Ultimate Kid Friendly Itinerary for Spending a Day at Hoover Dam

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Why The 2 Idiots recommend visiting the Hoover Dam?

When you think of Las Vegas, you may not think of it as a destination to visit with a toddler, but it is. Las Vegas has so many cool sights to visit in and around it, that we used the city as a base and then took a day trip to see the awe-inspiring Hoover Dam — an engineering marvel, it truly showcases the greatness of mankind’s ability to create. We consider the Hoover Dam a must-see (one of Natasha’s all-time favorites) and as an easy drive from Las Vegas, be sure to add a day to your itinerary to include it on your trip.

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CREATING AN IDEAL ITINERARY

The Hoover Dam is just an hour outside of Las Vegas and you’ll want to spend 3 to 4 hours visiting. You won’t have to leave too early or stay too late to enjoy a visit to the Hoover Dam; it’s the perfect day trip! That said, we recommend leaving early in the morning so you can visit in the morning and avoid the afternoon heat of the Nevada desert.

Logistics

Rent a car for the day so you can drive to the Hoover Dam and back to Las Vegas. It’s only an hour’s drive and very easy to find; a very direct route from Las Vegas on Route US 93.

2018 Hoover Dam Map
2018 Hoover Dam Map
Itinerary Estimated cost per person (only attractions)
Take in views of Lake Mead from the viewpoint
Take the Powerplant tour of Hoover Dam
Walk alongside the bridge and visit both Lake Mead and Colorado River sides
$30 per person for the Hoover Dam tour
View of Lake Mead prior to stopping at Hoover Dam
View of Lake Mead prior to stopping at Hoover Dam

Start your day in the morning, heading to the Hoover Dam after breakfast. Leaving in the morning gives you a chance to avoid the desert heat, which can be especially stifling in the summer month. It’s an easy hour-long drive to the dam, where we recommend stopping at the viewpoint just before you reach the Hoover for photos – the views of Lake Mead will be incredible! After your take some amazing photos, you’ll arrive in the parking deck, where you’ll want to take your stroller to enjoy what is considered a National Park of the United States.

Far from being a national park, the Hoover Dam truly is one of the new wonders of the world. Constructed during the Great Depression, the work created jobs for thousands of people and was finished ahead of schedule, although 112 people lost their lives during the construction. It is American ingenuity at its best – an engineering marvel!

The Lake Mead side of Hoover Dam
The Lake Mead side of Hoover Dam
The beautiful Colorado river after Hoover Dam
The beautiful Colorado river after Hoover Dam

The Dam is situated on the border of Nevada and Arizona, impounding the Colorado River. You can walk along both sides of the dam, seeing the beautiful Lake Mead in Arizona on one side, and the brilliance that is the damn on the other – it goes on seemingly forever as it stands more than 700 feet tall and its more than 1,200 feet in length. Such a structure had never been built before, yet, the result is a hydroelectric plant that provides power for Nevada, Arizona and even California.

Power plant in Hoover Dam
Power plant in Hoover Dam

When you arrive at the dam, immediately go to get tickets for the Hoover Dam tour, as tickets cannot be purchased in advance and there may be a line. Taking the tour, you’ll begin with a film about the construction of the dam before moving into a walking tour around the dam’s tunnels with a fun elevator down to see the workings of a power plant. It’s fascinating to see the inner workings of a dam that generates so much electricity that nearly 8 million people benefit from its power. After the inside tour, walking along both the Arizona and Nevada sides of the dam to take in the majesty and take lots of photos is a must. Although your young child may not be interested in the story, it’s a good few hours of walking they can enjoy, making for a nice day trip.

There is a café to grab snacks during or before you head back to Las Vegas, as well.

One of the easiest day trips we have made during our travels, it is also one of the most fascinating. We really were impressed with the manpower it took to create such a massive structure that has provided value and service for more than 80 years.

KID-FRIENDLY TIPS

  • It’s super-hot in the desert so be sure to have sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water.
  • The film portion of the tour may not interest a younger child. Having an electronic device to entertain your child could help ensure you can see the film and learn all you can about the dam.
  • It’s easier to walk around and visit with a stroller. Try our recommendations for a good stroller, which is lightweight and can fit into a bag so you can carry it easily.

OTHER TIPS

  • Try to go in the morning so you can avoid some of the heat of the afternoon.
  • Get a Powerplant ticket as soon as you arrive; there may be a wait so you want to get your ticket as soon as possible. Tickets cannot be purchased online; you can only purchase them in person.
  • There is a lot of walking on the tour. Not only should you have your stroller, you’ll want good sneakers with traction.

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