Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Water Tower - from WikipediaA few miles away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Las Vegas and the Strip, you will find this nature preserve with exhibits, nature trails, and a bit of Las Vegas history.

The “Springs Preserve” is a 180 acres stretch of protected land around the original source of water for the Las Vegas Valley. Those springs formed an oasis in the middle of the parched desert and help support early inhabitants from local native American trips 10,000 years ago to first settlers in the 1800s.

Unfortunately, the wells dried out in the ’60s and Las Vegas now depends on the waters of Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Cactus Gardenthe Colorado River provided by Hoover Dam.

Tip: If you are looking for lush green gardens, this is not it. Most plants here are hardy desert plants and a few palm trees.

The preserve is run by the Water District which is taking measures to restore the area and provide visitors with a unique nature experience.

Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Kids play areaVisitors can simply walk through several nature walks and habitats for various desert plants or visit one of the museums and special exhibits.

If you have time, you can also take a hike through the extensive trail system.

If you prefer to explore without exertion, take the 20-minute train ride. The train takes through the expansive preserve with educational narration about the area’s history. Best attractions. Best prices.

Closer to the main entrance building you can enjoy a cactus garden, a Palm Oasis, a few Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Butterfly Exhibitfountains and kids play area. A seasonal Butterfly exhibit is also available for an additional fee. Check their website for times.

We paid the extra $3 fee to get into the Butterfly Habitat and enjoyed the few butterfly species that were present, but I wouldn’t visit again. The exhibit was small and you had to look for the butterflies.  

During our visit was mainly stayed outside to enjoy the great weather and have a little workout, there are plenty of things to do indoorsLas Vegas Springs Preserve - Train ride too.  

You can spend some time at Nevada State Museum with informative exhibits including holographic figures, stalactite caves, fossils, and a history of LV.

At the Origen Museum, you can walk through some 75 permanent exhibits, an indoor theater, and some traveling exhibits. The word Origen is derived from two words: original and generations. So expect to learn about the origins of the area.

On the way out you can enjoy a light meal at the Café and maybe get a few souvenirs at the gift shop.

We spent around 3 hours in this preserve to kill time before our hotel check-in, but if you have more time you can spend the whole day here exploring.