Zoo, Arts & Parks Blog
Discovery Gateway Gears Up for New Exhibits Reveal
After years of
long meetings, sleepless nights, and lots of hard work, Discovery Gateway is
gearing up to reveal two brand new world-class exhibits! On June 23rd,
experience racing rivers, water vortexes, and tipping buckets in a brand new
re-vamped Water Play exhibit and, by the end of this summer, Discovery
Gateway visitors will be able to climb, hop, slide, and buzz around in the Honey
Climber exhibit. In 2015, Discovery Gateway's executive director, Laurie
Hopkins, announced to the team big plans for the next three years. And just
like that, the Discovery Gateway staff were off to work in their busy beehive.
ago, the staff and board agreed to revitalize the museum by adding new
exhibits, weekly programming, and updating existing exhibits. At Discovery
Gateway, we were determined to be a part of the solution in improving the West
side of the city by working together with our talented staff and the county,
city, and state governments,”
has certainly had a lively three years. Since 2015, the children’s museum has
invested $1.5 million in exhibit upgrades, and has opened seven new permanent
exhibits, including Block Party, DG Derby: Powered by Gravity,
SkyCycle, Live Hive, and the Intermountain Rescue Hangar in Saving
Lives. The Discovery Gateway team wanted to end their three-year plan with
a bang. "Discovery Gateway has made huge strides over the past three
years, and I couldn't be more proud or excited about all the progress we've
made in such a short period of time. The Honey Climber and Water Play exhibits
are the height of our three-year strategic plan for museum revitalization, and
they bring us one step closer to being a world-class children's museum,"
opening of Water Play on Saturday, June 23. The event will kick off at 9
am for a VIP and Members-Only preview of the new exhibits and at 10 am the
public is welcome to join the party! There will be prizes, giveaways, and
educational activities to celebrate this highly anticipated event. Honey
Climber will open later this summer.
Over at Water
Play, children are encouraged to imagine, discover, and connect by working
together as engineers and builders by designing a waterway or dam. "Water
Play has been a beloved centerpiece in Kids Eye View since the opening of The
Gateway location. The exhibit was simply too loved, and was time to replace
it,” Hopkins said about Water Play. With the use of water wheels and
vortexes, buckets, scoops, and running water children will develop essential
science skills like observing, comparing, and predicting. By working together
to solve problems, children will boost their communication skills as they play
cooperatively, negotiate space, and share Water Play equipment.
will keep the whole family engaged and active as kids climb through a maze of
honeycombs, walk across rope bridges, and slide down to explore The Garden.
Children are invited to use their imaginations and discover new paths as they
transform into a busy bee. "Having a new climber is important to us,
not only because children love to climb and get above it all, but also because
a climber is a gold-standard exhibit for children’s museums. The addition of
the Honey Climber gives children opportunities to explore and gain confidence
while developing decision-making and gross motor skills," expressed
Hopkins. The Honey Climber is the finishing touch in the museums
existing exhibit, The Garden, which demonstrates the importance of bees and
their connection to Utah.
When asked about
plans for Discovery Gateways future, Hopkins commented, "Water Play and
Honey Climber are the culmination of our revitalization project. Our goal over
the next year is to focus on maintaining and updating existing exhibits to keep
the museum fresh and exciting so that every time a family visits they will
receive the best experience possible. In addition, Discovery Gateway will
continue to improve upon and add to on-site programs that amplify the learning
that’s going on in the exhibits for families that want a deeper level of
Be sure to mark
your calendars for June 23rd and join Discovery Gateway for a day of
celebration, play, prizes, curiosity, and discovery at
the Water Play exhibit grand opening! Follow
Discovery Gateway on their social media channels to keep up with the buzz about
the launch of Honey Climber.
Anna Branson is the
Marketing Assistant at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum. She is a recent
graduate from the University of Utah in Communications and interned at
Discovery Gateway in the Spring. When she’s not practicing her marketing
skills, Anna loves to travel, camp, or simply relax at home.
Springtime Fun with Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation
by Michelle Ludema
On your marks, get set, go! Grab your baskets and get ready for some springtime fun. Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation is kicking off the season with a handful of community egg hunts across the valley.
All egg hunts are free unless otherwise noted. Arrive early, as each hunt begins at the listed time.
Friday, March 23
- Fairmont Aquatic Center, 5:00 PM | Ages 3-12
Fairmont Park, 1044 East Sugarmont Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
- Teen Flashlight Egg Hunt, 8:00 PM | Ages 13-18
Copperview Recreation Center, 8446 South Harrison Street (300 West), Midvale, UT 84047
Saturday, March 24
Saturday, March 31 – 9:00 AM Sharp!
- Northwest Recreation Center | Ages 2-12
Soccer Field, 1255 Clark Avenue (300 North), Salt Lake City, UT 84116
- Kearns Recreation Center | Ages 2-10
Oquirrh Park Soccer Field, 5670 South Cougar Lane, Kearns, UT 84118
- Redwood Recreation Center | 12 and under
West Soccer Field, 3060 South Lester St, West Valley City, UT 84119
- Taylorsville Recreation Center | 12 and under
Valley Regional Park Softball Complex, 5100 South 2700 West, Taylorsville, UT 84118
- Sorenson Multicultural Center | 12 and under
Soccer field, 855 West California Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Egg dives are a fun twist from the regular egg hunt. Splash around the pool as you fill up your basket! Registration is required, so sign up quick!
Friday, March 23
Saturday, March 30
- Northwest Recreation Center, 6:00 -7:00 PM | Ages 12 and under
1255 Clark Avenue (300 North), Salt Lake City, UT 84116
$3 per participant
Includes additional activities for all ages
Saturday, March 31
April Fools Run
Too cool for baskets or up for chasing a finish line instead? Central City Recreation will be hosting the annual April Fools 5k and Fun Run at Sugar House Park! Both runs are open to all ages, and include prizes and fun that the whole family can participate in. Pre-registration by March 23 is encouraged, so
sign up today.
30 percent of Zoo, Arts and Parks funds go toward supporting parks and recreation opportunities throughout Salt Lake County. To learn more about what’s happening with Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation, visit
recreation.slco.org. For adaptive and inclusion opportunities for people with disabilities, contact Ashley with Adaptive Recreation at 385-468-1520 or
Michelle Ludema is the Public Relations Coordinator for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation. She loves a good egg hunt and believes that arts, parks and recreational opportunities inspire healthy, innovative communities.
2018 ZAP Kids Summer Passport Cover Design Contest
In 2017, Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts & Parks, in partnership with the Salt Lake County Libraries and the Clark Planetarium, hosted the first ZAP Kids Summer Passport. The Passport opens up a world of possibilities, allowing youth and their families to explore several free or discounted activities offered by the County and ZAP-funded organizations.
This year we have increased our partnerships to include the Salt Lake City Public Libraries and Murray City Library. We have also expanded our participating organizations' activity list, which will be available to view early May in preparation for our Passport kick-off June 1 at the Salt Lake County Library.
ZAP also hosts a Cover Design Contest where Salt Lake County youth under the age of 17 are encouraged to design their own cover of what the zoo, arts and parks mean to them. For our 2018 contest, we asked them to show us how they rock, in correspondence with the libraries Summer Reading Program theme of "Libraries Rock!" The winner of this year's Cover Design Contest will have their design and name printed on our 2018 ZAP Kids Summer Passport.
We had so many great entries this year! ZAP staff has narrowed all the designs down to our top four (4) choices, and are now asking for your help to choose the winner. The names and ages will be kept hidden at this time to keep judging anonymous and fair.
Here are the top entries, in alphabetical order:
A Day at the Zoo
Welcome to Animal Wonders
ZAP Makes Fun Summers Happen
Visit our Jotform poll to place your vote! Share the poll and encourage your friends and family to vote for your favorite cover design, too. Votes will be limited to one per person. Voting will remain open until Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 11:59 PM. The winner will be announced on Facebook Monday morning, March 26.
Plan-B Theatre Company presents world premiere of Austin Archer's JUMP
Austin Archer’s play
JUMP receives its world premiere at
Plan-B Theatre Company April 5-15, 2018 in a co-production with
Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory.
Austin, along with co-directors Alexandra Harbold and Robert Scott Smith, share their thoughts on the play and co-production.
“I’ve been writing songs for over a decade (
visit Austin's music catalog). It started slowly when I was in high school. I’d finish a song every few months or so, and I was never pleased with the result. I wanted to be a great songwriter like Bob Dylan or Elliot Smith. I believed that if I kept it up I’d eventually get better at it. And while that was true, I thought I’d get better after ten or twenty songs. In reality, I don’t think I started to get decent until I’d written maybe 100. By then I was in college and finishing a new song about every other week. I’d adjusted my methods, I’d grown as a guitarist and lyricist, but I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. As time passed, my obsession grew deeper. I’d write song after song, most of them only lasting in my mind for a few days. Many would never even be committed to paper, let alone memory. I’d developed a particular vision for what I was looking for, and I knew it when I had it. So, when it was right, the song got recorded on a tape recorder, written down, practiced, and refined. When it was wrong, it was simply released into the ether from whence it came without a second thought. I had no patience for the bad songs. In my mind, I had to push through the bad ones in order to get to the decent ones, and I had to slog through the decent ones if I ever wanted to find the elusive great ones.
If you’re still reading this, I’m sure you’re wondering when I’m going to find my way out of this overly long metaphor and get to the point.
Here’s my point.
JUMP was only the fifth full-length play I’d ever written when I submitted it to Plan-B through The
David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists [with whom Plan-B collaborates to produce a new work each season by a playwright age 35 or younger]. I have enough taste to know that it wasn’t at the level I would’ve liked, but there was a deadline, and I had an idea that I liked, so I submitted the equivalent of a song that probably never would have seen the light of day. But here’s what writing plays has taught me about songwriting: first drafts can be improved upon! In songwriting it’s easy to spend a day on a song, realize it’s not going anywhere, and toss it. It’s easy to be impatient. But if you spend several weeks, months, or possibly even years on a play or a book only to find out that it isn’t up to snuff, it’s a lot harder to just put it in the trash.
So, I’ve been looking at
JUMP like a very long, narrative song. One that starts with a compelling idea: a melody that has legs. In this case the idea was simple: what would happen if I dramatized the conversation between a first-time skydiver and his instructor as they realized the chute had malfunctioned and they’d both be dead in a matter of minutes? If a three-second car wreck can feel like ten minutes of slow motion, playing out in agonizing detail, then surely a three-minute free-fall could fill the space of a 70-minute play (and who wouldn’t want to see a live skydive staged, am I right?). What I found: not only was it hard to fill the space of a full narrative with a single moment, it was also possibly ill-advised. My first draft lacked individual characters and story and that’s because my focus was more on the idea than the actual play. In my mind nothing in the play was really happening, it was all part of some pre-death fever dream so who cared if the characters were two-dimensional? It was all about the concept. The style. The challenge. And while I’m still interested in that initial question of whether or not a person’s thoughts during a free-fall to certain death could fill an evening on stage, that’s not the play I wound up writing. I realized that even if I could script those thoughts, they might not be all that dramatically interesting: they might just be random and freeform and chaotic. I have nothing against chaos in art. I think it can be quite beautiful. But
JUMP initially unveiled itself to me as a narrative surrounding four characters. I had to figure out what that narrative was outside of the central incident of the failed skydive.
And I honestly had very few ideas.
Luckily, what I did have was time and a group of more experienced playwrights to sound the play in front of.
The Lab at Plan-B is such an enormously valuable resource for writers trying to troubleshoot a script. It’s basically the musician’s equivalent of being able to test and workshop each new song in front of Neil Young, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey and Stephen Sondheim (Didn’t know that Mariah wrote all her own songs? Well, now you do. You’re welcome.). It’s amazing. With their insight, I was able to begin the process of fleshing out the characters. I began to work through each character, one at a time, to turn them into people with individual circumstances, arcs and behaviors. Remarkably the story followed right in suit: turns out character and story are kind of joined at the hip. When one suffers, the other suffers, when one improves, the other goes right along with it.
I’m still fine tuning. Still trimming, adding bits and pieces. I’m still allowing the play to continue to reveal itself, note by note, stanza by stanza. But it’s there now. It’s something I can step away from and set free. It’s a song I’d put on an album.
One more thing: former
Davey Foundation grant winner Carleton Bluford brought me to tears with his play MAMA at Plan-B a few years before
JUMP was selected as the winner of the same competition. It wasn’t just that Bluford is a dear friend and I was beaming with pride, it wasn’t just the beauty of his words and the lovely sentiment he showed for mothers everywhere (I mean it was those things), but the play closed with a song David Fetzer had written for his mother before his death, and that really was the blow that broke my emotional dam. I was moved by the reality of a living legacy for this kind and generous artist taken far too soon. I am so honored to have my play added to that living legacy, and I couldn’t be happier with the approach Plan-B is taking with it. Jerry’s decision to collaborate with Flying Bobcat was a genius move that I believe will really make the play take flight. Alexandra Harbold and Robert Scott Smith aren’t only friends of mine, they’re also a team I’ve previously worked with to create two devised pieces. We have a knowledge of each other’s artistic vocabulary. I trust their vision and their commitment to finding solutions through imagination and good old-fashioned play. If the few conversations I’ve had with them discussing ideas for the show are any indication, they are going to blow this whole thing wide open and create something bolder and more thrilling than anything I could have done on my own. And hopefully it will be a worthy addition to the legacy of David Fetzer!”
– Austin Archer, Playwright, JUMP
“Connessione. When Robert Scott Smith and I first began devising work together at The Leonardo, we were hunting for inspiration and working methods and happened upon Michael J. Gelb’s How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. The da Vinci principles have become a divining stick of sorts, a way for us to navigate and dig deeper into the layers of the work. When Jerry invited us to co-produce Austin’s
JUMP, connessione, my totem animal of the principles, lit up strong and bright. Gelb defines connessione as 'a recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena (systems thinking).' This speaks to this powerful act of collaboration and co-producing work; suddenly, the patterns and possibilities come to the fore. Disparate points become constellations.
JUMP is sinuous and capable of effortless time travel. It stirs up questions of how we metabolize loss and grief, what it means to be yoked into someone else’s experience, interdependent – what it means to take the responsibility/burden/choice to take someone else’s wellbeing upon ourselves – or to step away when that weight becomes unbearable. The contracts of love we keep and break. Our dueling impulses to calculate/mitigate risk while hungering for an experience of absolute transcendence. Connessione.”
– Alexandra Harbold, Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory | Co-Director, JUMP
“If you’d asked me five years ago where I’d see my career, I never would have expected to have a theatre company, or that I’d be an assistant professor, or that I would be a successful actor living in SLC. That was not the plan. However, five years ago when I first asked Alexandra Harbold to collaborate with me on the POP-UP@LEO series at The Leonardo, I’d secretly been dreaming of this type of work for what seemed like a lifetime. That invitation led to the creation of three devised original works: SENSES 5, LOVE (our first collaboration with Austin Archer), and MIND|MATTER. This newfound collaboration stirred up our curiosity about forming an ongoing creative partnership and ultimately inspired us to form our own company, Flying Bobcat. Something must be working because once again we find ourselves with another invitation to collaborate. I was thrilled when Jerry approached us to co-produce Austin’s new play
JUMP with Plan-B. We jumped at the chance (see what I did there?). Jerry has not only reunited Flying Bobcat with the amazingly talented Austin Archer, he has also given us a platform to share our work with Plan-B’s audience.
Jerry asked me, ‘Why would you want to do this with Plan-B specifically?’ Just look at what they’ve done as a company and you’d have to be insane not to. It’s almost unbelievable to imagine that Plan-B is the only professional theatre company in the country producing full seasons of new works by local playwrights. Artists supporting other artists. This is what David Fetzer was doing all along. With
JUMP, it feels like the perfect collaboration of companies working in tandem to give flight to Austin’s play.”
– Robert Scott Smith, Flying Bobcat Theatrical Laboratory | Co-Director, JUMP
Salt Lake County accepting applications from arts organizations for funding consideration
SALT LAKE COUNTY, UT
—Arts and cultural projects or organizations can apply to receive funding from Salt Lake County as part of the
Cultural Facilities Support Program
. Phil Jordan, Salt Lake County Cultural Planning & Project Director, says the county is accepting applications until April 20, 2018. The selected projects will be considered for funding during Salt Lake County’s 2019 budget process.
Jordan says applicants are required to attend a mandatory workshop on March 1st from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Salt Lake County Government Center, 2001 South State Street, north building, room N3-200**.
**Edit: The workshop room has been changed to N2-800**
The Cultural Facilities Support Program was first established in 2011 to support construction or renovations of arts and cultural facilities in Salt Lake County, says Jordan. Eligible projects must be publicly accessible arts and/or cultural facilities that serve the performing arts, visual arts, literature, media, or cultural history. Previously funded projects include Midvale Performing Arts Center renovations, new seating and lighting at Cottonwood Butler Middle School’s auditorium, and construction of the Salt Lake County Mid-Valley Performing Arts center – opening in 2020.
Jordan says each application undergoes a technical review by a team made up of Salt Lake County facilities management, finance, and Community Services staff. Their findings are then provided to the Cultural Facilities Support Program (CFSP) Advisory Board which reviews each application. The board then recommends projects to the County Mayor to consider including in the county’s annual budget with a final review and possible approval by the County Council.
More information including an application and program guidelines can be found at
slco.org/community-services. Applicants can contact Phil Jordan for more information at
email@example.com or 801-244-1962.
Program Guidelines & Information
Apply via ZoomGrants