Hit nature’s jackpot. Take a break from The Strip’s neon lights and explore Springs Preserve.
The flash flood at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas started with a crack of thunder, sending a torrent of 5,000 gallons of water rushing down the slick, narrow canyon walls.
But the five people standing on the metal platform just several feet above the deafening rush of water weren’t in harm’s way. Consisting of recycled water, the flash flood happens every 20 minutes at the Springs Preserve, a stunning 180-acre natural oasis with three miles of footpaths, botanical gardens and a state-of-the-art indoor interpretive center just minutes from Las Vegas’ legendary Strip.
“It’s unexpected,” says Springs Preserve staffer Dawn Barraclough. “Most people come here and say, ‘This isn’t Las Vegas,’ which is nice. It’s a great place to get history and background on the things you might see on your road trip like the Hoover Dam or regional animals or geology.”
Learn about the native people who inhabited the area and see real animals that live in the Mojave Desert like a Gila monster, desert tortoise and gray fox. Tour the outdoor shade-dappled paths that include Cactus Boulevard, climb aboard an early 20th-century-replica train that took passengers to Las Vegas and watch original news coverage of the construction of the Hoover Dam.
At WaterWorks, a permanent exhibit, you can discover the journey water takes to get to the faucets of Las Vegas residents. The interactive exhibit is inside the operational Charleston Heights Pumping Station on site. Outside you'll find the Global Terrace, which features interactive exhibits about water challenges faced around the world and how organizations like ONE DROP™ are helping connect people to provide long-term access to safe water.
When you get hungry, fuel up at Divine Cafe, a hip, second-floor eatery with gorgeous views of The Strip and Springs Mound, an original source of water for Las Vegas. Springs Preseve is just three miles from downtown, but it feels worlds away.
Afterwards, explore the natural world near Las Vegas. Valley of the Fire State Park in Moapa Valley, Nev., is 55 miles from Las Vegas and home to 3,000-year-old petroglyphs, hiking trails and petrified wood. Hoover Dam in Boulder City, Nev., was completed in 1936 and is the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere, stretching 726 feet. Take a dam tour, which includes a 500-foot elevator descent to the base of the dam. Lastly, splash in Lake Mead, the nation's largest human-made reservoir, covering 1.5 million acres.
For more information:
333 S. Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89107