Fort Zion Gift Shop | Virgin, UT
Our Fort Zion discover came by accident during a road trip from Hurricane, Utah to Zion National Park. The drive along the desolate Hwy 9 was long and becoming mundane. Between the empty fields, and long-stretch of nothing, we were more than ready to reach Zion. Suddenly, a must-see roadside attraction popped up out of nowhere, beckoning us to come visit. Immediately we found ourselves pulling over into the Fort Zion dirt parking lot to explore further.
Fort Zion Gift Shop
Sometimes you might make a stop because you’ve been driving for hours and need to stretch your legs. Other times, you stop because something seems so intriguing you feel the urge to check it out. Fort Zion is a combination of both. I saw the Old Western buildings first, the obscure petting zoo second. Immediately we made a U-turn and found ourselves in the parking lot for Fort Zion Gift Shop and Petting Zoo. While you likely won’t read about this stop in magazines or travel brochures, it is worth checking out on the drive to Zion National Park.
The owners, Dee and Andy, have outdone themselves with both the interior and exterior design of the shop. The inside of Fort Zion is quaint with plenty of quirky souvenirs to gift to friends and family. Souvenirs range from “good luck rocks” to swords to Utah memorabilia. My personal favorite was a gag gift coffee table coaster that played on Utah’s notorious polygamy writing, “Why have one woman when you could have three.” It was easy to lose track of time and we spent a good 30 minutes roaming the store looking around at all the unique gifts they have to offer.
Aside from a vast array of souvenirs, there is also a restaurant inside Fort Zion. The food is inexpensive, ranging from $6-$8. The most notable food item for purchase is the Buffalo Burger but the homemade dessert is also not to be missed. Picnic tables are also conveniently located outside, making this an ideal spot to grab a quick bite to eat on a long drive.
The outside of Fort Zion transports you back in time. With a $1 donation you’ll have the opportunity to step outside into an Old West “Ghost Town”, complete with a jailhouse, a bank, a covered wagon, and many other wooden buildings prime for photo-taking opportunities. If you have children, you can also pay an additional $1 to pay for carrots to feet the llamas, horses, deer, and donkey in the petting zoo area. Be warned, the llamas spit and I had to learn this the hard way. If you don’t get your fix at the petting zoo, there is also an ostrich farm is just a mile down the road.
Fort Zion may look like a tourist trap, but is one worth stopping at, even if its just a respite from the desert heat. Be forewarned, this place is tiny. Blink your eyes and you may miss it!
Address: 1000 W. Highway 9, Virgin, Utah 84779 USA