Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Las Vegas -- Part 3

Last year I found a Natural History museum off the beaten path. The kids liked the hands-on exhibits and we enjoyed learning about Egyptian mummification. We thought we'd head back there this trip and start from the opposite end, but we never made it. Instead we found the Springs Preserve thanks to some clever billboard advertising along the interstate.

This place was incredible. There were at least three museums on-site that we were able to see: the Origen Museum, the Nevada State Museum, and the NV Energy Sustainability Gallery. The Origen was about the origin of Las Vegas. There were some hands-on exhibits for the kids like a Pueblonian stone grind to make flour and a mock-flash flood where they stood on a platform and got their feet wet.

The Nevada State Museum was definitely hands-off, but very interesting nonetheless. The kids got to stand next to a mammoth skeleton, stand under stalactites, watch holographic miners talk about life in the mines, and listen to atomic bomb testing. This wasn't necessarily their favorite museum, but they appreciated it and they were very well behaved.

The Energy Sustainability Gallery was incredible. There was so much to see and do and so much to learn about green living. The gallery specifically related to Nevada, but it was enlightening nonetheless. I really enjoyed learning about how much gas and energy is used to produce glass versus plastic and how much energy is used to recycle them. The girls enjoyed playing in the life-size kitchen replica and with all the energy arcade games. I'm hoping they learned by osmosis, although much of it was over their heads. It was really a hands-on museum for adults.

We spent 6 hours exploring the Preserve in total. We did eat at their Springs Cafe, which is run by the Nevada Culinary Institute. The food was delicious.

Next time we head back to Las Vegas I would love to see the remainder of the Preserve: the Desert Gallery and the Gardens. It's well worth the visit and so beautiful.

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