozen Yogurt for a refreshing treat. We then drove up to Red Hills, overlooking the city.
Mormon Meadow Massacre
We headed home via Hwy 18 which heads into the mountains north of Saint George. We took a quick side spur out to Pine Valley but did not take the time to tour the Historic Church building.
We did, however, stop and visit some of the memorials commemorating the Mormon Meadow Massacre. I have never understood what could drive people to do such terrible things, but I found the memorial to be very thoughtfully done and offered a good opportunity to reflect on our beliefs and our relations with those with other beliefs.
Our next objective was to get past Provo before the BYU football game ended so we wouldn’t get caught in that heavy traffic. We made it past during the fourth quarter and arrived home at 5:30 PM.