Fort Zion is a gift shop located along the highway that leads into Zion National Park from the west. You won’t have a hard time finding Fort Zion as it looks like a huge fort with several old facades in front. Its address is technically 1000 W on Hwy 9, in the town of Virgin.
The important thing to remember is that this is primarily a gift shop. But the owners have added a few other aspects to it to make it more attractive to families with small children. The first is a restaurant. We had an unexpected stop here (as you’ll notice when you drive by, the place cries out for you to stop. We drove by 4 times in and out of Zion, each time saying, “We’ve GOT to stop there.”) so we didn’t eat, but the food seemed reasonably priced at around $6-$8 per person. It looked to be primarily burgers and fries.
The reason we stopped was to check out the mini-petting zoo and old west village that can be seen from the road. It costs $2 per person to visit this section of the fort, and you can purchase three carrots for a dollar (Hint: we broke our carrots into three pieces so we got the most out of our feeding time). We spent a few extra dollars on carrots because our 3 boys wanted to feed the animals a second time. There are several llamas, a few deer, some donkeys, and a hilarious pony that kicks the metal fence loudly if he sees you’ve got a carrot in your hand. Our boys loved feeding the carrots to the animals, even though they were a bit timid.
Next to the petting zoo is a group of small buildings with facades. There is a bank, a jail, a brothel, an undertaker’s shop, and several others. Our kids had fun looking through each building, but the best part was playing jail with Dad. The game went like this: If you got tagged, you had to go to jail until someone came and tagged you out. We had a lot of fun dodging in and out of the buildings trying to escape from jail. [If you play, be a bit careful, the ground is rocky and not forgiving if you trip or crash.]
Zion can be a bit hard on little kids– hiking in the hot sun all day. We felt like Fort Zion was just the thing to let our little ones giggle and chase for a few minutes instead! For other ideas of things to do in the area, check out our Things to do Near Zion post.