It’s no secret that Nevada has every entertainment option you can imagine, from wonderful zoos and attractions to casinos and nightlife — the Silver State truly has it all. However, if you feel the need to do something more connected to nature, our vast state also has a myriad of options.
If this is your first time planning a Nevada road trip, then you should know that our highways are wild, unexpected, and fun — you never know if a cow or an extreme weather change awaits you on the other side. In today’s post, we’ll tell you about four amazing day trips from Henderson, Nevada, perfect for unwinding and exploring.
Hoover Dam Tour
Constructed between 1931 and 1936, Hoover Dam is a national landmark. Once the largest dam in the nation, it was built during the Depression as a way to tame the Colorado River. Thousands of men worked hard for five years to make this possible, and now the Hoover Dam is part of national history and an example of this country’s ability to withstand adverse conditions.
The dam is located on the border between Nevada and Arizona. It’s the perfect destination to learn more about a concrete dam that can produce hydroelectric power, control floods, and provide irrigation water. The tour starts with a 10-minute movie that provides a history of the dam, followed by a one-hour guided tour. You’ll get to see the Nevada wing of the powerplant, the original exhibit building map representation from the 1940s, the visitors’ center exhibits, a platform that overlooks a 30-diameter penstock pipe, and an original inspection tunnel inside the dam.
Depending on the tour company, you can even have lunch on a paddle steamer across Lake Mead, visit the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, and grab some snacks along the way. Tours last an average of two hours, and they’re usually targeted for people over eight years of age.
Lion Habitat Ranch
Located in Henderson and just 15 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip, the Lion Habitat Ranch is the perfect place for a day trip with the family near home. This lion sanctuary has been around since 1989. They not only took the lions from the MGM Grand’s lion habitat (after the practice was banned) and gave them a healthy environment, but they’ve also rehabilitated over 40 lions and their cubs over the years. Moreover, the ranch has also taken in other species, including a giraffe named Ozzie and several parrots, ostriches, tortoises, and emus.
The ranch offers three kinds of experiences. The first is a field trip guided by one of the ranch’s experienced keepers so that visitors can learn interesting facts about the animals. The second is an opportunity to feed either a giraffe or a lion — due to the risk involved; the latter is a more expensive option. And the third one is a private lunch surrounded by lions (this option is recommended for parties or large groups, as it seats up to 20 people).
It’s worth noting that those who decide to feed Ozzie the giraffe have access to a painting activity involving the giraffe.
Mountain biking is one of the best ways to enjoy the scenery and learn more about the rich history of our state. The goal of these tours is to take you on a fun journey across the Las Vegas valley so that you can interact with nature, learn a few historical facts, and meet wonderful animals along the way. If you’re not used to doing this kind of physical activity, don’t worry because most of these tours are for the beginner level and have several resting points.
For example, the mountain bike tour offered by Kayak Las Vegas leisurely takes you to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam (with lots of resting points so you can ask questions, take photos, and recover). From there, you’ll ride to Hemingway Park, where you’ll see bighorn sheep, and after that, you’ll ride through the five big tunnels, where trains used to transport concrete to the Hoover Dam for two years straight. Finally, once back at the Dam, you’ll be able to explore it more in-depth, have lunch, and take more photos.
Other tours will take you to different destinations, so it’s always a good idea to explore their websites and check the descriptions of the biking tours (plus make a note about what’s included in the package, such as water, lunch, permits, and fees).
Grand Canyon West
Home to the world’s biggest skywalk and a bucket-list-worthy destination, Grand Canyon West is a nine-hour experience that you don’t want to miss. Grand Canyon West is home to the Hualapai Tribe, and on this trip, you’ll learn more about this Native American tribe, its heritage, and its rich traditions.
On top of that, there are several activities you can participate in, including stepping on one of the largest cantilever bridges, rappelling over the canyon on the zip line, rafting the Colorado River, taking a helicopter tour, and exploring Eagle Point and Guano Point on the Hualapai reservation. Plus, there are plenty of dining and shopping spots for you to enjoy. As you can see, planning a day trip to Grand Canyon West is the perfect family-friendly plan.
Please note that to preserve this national park, you’ll be asked to follow some rules, such as wearing booties to protect the skywalk’s glass and being mindful of your belongings to avoid damaging the environment.
There you have four wonderful options for day trips from Henderson, Nevada. We hope this post has motivated you to start planning your next adventure. If you’ve already been to any of these places, please let us know in the comments section about how it went.
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