Preserve your Vegas bankroll like a local and experience Springs Preserve

When we first arrive in Las Vegas, we succumb to the hedonistic abandon the Vegas Strip and Fremont Street inspires. Gamble, see shows, drink heavily, dine like royalty, and experience world class amenities like massages, spa treatments, and pool parties.

But when the thrill of the nonstop thrill wears thin, and we need a break from eardrum-piercing and bright-flashing stimuli, we head to Springs Preserve…

For less than you’d lose in a few minutes on a quarter slot, would you possibly prefer to:

  • stroll amid thousands of Mojave desert plants at one of North America’s top 10 botanical gardens?
  • gaze upon modern art or the shiny showgirl costumes of years gone by?
  • become pleasantly surprised at how well solar power air conditions a desert home?
  • explore a plethora of interactive displays about natural and state history?
  • travel back in time to 1905 for a walk down the main street of Boomtown?
  • hike or bike miles of native habitats without leaving the city?
Passion flowers bloom in Boomtown

All this and more awaits you at Springs Preserve. When last we went, all of the almost-all-inclusive admissions were less than $20. Check the Springs Preserve ticketing web page for standard discounts such as senior or military, and several other atypical discounts, such as Bank of America card holder. Butterfly habitat entrance and train rides cost a couple bucks extra, if you have time after all the Springs Preserve places to see and things to do.

Who knew? Nevada residents

Residents get in for less than $10.

I have been to Springs Preserve twice with guests since Bill and I first gave it a look. I recommend Springs Preserve especially to poker or gambling widows and widowers, perhaps those whose significant others are full time at the Series, whether playing or dealing.

I enjoyed the venue as a romantic spot, but also as Vegas grew on me, I found myself showing off the eclectic Springs Preserve, as if I were a proud resident saying, look at this cool attraction you didn’t expect to see while in Vegas.

Pink bell shaped flower clusters
Desert Willow

I am drawn like a bee to a bud into the Botanical Garden of Springs Preserve.

aj
red trumpet shaped flowers on a long green stem
Scarlet Bugler

Springs Preserve felt to me every time, like, hey here’s this diverse place you would never have thought to go.

I know many who could never tear themselves away from the Strip. The allure of easy money, the constant ebb and flow of the human parade, the woosh of the Bellagio fountains, the super sweet scent in that casino air…

For the average Vegas tourist, finding Springs Preserve might be like stumbling into “Land of the Lost.”

Replica of a large sharp toothed dinosaur with tiny hands.
T Rex and other dino mighties roared to life during a Juraissic summer event.

From the shaded parking area through the entrance, I think, “this place gets it.” As you enter, the walkway calmly loops you a bit like the line for a Disney ride. Probably necessary some days.

I am not an early riser, so each time I went, the June day was hot and half baked. Although you should never take the Vegas heat lightly, I found the walks mostly shady and in the botanical garden I plunked down more than once at some comfy resting spots.

  • Rounded top cactus with tiny red blooms growing from rock wall.
  • Bright red cactus blossoms
  • top view, lots of brown hairy appendages, some yellow blooms
  • green ridged cactus with long thin dark red spikes
  • The blooms on this cactus look like miniature pinapples.
  • orange body, regular spiked cactus
  • Tall slender cactus spikes with white fuzzy blossoms
  • Three barrel cactuses
  • Odd shaped cactus with brown hair on its head.
  • Two compass barrell cactuses blooming with yellow miniature pineapple shaped buds,
  • Saguaro

I always toted a water bottle, and (pre-pandemic) there were several fountains for refilling. The Mojave Desert section of the gardens offers an amazing variety of succulents.

The not cactus, not succulent section also shines.

  • Yellow trumpet shaped blooms with orange parallel lines going in the bell, crawling with ants.
  • Red puffy but spiky looking bloom, not many leaves on a long tall stem.
  • Two upsidedown purple centered, yellow stamen trumpets from white pods
  • Like a susan, but red, not black eyed
  • Deep red, almost purple rose with some whitish petals
  • Buds like red chile peppers
  • Reddish purple blossoms shooting up from a bush.
  • Bright red flower with long stamen.

After heating up in the Botanical area, we like to chill at the solar powered home “DesertSol.” A docent showed us around on our first visit, but on later visits the solar home offered only a self-guided tour and that quiet, cool couch for a snooze. Was there a video?

Pair of aces: two exceptional museums

The museums also grant respite from the desert sun. I found that no matter who went with me, everyone said that we spent just the right amount of time to take in each museum’s displays.

The Nevada State museum shows the region’s history with more emphasis on human impact.

I enjoy the way the State museum turns back the clock by showing off early sequiny stage fashions and some not so glittery original slot machines.

Origen shows more of the natural story.

Origen houses my favorite “don’t miss” experience: the demonstration of how hikers die in slot canyons at the Flash Flood exhibit.

After a splash and air conditioning, I need a warm up, so I step out to explore the adjacent animal habitat. Lots of creepy crawlies no one wants to find in their sleeping bag.

Speaking of creepy crawlies, on a hot summer afternoon, take a closer look at the tree trunks.

  • Yellowish and white foamy sap bubbling from a tree trunk.
  • A large bug seems stuck in the middle of a sap floe.
  • Ants appear stuck in the bubbly yellow goo on the tree trunk. A white sap forms a big bubble above the limb.
The still images really miss the hub of activity with ants and beetles rushing to and fro from sap to sap. There is no audio track on this video.

Boomtown 1905

When it’s not too hot I walk. Or, if the tram or train is running, I hop on to go visit the replica of early Vegas.

That’s right, the main street of the original town.

Start or finish at the train depot. Work your way through the hotel, saloon and bank. On the far side of the street, explore the homes of early residents.

  • Woman dressed in stars and stripes with caption, Wake Up, America! Civilization Calls EVERY MAN WOMAN and CHILD
  • Odd spiky flower with green pinwheel, purple trident over white bulb, and fans of lavender tip white spears, some purple lines in a circle like an iris.
  • Closeup of Odd spiky flower with green pinwheel, purple trident over white bulb, and fans of lavender tip white spears, some purple lines in a circle like an iris.
  • Less spectacular in death, but lingering greens and purples of a drying bud hanging on the stem.
  • Red spiky fluffy blossom, wooden water tower

I enjoy this area as a slice of nostalgia for early 1900’s life. But I loved it most when the saloon was serving during our first visit. Probably a seasonal thing. And I don’t recall if they sold beer, but do recall some ice cold water and souvenir chocolate bars.

Timeline of Early Las Vegas
This image left large on purpose. If you are interested, you should be able to click the image and read more. If this is not accessible for your reading pleasure, a similar text timeline exists on Las Vegas Sun: https://lasvegassun.com/history/timeline

For future visits

Well, I’ve been to Springs Preserve three times and still haven’t gone to see the butterflies. Or the Waterworks.

And I read raves about the restaurant, which has an amazing menu. But the times I’ve been, Divine Cafe was either booked for a private party or already closed for the day.

So I still have boxes to tick on my Springs Preserve bucket list. If I started living more than two months a year in Vegas, I would consider buying a membership. I would love to check most of the events Springs Preserve hosts.

One glance at the events list and I drool. We must time a Vegas visit to coincide with one of many Fests, starting with Brews & Blues.

Here’s an example of do as I say, not as I did. If you don’t like surprises, scope out a day plan on “How to spend your day” page of the official website. If you, like me, love surprises… just go. For those at home during the pandemic, you can staycation virtually with this tour video.

And I didn’t even mention the superabundance of kids activities. If ever our grandkids visited Vegas with us, Springs Preserve would top our to-do list.

If you don’t believe me, see for yourself on the Springs Preserve web site. Springs Preserve website offers virtual tours, museum collections, cooking lessons, story time for toddlers, and more interactives for your families staycationing, pandemic or not.

Springs Preserve

333 S. Valley View Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV

 702-822-7700
http://springspreserve.org

Adventure traveler AJ Barrett selfies with a steam punk parking meter converted into a face with a pan hat and mop hair and other steampunk features.
Your post author, a punk who recycles, with a steam punk of recyclables at Springs Preserve.

2 thoughts on “Preserve your Vegas bankroll like a local and experience Springs Preserve

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