Looking for information on outdoor activities in the Las Vegas Valley? Las Vegas Springs Preserve is a great option!
Approximately, three miles from the Las Vegas Strip you can find a calm oasis. I know that when you think about Sin City, a mental picture of neon lights, night shows, thematic hotels, and rowdiness comes to your mind.
Close to this playground you can find Las Vegas Springs Preserve. This is the site of the original water source for the valley. Early settlers dwelled around here because they knew water was abundant. Today, the area is protected and modern buildings have been built around it to showcase the history, flora, and fauna of the region.
If you are considering outdoor attractions, traveling with kids, or looking for something out of the ordinary, Las Vegas Springs Preserve should be high on your list of options.
Photo by Renee Grayson
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Las Vegas Springs Preserve
Before moving on, I want to clarify that the Preserve has an excellent mix of indoor and outdoor attractions. There are several museums in addition to trails and a botanical garden. Photographs love to hang out around the open area in order to capture the local flora and fauna (hawks, hares, hummingbirds and other creatures can be spotted).
Once you arrive, you move to the ticketing area through a small canyon. Once you have your tickets, you can explore the different exhibitions.
This museum showcases how native Indians made the most of the desert environment to survive the harsh conditions. In the same way, it presents how animals have adapted to live in this barren area.
One of the most interesting things I learned was about a lizard that can throw a blood spurt through its eyes. When a big animal becomes a threat, the lizard uses this defense mechanism to scare the predator away. The distraction let the lizard run for its life. It was also cool to see how some lizards can run using its two back legs. This is another mechanism to escape in rocky areas.
Then, there is the impressive kangaroo rat, a mammal that can survive without drinking water (it gets everything it needs from its diet).
The museum is very interactive. Therefore, I would describe it as an experience more than a museum. It uses all sorts of modern technology (video, games) to educate. There are also live animal exhibitions (desert animals, of course).
Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum allows visitors to learn about the different stages in Nevada’s history. It has exhibitions about the state’s fossil, natural features, and caves. It tells the story about miners that arrive looking for silver, scientists who wanted to test the atomic bomb, and businessmen that started a gambling empire.
This area of the Preserve recreates several buildings in order to tell the story of Las Vegas from 1905 to 1920.
There is a botanical garden showcasing the beauty of the desert flora (it has some non-desert flora areas too). The landscape is gorgeous and you can still see water derricks (pumping mechanism).
Be ready to experience the following:
- Mojave Collection – If you weren’t aware, Las Vegas is located in the Mojave Desert. This part of the garden is dedicated to local flora
- Cactus Alley – Here you will find cacti from Northern and Southern American deserts
- Palm Garden – This area is planted with palms that can survive the local environmental conditions. It includes date palms.
- Deserts of the World – Display full of cacti and succulents from different parts of the world
- Rose Garden – Sounds surprising but gardeners know how to keep roses alive in the desert
- Herb Garden – This particular garden features herbs we are all familiar with such as oregano, rosemary, and bay leaf
- Vegetable Garden – The purpose of this garden is to demonstrate how it is possible to grow edibles like lettuce and cabbage in the desert
- Wildlife Garden – You do not want to miss this garden! It has been planted with species that attract hummingbirds and butterflies
Photo by MotelGeorge
The preserve is home to 3.4 miles of trail. All trails rated easy (and are flat).
If visiting, you can choose from the following options:
- Exploration Loop Trail – Being the most comprehensive trail in the Preserve, the Exploration Loop will take you all around the property. There are several points of interest clearly marked along the way. The total trail length is 2.21. The trail can be walked or bay
- Crossroads Trail – This short trail (0.54-mile) allows you to see a historic spring mound and springhouse
- Springs Trail – This trail allows you to get close to a desert tortoise habitat
- Cienega Trail – As the name implies, you will be able to walk around desert wetlands
Photo by Renee Grayson
Desert Living Center
The center uses sustainable architecture, interactive exhibits, and programming to show Las Vegas residents how to conserve water and live sustainably in the desert.
When we visited, there was a photographic exhibition about the construction of the Hoover Dam Bypass (I still remember when it was being constructed). All the photos were amazing.
The center was constructed using modern architecture which has won numerous awards.
On a visit to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, you can also enjoy the following:
- Sustainability Gallery
- Nature Exchange
- Train Rides
- Bike Rentals
- Gift Shop
Springs Preserve Details
The exact address is 333 South Valley View Boulevard. The preserve is open Thursday to Monday. Openings times may vary (depending on the season). The Nevada State Museum is open during the weekends.
Many Las Vegas attractions tend to be expensive ($10-$30). If you want to save, consider buying a card that lets you go to a wide array of attractions for a fixed price. We have bought the Las Vegas Power Pass and it has worked well. You can buy the card for 1, 2, or 3 days. Reservations must be done online.
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