Nevada Nature January 20, 2017
Most People Have No Idea There’s A Secret Garden Hiding In Nevada And It’s Magical
Driving along the freeway in the middle of Las Vegas, you would never realize there’s a beautiful garden oasis in the middle of the city surrounded by walls blocking its view from passerby. The Springs Preserve is truly a magical place amidst a glittering desert city.
The Springs Preserve is located on the site of the Las Vegas Springs, a designated archaeological site listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The springs created a green meadow area in the middle of the desert which led Native Americans and later settlers to set up camps here and, eventually, this became known as Las Vegas ("the meadows") in 1829.
The Las Vegas Water District developed a plan to preserve this area and the Springs Preserve opened in the summer of 2007. The park is a green and lush treasure both for its natural beauty and for its historical and cultural preservation.
The gardens at Springs Preserve has the most Mojave Desert cacti and plants than any other exhibit in the world. Many different types of plants and environments are featured although there is an emphasis on promoting xeriscaping and "water-smart" gardens.
The garden covers 110 acres with over 1,200 species of plants. The horticulture of the place has been given many awards, such as being listed as one of the "Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For" by the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and Canadian Garden Tourism Council. Horticulture Magazine gave Springs Preserve their Award for Garden Excellence in 2012.
There are several different display gardens to peruse in addition to the ones specializing in desert cacti and succulents. There's a herb garden, vegetable garden, palm garden, "constructed wetland," rose garden, wildlife garden and an "enabling garden" constructed specifically for the enjoyment of persons with disabilities.
There are also "natural" gardens which wind their way through 3.6 miles of walking trails. These garden areas contain species such as desert willow, quailbush, Great Basin wildrye, and they are also a critical habitat for saving the Bear Poppy.
A riparian habitat called the Springs Preserve's Cienega is also part of the natural garden area which indeed becomes a magical spot to walk through during the hot and dry summer months. The stream moves along through several small ponds and in addition to almost 100 different types of plants, many types of small animals and birds congregate and nest here.
Walking through the Butterfly Habitat, which is only available in the fall and spring of each year, lets you experience these colorful insects in a lovely garden habitat, like little fairies dancing among the flowers and their favorite plants.
Many of the garden trails have whimsical metal statues of different desert creatures.
The Preserve also has a Tails N Trails day each year where you can bring your dog to visit the park and admission for the day is free. This little metal puppy gets to enjoy the garden year round!
When you need to take a break, there's a cafe with some beautiful views of the preserve and indoor and outdoor seating options. It's also an exquisite spot for a magical Sunday brunch.
The Springs Preserve is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets are $9.95 per adult, $8.95 for seniors, and $4.95 for children (residents). For out of towners, rates are $18.95 for adults, $10.95 for children and $17.05 for seniors. There are also student and military discounts. You can buy tickets
or even purchase an annual membership. The preserve is located at 333 South Valley View Boulevard just off the Valley View exit of the US 95 in Las Vegas (across from the Meadows Mall).
Have you ever visited this special magical place? Share in the comments!