One thing I liked at the Hoover Dam:
Those cool 1930s Art Deco towers.

What to do in Las Vegas with kids? First of all, I must say Las Vegas, i.e. the Strip, is not my kind of place. So what to do there? Visit the Hoover Dam, I was told. We did that. We went, we saw, we left. Too many people, too hot, and too expensive! A tour costs $30 per person, parking is $7. And we’d already seen the Glen Canyon Dam which is just as stunning, only a few feet shorter, not as crowded, and more reasonably priced ($5 per person, parking is free). So, my advice is: If you want to see a dam in spectacular canyon scenery, head for the Glen Canyon Dam.

Since we cut our Hoover Dam visit short, we had an afternoon left, and thankfully I’d picked up a tip from Time Out Las Vegas to check out the Atomic Testing Museum. We got there at 1 p.m. and left at 5. Need I say more? The day before we’d been to see wild horses in the Spring Mountains, opposite the Nevada Test Site (NTS), so we were familiar with the location. For me, learning about the NTS also oddly connected back with my recent reading of Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge. She had seen one of those blinding light atomic explosions as a child.

This museum walks you through the timeline of the first split of the atom, the Manhattan Project, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the establishment of the NTS during the long Cold War, and the current use of the site for catastrophic first responder training. From one of their movies I understood, finally, how so much energy is generated by splitting an atom. Or how underground testing is actually done. And what is tested.

We did drive down the Strip with the kids at night, and it is a sight to see. The kitsch amazed me, and I was glad we were in the car because the crowds rolling down the sidewalks were equally amazing. But we got some great pictures of the neon signs. Again, we came, we saw, we left. Not everything you see on a trip has to be your thing, right?