More than 70 years after it was constructed, the Hoover Dam continues to be one of the most alluring Las Vegas attractions. Situated in Black Canyon, just a few minute’s drive from Las Vegas, Hoover Dam attracts more than 1 million tourists annually.
Completed in 1935, Hoover Dam was the largest dam ever designed up to that period in time. It took five years to complete, which was two years ahead of schedule and finished well under the allocated budget. The hasty completion of the Hoover Dam is all the more surprising due to the harsh conditions and remote location and which workers were subject.
It was originally titled Boulder Canyon Dam, then Boulder Dam, but was given its official name in 1947 as Hoover Dam, named after the 31st president of the United States of America, Herbert Hoover. President Hoover was highly recognized for his instrumental efforts in assisting nearby states to agree on a proper water allocation program.
The Hoover Dam is a National Historic Landmark, being the tallest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere. Its elevations exceed 727 feet beyond the Colorado River, producing 14 billion kilowatts of energy through 17 generators annually. Not surprisingly, it is one of the nation’s largest hydroelectric power resources, with all operations and maintenance funded from power sales alone.
Visitors can take the Hoover Dam Power Plant Tour daily (except Christmas and New Year’s Day) between 9am and 6pm. The full tour lasts about two hours, though one unique aspect of this Las Vegas attraction is that guests can pick and choose which areas of the power plant they wish to tour if they do not want to take the full two-hour expedition.
The Hoover Dam Power Plant Tour starts out with a brief video that details the history of the national landmark and how it was built throughout the first half of the 1930’s. Tourists are then guided to a 500-foot descending elevator that takes them to the base of the foundation for a first-hand view of the generators.
The original diversion tunnels are visited as well, and guests are permitted to stand atop a massive, 30-foot pipe in which the Colorado River reverberates through. There is an observation deck atop the Hoover Dam that offers an awesome, panoramic view of Lake Mead and the Colorado River.
All of this and more is included in the basic tour of the Hoover Dam Power Plant, but for an additional fee, visitors can get a more intimate tour of the dam itself and its infrastructure, along with access to the visitor’s center, among other things. Either way, this Las Vegas attraction is sure to please anyone with a basic interest in history, architecture and hydroelectric power.
The Hoover Dam is located about 35 miles outside of Las Vegas in Boulder City, NV. The Hoover Dam Power Plant Tour costs $11 for adults, $9 for seniors, children ages 4-16 and active military personnel. The full tour of the power plant and dam is $30, restricting any children under the age of 8. For additional information, call (702) 494-2517 or (866) 730-9097.