When visiting the Las Vegas area, if you have about 4 hours to spare then use it to visit Hoover Dam in Boulder City!
I recently had the chance to take a guided tour and had a blast! If you like learning about history and architecture, this is the place for you! I personally think the Hoover Dam and Memorial Bridge are monolithic examples of what we humans are capable of. The Hoover Dam isn’t one of the Man-Made Wonders of the World for nothing! Taking about 5 years to build and weighing more than 18 Empire State Buildings, the Hoover Dam is site to see.
The drive to the Hoover Dam from Las Vegas is about 40 minutes each way. Once at the Dam, I highly advise that you take a guided tour! It’s only $10.00 per person and it takes you down into the Dam where you can see the massive pipelines and gigantic turbines that help power the Dam and create all the energy. They even show you a quick educational video in the beginning. Who doesn’t love learning?! The overall experience is about an hour. Afterwards, I encourage you to explore the above ground sites.
Standing at the viewpoints at the top of Hoover Dam helps you really appreciate the size of both the Dam itself and the monstrous overpass bridge, the Memorial Bridge. It’s very beautiful in it’s own way. The desert mountains in the back and the Colorado River down below.
Probably the coolest part though is the Hoover Dam Memorial. The builders expected the Dam to withstand the next 2,000 years (they didn’t account for our over use of the Dam water!!) But that aside, they were not sure what kind of civilizations would inhabit the Boulder City Earth location that far into the future. So they wanted to send a message that could be read across time and space. They commemorated the Dam in the stars. The floor of the Hoover Dam’s commemorative art piece is a star map for its location on the date the dam was finished. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! Cool and brilliant. Definitely take a moment to reflect on that when visiting the Hoover Dam.
And if you need more convincing for why you should visit the Hoover Dam, just know that you can also check out the quirky gift shop and find these little fellas. I know, you’re sold. 😉