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Thanksgiving Point Institute

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Alan and Karen Ashton have made it their business to make Utah a wonderful place to live and visit. And thanks to them, we now have Thanksgiving Point Institute, a non-profit oasis of gardens, dining, shopping, entertainment, and learning.

Thanksgiving Point was once a large dairy farm in northern Utah County. The Ashtons bought the property early in 1995, and in little time, revealed their plans to build a beautiful resort for people to enjoy. Karen wanted flower gardens while Alan hoped for something to harvest. They, with help from others, added horses, cows, sheep, and other barnyard animals. By summer, they had plans for a farmer's market and restaurant. They were creating a place of interest where families could come and enjoy the beauties of nature while learning about agriculture, conservation, and animal care.

By fall 1995, more than 500 guests joined them to witness the ground-breaking ceremony. There they announced their plans for an extraordinary garden, a delightful animal park, a fine-dining restaurant, a world-class gift shop, extensive recreational facilities, and a Johnny Miller golf course.

In the years since, the Ashtons have continued to add to the lengthy list of Thanksgiving Point attractions. Last year, they opened the first phase of the world's largest dinosaur exhibit and are now completing the second phase, which will open in July. They also completed the breathtaking 55-acre Thanksgiving Garden. They now offer a series of cooking, landscaping, and gardening classes as part of an extensive education program. And for the holidays, the park's Christmas lights are a major attraction.

But they're not done. The Farm Country Animal Park is growing again with new pony and wagon rides. Soon they will start construction on an enormous new barn designed for family-friendly entertainment and a large new fairground. Property boundaries continue to grow and now stretch more than 750 acres.

Interestingly, the Ashtons have said if all goes well they will add still more venues and attractions to this oasis in the desert. And with all of the wonderful things Thanksgiving Point has to offer, we hope they do.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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