Boulder City / Hoover Dam Museum

If your Vegas trip involves a visit to the Hoover Dam, a stop at the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum is a must. The museum tells the story of the men and women behind the scenes, who braved a barren southern Nevada desert to build the dam and settle Boulder City. A true story of American perseverance and grit, this group of people rose from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl to create one of our time?s most significant accomplishments in engineering. Their vision gave all Americans who were suffering hope for a brighter future to come.

Upon entry, visitors step into the desperate world of the early 1930s. Interactive displays and three-dimensional exhibits detail the forces behind the 1929 crash, and the ensuing depression that drove residents out of their homes and to Boulder City to find work. Listen to the stories of pioneers--from mothers who set up homesteads along the Colorado River to workmen who faced life--threatening dangers of building the Hoover Dam.

Embark on an eye-opening journey describing how workers survived 120-degree summer days and sub-freezing winters. Researchers have already gone through the tedious task of cataloguing 11,444 photos, poring over 189 manuscripts spanning diaries to personal correspondences, and sorting 3,500 artifacts. Household goods, tools, games, medical apparatus, artwork, home furnishings, and an array of other personal items shed light on the lives of the men and women who settled early Boulder City.

The Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum is situated on the first floor of the Boulder Dam Hotel, which was built in 1933 for those visiting the dam construction project. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, original masonry, paneling, and chandeliers lead into a world from another time. After a day at the museum, visitors can embark on a self-guided audio walking tour of Boulder City, beginning and ending at the hotel. Along the way, find sculptures of notable residents coupled by audio that tells their stories--like "Alabam", the Toilet Paper Man.

The best part, the Boulder City/Hoover Dam Museum is open free to hotel guests daily from 7a.m. to 7p.m. Those not staying at the hotel can visit for a small fee: $1 for children and $2 for adults. The space also includes a gift shop and theater, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Group tours and school groups are also accommodated upon appointment. The theater includes movies of real-time clips detailing the building process, giving views insight into the incredible engineering that made the dam possible.

To make a day of it, finish things off with lunch or dinner in historic downtown Boulder City. Family-friendly options include Southwest Diner and Grandma Daisy's (part candy store, part ice cream shop). Adults-only groups can take advantage of Boulder Dam Brewing Co., a family-run business featuring dam memorabilia and house-made brews; the mob-themed Dillinger with locally renowned burgers; The Tap, featuring a strong selection of draft beer and bar eats; and Milo's Cellar, a rustic wine bar with a streetside patio to watch the passers by.