Come Home to BYU - Y Magazine
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Come Home to BYU

The place has likely changed a bit since you left, but underneath the new exterior, a familiar spirit welcomes you back. This guide will help you find your way around during your next campus visit.

If you last checked books out of BYU’s library in the 1960s, you may become lost in the library of today. In the decades you’ve been away, the library has expanded—twice. Moreover, in a portion of their realm today, librarians encourage talking (gasp!); in another, they show movies. And all those rows of card-catalog drawers? Gone.

Campus 1928

BYU Campus, 1928. Once a pebbly shore of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville, the bluff that BYU students daily crisscross has been trod upon by hunters and gatherers, explorers and trappers, pioneers and orchard growers. The school’s first toehold was a white classical structure in the southwest corner. Today the sprawling 600-acre campus – on and off the hill – includes more than 300 buildings. Photo courtesy of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections.

Other parts of BYU may have also changed since you left.For instance, if the last art exhibit you attended at BYU was the Ramses II show—when Egyptian pharaohs invaded the Bean Museum in the Holland dynasty—then you have likely never sipped an Italian soda in the Museum of Art’s mezzanine café after pondering paintings in the galleries below.

And progress continues. As you read this, crews are working on a replacement for the 44-year-old Alumni House, where you may have picked up your cap and gown before graduation (see 
“A Welcoming Campus Home”).

How does that saying go? You can never go home again?

There may be some truth to that. Today’s BYU is likely not your day’s BYU. Statues have moved, buildings have changed shape, and iPod cords now dangle from students’ ears.


But some things endure. The Maeser Building stands where it has for nearly a century. You can get mint brownies in the Cougareat. Students gather for weekly devotionals. The life of the mind and the life of the spirit are actively cultivated, and BYU brims with youthful energy and engaging ideas. The essential personality of BYU persists.

And so, although you can’t return home to the same BYU you left, you can come home to BYU.

When you do come, BYU will open its arms to receive you, and this guide can lead you to performances, museums, restaurants, lectures, and other campus attractions. Whether you spend a weekend in Provo or visit regularly, options abound for stimulating your mind, expanding your spirit, or just having fun.

Follow the links below for descriptions, prices, schedules, and other details of campus attractions. The information listed applies to fall and winter semesters (September through April); spring and summer information is available by following the links to the attraction web sites.

On Display

Pick about any spot on campus and you’ll be just minutes from a museum. With many gallery spaces, BYU offers culture and history—from Shasta the liger to the Miracle Bowl football—for everyone. Admission is free, except for occasional special exhibitions.

Earth Science Museum
ESM; M–F, times vary on Sat

Set your time machine to “prehistoric” and visit BYU’s world-class Jurassic collection. The museum displays a 150-million-year-old egg, a Jurassic mural, and several skeletons—including the giant sloth skeleton that haunted the Eyring Science Center for years.

ES Museum

Earth Science Museum

Harris Fine Arts Center

Original BYU creations highlight the HFAC. View student and faculty works in the busy center court, or ponder their art in the serene space of Gallery 303.

Joseph Smith Building
JSB; M–Sat

Discoveries await on every floor: tour the scriptures with Minerva Teichert’s paintings, explore history in artifact displays, or march through the latter days with Robert T. Barrett’s portraits of Church presidents.

Karl G. Maeser Building

The aesthetics of the Maeser Building continue within its architecture. A hidden treasure of artwork is showcased in the building’s basement each semester.

Legacy Hall
SAB; M–Sat

A tribute to BYU’s best, Legacy Hall celebrates Cougar sports with an array of jerseys, game balls, trophies, and interactive kiosks.

Heisman Trophy

Heisman Trophy

Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum
MLBM; M–Sat, open late M–F

Luckily the Bean Museum’s savage beasts only look alive; you wouldn’t want to be this close to panting, salivating, or charging polar bears, tigers, or moose. The museum educates and entertains with videos, feature exhibits, and live shows.

Museum of Art
MOA; M–Sat, open late M, Th, & F

One of the largest art museums in the Mountain West, the MOA displays items from its permanent collection and hosts traveling exhibits. The outdoor sculpture garden blends the aesthetics of nature with three-dimensional art.


Sculpture garden, Museum of Art

Museum of Peoples and Cultures

More than 40,000 displayed artifacts will transport you to native civilizations throughout the world. Examine your culture in light of others through this student-curated museum.

Special Collections
HBLL; M–Sa, open late T–Th

Special Collections in the library basement regularly exhibits historical documents, rare books, and other treasures from its vast archival vaults.

Shifty Statues

Though they seem frozen in place, campus sculptures have been known to shuffle around.  For instance, after settling for 32 years in one spot, Brigham Young trekked east a few steps in 1993 when the ASB fountain was removed.  In 2002 the Smith Family Living Center came down and First Born, the hand-holding family statue, relocated from its 1979 starter home to the Marigold Mall (east of the HRCB).  The Tree of Wisdom was uprooted from the library quad in 1996 and planted south of the Kimball Tower due to the library expansion.  Fortunately, the Maeser statue wasn’t encircled in chalk, because after 25 years at the ESC, Maeser honorably moved to the Maeser building in 1985.  And recently the pre-Columbian stone ball near the Joseph Smith Building levitated onto a covered platform.

Campus Cuisine

When your stomach begins to growl like a cougar, there’s no need to venture far. With an award-winning lineup of restaurants, BYU serves more than 36,000 meals a day. This guide to campus eateries includes prices (entrée only) and general hours (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).

Cannon and Morris Centers
CANC, MORC; $2–9; M–Sat: BLD, Su: LD

All-you-can-eat smorgasbords designed for the freshman metabolism, the dorm cafeterias also include fast-food counters that stay open late.

Cougareat Food Court
WSC; under $6; M–Sat: BLD

Offering the variety of a mall food court with the cacophony of frenetic student life, the Cougareat includes seven fast-food restaurants. Student bands entertain Wednesdays and Fridays at noon.

Creamery on Ninth
CONE; $1–4; M–Sat: LD

Ice cream sundae

Ice cream sundae. Creamery on Ninth.

A reincarnation of Carson’s Market (or Kent’s, depending on your era), the Creamery on Ninth combines a hamburger-and-shake joint with a small grocery store.

Legends Grille
SAB; $6–10; M–F: BLD, Sat: LD

The rookie on BYU’s food-service roster, Legends Grille flashes sports from numerous screens while serving pizzas, sandwiches, salads, and grilled meats.

Speciality pizza

Specialty pizza, Legends Grille.

Marketplace Café
TNRB; $2–6; M–F: BL

Dressed up as a metropolitan sidewalk eatery, the Marketplace Café peddles a continental brunch and sandwiches, quesadillas, and salads for lunch.

Museum Café
MOA; $3–8; M–F: L

On artsy platters, the Museum Café serves salads, sandwiches, and desserts as well as Italian sodas.

Museum Café

Museum Café

Orville and Wilbur’s
WSC; $3–5; M–Sat: LD

The Games Center snack bar, Orville and Wilbur’s offers barnyard fowl (sandwiches, tenders, and wings) amid the crash and clatter of bowling pins.

Pendulum Court
ESC; $3–5; M–Th: L

With a dino and a pendulum for ambiance, Pendulum Court patrons enjoy nutritional meals dished up by dietetics students. Online reservations required a day in advance; closed spring and summer.

Skyroom Restaurant
WSC; $6–10; M–F: L

Above the din of campus, the Skyroom presents stunning views and a fine-dining menu of salads, sandwiches, and entrées, with specialty drinks and desserts. Reservations recommended and take-out available (801-422-9020).

Grab and Go

Despite their mothers’ counsel, students constantly eat on the run, and campus abounds with grab-and-go options.  The Creamery (DPL) and Creamery on Ninth (CONE) sell convenience-store fare, as do the Cougareat’s Cougar Express (WSC), and the Bookstore’s Twilight Zone (WSC).  Don’t overlook vending machines; most major buildings offer a large selection (including sandwiches and frozen entrées) with a handy microwave.

Enter to Learn

BYU is, of course, fundamentally a house of learning, and many of its educational resources are available to alumni and friends.

Conferences and Workshops

In the summer, especially, BYU leads the double life of a university and conference venue. There’s Women’s Conference, Education Week, about a million EFYers, and a slew of sports, music, dance, and other camps. The parade of programs continues through the rest of the year as well.

Family History Center
HBLL; M–Sat (open late), 2nd & 4th Sundays of the month

At the Utah Valley Regional Family History Center, a large crew of volunteers stands ready to help turn your heart to the fathers. Patrons get access to a bevy of online genealogical databases and a veritable ocean of microfilm. The center also conducts frequent training courses.

Free Lectures

On any given school day, chances are somebody somewhere is giving a speech on something. For starters, there’s the campus-wide devotional Tuesdays at 11 a.m., a world policy lecture every Wednesday at noon in the Kennedy Center, an honors lecture every Thursday at 11 a.m. in the Maeser Building, and the English Reading Series Fridays at noon in the library.

Harold B. Lee Library
HBLL; M–Sat (open late)

Browse BYU’s massive information repository (more than 3 million volumes) for whatever catches your fancy. If you’re a frequent visitor, $50 will get you a year of circulation privileges. For a relaxing read, make your way to the sampler room on the main floor. There you can curl up in a comfortable chair with bestsellers past and present.


Sampler room, Harold B. Lee Library

Playful Cougars

If you’re ready for some sports action or in need of exercise, campus can become a place to play. Feel the energy of BYU’s teams or get your blood pumping even harder by participating in your own campus-based activity.

Alumni Free Play
RB, SFH; M–Sat, mornings and evenings; $5 for an individual one-day pass ($2 per person or $10 per family during Homecoming or graduation)

Start your campus exercise regimen by picking up your free Alumni Card at the Alumni House, then pace yourself as you sprint to the information center at 112 RB. Once you’ve paid your dues, you can relive the glory days by taking to the court or track, the pool or weight room. Your pass allows use of available facilities and equipment.

Athletics Events

From the first fall football game to the last spring baseball tournament, Cougars are competing in something somewhere almost every week except during the summer break. Check for upcoming events, then rise and shout for your favorite team. Many teams have practices that are open to the public.

Games Center
WSC; $2–5; M–Sat

Games Center

Games Center, Wilkinson Student Center.

Renovated in 2003, the Games Center has a new interior, 20 bowling lanes, a restaurant, and a small video arcade. Throw strikes in your spare time at this family-friendly venue.

Outdoors Unlimited

Just minutes from a dozen adventures, BYU’s Outdoors Unlimited can outfit you with equipment for camping, kayaking, biking, skiing, or making ice cream. With gear for sale or for rent, Outdoors Unlimited also offers trips.

Campus Shopping

If you promised the kids a present, you need some new blue gear, or you just lost your pen, you’re in luck. BYU’s shopping options range from the department-store variety of the Bookstore to a handful of specialty shops.

Bean Museum Gift Shop
MLBM; M–Sa, open late M–F

Got bugs? Get insect-collecting equipment. No bugs? The Bean Museum shop also carries field guides, seashells, and apparel for the animal lover.

BYU Bookstore

If you came to shop, head straight for the BYU Bookstore and don’t turn back. And don’t let the name confuse you—it sells more than books. Browse Cougar gear, Church books, greeting cards, art, music, DVDs, and up to 10 types of fudge.

Campus Craft and Floral

Grab flowers before your date at the Varsity Theatre or peruse the craft supplies at Campus Craft and Floral. The store also offers classes on floral design, scrapbooking, and cake decorating.

Cougar Fan Store
SAB; M–F, afternoons

Shelves of Cougar gear await the true-blue faithful at the Cougar Fan Store in the new Student Athlete Building.

Cougar Fan Store

Cougar Fan Store, Student Athlete Building.

Creamery on Ninth
CONE; M–Sa (open late)

The neighborhood grocery selection at the Creamery on Ninth includes picnic supplies (for a hike to the Y), quick food (for breakfast in your hotel), or toiletries (for that left-behind travel kit).

Marriott School Shop
336 TNRB; T-Th, midday

Dress shirts, golf balls, and executive pens tempt B-school students and grads seeking success.

MOA Gift Shop
MOA; M–Sa, open late M, Th, & F

At the Museum of Art Gift Shop, you can buy fine-art prints, sculptures, books, and other artistic gifts.

Stage and Screen

BYU performers travel the world, but you can catch them—along with other forms of entertainment—right here on campus. Whether it’s a play in the Pardoe, a flick in the “Swiket,” or a hula in the HFAC, BYU buzzes nearly every evening with entertainment onstage and on-screen.

RB, HFAC, MC; prices/days vary

Watch the Ballroom Dance Company, International Folk Dance Ensemble, Cougarettes, Ballet Company, and dancEnsemble all twist, twirl, and tap in frequent concerts.

Final Cut
WSC; $3; November

BYU’s own film festival, Final Cut, showcases short student films, including documentaries, narratives, commercials, and animated works.

International Cinema
250 SWKT; free; M–Sa

International Cinema draws a crowd as entertaining as the film. Don’t be surprised if you hear premature snickers from returned missionaries in the back—they understand the joke in their mission tongue before you can read the subtitles. Not all International Cinema offerings require reading, though; the definition of
international often includes the likes of Jane Austen movies and the Lord of the Rings series.

Motion Picture Archives Film Series
HBLL; free; F

On select Fridays in the library auditorium, Special Collections dips into its film archives, screening everything from classics like Gone with the Wind and Casablanca to early films of local interest like Brigham Young.

HBLL Films

Motion Picture Archives Film Series

HFAC; prices vary; T–Sa

Orchestras, marching bands, folk and jazz ensembles, and numerous choirs showcase their talents year round. And don’t miss the free student and faculty recitals performed almost daily.

HFAC; prices vary; T–Sa

With a variety of venues—from an intimate theater in the round to the 1,268-seat de Jong Concert Hall—BYU’s dramatic performers put on Broadway musicals, classic plays, and productions created by BYU and other local writers.

De Jong Concert Hall

De Jong Concert Hall

Young Ambassadors

Young Ambassadors.

Varsity Theatre
WSC; $1; Th–Sa

Forget forking over $7 for a movie. Head over to the Varsity Theatre for dollar movie nights instead. On select weekends, the Varsity shows popular movies that have recently left the major theaters.

Sandwich and a Show

Don’t be a recluse during the lunch hour; noontime entertainment amid student crowds offers fun as well as a glimpse into the lives of current students.  The BYUSA-sponsored Live at the Terrace features student bands whose music blasts throughout the Wilk’s Terrace and Cougareat (WSC) every Wednesday and Friday.  Or how about taking the open mike yourself? In Brigham Square (outside the WSC) every Thursday, students step up on the notorious Soapbox for a good rant on such topics as parking tickets, textbook prices, or Utah football.  If you favor something a bit more serene, the Carillon Tower’s hourly “Come, Come Ye Saints” chime is augmented every noon hour as carillonneurs offer 20-minute performances with selections from folk to classical to Broadway.

Hidden Gems

BYU’s least-well-known sights are some of its best. Explore the campus arcana listed here or wander through quads and buildings at your leisure and compile your own guide to interesting nooks and crannies.

Aquarium Dwellers

Some look happy to see you; others don’t come out from behind their mini reefs. They’re the fish, sea stars, and other marine critters on the bottom floor of the Widtsoe Building, silently swimming/sleeping/loafing/lurking in 15 wall-embedded tanks.

Widtsoe Building

Widtsoe Building aquariums.

Brigham and the Funky Chicken

Shaky is a word you don’t usually associate with Brigham Young. Still, if you run along the east-west sidewalk by the library and keep your eye on his statue in front of the administration building, you’ll see his legs start to wobble in what locals call the “funky chicken.”

Hard Ball

At first glance it looks like a rock. But look closer. OK, it’s still a rock, but it’s a special one: the Costa Rican stone ball outside the Joseph Smith Building has the added intrigue of being very old (pre-Columbian) and very mysterious (use unknown).

Memorial Hall

At the east side of the Wilk’s main floor, Memorial Hall is perhaps the most solemn spot on campus. A room dedicated to BYU students and alumni who died in foreign wars, it lists the hundreds of dead from WWI up to the current Iraq war. A kiosk helps visitors find information about the fallen.

Royal Hallways

There’s the girl you used to date, the girl you wanted to date, the girl you used to be. Check out the homecoming queen portraits (back to the 1930s) lining the walls of the Wilk’s third floor. Nearby are the Miss Indian BYU portraits.

Sacred Space

First Vision

First Vision statue, Joseph Smith Building

An open-air garden atrium on the first floor of the Joseph Smith Building features Avard Fairbanks’ heroic statue of a 14-year-old Joseph Smith in the grove.

Stadium Remnants

Remember the old stadium—the stadium in the days of BYU’s “Phantom,” J. Eldon Fortie (BS ’63)? Well, if you stand on one of the Richards Building elevated walkways and look east, you’ll see the smooth slope of the old stands. Perched at the top of the slope are the old press boxes, now used for storage.

The Heating Vent

The heating vent northeast of the Kimball Tower blows hot air out of the ground and attracts more than a few passersby during winter semester. Typically three types of people stop at the grate: those just pausing to get warm; the Marilyn Monroe impersonators; and the Don Juans out for a walk on a cold night with Special Someone, who yields up that first, coveted kiss while standing over a warm updraft of what could only be love.

Best Views

For stunning views of mountain and valley, visit some of campus’ high points.  Start with lunch at the Skyroom Restaurant on the Wilk’s sixth floor.  On the Kimball Tower’s eighth floor, pick a hallway and head for an outside corner, three of which feature windows with a lofty perspective.  For an open-air view of the Wasatch Front, make your way to the east side of the Joseph F. Smith Building and ascend to the fourth floor, where you’ll find a rooftop patio.


If there’s anything to BYU’s reputation for child production, chances are good you’ll be accompanied by kids on your next campus visit. Though you may be content to stroll the quads reminiscing about your BYU adventures, the minors in tow may have other ideas of fun. Fortunately, campus has a variety of kid-friendly offerings, most of them free.

Earth Science Museum

With the menacing skull of a T. rex, along with the full skeletons of fellow Jurassic carnivores and other ancient wonders, the Earth Science Museum is sure to evoke a chorus of “Cool!” and “Look at this!” from kids. Self-guided tours are hands-on, with several fossils little fingers can touch.

Eyring Science Center


Foucalt pendulum, Eyring Science Center.

Though they may already know a thing or two about chaos, children can explore dozens of scientific principles—including chaos theory—through displays and interactive demonstrations in the Eyring Science Center lobby. Older children will enjoy a tour of the heavens in the planetarium (Fridays at 7 and 8 p.m.; $2).

Farnsworth Juvenile Literature Library


Children’s literature mural, Harold B. Lee Library

Accompanied by an adult, kids can browse through the thousands of children’s books on the fourth floor of the library. First, though, they’ll want to check out the mural at the entrance to the children’s-literature section and see how many of the dozens of literary allusions they can identify. (Black-and-white copies of the mural can be printed for coloring at

Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum
MLBM; M–Sa; open late M–F

Amid the Bean Museum’s herds of mounted animals, children can track down specific species (scavenger hunts provided by the museum), watch nature movies, and see and touch live critters (call 801-422-5051 for daily showtimes). Small children will also enjoy a stop in the playroom. Paid Saturday and summertime educational programs are also available.

Museum of Art
MOA; M–Sa; open late M,Th, & F

Open a child’s eyes to the world of art beyond crayons and finger paints with an amble through the Museum of Art. The museum also offers a 40-minute family-home-evening presentation about the story depicted in the Carl Bloch masterpiece Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda (first Monday of each month; call 801-422-8287 for reservations).

Young Fun

BYU has plenty of options for children craving less-formal fun.  Take a break to see fish and ducks at the Botany Pond.  At the Games Center (WSC), kids can rack up pinball scores and knock down pins (with the help of rails, if necessary).  Children 12 and under bowl for $2, with free shoe rentals.  Free-friendly movies are shown periodically at the Varsity Theatre (WSC; $1), and the library’s Motion Picture Archive Film Series (HBLL) has free screenings of classic movies (select Fridays; age 8 and over).  For a modest fee, families can swim in either of the dormitory pools (DT, HL) during during summer months or year-round at the Richards Building (limited availability, call 801-422-3644 for details).  For tykes with grumbling tummies, a stop at the Creamery on Ninth or the original Creamery (CONE, DPL) for a kids cone ($1.05) may be in order.

Illustrations by Steve Gray

Photography by Bradley H. Slade (BFA ’94)