Cherry Hill has been delighting families for more than 40 years with our Water Park, Family Fun Center and Shady Campsites.
Located in Kaysville, Utah on 20 acres that once was a working fruit farm, Cherry Hill has over 700 trees, many of which are cherry trees. Cherry Hill offers a Water Park with water slides, a foam padded River Run, Lazy River, children’s water playground called Pirates Cove and 2 pools. Other activities include Batting Cages, Mini Golf, a Climbing ROCK, Video Arcades, Snack Bars and a Restaurant. Each Friday and Saturday evening of the summer, they offer free live entertainment.
If you are having too much fun to go home, pitch your tent or park your RV in one of 180 shady campsites. Cherry Hill entertains family reunions, company parties and groups of just about any size in their pavilions and campground.
Each October, Cherry Hill becomes Scary Hill when they transform the Miniature Golf, Batting Cage area, and Campground into a Halloween Treat that is very family and kid friendly.
People often ask questions about how a cherry farm grew into a campground and then into a recreation park. What follows is an attempt to answer those questions and to tell a little of the Cherry Hill history. If you would like to know more about how Cherry Hill came to be, please read on:
Cherry Hill opened it’s doors for business on June 4, 1967. Only back then they were called Crossroads Camping and charged $2.50 per night for a campsite. Grant S. Lloyd had been born and raised on this property which used to be known as Just-A-Mere Farm. Grant’s father, C.A. had divided his farm years ago between his two sons in a rather unusual fashion.
One day C.A. called Grant and his older brother Reed into the living room where he proposed they divide the farm. C.A. said they would flip a silver dollar to see who got the north end and who got the south end. Prior to the coin toss they all decided whoever got the south end ought to get 2 extra acres because it was so sandy and useless for growing cherry or apple trees on. Years later these extra 2 acres prompted Grant to say, “When I got the property, all it grew was ants.”
The coin was tossed and Reed won and promptly elected to take the north end of the farm. No one is sure whether Grant was disappointed in getting the less desirable portion of property. Years later the Highway Department approached Grant and offered to haul away his sandy 2 acres for .02 cents a yard to help construct the new I-15 freeway. Grant was thrilled to sell it to them and the Highway Department cut away the south end of the property which created the hill of Cherry Hill. This flat piece of ground next to an increasingly busy Highway 89 gave Grant some great frontage property and the wheels in his head began to turn.
Grant proceeded to contact Standard Oil who leased some property below the hill to build a Chevron gas station. He also partnered with a restaurant company to construct a restaurant on the property. With these endeavors underway and the income they generated, Grant and his wife Mary Lou could turn their attention to the remaining 18 acres that would become Cherry Hill.
During that first summer of 1967, Crossroads Camping entertained nearly 1700 campers. Just a few years later the campground often had 20,000 campers visit during the summers. It seemed that each year, more property was devoted to camping guests, full hookup sites for trailers were installed and more restroom facilities were added. This was back when the family jumped in the station wagon and traveled across the country seeing the sites, pitching a tent for the night and then driving to the next state. Gas was cheap and you could travel and eat on a budget.
“At first, I was afraid I’d never be able to keep grass under all the tents, and that people would trample the young trees”, Grant one time said. “But they didn’t, they actually help me take care of them.” He went on to say,” My five kids always worked close with me running the cherry business; and that’s part of what gave me the idea for the camping business – it was a way for the kids and me to work together during the summers. Besides, I couldn’t make a living off the cherry trees, but I could off a campground. Now instead of it being a three week harvest, it’s a three month harvest.”
“I was a Depression baby,” he went on to say. “So I’ve always had a great appreciation for thriftiness. My great concern growing up was whether Father would be able to refinance the farm and we could stay one more year. The mortgage was $3,800.” One of the parks favorite pictures shows C.A.’s home (now converted into the Pie Pantry Restaurant) with a sign out front identifying the farm as Just-A-Mere Farm. Attached to this sign is a For Sale sign. This For Sale sign hung there for many years but C.A. had no takers!
“In school, I never did very well. I never thought of being a doctor or anything else like that. I had to make my way with my hands. I remember going to the store with my mother to trade the butter she churned and the eggs she sold to get our food.” One can only imagine how Grant must have felt when in 1990, Trailer Life Magazine listed Cherry Hill as one of the best destination campgrounds in the United States.
In the mid 70’s, the Arab Oil Cartel sent the price of gas soaring. Grant immediately began thinking of ways to attract more local people to his growing business. “Not too many people from Utah used our campground back then,” he said. “In fact we used to look with suspicion on anyone driving through the park with Utah plates. Now over 60% of our camping guests are from Utah.”
On June 10, 1978 Grant & Mary Lou opened a new 18 hole miniature golf course at Cherry Hill. It had taken them 26 months to complete. This along with a new game room and snack bar added greatly to the park and the locals started to come.
In 1980 Grant built a two flume waterslide that was 375’ long. This was a very ambitious undertaking but one the locals and campers loved. A six station Batting Cage and game room followed in 1984. Then in 1985 Grant opened Cardiac Canyon River Run. This unique ride is foam padded and designed to simulate a turbulent River that guests ride down in an inner tube.
By this time, Grant now had two of his sons working with him in developing and running the business. These sons, Bruce & Keith, did their best to keep up with their energetic and creative father. “I hope to someday be as good of a business man as my father is,” said Bruce at age 45.
The year 1994 saw the addition of Pirates Cove Activity Pool. This is a shallow water playground for kids with an authentic 40’ pirate ship and a Caribbean sound. A few years later a second swimming pool was added to meet the growing demand for the Cherry Hill Water Park guests.
In the early 90’s Grant started to transfer the day to day operation of Cherry Hill over to his two sons. Grant continued to “make the deposit” each day, but life was slowing down. Grant and Mary Lou used to love to walk down to the “camp” as the family called it, and just sit and watch all the families having a great time. “People often tell us that they like our place because of the clean wholesome atmosphere. They say that it is still small enough that they always know where their children are and they have no fear for their safety,” said Grant.
Cherry Hill used to be run by Grant & Mary Lou, their 5 children and a couple of cousins or friends to help as lifeguards or grounds workers. Cherry Hill now employs over 180 employees, most of which are high school and college students. Nearly 100 of these employees are lifeguards.
Bruce & Keith had often joked about adding a lazy river ride to the park and naming it in honor of their father. This dream came to pass in 2004 when the park opened Grant’s Gulch Lazy River. This project added 140 parking stalls, new changing rooms and a snack bar. The project took over 18 months to complete at a cost of 1.8 million dollars. Keith was the primary architect and designer of this beautiful addition. If you look closely, you can even see one of the store fronts called Mary Lou’s Confectionery named after their mother.
Today (2012) Cherry Hill entertains people throughout Utah and throughout the world. On one summer night recently, the camping guests included visitors from Israel, Japan, Germany, Norway, and England. The Cherry Hill mission statement continues to be: To provide the finest, wholesome recreation atmosphere in Utah. If you have spent the time to read this sentimental and historic review of Cherry Hill, thank you for helping us achieve that goal.