Prior to arriving at Snow Canyon, I did a little research on the area, trying to find things for us to do. Thunder Junction All Abilities Park was near the top of every list I read. Bird has become quite the connoisseur of parks and playgrounds, so I made it a priority to check it out. After our first visit, I knew this was going to be a place we returned to throughout our stay in St. George.
Thunder Junction is unlike any park I have visited, as it is designed to be wheelchair and all-abilities accessible. The park is spread out with wide walkways and soft surfaces, specifically with those who use wheelchairs in mind. The merry-go-round, swings, zip lines, and other play structures all have wheelchair-accessible entrances or are designed in a way that is safe for children and adults of all ages and abilities to play. The park also employs over 25 people with disabilities, and every employee goes above and beyond to make each visitor feel welcome and included from the moment you step in the gate.
The park has a dinosaur theme and is situated around a volcano that occasionally “erupts.” There are dinosaurs to climb on, dinosaurs to ride on, dinosaur eggs for sitting and climbing, dinosaur tracks to follow, pterodactyls flying over picnic tables, dinosaur bones for climbing in “excavation” sites, and so much more.
The centerpiece play structure features several tube slides, lots of climbing opportunities, and several other open slides. While most parks with this kind of structure pose challenges for me to follow Bird, I easily navigated every aspect of this park and often seemed to have just as much fun as she did.
There is also a toddler area that offers a few smaller pieces of equipment, including a T-Rex, small see-saw, climbing dome, and an infant/toddler swing with a tandem seat for a parent or older child.
One of the hidden gems of the park is the sensory garden with a nice walk through some flowers and musical instruments to play.
The park also offers a splash pad, but unfortunately, it was just a little on the chilly side during our visits, so while we dipped our hands in the water a few times, we never fully experienced this section.
While all of these aspects of the park combined to make an incredible park, the thing that really made this park a winner in our book is the train. The tracks run around the perimeter of the park, going through a couple of tunnels and showcasing a few additional dinosaurs along the way. Each ticket is $1, which is a real deal, considering every other activity in the park is free. The ride lasts about 10 minutes, and except for the week that coincided with fall break, we never had to wait long in line to ride. There are conductors who welcome everyone on board, and they make it a truly enjoyable experience.
We have visited so many parks, but this place wowed us time and again. From our very first visit, Bird talked incessantly about the park with the “choo-choo” and “dinos.” It was so fun walking into the park knowing that Bird could safely engage with almost all of the equipment with only minor assistance. It was incredibly refreshing to visit a park where the developers consciously did their best to make it a welcoming space for everyone.