Tracy Aviary may be Salt Lake City’s greatest comeback story.
There’s an old saying that as much as things change, they remain the same. That couldn’t be further from the truth for Tracy Aviary. The bond the citizens of Salt Lake County passed in 2008 has been put to excellent use as the aviary has morphed into an unbelievable bird sanctuary.
Its mission is simple — to inspire caring and curiosity for birds and nature through education and conservation. If you’re a birder, or as the English say, a twitcher, you’d be interested to see the variety of species from North, South and Central America that call Tracy Aviary home.
The aviary’s newest exhibit is Treasures of the Rainforest. It’s an immersive experience that takes guests from the arid Utah desert to the temperatures and humidity of the rainforest. It features hundreds of plants and more than a dozen boisterous, colorful rainforest birds.
Tracy Aviary may be Salt Lake City’s greatest comeback story. It’s the oldest freestanding aviary in the United States and opened in 1938. Namesake Russell Lord Tracy was an investment banker with an extensive collection of birds. When the zoo moved to its current location in 1935, the city had a collection of empty cages in Liberty Park. Tracy had 200 birds in his backyard and was getting complaints from his neighbors. So he partnered with the city to provide a new permanent home for his birds.
As the years passed, the aviary fell into disrepair. In 2008, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon helped push through a ballot measure for a $19.6 million bond to pay for an extensive renovation for Tracy Aviary. An additional $5 million was raised from private funding.
A goal of Tracy Aviary is to connect people with nature. The aviary offers a vibrant school program including tours, summer camps and spring break camps. Another aim is to create intimate experiences through such offerings as its little chicks class to interactive events that make each visit meaningful.