Take a drive out of Las Vegas to spend a family-friendly day away from the casinos and busy Strip hotels. You and the kids can enjoy parks and history with a day in Boulder City and a trip to Hoover Dam.
Start your day off with a stop in Boulder City’s historic downtown district. Unlike the downtowns you might be used to in larger cities, in Boulder City you'll find plenty of parking on the street and in well-located parking lots. This is a city made for walking, and in addition to many shady parks, you'll find an assortment of restaurants along with antique and second-hand stores. Whimsical statues on the sidewalks capture bronze versions of everything from motorcycles to children.
Downtown Boulder City — Photo courtesy of Terrisa MeeksIf you're with older kids, stop in at the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum. This small museum on the second floor of the Boulder Dam Hotel tells the story of how Hoover Dam was built. It also includes the stories of the workers who built the dam, and the workers' families who had to make homes in a harsh desert.
After you're done in Boulder City, continue on to Hoover Dam. Follow the signs outside of Boulder City that will lead you to Hoover Dam. If you're a fan of history or architecture, you'll enjoy walking around the dam or taking a tour. This is a family-friendly experience that will give you the chance to show the kids a piece of living history.
Hoover Dam with a shadow of the bypass bridge — Photo courtesy of Ajar at flickrYou can also walk across the new bypass bridge that has re-routed traffic around the dam. It's known generally as the bypass bridge, but is formally named the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. An engineering feat in itself, the bridge sits almost 1,000 feet above the Colorado River. On the bridge's pedestrian walkway, you'll get a view of Hoover Dam once reserved for helicopter tours.
On your way back from Hoover Dam, stop to feed the fish at Lake Mead. Kids and adults will be amazed at the carp feeding frenzy that results from tossing a handful of popcorn into the waters around the marina.
To feed the fish, you'll stop at one of Lake Mead's marinas. As you're heading back toward Las Vegas from Hoover Dam, look for the turn to Lake Mead, which will be on your right. There is a $10 fee to enter Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Past the fee station, follow the signs to the relocated marinas on the right. Falling water levels required new locations for the Las Vegas Boat Harbor and Las Vegas Marina. Park in the dirt lot at either marina and follow the floating walkway. You'll find a tiny shop at the marina where little bags of popcorn are waiting to become fish food.
Las Vegas Boat Harbor — Photo courtesy of Terrisa MeeksMake one last stop for the day to see the Big Horn Sheep at Hemenway Valley Park. A herd of Big Horn Sheep hang out at the park, munching on grass and giving people something unusual to take pictures of. Keep your distance, but have your camera ready. And, if the Big Horns aren't on the playground, you might be able to tire out the kids before you head back into town.