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Hoover Dam

by Alaina on February 15, 2011 · 8 comments

A trip to Vegas is really not complete until you visit the Hoover Dam. And visiting Hoover Dam isn’t complete until you ask someone where you can get some dam bait. ;-) Don’t worry, I didn’t ask. But there were definitely jokes between David and I.

Instead of renting a car, like we had originally planned, we decided to go on a guided tour. The bus picked us up at 9AM and we made a few stops at other hotels before we headed out to the Dam. The tour did include a stop at the Ethel M. Chocolate factory in Henderson! What’s the M stand for? Yep! Mars! Those same guys that make Snickers and M&M’s. They had an M&M store, but they really focused on their homemade chocolates and brittle.

We did purchase a 12 piece box (Happy Valentine’s Day!) and filled it with chocolate pecan brittle, chocolate truffles, peanut butter truffles, 1 Irish crème barrel, and salted chocolate caramel. I loved the caramel. I’d never had chocolate with salt on top and it was delicious.

We had a limited time at the factory so David and I ran through the Botanical Gardens on our way to the bus. We were working up an appetite for the chocolate! ;-)

Then we were on our way to the Dam! Although we didn’t have the freedom of having our own rental car, it was nice having a guide to explain about Vegas, Boulder City and Lake Mead.

When we arrived, we were given our tickets for the Power Plant tour (not the Dam tour!) and made our way to the visitor’s center. We had to watch a 10 minute movie about the construction of the dam. Did you know that it was built under budget and 2 years ahead of schedule? Brought my mind to the Big Dig and how that was SO not the case. Even with less technology than we do now they were able to complete such massive projects. And they estimated that only 96 people (unfortunately) died during the construction, and despite rumors, none of them are buried inside the concrete.

So, after the movie, we all convened into two elevators and went over 500 feet down to the power plant. If you have claustrophobia or a pace maker, this tour is NOT recommended.

When we reached the power plant, they brought us into the room that had the generators which were “filtering” water through to make the power. They had one out that they were working on, just below us, and it was ginormous!

After the plant tour, we had about 30 minutes to tour the visitor’s center and the surrounding grounds. We made our way through all of the construction information. This fascinated David and he was intent on reading every.single.board. He was able to get about half done since I was anxious to get some outside pictures taken. ;-)

The winged protectors of the Dam. You can rub their feet for good luck; I did it.

The water is getting so low. It’s been dropping about 10 feet per year (since its highest around the early 80s) and if it gets 10 feet lower, the government will have to intervene and regulate. Ouch.

On the way back, the bus driver pulled over at a lookout spot to get some pictures of Lake Mead, the largest manmade lake. Look how low it’s getting!

Sooo, even though we liked not having to worry about a rental car and it was nice having a tour guide, I felt like our time was rushed and we didn’t get to see and do as much as we had liked. When we go on our cross country trip, I really want to visit the Hoover Dam again.

Have you done the Dam tour?? (I couldn’t resist :-P )

And that concludes the Las Vegas tour! Tomorrow I’ll be back to the daily grind.