Whether you are visiting the Hoover Dam for the first time or the tenth time, there are some educational and fun things to do during your trip. The dam is a historic landmark in the southwest United States that displays one of the greatest engineering achievements. It is a popular destination to visit alongside Las Vegas because of its proximity.
The Hoover Dam was built in the 1930s on the Colorado River and is still considered one of the engineered wonders in the world today. It is 726 feet above the floor of Black Canyon and stretches across 1,244 feet.
It took 6.6 million tons of concrete to build the arch-gravity dam. Arch-gravity means its top is thinner than the bottom. A unique cooling system was required during construction to make it sturdy quickly.
Over one million people visit Hoover Dam annually and often take family members and young kids for a fun and educational experience. If you are planning a trip to the dam, here are some activities you can do there during your visit.
The Visitor Center is marked by the bronze sculpture of a winged figure, aptly named Winged Figure of the Republic. The statue is a popular photo opportunity for tourists before going into the Visitor Center. The center is open almost every day except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There you can book a guided tour, park for free and walk around, or take pictures from the observation deck. From the deck, you will be able to see both the Colorado River and Lake Mead.
If crowds aren't your thing, kayaking into Hoover Dam is a great way to explore. Las Vegas kayak tours are a popular way to get on the water. One seven-hour tour starts in Las Vegas and goes for 12 miles down the Colorado River to Hoover Dam. You get to see wildlife, do short hikes, and explore Black Canyon, among other activities.
Tours are the easiest way to access Hoover Dam by kayak. If you want to kayak the river independently, contact the Bureau of Reclamation. They are the only group allowed to deliver your boat using the restricted road.
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You can book a guided dam tour at the Visitor Center and learn more about the history and construction of the dam. The Guided Dam Tour requires participants to be at least eight years old as it is a long walking tour. You will walk through the Power Plant and go to the observation platform. The tour ends at the Original Exhibit Building, built in the 1940s.
You can also take one of our popular Hoover Dam Tours that depart from Las Vegas. Starting at just $79, they make for a great way to see the Hoover Dam with a professional guide that will pick you up and do all the driving. How far is Hoover Dam from Las Vegas? Not too far at only 45 minutes or 39 miles, but there isn't any public transportation that goes out there, so your only options are driving a car or joining a tour.
The Power Plant Tour is another educational tour you can embark on and explore a different part of the Hoover Dam. You can book the tour at the Visitor Center, but we recommend booking tickets ahead of time online.
The tour starts with an educational video, a walk to the observation deck, the Nevada wing of the Power Plant, and then ends at the Original Exhibit Building.
If you are looking for great photo opportunities, the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is one location to visit. It connects the Colorado and Nevada sides of Hoover Dam with a welcome sign where you can snap a picture. Built in 2010, it is newer than the dam but is another remarkable engineering feat.
Near Hoover Dam, Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a great place to visit while in the area. It is a large reservoir created by the dam and where you can hike, camp, or kayak. You can also swim or fish in the lake or rent a boat. Lake Mead is known for the gorgeous natural landscape, including valleys, canyons, and beautiful water.
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Located in Nevada, Boulder City is another nearby attraction with many museums and historical landmarks where you can learn more about Hoover Dam. If you want more of the city vibe, you can find several shops and restaurants to enjoy and unwind.
All of our tours feature a walk across the top of the dam, and for good reason. There is not a better way to feel the depth and scope of this massive dam than getting out on it and peering down the face of the dam.
The southwest has incredible views, natural as well as man-made. The Hoover Dam is a must-see for anyone visiting the area!