Winter Attractions Abound at Church Headquarters

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 8 January 2016

Chris, left, Alyssa, Kaya, age 7, and Karie Chambers explore interactive elements of the new exhibit The Heavens Are Opened, which displays the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the reopening of the Church History Museum on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.  Photo by Stacie Scott, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • For an inspirational and uplifting experience this winter, come visit Temple Square and its vicinity.

Tens of thousands of people visit Temple Square during the holiday season to enjoy the festive lights and enrich their Christmas experience.

But even after the holidays, Temple Square and other Church properties in Salt Lake City remain popular wintertime destinations for individuals, groups, and families. The colorful lights may have dimmed, but there is still plenty here to uplift and inspire. And it's all free of charge. Below is a list of several noteworthy places.

Welfare Square

Located less than three miles from Temple Square at 780 West 800 South, Welfare Square stands as a working reminder of the Church's mission to care for the poor, champion self-reliance, and provide opportunities to serve.

The sprawling facility was built during the Great Depression and includes a 178-foot grain elevator, a large storehouse, a bakery, a cannery, a cheese-production facility, an employment center, and a Deseret Industries store.

Tours are available for groups of all sizes on weekdays all year, except holidays.

“We also offer opportunities for people to tour Welfare Square and then participate in a service project,” said facility manager Richard Humpherys.

Highlighting the tour is a recently installed interactive exhibition that allows visitors to learn about the Church’s myriad welfare projects across the globe.

Call 801-240-4872 to schedule a tour.

Temple Square

During the winter months, Temple Square remains a vibrant place of worship and learning. The 35-acre property is anchored by the magnificent granite Salt Lake Temple.

Two visitors’ centers, staffed with missionaries and open every day, allow people to enjoy the warmth and fellowship that defines Temple Square. The South Visitors' Center focuses on the temple and the essential role of families in the restored Church. It's a great place for members to teach friends and relatives about the purpose of the temple and eternal families.

A scale model of the Salt Lake Temple is found on the north end of the visitors' center. The model displays the intricate detail of each room of the historic temple.

For many, a visit to Temple Square is not complete without spending a moment of quiet reflection in the rotunda of the North Visitors' Center. An 11-foot statue of the Savior presides with outstretched arms beneath a vast mural of the Milky Way.

Other must-see attractions in the North Visitors' Center include a 14-square-foot replica map of New Testament–era Jerusalem and exhibitions highlighting modern-day prophets and the Church's charitable efforts. Visitors may also watch specially produced movies here.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square

Visitors can enjoy performances of the renowned choir and orchestra several times this winter at Temple Square.

There are a couple of public viewing options. Each Sunday at 9:30 a.m., the choir performs in the weekly live broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word in the Tabernacle. (Doors open at 8:15 a.m.) The choir also rehearses every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Most rehearsals are open to the public.

Family History Center and Library

Guides are on hand to help visitors of all backgrounds discover their ancestry at the FamilySearch Center, located on the lobby level of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building on the east side of Temple Square.

Additional genealogical resources and guidance are available at the Family History Library at Temple Square. The library is the largest of its kind in the world and contains data on over 3 billion deceased people from around the world.

The facility provides activities, classes, and workshops for folks of all backgrounds. Call 801-240-6996 for more information.

Church History Museum

Located across the plaza from the Family History Library is the popular Church History Museum. The museum was recently refurbished and reopened. Highlights this winter include an interactive exhibition on the life and work of the Prophet Joseph Smith and others entitled The Heavens Are Opened and the work of dozens of LDS artists from around the world in the 10th International Art Competition.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday. Call 801-240-4615 to schedule tours for groups and families.

Church History Library

The Foundations of Faith exhibit remains on display at the Church History Library, located just northeast of Temple Square. The exhibition chronicles the story of the Church's restoration “through some of its most treasured documents,” according to the library website.

Visitors can also utilize library resources for personal or family history research. Call 801-240-2745 for additional information.

Other Attractions

This winter, the public is also invited to visit the Conference Center (801-240-0075), the Relief Society Building (801-240-4450), and the historic Beehive House (801-240-2681).

For additional information on Temple Square attractions, please go to templesquare.com.

Sister Carly Helton, left, and her companion, Sister Gabrielly Almeida, show a visitor how to use an interactive display at a recently installed exhibition at Welfare Square. Photo by Jason Swensen.

Built during the Great Depression, Welfare Square remains a working reminder of the Church's commitment to self-reliance and caring for those in need. Photo by Jason Swensen.

Judy and Bryon Andreasen explore interactive elements of the new exhibit The Heavens Are Opened, which displays the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at the reopening of the Church History Museum on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. Photo by Stacie Scott, Deseret News.

Some of the most interesting and important artifacts in the Church History Museum are the death masks of Joseph and Hyrum Smith; they provide the best and most accurate visual image of what they looked like. These masks are being displayed at the Church History Museum, which reopened on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. Photo by Stacie Scott, Deseret News.

Alyssa, left, Kaya, age 7, Chris, Karie, and Rod Chambers check out the new exhibit The Heavens Are Opened, which displays the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This exhibit was installed as part of the reopening of the Church History Museum on Tuesday, September 29, 2015. Photo by Stacie Scott, Deseret News.