Lucky for me my husband, Jon, came with me to SLC. We only had a day to sight see so we decided to spend the time at Temple Square, which is the heart of SLC. Before we started checking out Temple Square, we had lunch at Redrock Brewing Co. It was quite tasty. I tried both of their locally brewed root beer and cream soda. YUM. The cream soda was my favorite. If I had ANY more room in my tummy, I would have kept drinking glass after glass!
Yummy fried mozzarella...
We headed over to Temple Square after lunch. The temple was gorgeous, as usual, so I took lots of pictures. (more to come.)
Right across the street from Temple Square is the LDS Conference Center where the church's semi-annual conference is held. If you've never been inside the conference center you are in for a treat. It is HUGE, to say the very least. Here are some facts that I found compelling:
1-It has approx 1.4 million square feet of floor space. whoa.
2-It has a seating capacity of just over 21,000 people. (By comparison, Madison Square Garden's main arena seats around 20,000, and the Delta Center in Salt Lake City can hold up to 20,400, although these are sports arenas. It is believed that the Conference Center is the world's largest theater-type building.)
3- The roof has 4 acres of meadows, trees and landscaping.
4- A 747 jet airplane could fit in the main Assembly hall, wingtip to wingtip and nose to tail.
5-The main stage area is over 1 acre in size.
6-Including the parking areas, the structure covers an entire 10-acre city block.
7-The pulpit was milled from a black walnut tree taken from President Hinckley's family home in the Holladay area of Salt Lake City. President Hinckley planted the tree himself in the 1960's.
8-The building has extensive broadcast studio capabilities and language translation facilities. The translation facilities have the capability of translating and transmitting in 60 languages simultaneously. This is second only to the United Nations capability.
9-The building has one of the most complete theatrical (lighting and sound) systems in the world.
When it was being constructed the Prophet and President of our church said he wanted 2 things; first, he wanted everyone (all 21,000+ people) to have a perfect and unobstructed view and second, he wanted each and every person to have a comfortable seat with ample room. I can report that both of those things are true. The seats are super comfy and the view is outstanding.
Not only do they hold General Conference here twice a year, they have designed it to be a spectacular theater where they hold many civic events. I know it was used extensively during the 2000 Winter Olympics.
One of the many beautiful grand foyers....
I was privileged to attend one of the first general conference sessions held at the conference center. It was April of 2000 and I was just about to graduate from Utah State University. (Go Aggies!) As you could image so many people wanted to attend but even though the center seated 21,000 people at a time, only a handful of those who wanted to go actually got a ticket. By some miracle our student ward got tickets! It was really cool. That was over 12 years ago and this is the only time I've been back since.
It's hard to capture just how massive this place really is...
This is one of the views from the roof!
More views from the roof. This a look at the temple...
The Joseph Smith Memorial Building where we saw the movie, Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration. Here is a link where you can actually watch in online!
On the left is a pic of a water structure on top of the conference center and on the right is a view of the Church Office Building from the top of the Conference Center...
All in all, it was a great trip! So glad we were able to squeeze it into our summer. If you ever have a chance to go, you should. There is so much more to do than I mentioned here. Apparently there is a brand new really cool shopping area right next to temple square called Cherry Creek Center. After our trip every one kept asking us if we stopped there while we were in SLC but sadly we didn't even know if was there! So if you go, let me know how it is!