Hoover Dam Visitor Center
Nearly a million people a year begin their Hoover Dam tours at the Visitor Center, a tri-level glass and concrete building that seems to grow out of the rose-colored rock on the Nevada side of Black Canyon. Whether you take a tour of the dam or not, you will want to spend some time at the Visitor Center itself.
On the first-floor Theater Level, maps, photos, and a 10-minute film describe Hoover Dam’s contributions to the developing West as well as the tremendous feat of engineering that created the dam.
On the next level, the Exhibit Gallery houses audio, visual and interactive exhibits, including a full-scale model of the huge buckets used to convey concrete during the dam’s construction. One display offers a walk-through model of a hydroelectric turbine generator, and another depicts a detailed diorama of the dam. You can test your skills at managing power generation and conserving energy in several interactive displays. A three-dimensional map of the Colorado River basin explains the river’s watershed and the distribution of the water and power. Visitors also will learn about the Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that maintains Hoover Dam.
You’ll want to have your camera ready when you visit the top-floor Observation Level, which has open and enclosed viewing areas. Magnificent panoramas of Lake Mead, the dam, and the river can be seen from the outside deck, and an audio presentation gives facts about the dam and its surroundings. Inside you’ll find a model of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, now under construction, and a sculpture that depicts the benefits that Hoover Dam gives to the Colorado River basin states.
The Visitor Center entrance fee is $8 per person, ages 0-3, free. The center is open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
A parking lot was recently constructed, and a walking trail leads visitors to Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge bypass. Visitors can learn about Hoover Dam at an interpretive plaza and follow the pedestrian walkway on the bridge to view the vastness of the dam and Lake Mead behind it. The original roadway across the top of dam is closed to trucks and through traffic.