“The Mojave Desert is the driest desert in North America.” It gets only about 4 inches of rain each year. I read these 2 facts surrounded by relatively lush vegetation in…The Mojave Desert.
Because we have friends in Las Vegas, Ruth & I visit the city that annually hosts 41 million fun-seekers at least once each year. Before arrival, I ask our friends what’s new and there’s always something. This year the ever-expanding recovery of downtown was getting buzz. Indeed, there were new restaurants, bookstores, and night spots soon getting our attention.
We also visited the fine tourist information facility that’s temporarily a bit hard to get to because it’s in the middle of the expansion of the already huge convention center that will soon be a presence on Las Vegas Boulevard. We asked the staff if there was something we had missed during previous trips. The man in charge told us about Goodsprings, and the lady handed Ruth a brochure with the word JEWEL at the top.
We headed there and definitely found a jewel called Clark County Wetlands Park, a true oasis in the Mojave Desert just off East Tropicana where Las Vegas becomes Henderson. Before we explored its nature trails with vegetation so high that we were warned not to get lost, Ruth & I enjoyed the excellent visitor center that was added to Clark Country Wetlands Park in 2010. Inside it were the most enthusiastic volunteers I have ever encountered. Linda, for example, was using a telescope to observe a bird feeder with a clutch of totally involved children. Savvy parents start bringing their offspring here before their children can talk. Kids activities begin with a naturalist-led stroller walkabout. Linda showed Ruth her spotted list, and it contained 4 unusual bird species. The center’s displays, where I learned about screwbean mesquite trees, resident but nocturnal beavers, and bighorn sheep (Nevada’s State Mammal), were interactive and fun.
Before we played, Ruth & I watched an introductory film in a separate building. A wordless sensation that began with a shot of high-rise Las Vegas only 9 miles away, it really captured the feel of this park and reduced our blood pressure.
After play, we took some trails and saw roadrunners, many happy families, and a couple of the 22 weirs that slow the flow of wetland water as it moves toward Lake Mead, only 7 miles away.
I do not have to wonder why TripAdvisor has given Clark County Wetland Park a certificate of excellence.