A&A Adventures: Spring’s Preserve

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Alexis’ Feature

With over 180 acres of landscape, the Las Vegas Spring’s Preserve is a spot for locals to view an array of exhibits and participate in events and educational classes. Originally an area for tourists to drop by on vacation, the Las Vegas Valley Water District opened the Preserve’s gates on June 8, 2009.

“The Preserve is first and foremost a community resource for locals, but we do reach a small number of tourists. The Mission of the Preserve is as follows: To create a visitor experience that builds culture and community, inspires environmental stewardship, and celebrates the vibrant history of the Las Vegas Valley,” Curator of Exhibits Mr. Aaron Micallef said.

The Spring’s Preserve is targeted towards all age groups as a resource to learn about Nevada’s history, its development, water usage and wildlife.

“I think the Preserve is really cool; I’ve been here a thousand times. I would definitely consider it fun for every age group,” Arbor High School student Rebecca Batty said.

Additionally, the Preserve offers dozens of educational tools for visitors, including the Origen Museum, Nevada State Museum, Butterfly Habitat, DesertSol, hiking trails, botanical gardens and currently, Chocolate: The Exhibition. Visitors will learn Nevada’s beginnings, the origins of chocolate, environmental needs of butterflies, sustainable living and more.

“I believe that the educational value is great. Our school field trip program serves K-12 students, and our classes and programs target families, and lifelong learners of any age. Add into the Nevada State Museum as a resource, we also serve academics,” Micallef said.

The Preserve is home to animals, insects and critters found all over the valley. Animals such as bats, foxes, mice, lizards and frogs are on display, living and taxidermied, for visitors to learn about what is crawling around the desert.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]

Althea’s Review

The Las Vegas Spring’s Preserve’s outdoor areas are spacious, sprawling and beautifully decorated with desert plants, crawling creatures and eco friendly fixtures. The winding paths led us all around the area; in the case of myself and Alexis, we visited a number of the buildings which contained exhibits and the botanical gardens. We also went on a train ride around the desert area within the Preserve.

After purchasing our tickets for $4.95 each (the price for Vegas residents 5-17 years of age), we were admitted into the Preserve by a friendly employee who offered us a map. Not sure of where to go first, Alexis and I then made our way onto the twisting concrete paths and decided to visit the Origen Museum which contained Chocolate: The Exhibition and more.

The first area Alexis and I visited was the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards exhibit at the Big Springs Gallery which is available for viewing until March 1, 2015. The exhibit features many interesting and emotional pieces of artwork and writing pieces from local students— even students from our own high school. The experience of seeing the developed and deeply personal work produced by our peers was unexplainable and one of my favorite parts of our entire visit.

After viewing the student showcase, Alexis and I visited the Origen Museum. The experience enabled us to learn about the history of Las Vegas and the significance of our desert environment; for example, Alexis and I learned the ratio of Las Vegas citizens to annual water usage. We also had the chance to enter a secluded room where we witnessed an example of a flash flood and see the water rush around us firsthand.

After the museum, we found ourselves in Chocolate: The Exhibition, which is open until May 3, 2015. As soon as we entered, our noses registered  the scent of chocolate. While the exhibit was educational, we would have enjoyed more interactivity; the majority of this exhibit seemed to rely on display only and lacked a user friendly aspect.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]“I learned chocolate was made from a tree in a seed and they also have animals here, which is awesome,” Arbor High School student Emma Batty said.

Furthermore, the Preserve is equipped with a playground, offers classes aimed toward children and has exhibits such as Crack a Geode for children. The Spring’s Preserve also teaches children and adults alike how to live smart in the desert.

“We provide gathering and educational spaces for schools, community groups, families, individuals and local businesses. Our exhibits focus on living in the desert, as well as providing locals a sense of place and history with exhibits about natural history, archaeology and history,” Micallef said.

Moreover, visitors may ride trains, hike and bike through several paths, as well as wander through the Display Gardens and go to the Green Chefs Farmer’s Market to gain additional information about the Las Vegas Valley.

“My favorite places are probably the Divine Cafe, the Desert Sol house and the animals; they’re all relatable to everyone and interesting to see,” Batty said.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]In order to satisfy our grumbling stomachs, Alexis and I approached the Divine Cafe for lunch. The cafe has a stunning overlook of the area and our city’s extravagant relic, the Las Vegas Strip in the distance. I ordered The Burger and Alexis decided on the Pizza Blanca, which were both remarkably delicious.

On a mission to tackle outdoor activities, Alexis and I ventured back out into the Preserve to see the live animal exhibits; ducking our heads to fit into small man-made caves and sneak a peek at spiders and lizards. The exhibits were amusing and educational, but the small, dispersed terrariums would better hold the attention of a younger audience.

Soon after leaving the outdoor animal exhibits, we walked through the botanical gardens; tranquil paths accented with regal desert plants and flowers. Every corner Alexis and I turned seemed to offer another look into the beautiful and delicate desert plant life.

At the end of our eventful day, Alexis and I took a train ride on the Exploration Trail for $5 each. The twenty minute ride detailing the Spring’s Preserve’s origins was a fitting way to end our trip. Although some of the exhibits are more catered to a younger audience, Alexis and I both felt that the amount of history and beauty we experienced was worth seeing again.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]