During our brief visit to Las Vegas, we had the delightful opportunity to revisit the Hoover Dam. It had been ten years since our last adventure to this colossal marvel in Boulder City, a mere 20 miles away from the bustling streets of Vegas. Upon arriving at the Dam, we eagerly set out to explore the area with our kids. Despite being only 2 and 1 years old during their previous visit, they were bubbling with excitement to rediscover the place. I, on the other hand, pretended to be perfectly fine, masking any latent “Dam fever.”
One cannot help but notice, upon arrival, the proliferation of transmission towers, resembling a cluster of peculiar eyesores that seemingly pollute the area. However, these tours are the very reason the electricity generated by the Dam illuminates millions of households throughout the southwestern United States. We strolled along the sidewalk toward the visitor’s center, joining the throngs of fellow explorers. Passing through the metal detectors, I couldn’t help but wonder why we had to go through this security ordeal just to visit the visitors’ center. I curiously asked my wife if this was a usual procedure. Once through, we were directed to a lady who inquired about our tour preference. My wife, brimming with excitement, promptly requested the basic tour, and before we knew it, we had purchased tickets for an unexpected adventure.
Before embarking on the tour, we were treated to an infamous movie about the Hoover Dam and its history. It was truly remarkable to absorb all the fascinating facts about the dam, solidifying its status as an engineering marvel on par with the Great Pyramid of Giza. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to recite all those impressive tidbits. Following the movie, a knowledgeable tour guide ushered us to different parts of the dam.
Our first stop was the room where water is pumped to the turbines, complete with its rich historical background. I can assure you; this work of art is far from ordinary. We then followed our guide to an elevator that took us to the engine room, where the turbines harness the water’s power to generate electricity. We spent a riveting 20 minutes listening to our guide share stories of the dam’s history, emphasizing how these turbines have never failed since the project’s inception. If you happen to be claustrophobic, this might not be the ideal spot for you. After soaking in the electrical room’s wonders, we were led to the exhibit area and the visitors’ center to dive deeper into the dam’s construction. The information was both overwhelming and exhilarating. We relished every moment we could spend learning and immersing ourselves in the project, feeling privileged to be a part of it.
Upon exiting, we couldn’t resist a visit to the gift shop and the restaurant before leaving the premises. Our next destination was a walk along the famous Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, spanning approximately ¾ of a mile out and back. From this vantage point, we enjoyed panoramic views of the dam area, Lake Mead, and, to the left, the iconic Nevada sign; to the right, the Arizona border beckoned. It was quite a thrill to stand in the middle of it all. Parking was a bit tight near the bridge, but we managed to find a small lot about a ¼ mile below, making our trip more convenient. After completing the entire span, we retraced our steps, heading back toward the bright lights of Las Vegas.