Everyone knows that in the heart of Las Vegas there are massive buildings dedicated to gambling. If you want to get fresh air and spend your day outside, check out these scenic and historic landmarks located just outside Las Vegas.

A great way to start any day is with a scenic drive through Red Rock Canyon. Then head a few miles west to Bonnie Springs Ranch and Old Nevada.

Bonnie Springs was originally built as a stopover for the wagon trains traveling the Old Spanish Trail. Since the 1950s the ranch has been used as a tourist attraction.

There is a petting zoo, horseback riding, bar, restaurant, and a hotel if you want to make a night of it. Adjacent to Bonnie Springs, Old Nevada will take you back in time. You can watch western theme shows that re-enact gunfights, hangings and bank robberies. Old west buildings include a saloon, a small schoolhouse, an opera house and a wax museum.

Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldest and largest state park, is about an hour drive from Las Vegas. It derives its name from red sandstone formations that were created by great shifting sand dunes during the age of dinosaurs, 150 million years ago. Your first stop should be the visitor center where you can see exhibits on the geology and history of the park. A short distance from the Valley of Fire is The Lost City Museum in Overton, NV. The museum has an excellent collection of exhibits, pottery and other Indian artifacts that were excavated from the Moapa Valley in order to save them from the waters of Lake Mead as it was filled up. The museum also features a replica of the Anasazi Pueblo Grande de Nevada.

There is also a small gift shop selling Native American jewelry and crafts, books, minerals and souvenirs. Completed in 1937, Hoover Dam is one of the greatest engineering marvels of the modern world and only a short drive from Las Vegas. Stop at the visitor center to find information about the construction and operation and to book a tour. The tour takes you in an elevator to the bottom of the dam. You will be able to see the inner-workings of the dam including the giant generators used to create electricity. Up top there are plenty of scenic overlooks with views of the dam, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River. Complete your day with a visit to Historic Boulder City. Take a walk down Main Street and visit some of its many unique shops.

You don’t need to travel far from town to find a full day of excitement.

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