A new kind of park for Salt Lake City

PHOTOS BY CHLOIE DALE LOCATED AT 749 E. 500 S., GILGAL GARDENS IS AN ACCLAIMED, WELL-HIDDEN AND WEIRD SALT LAKE CITY PARK. WHILE A JOSEPH SMITH SPINX IS A MAIN ATTRACTION, THE GARDEN IS HOME TO 12, ONE-OF-A KIND SCULPTURES

PHOTOS BY CHLOIE DALE

LOCATED AT 749 E. 500 S., GILGAL GARDENS IS AN ACCLAIMED, WELL-HIDDEN AND WEIRD SALT LAKE CITY PARK. WHILE A JOSEPH SMITH SPINX IS A MAIN ATTRACTION, THE GARDEN IS HOME TO 12, ONE-OF-A KIND SCULPTURES

Only in Salt Lake City would there be a park where a Joseph Smith sphinx is the main attraction.

Located at 749 E. 500 S., Gilgal Sculpture Garden is home to Thomas Child’s one-of-a-kind artwork. 

Created in 1945, the garden is home to 12 sculptures and 70 stones engraved with scripture, poem and philosophical text. 

In addition to the half-Smith, half-sphinx sculpture, other main attractions include an ancient sacrificial alter, a birdhouse (bird-mansion, really) and a cave home to two hands surrounding two hearts.

In 2000, the garden became a city park, where visitors were encouraged to come and discover the park for themselves. 

Child hoped this garden would bring clarity to many and is quoted saying, “If you want to be brought down to earth in your thinking and studying, try to make your thoughts express themselves with your hands.” 

However, alumnus Trevor Richardson would not consider the garden as peaceful. 

“I have only been to Gilgal once, but I remember the statues as more creepy than calming,” he said.

Through September, the garden will be open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Admission is free, and a walking tour brochure is available. 


Next time a cram-session is in order, skip the coffee shop and head straight to Gilgal.