Salt Lake City — home of murky salt lakes, vast salt flats and towering mountain peaks – isn’t the first place you think of when conjuring up images of lush gardens. But Thanksgiving Point Gardens, just 30 minutes south in Lehi, is a beautiful respite that leaves you gaping in awe as you stroll the grounds.

Perfectly manicured with 15 theme gardens covering 50 acres, the center is an explosion of color and water, letting you explore a walled secret garden, koi pond, lakes, waterfall, stone (well, faux stone) bridge, butterfly habitats and more.

Thanksgiving Point Gardens full of ponds, flowers and peace.

HI Travel Tales spent about two hours sauntering, smiling and enjoying – this is not a place to hurry through. In fact, the expanses of grass beg for you to have a seat and just breathe – perhaps even with a picnic.

Thanksgiving Point Gardens waterfalls are spectacular.

The day we visited a thunder and lightening storm with accompanying deluge of rain sheeting down in waves rolled in, leaving visitors running for cover. But quick as a flash staff circulated in golf carts to whisk those who wanted a lift back the visitor center. With lawns becoming lakes, sitting and smelling the roses was no longer part of our day. What was part was spending a quarter for fish food and watching the Koi turn the pond into a boiling pot of reds, oranges and silvers as they fought for their share (watch our short video at the end of this story).

Koi Swarm and Boil At Koi Pier in Thanksgiving Point Gardens.

We were lucky to happen in on “Two Dollar Tuesdays,” an August special at Thanksgiving Point Gardens that put extra big smiles on our faces and meant our shortened visit of two hours felt pretty fine. Normally, adults are $15 with discounts for seniors, families, students and youth. If you have more time, have a seat in the Trellis Café with a beautiful patio overlooking the gardens – also offering two-dollar specials on these Tuesdays.

Thanksgiving Point Italian Gardens will leave you speechless.

The actual gardens are in fact part of a larger complex with museums and farm centers, including the new Museum of Natural Curiosity full of interactive experiences. Check out the website to find out more before you go.

Thanksgiving Point Secret Garden not so secret but incredibly peaceful.

HITT Tip: If you don’t want to drive – it takes about 30 minutes sans traffic — the Salt Lake “Trax” light rail line goes from Salt Lake to Lehi  Station on the FrontRunner line. The ride takes just under an hour. From the parking area at Lehi Station, you will need to walk approximately 1 mile on Garden Drive north to Thanksgiving Point Gardens (there is a walking subway under the tracks to Garden Drive). Click here for more info.

Thanksgiving Point Gardens

Salt Lake City — home of murky salt lakes, vast salt flats and towering mountain peaks – isn’t the first place you think of when conjuring up images of lush gardens. But Thanksgiving Point Gardens, just 30 minutes south in Lehi, is a beautiful respite that leaves you gaping in awe as you stroll the grounds.

Thanksgiving Point Gardens

Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point, 3900 Garden Dr, Lehi, UT 84043, USA

Heads up! This information on Thanksgiving Point Gardens was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.