Two of Antelope Islandís ongoing programs ó the bird walk and the Jr. Ranger program ó will have sessions during Free State Parks Day. The Jr. Ranger program, which is intended for children ages six to 12 (though everyone is welcome), will discuss the skills needed for wildlife management and how rangers make sure thereís enough food for all the animals on the island. Those interested should meet at the visitorís center at 3 p.m.
The bird walk, which starts at 9 a.m. at the Fielding Garr Ranch Museum (located on the southeast corner of the island ó check with the visitorís center for more specific directions), is a naturalist-led tour of the birds that can be found near the ranch. Fall means migration for many songbirds, many of which stop by the island on their way.
In addition to the special events, the island also has several permanent pleasures. Though the low water level has made boating much more difficult, the islandís beaches are still open and active (though it takes a slightly longer walk across the sand before you get to the water). If you can get out far enough, the saltiness of the lake water still has the magical ability to keep swimmers floating.
More than 20 miles of trails are also available to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders of all different skill levels. Newer hikers or riders may appreciate the two-mile long Lakeshore Trail, which circles around the base of Buffalo Point (turn around when the trail gets too rocky).
More experienced riders can enjoy the White Rock Bay Loop, though at 9 miles the route will demand a significant portion of the day. The loopís high point, Beacon Knob, offers nice views of the island and the surrounding area, while the way back down takes bikers through wide turns on a fast-paced doubletrack. A somewhat shorter option is the Split Rock Bay Loop, a five-mile trail that follows the shoreline of ancient Lake Bonneville.
Other nearby state parks for Davis County residents include the Great Salt Lake State Marina (located 16 miles west of Salt Lake City off exit 104 on I-80), This is the Place Heritage Park (2106 Sunnyside Avenue in Salt Lake, near Hogle Zoo), and the vehicle tracks and model plane runway at the Jordan River OHV Park and Modelport in Salt Lake (2800 North Rose Park Lane in Salt Lake).