Saturday, June 16, 2007

Springs Preserve

Hooray! A world-class museum has opened here, and we have been twice already. The Springs Preserve offers walking trails, a playground, a demonstration garden, and museums. They have daily classes in cooking, gardening, and conservation. Each exhibit has enough activities for each age that a family can learn together. We especially enjoyed the house that demonstrates green building techniques on our first visit, and the experiments in soil permeability on the second. Both times, the train with passing scenery from the early days of the city was a fun place to stop and rest.

The opening press materials have stressed that this museum is primarily for locals. I really hope they will promote it to visitors. I'm not aware of another musuem of it's kind, and the message is important-save water, live green, appreciate your environment. I know that many visitors here view Las Vegas as a bunch of casinos surrounded by wasteland. The museum makes it easy to experience the beauty of the desert.

On a related note, I have seen some references to this as the "Central Park" of Las Vegas. Let's be clear-the Springs Preserve has little to nothing in common with Central Park. They're both great places, but are completely different. You're never going to see families picnicing in the middle of the Preserve, and you won't be experiencing a simulated flash flood in Central Park. They are, however, both great places to spend an afternoon together whether you are a local or a tourist.

In summary, if you live here, go now! If you plan to visit Las Vegas, consider scheduling some time away from the Strip to learn a little bit, and be sure to visit the giant gila monster under the floor of the gift shop.

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