Did you know that the Hoover Dam is considered a tourist attraction bringing in almost a million visitors a year? I guess I always thought of it as a tourist attraction but didn’t realize the extent of it.
Because I was in Vegas it seemed like a no brainer that I would have to travel to the Hoover Damn and see what all the fuss is about. That and I’m a sucker for touristy things. A little secret about me is I love to crush pennies too. You know those machines that are at most tourist attractions that cost 50 cents and will crush a design in to the penny? Yeah, if there is a chance there will be one there, you can almost guarantee, I will make the trip.
The dam is only 30 miles away from where I am staying and I figure, no big deal, totally worth it. Upon coming close to the dam we realize that once you get off the highway, it is another 48 minutes to the dam. Yes, that’s how packed the place is. We wait in line with the occasional inching forward for almost an hour before we even get close enough to enjoy any views.
The first thing we view that is simply breathtaking is the bridge. I’m sure you weren’t expecting that but it’s the truth. This bridge is indescribably beautiful. The architecture of the bridge is stunning. It stands there, clean and with perfect lines, like something you see in an engineering magazine. Only, it is right there in front of you. At this point I’m actually quite glad traffic is only inching along. I needed the time to soak up this beauty and wasn’t finished awing over it.
After the bridge you start to come to where the tourists are. Tons of people. Maybe a little of an exaggeration, but there wasn’t a place you could look that wasn’t inhabited by these amazed tourists. I’m lucky enough to soak it all in while Jason is driving. I’m also a sucker for people watching. So, with that being said, I’m definitely in the right place.
If you are thinking it should be easy now that we are finally here you are wrong. All of these people and no place to park. I definitely did not wear the right kind of supportive shoes to do miles of walking to get to a dam. But hell, we were there and I was going to make due. We drove all the way up to the top and without any luck of finding a parking spot. Ok, well let’s go back down and see if we can have any luck. There was a little lot that you had to pay for towards the bottom that said it was closed, however, we were able to see that there was at least 10 parking spots in there so we zoomed in. The attendant was less than pleased. Muttering something about it being closed and she wouldn’t be able to open it up for a long time if people kept coming in. For the life of me, I still cannot figure out what the problem was and what she meant, but none the less, $10 later and we are parked.
Finally! Now it is time to explore. So we load up our pack and take off. Naturally I have a whole bag full of quarters and pennies. I’m prepared. We walk with all the other amazed tourists over the bridge and doing the touristy thing: taking pictures and selfies. And naturally we would have to post them on Facebook while we were there. The weather was fantastic, the sun was shining and here we are soaking up this amazing piece of architecture.
While waiting for the traffic we were diligent little tourists and looked up everything about the Hoover Dam and all the fun facts. I think this made actually seeing it, walking around it and soaking it in all the more meaningful.
Here are a few of the fun facts we found that really put this place in to perspective:
- It is 726 feet high, 650 feet thick at the bottom and 45 feet thick at the top
- It took more than 10,000 people to build it and more than 100 people died during its construction
- The idea for building it came about around 1900 and wasn’t approved until 1928
- The construction of this ONLY took 5 years. It started in 1931 and finished in 1936, 2 years before expected. (How incredibly amazing is that!??!!)
- The cost to build the Hoover Dam was about $49 million. If it was built today it would be about $811 million. (Talk about inflation)
- Boulder City was developed to support the workers constructing the dam
- There is enough concrete in the dam to literally stretch across the country. 25 million cubic yards for the dam itself and 1.11 million cubic yards for the power plant and additional facilities. That would build 3000 miles of road. WOW!
So, we finally get over to the other side and wouldn’t you know it…..there is one of my penny machines. Yep, I got 2 crushed, imprinted pennies for my book. Yes, I even have a book they all go in. Feel free to judge, I also have a National Parks Passport book. (If you don’t have one, get one, you will only regret the fact that you missed sooooo many stamps at all the other parks you visited before you got the $10 book.)
Now, it’s time to head back towards the car and head out to our next adventure. After all, there are only so many pictures and selfies you can take right?!?!
So, all in all, if you are in the area, definitely visit this beauty. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, you will be able to say you have been there. My review of the place is it is crowded, beautiful and possibly overrated. Honestly, I think I enjoyed the bridge more than the dam. Please remember these are my opinions and you are subject to your own. I hope you enjoy it and like me, I can now cross it off of my list. PS-Don’t forget to get a penny