Picnic & road trips · USA

Salt Lake City – Day 2

Continued from here

Sunday is a long and busy day. We gotta reach home by atleast 8 so that J gets a good night’s sleep and get over the tiresome drive before starting the week. We went for the breakfast buffet and was awestruck again to see the spread.

We checked out post breakfast and rushed to Tracy Aviary to reach there by opening time. We were greeted by a peacock who is on its morning walk. Also one spread out its feathers majestically when we were about to leave. Well.. I have a thing for peacock. As a kid, I used to draw a lot of peacocks. When I got into quilling, peacock was the largest one I quilled. I thought peacocks spread out their feathers only when it rains. But no. I learned it after Google’ing when I saw one do that in hot hot sun sometime back.

A big shoutout to the keepers who maintain the aviary with great care. We spent two hours there looking at the pelicans, condor, keas, eagles, hornbill, cranes, flamingos, owls, swans, ducks, hawks and more. A board with interesting facts / observations, its diet, habitat, nesting, conservation, threat level etc are displayed near each of them. Some are non caged and the others are in easily accessible enclosures. We didn’t want to miss the “celebirdies” of the bird show and made it to the first show of the day. It is a great place to learn about the birds.  It is not just for the kids. Also you don’t have to be a bird watcher to love this place.

Talking about aviary, some quick facts

  • Did you know that there is something called the Red List that defines the severity and specific causes of a species’ threat of extinction. It classifies the species according to their level of threat as: least concern, near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild, and extinct.
  • California condors are the largest flying birds in North America.
  • Andean Condor can fly 18,000 ft high. With its huge 11 ft(!!!) wingspan, it can travel great distances flapping its wings as little as once every hour.
  • The Bald Eagle is the national emblem of the US.
  • The Trumpeter Swans is North America’s largest waterfowl.
  • The Sandhill Cranes has a wingspan of 6 feet. Can you imagine?
  • The courtship rituals of sandhill cranes are quite interesting. They paint themselves with mud changing its colour to deep brown. They spread and flap their wings while running, bowing and throws sticks into the air. So romantic nah 😉

For those planning to visit here,

  • Reach by 9 to see the birdies before it is hot.
  • You can feed a few birds for $3. See the feeding schedule.
  • A few birds are adoptable, if you want to.
  • Also check the schedule of bird shows. It is a must do.

Next stop was at Great Salt Lake, the lake that gave the name to the city. It is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere. The lake doesn’t have any outlet besides evaporation and has very high salinity. The water is said to be much saltier than seawater. It is called America’s Dead Sea. The shore is whitish due to the presence of salt unlike the normal lakeshore.

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Lakeshore

Another 1.5 hour drive to the west took us to our last destination, Bonneville Salt Flats. The history says, this was once Lake Bonneville, which got evaporated leaving behind the salt. There is literally nothing other than salt as far as you can see. You can drive through the salt flats as long as it is not damp. This salt flat hosts motor races it seems. Interesting, nah?

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Bonneville Salt Flats

With that we came to the end of our fun filled, memorable and tight backed SLC trip. Utah Olympic Park is one among the favourites from all the places I have been to in US in the last two and a half years. Also (some self boasting) I must say, I was not as scared this time as I was while skiingparasailing or sky jump.

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