It’s a type of region humans must go to great lengths to tame. Or is it? One afternoon at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas will enlighten you to the vast array of bustling life that thrives in a desert ecological system. You’ll soon be thinking: Beautiful. Bountiful. Vigorous.
The Springs Preserve in Las Vegas is an 180-acre cultural museum and natural habitat that takes you through a vivid chronicling of the Mojave Desert’s history from dinosaur to human times. This inspiring destination simultaneously educates and thrills with high-tech demonstrations of life in the desert and a low-tech assembly of native animals. Guests of all ages will enjoy the thrilling flash flood simulation, the artifacts portraying life in Las Vegas when it was still a desert mining town, and the snakes, lizards and spiders that slither around their enclosures.
The Origen Museum is perhaps the most popular of the Springs Preserve’s many offerings because it houses live exhibits of creepy crawlies including sidewinders, scorpions and black widow spiders. Here you’ll also encounter other native desert dwellers such as nine species of lizards, Desert Cottontails, Pocket Gophers, Gary Foxes and the infamous Gila Monsters. An expansive working ant colony and live bat cave add to the excitement as you watch these animals scurry and hide and interact with their natural exhibits. If you want to learn more, guides and informational stations explain how these amazing creatures adapted to the Mojave’s extreme temperatures.
While it’s easy to be distracted by the live animals, the Origen building is also worthy of your attention. A glass and steel work of art, it features an expansive rotunda inspired by the desert’s serene ambiance and earthy hues. An artistic representation of a spring flows beneath the perforated steel and glass flooring. Granite sculptures defy gravity. You could spend a lot of time merely admiring the lobby.
But then you might miss the beautiful Botanical Garden. Here you’ll meander through delicate rose and cactus displays and admire bright vegetable and fruit gardens. If you get hungry, Wolfgang Puck’s Springs Cafe is located here and sending scents of gourmet casual fare wafting through the air. The cafe offers organic, healthful cuisine that will leave your taste buds rejoicing.
If you love the Botanical Garden, you can pledge your eternal love here. Breathtaking indoor and outdoor weddings can be arranged. Your nuptials and reception will be eco-friendly and catered by the Wolfgang Puck Cafe. Packages range from $750 for intimate ceremonies in the Rotunda to $2100 for grand affairs in the amphitheater. You’ll enjoy two hours of preparation time in separate bride and groom lounges, beautiful white garden chairs and the aid of an expert event coordinator.
From the Botanical Gardens continue strolling through the Springs Preserve’s 1.8 miles of trails past native habitats and archaeological sites depicting the lives of the Native Americans and Spanish settlers who once lived here. The trails will also take you to the site of the old Las Vegas springs whose bountiful fresh water allowed those settlers to begin building a city in the middle of the desert.
Adding to the educational phenomena is the Desert Living Center. Inside this LEED Certified sustainable building you’ll learn about eco-friendly building materials, alternative fuels, green cleaning products, recycling and composting. The Springs Preserve dedicates itself to protecting the wonderful habitats that inspired it.
Visiting the Springs Preserve is easy. It’s just a short cab ride from the Las Vegas Strip and is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Tickets are $18.95 for adults and $10.95 for children 5 and older. Discounts are offered to seniors, students and residents of Nevada. The Springs Preserve in Las Vegas is well worth visiting. This attraction blooms with all the beauty and wonder of the desert you never would have realized was there.