It was one of the first truly inspriational explorations into the sustainable market sector that we had – and what a start to a journey it was.
Springs Preserve sits squarely in the middle of Las Vegas. The $250 million, 180-acre project is nothing short of a wonderland of low-water, energy-efficient buildings and gardens. The actual springs on this site once provided water for all of Las Vegas, which, by the way, means “meadows” in Spanish.
Now the The Las Vegas Valley Water District and a team of architects have restored and revamped the site with sustainability displays intended to raise public awareness of green-building practices. There are six football fields worth of low-water gardens, with 20,000 species of drought-tolerant plant life, plus a 30-acre “Cienega” or desert wetland.
This new facilities cannot be fashioned any other way than to say it’s the desert’s true oasis. Certainly an oasis among the glittering lights of the Strip that is clearly visible from many vantage points around the facilities.
The visitor attractions are incredible, and start near the front gate with The ORIGEN Experience:
A hands-on approach to understanding the fascinating history and fragile eco-system of the Las Vegas Valley.
There two main galleries, the ORIGEN Experience and the Desert Living Center.
The ORIGEN Experience enables visitors to sense the historic essence of the land. ORIGEN exhibits include a simulated flash flood, a gallery on the cultural history of the area and replicas of an ancestral pueblan village. Kids old and young are encouraged to dig for, and identify fossils and view live exhibits of local flora and fauna.
The Desert Living Center provides classes, training and exhibits that help residents learn practical tips about eco-friendly living that encourage and enable them to implement a wide range of green living tips into their daily lives.
The Las Vegas Springs Preserve offers a recreated desert wetland, a gift shop, a children’s playground with oversized replicas of various wildlife, a resource library, educational video games and a Nature Exchange, where kids can trade in their own shells, stones and other artifacts for other like items. There are also nature trails and 8 acres of gardens with over 1,200 plants species on site. An 1,800-seat amphitheater provides nighttime entertainment
While you’re visiting, you won’t want to miss the Springs Preserve Cafe operated by Wolfgang Puck with a surprisingly perfect view of the Strip skyline and in 2009 the Nevada State Museum will relocate to the Preserve. More on those incredible developments as they become available for the public.