POINTS OF INTEREST
This 180-acre complex defies traditional categories, combining botanical gardens, hiking trails, live animal exhibits, and an ultramodern interactive museum. The overarching theme of the facility is the rich diversity and delicate balance of nature in southern Nevada's deserts. Kids love the simulations of the flash-flood ravine, the re-created Southern Paiute Indian village (complete with grass huts!), and the trackless train, aboard which an engineer explains the role trains played in settling the West. The NV Energy Foundation Sustainability Gallery teaches about eco-friendly living, and a 2014 addition, DesertSol, educates visitors about solar-powered homes. There are also a few miles of walking trails that swing you by archaeological sites and may—if you're lucky—bring you face-to-face with some of the local fauna such as bats, peregrine falcons, and Gila monsters. The Springs Café provides famished eco-explorers with sustainable choices, like ethically raised cheeseburgers and environmentally mindful salads. The Nevada State Museum, with its famous fossil Ichthyosaur and a number of exhibits on local mining, is on the site (and included with admission) as well.