Readers' Choice: Natural History Museum of Utah tops list

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Natural History Museum of Utah • This 163,000-square-foot facility likes to tell visitors to "spend the day. You have 150 million years to cover." Judging from its popularity, many Utahns have accepted the invitation to see the $102.5 million facility, with its striking roof made of 42,000 square feet of copper, that opened in 2011. A research facility that is home to 1.2 million specimens and objects, the museum has major exhibits on sky, native voices, life, land, first peoples, gems and minerals, the Great Salt Lake, Our Backyard and Utah's future. Special events and exhibitions make the museum a place that can easily be visited several times a year. A patio and coffee shop also have proved to be popular resting spots for hikers and bikers who use the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, which runs near the building.

First runner-up

Red Butte Garden • Stroll through the themed gardens, enjoy a picnic or join the masses for a summer concert at this 100-acre botanical garden, the largest in the Intermountain West.

Second runner-up

Lagoon • (See Editors' Choice.)