The new Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center opened in April of this year. It replaced the old center, which was built in 1982 when only 20,000 people visited Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area annually. Today, about a million people a year see the sandstone cliffs and hidden springs of Red Rock.
As homage to its desert location, most of the new center’s displays are outdoors under covered pavilions. Four central elements that created Red Rock each get a pavilion: earth, water, air, and fire. The center of this outdoor space is open and planted with native vegetation and decorated with bronze statues of animals like a jack rabbit, a mountain lion, and a snake. At one end of the center, a walkways takes visitors out on a raised walkway that faces the sandstone cliffs.
The center also has living animals, like Mojave Max, the tortoise. The tortoise habitat surrounds a portion of the center, and lucky visitors can get a look at Max or one of the other tortoises. Every fall, the tortoises go into brumation (not hibernation, but very much like it). Every spring, the center holds a contest to see who can guess when Max will emerge from his burrow. It’s Las Vegas’ version of Punxsutawney Phil.
Photographers, nature lovers, families, and museum enthusiasts will enjoy the center’s artistic and information-rich exhibits set with Red Rock’s eponymous cliffs as a backdrop.
All pictures courtesy of Terrisa Meeks