Located just a few minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip the Spring Preserve feels like a completely different world offering a secluded peaceful oasis from all the glitz and glam. This educational and environmentally conscious facility boast many different types of entertainment for adults and children alike.
Planning began for The Springs Preserve in the late 90’s and finally began construction in 2005. It has been welcoming visitors since 2007. It is built on the original site that essentially put Las Vegas on the map, when a natural spring and abundant water first caught the eye of settlers. Although the spring dried up in 1962 this 180 acre cultural and historical attraction teaches visitors not only about Las Vegas’ past but also looks towards the future and conservationism. The Spring Preserve is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, and is overseen by the Las Vegas Valley Water District.
The Preserve provides entertainment, exhibits, galleries, botanical gardens, educational workshops, world class culinary delights and an abundance of holiday and annual festivals and events.
The first building visitors will see upon entering the Preserve is the Origen Experience. This area is designed to educate about the origins of Las Vegas, providing detailed exhibits about how the earth formed from ocean to the Mojave desert, how the spring originated, the first setters the Pueblo indians, the animals that live in the region and the European settlers. The Origen building boasts a huge movie theater that has daily showing of educational films. It is also home to the Preserves live animals such as cottontail rabbits, Gila monsters, lizards, foxes, and numerous insects- poisonous and non! Currently there is an interactive exhibit: “Space: A Journey to Our Future” which shows through May 13 and allows visitors to experience what life in Space will be like in the near future.
The Desert Living Center includes several building that house the sustainability gallery, classrooms and conference rooms. There is also an indoor space where the Thursday Farmers Market meets indoors. Exhibits include events and activities which promote the benefits of recycling, conservation and alternative energy. My children particularly like the compost exhibit and the activities that demonstrates how far electricity or produce travels to make it into out homes. There is also a model home that houses a kitchen, bathroom and laundry room to demonstrate how one can save energy, water and be economical!
The Gardens at the Springs Preserve are my favorite. They are simply gorgeous, cleverly designed and no matter that I have visited countless times they never cease to inpire. The 8-acre garden area features a large range of desert landscapes showcasing both native and non-native plant life, over 400 different trees, plants and herbs, vegetables, roses, palms and cacti. The gardens include several outdoor amphitheater spaces for music, shows and workshops on irrigation, gardening and landscape. If you are up for a longer walk the Preserve has four different hiking trails. One can walk down to the desert wetland and observe native plants, birds and animals. The paths are well marked, include wheelchair accessibility and newly opened bike trails with bike rentals provided through the Preserve.
The best playground in Las Vegas can be found at the Springs Preserve. Built to resemble a desert canyon this sand and soft ground structure made from recycled plastic is a favorite among my children. The playground houses a 50 foot snake, wooly mammoth skeleton to climb, a train, water features in the summer time and an over sized replica of a butterfly and peregrine falcon and her baby newly hatched from its egg.
Our favorite place to lunch is the Springs Café, a restaurant operated by the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas. The outdoor eating space offers amazing views of the Strip and the Las Vegas Valley. I usually order buffet lunch which changes weekly and offers a healthy variety of foods. Under the Springs Cafe is the gift shop and library.
Regular educational programming at the Springs Preserve includes classes on arts and crafts, cooking, cultural studies and sustainable living. There are several annual events that offer music, theater, wine and beer tastings and film viewing. The annual Holiday Extravaganza has become an increasingly popular event with tickets often selling out. The Springs Preserve is passionate about promoting local art and artist. They have several exhibits in galleries or outdoors which promote local talent.
Location of the Las Vegas Springs Preserve:
333 S. Valley View Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nevada (between US 95 and Alta Drive)