Hoover Dam

Heading east from Las Vegas, our first stop was the Hoover Dam. An impressive feat of engineering, to be sure. But to be honest, we were disappointed by the Hoover Dam and in the end we didn’t stay long.


It was difficult to find information about visiting the Hoover Dam online ahead of time, and even that which we did find wasn’t completely accurate when we got there. We walked across and looked around, but it was extremely windy that day and being outside wasn’t fun or easy for any of us. It was the kind of windy day when you can’t hear what the person next to you is saying.

So we headed for the visitor center. Except the visitor center isn’t free. It costs $8 per person just to go into the visitor center. Then there’s another set of fees if you want to take a tour of the power plant, leading up to the $30 fee per person to tour the dam itself. We weren’t prepared for it to be so expensive. Children under 8 are not permitted on the Dam Tour, so that was eliminated right away, but in the end none of it seemed worth the money. We’ve been to a lot of visitor centers as we’ve crossed the country. Most of them are helpful, but none have been worth $24 (the website says 3 and under are free, but the sign on site says under 3 are free. An important distinction when you have a 3 year old). So we walked around a bit more on top of the dam, rode an elevator to the top of a parking garage and got a better view (at least the elevator was free!), ate our packed lunches on a bench, explored the gift shop for a few minutes, and then piled back in the car to continue east.

Has anyone out there taken the tour? Or paid for the visitor center? Is it worth it? What did we miss?

Masses of concrete, desert landscape. 

New bridge in the background, to divert traffic from driving over the dam. The road that crosses the dam is now closed on the one side – you have to cross the river on this bridge from either direction to get down to the dam itself.

img_2605.jpgThere are two of these, on either side of the state border. I was looking forward to them showing different times so that we could stand with one foot in each time zone. They didn’t and I was disappointed.That was when I learned that Arizona doesn’t switch to daylight savings time. In the summer, Arizona and Nevada are in the same time zone.

But at least we got to stand with our feet in two different states.

img_2620.jpgThe best family photo we could muster with so much wind in our faces.

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