Hoover Dam

This was a fun, funny stop for us. We did have to wait out a delay of opening the dam at the nearby Lake Mead view point. After the brief delay we were on our way to check out this dam historical monument. While we opted out of the exhibits we did walk the dam and visit the gift shop.

A little Dam history. Hoover Dam was built during the depression. It took less than 5 years for thousands of workers to complete. The Winged Figures of the Republic, by artist Oskar J. W. Hansen, sit on the Nevada side of the dam and are part of the commemoration of the dams dedication by President Franklin Roosevelt.

The Dam bathrooms. This was the best mens bathroom my boys have ever been in according to them. As described by our middle son they had cool old style bathtub like urinals, boxy metal sinks, gold lining around the mirrors. The entire bathroom was black marbled granite. To get into the bathrooms they had to climb a flight of stairs, passing a window with a view looking out the leeward side of the dam. They felt like they were stepping back in time. I’m sure if you would like to know more you can google more information or plan your own visit!

For more information go to the Hoover Dam Website.

Saguaro National Park, Tuscan District

This park is amazing! The Saguaro National Park in Tucson Arizona has two Districts: East(Rincon Mountain Dist.) and West(Tucson Dist.). For our trip we barely had time to visit the Tuscon District, but we really enjoyed what was available at the Visitor Center.

First thing we did was check out the sensory interactive exhibit that was on display outside the Red Hills Visitor Center entrance. Here we learned a little about the animals and plants that live in the Sonoran desert through sight, sounds and touch. We did not get to go inside the Visitor Center because it was closed except for emergencies. Outside we also found maps and other visual educational displays.

Both Visitor Centers have Cactus Gardens. The Cactus Gardens have interpretive trails. This is the “hike” that we were able to do while visiting the park. Along the walk there are signs identifying the plants, great views of the mountains and plenty of photo opportunities.

If you are planning a trip through Tucson, it is definitely doable to spend an hour or two here if that is all the time you have. If you have more time to enjoy the park you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities, hiking and Junior Ranger programming. Both the East and West Districts are just outside Tucson. Travel time between both districts is about 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic.

To find out more and plan your visit the Saguaro National Park website

Zion National Park

The landscape is so amazing at Zion. I’m not able to take pictures that can capture the views completely.

Zion is great for everyone. You could just drive through, stop at a couple of view points, or get out and get hiking. Any way you choose to visit Zion the experience will be worth it.

One of the things we really liked about Zion was the ability to just park and walk out on the rock. You can walk just a short distance and find great backdrops for you pictures or awe inspiring landscape shots

Did you know that there is a tunnel through a mountian.. a whole mountain. The Mount Carmel tunnel is a whopping 1.1 miles long and we have to admit the kids (and adults) really enjoyed driving through.

There is access to the Virgin River and despite visiting in the spring we made sure to dip our toes, some decided whole heads, into the water.

For more about Zion National Park go HERE