With Spring Break and Summer around the corner, you might find yourselves hitting the road for some short or long road trips. Usually we are in a time crunch but on our way back from Colorado during Ski Week, we finally had time to add in a stop – The Hoover Dam. If your travels take you through Nevada or Arizona in the upcoming months, I highly recommend dropping by. It should be especially interesting with the snow melt we will see this year.
A Few Insights:
- I had wanted to take the Guided Dam Tour ($30 – on-site purchase only), but unfortunately we missed the timing and didn’t want to wait until the next one ran in a few hours. We ended up taking the Guided Power Plant Tour ($15 available online and upgradable on-site) which runs every 15 minutes and lasts about 30 minutes. It includes a short movie, a tour through original construction tunnels, and access to the Visitor Center. While I’m sure the Dam Tour would have been awesome, I felt that the Power Plant Tour covered everything and was perfect for us. (**As of the writing of this post, Online Tour Tickets are temporarily suspended, and Guided Dam Tours are unavailable so be sure to check the website for updates).
- My kids are elementary age (3rd and 5th grade) and I thought they were at just the right age to get something out of the visit. I think the magnitude of this incredible structural engineering feat most likely will be lost on the younger set.
- We walked along the bridge hoping for a clear marker of the State Line between Arizona and Nevada but couldn’t find one. We still got a kick out of technically walking a bridge from one state to another.
Did You Know**:
- To build the dam, the Colorado River had to be diverted. Four tunnels (each about 3,500 to 4,300 feet long) were drilled and blasted through the canyon walls. Competition between drilling crews was fierce. All four tunnels were completed in 19 months (almost 2 years ahead of schedule).
- Before concrete was poured, an extensive aerial cableway had to be built. The cableway is still in use, making it the largest, highest, and oldest cableway system in the world.
- The Hoover Dam is so large, it could not be poured as a single mass of concrete. To assure that the concrete would harden properly, it was built as a series of blocks. Cold water from the Colorado River and a refrigeration plant were used to cool the concrete, allowing it to cure quickly and evenly.
- In total, over 16,000 men worked on the Hoover Dam.
- Working 24-hours per day, 363 days per year, the Dam was completed more than 2 years ahead of schedule.
- The Bureau of Reclamation website has a great Hoover Dam Factoids For Kids Page.
To learn more, purchase tickets, or check for updates, visit the Bureau of Reclamation.
Source Credit**: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation