One of the coolest things about visiting Utah is checking out the state’s many paleontological sites and research centers. On my recent trip, I was able to learn about how many different dinosaurs once tramped in the land we now refer to as the Beehive State. Did you know that the Allosaurus is Utah’s state dinosaur? I had a great time seeing Allosaurus bones — among many other dinosaur bones — at Dinosaur National Monument’s famous Wall of Bones. So cool! Want to see more of this great site?
Another highlight of my trip was a visit to Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden. Park Director Casey Allen was kind enough to give me a tour of the museum, as well as the fascinating onsite lab. I was able to view some fossils that were in the process of being cleaned up and put back together. One of my favorites was the salamander-like Metaposaurus from 280 million years ago.
Metaposaurus from 280 MYA
I also loved seeing the many fragments that make up the Aetosaur below — It is estimated that the million or so pieces of this creature will take about 7 years to put back together. It takes a patient and brilliant paleontologist to do this job!
The 100+ full scale sculptures at Eccles Dinosaur Park was incredible. In addition to learning about these vast dinosaurs, I wasn’t above goofing around a bit too!
Being silly at Eccles Dinosaur Park — This place is a blast for the whole family!
I just got back from a fantastic trip to Utah. The itinerary that the Office of Tourism put together for me and my teenage daughter Acadia was incredible. Since we saw so many terrific sites, I’ll share them over the course of a few posts. Arriving in Salt Lake City was a breeze. I couldn’t get over how close the airport is to downtown. Apparently, it’s about the closest downtown area to any major international airport in the country: a 15 minute drive at most. Utah’s culinary scene is hip. We started our trip with Sunday brunch at Pago. Just look at the gorgeous waffle I had:
Another fantastic foodie spot was Tin Angel. The artworks for sale throughout the restaurant made for a festive atmosphere, but the menu was diverse and the food delicious. From bikers to hipsters, everyone was welcome and felt at home at this spot. The raspberry caramel bread pudding was to die for! Here are a few shots of the artworks on display — and the food, of course — when we ate there:
One of the many cool artworks for sale at Tin Angel
Beautiful pasta with fresh bread at Tin Angel
Cadi enjoying her drinks (including butterscotch soda) at the Tin Angel
Lest you think all we did was eat on the trip, we also had a fascinating look into our family history with librarian Sandra Joseph at the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City. Genealogy is very important in Mormon culture. The FHL is open to anyone and its friendly and knowledgeable staff will take the time to help you find out about your own family tree. It’s well worth a stop when in town.
My next post will be the start of the dinosaur-related sites we visited…Come back soon and check it out!
This coming week I am going on a super-fun assignment to Utah. I’ve been invited by the state’s tourism department to share some of the fascinating and fun sites to visit throughout Utah. My teenage daughter is the VIP for this trip, so our itinerary includes the following:
This past week I made my first (but definitely not last) trip to the Highlights Foundation facility in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Set in the countryside, there were beautiful walks and trails to be enjoyed during our free time.
A lovely view near the Barn
Award-winning author Larry Dane Brimner led the workshop, titled “Capturing the Spotlight: Getting the Gigs.” It was a fantastic opportunity to learn from Larry and other well-established authors about the nuts and bolts of school visits, promoting one’s work, connecting with librarians and teachers, etc. I had in depth-conversations with Selene Joy Castrovilla, Melanie Hope Greenberg, and Vicki Cobb (among others). The small group size made it comfortable to talk to everyone in the workshop, whether presenter or attendee. I cannot wait to go back to another Highlights workshop and look forward to continuing friendships with everyone I met here.
Larry Dane Brimner and I enjoying the view of the countryside — and Selene Castrovilla’s author car!
Selene Castrovilla’s AuthorMobile
Hanging out with new friends Jodi Moore (right) and Selene Castrovilla (center)
I was so thrilled to meet one of my favorite author-illustrators, Melanie Hope Greenberg.
Vicki Cobb and I had lots of great chats about nonfiction writing.
This past week I went to Chicago where I got to explore some of the same stomping grounds as the character Francisco in my new picture book Francisco’s Kites. I traveled to Pilsen, visited the National Museum of Mexican Art and then headed to a pupuseria to try El Salvador’s favorite snack food. I also noticed that there’s a kite festival in Chicago that I’d love to attend next year in conjunction with my book. So much inspiration!
This week I am visiting two different classes at Colgate University to share my book Francisco’s Kites with the students. One class, taught by Dr. Anna Rios, is focused on immigration issues. The other is an introductory Spanish class taught by Pilar Mejia Barrera. We are talking about the inspiration for the book, the research and writing process, and how picture books do or do not reflect different communities, such as the Salvadoran community in Chicago where Francisco lives. The Colgate students have asked many insightful questions and given me food for thought, to be sure. The visits reminded me how much I enjoy being in the classroom.
It’s a sunny day here in upstate New York and I am super excited. Why? My new website has just gone live. Designed by Shari Kreisberg-Therrien, it is a good reflection of me and my writing. There’s lots of color, full text articles and peeks at all my books. There are even some funny tales from my past hidden in the site if you poke around. What are my favorite pair of shoes? Where was my first job? The new aliciaklepeis.com site has these details and lots more!
I’ll be posting about book signings, new publications and whatever else catches my attention. I’d love to hear from you!
I took this picture when I went to visit my pen pal Mei Sien in Singapore back in 1991. This month we’ve been writing for 30 years!!