Springs Preserve — Lives Up to Its Locals’ Reputation

Las Vegan Peyton Rawlings says “Wow” about her opportunity to ride a big lizard at Springs Preserve.
Photo by Diane Taylor

I remember being in my 20s and having an opportunity to visit our subsidiary company in Canada. I planned to spend a weekend in Canada before visiting the company, and my hostess offered to take me to Niagara Falls. “Really?” I thought, “That’s where everybody goes; I’m not one of the everybodys.” (I was pretty impressed with myself at the time.) Not wanting to be rude, I accepted the invitation anyway and expected a day of boredom. Instead I was so fascinated with the falls that even a bad case of hay fever couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm. More water than I had ever seen, and so powerful! I felt as if I were the first person ever to see the Falls. In my excitement, I told complete strangers about my trip. I flashed pictures everywhere.

I was equally impressed later when I visited Yellowstone Park and its geysers. My reaction? “People should see this place!” Yes indeed.

The lessons learned: When “everybody” says a particular place is worth seeing, follow the crowd. In Las Vegas, the locals will tell anyone who will listen that one of the cool places to visit is Springs Preserve. The Preserve is a 180-acre parcel of land that has been turned into an attraction that is so varied in its offerings, few stories or videos will do it justice. On any day, one might encounter a Farmers Market, a gardening class, a wedding, a concert, a craft show, a fox, a snake, actor William Peterson, a kids’ camp, a locomotive, flowers, trees, explanatory signs, sculptures, big binoculars, outdoor cafes…and on and on. The mission of Springs Preserve is to “protect the area and create a community gathering place — a gateway through time where people can learn abut the Las Vegas Valley’s rich history and explore methods to ensure sustainability for our future.”

When I visited Springs Preserve last Thursday, the Nevada State Museum was closed. This museum is not operated by Springs Preserve but is on its property. The Nevada State Museum is open Friday through Sunday and was recommended to me by several people.

The gardens at Springs Preserve have received an award for Garden Excellence from Horticulture Magazine.
Photo by Diane Taylor

However, the good news was that on Thursday afternoon, the crowds were thin (I missed the morning school kids). Undisturbed, I had plenty to see and little competition in seeing it. My museum-going at Springs Preserve was concentrated in the Origen Museum which in every way possible talks about the origins of Las Vegas. (Incidentally, for the English majors in the audience, the word “Origen” is actually a combination of the words “original” and “generations”.) The Origen Museum alone is worth the trip!

Docent Gary Lange, who retired two years ago after 42 years with Engineering Services at the Las Vegas Valley Water District, said that a visit to Springs Preserve means a visit to the birthplace of Las Vegas. He explained that the actual springs at Springs Preserve stopped flowing in 1962 after so many wells in the area were in operation that the water level dropped. He said that wells still contribute about 10 percent of the water used in the valley. Lange enjoys being a volunteer at Springs Preserve because he loves talking about Las Vegas history and he meets people from throughout the world.

Gary Lange loves working at Springs Preserve as a volunteer. He spent 42 years as an employee of the Las Vegas Valley Water District before retirement. He works Tuesdays and Thursdays as a docent at the Preserve’s Origen Museum.
Photo by Diane Taylor

Springs Preserve is owned and operated by the Las Vegas Valley Water District with help from the Springs Preserve Foundation. Admission fees range from $8.95 for a Nevada senior to $18.95 for a General Admission adult. Yearly memberships range in price from $25 to $80 for Value Members and $100 to $1000 for Donor Members. The Preserve is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the location is 333 Valley View Blvd. at US 95.

Springs Preserve’s diversity of gardens, burrows, brush and wetlands have earned a wildlife habitat certification by the National Wildlife Federation. The Springs Preserve land is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012, Springs Preserve earned Horticulture Magazine’s award for Garden Excellence.


3 responses on “Springs Preserve — Lives Up to Its Locals’ Reputation

  1. One of your better presentations . All of the colors were sharp . I especially liked the interviews as they could be heard clearly . One question : you interviewed Chris – – do you later on contact Chris and inform him that he can be seen world wide on the net ?

  2. I typically give my business card to anyone I interview with the note when an article or video featuring them will be posted.

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