Hoover Dam Tour
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Powerplant Tour Description
Visitor Center Admission
Purchase Tickets (Powerplant Tour and Visitor Center Admission Only)
Amenities and Visitation Hints
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The Hoover Dam Tour offers a unique way to see, learn and appreciate what Hoover Dam is all about. This tour offers guided exploration into lesser known parts of the dam, and lasts longer than the Powerplant Tour.
Note: The Dam Tour includes a 1-hour guided tour of the powerplant and passageways within the dam itself, and admission to the Visitor Center; the Powerplant Tour includes a 30-minute guided tour of the powerplant only, and admission to the Visitor Center.
The first Dam Tour is offered at 9:30 a.m. (Pacific Time); tours continue every half hour throughout the day until 4:00 p.m. This guided tour is offered on a first come-first served basis (only 20 people allowed on each tour), and lasts about one hour. The route requires over a mile of walking on concrete or similar hard surfaces.
No reservations are taken for this tour; tickets must be purchased at Hoover Dam (credit cards and cash accepted).
|Adults, Seniors, Juniors & U.S. Military||$30.00|
|NO children under age 8 permitted|
Note: This tour is NOT accessible for visitors
with wheelchairs or crutches
THINGS TO SEE AND DO ON THE HOOVER DAM TOUR
To get the most enjoyment from your visit to Hoover Dam, we recommend the following guide:
To enter the Visitor Center, take the escalator or elevator across the road from the Visitor Center down below street level to the security checkpoint/ticketing area:
Visitor Center Presentations and Exhibits - Theater Level
- Theater Level Displays: After you purchase your ticket, you'll find yourself in the lobby of the Visitor Center's Theater Level. Displays, maps, photos and other displays provide an introduction to Hoover Dam.
- Theater: The Visitor Center Theater is also on this level. A 10-minute film describes the contributions of Hoover Dam to the developing West, and the massive construction effort behind the engineering marvel.
Inside the Powerplant
- After exiting the Theater, you can take an elevator from this same level to enter the Hoover Dam Powerplant. From here, a 70-second elevator ride takes you 530 feet down through the rock wall of Black Canyon to begin a one-hour guided tour. You'll exit the elevator into a tunnel drilled in the 1930s for construction, and take a short walk to the Penstock Viewing Platform.
- Penstock Viewing: This location is atop one (of four) of the huge 30-foot-diameter pipes that can transport nearly 90,000 gallons of water each second from Lake Mead to the dam's hydroelectric generators. An animated display helps describe the complexities of the construction of the dam, and how it presently operates.
- Powerplant Generators: A quick elevator ride up to the Nevada powerplant balcony takes you to a panoramic view of the 650-foot-long Nevada wing of the powerplant and eight of the dam's 17 huge generators. Also, don't miss the beautiful and intricate terrazzo floor designs under your feet. A great spot for pictures!
- Inspection Galleries: Navigate through these tunnels to explore rarely seen areas of the dam itself. View some of the inspection markings written on the walls from decades past. Then peek out of air vents opening to the downstream face of the dam while feeling the breezes rising from the river below. Explore further to see a fascinating set of stairs reaching into the dark depths of the dam's mass of concrete, and other tunnels that wind their way throughout the structure.
Visitor Center Presentations and Exhibits - Exhibit Level
- You'll exit this portion of the tour on the top of the dam, and if you did not have an opportunity to visit all levels of the Visitor Center, you can re-enter the facility through the ticketing entrance. From here, you can take the elevators in the center of the building up to the Visitor Center Exhibit Gallery (one floor up from the Theater Level you entered).
- Exhibit Gallery: This gallery houses numerous audio, visual and interactive exhibits, including a full-scale model of the huge buckets used to move concrete for Hoover Dam construction, a walk-though model of generator, and a detailed diorama of the dam. Also featured are interactive exhibits that allow you to test your skill at managing power generation, conserving energy, and other skills.
Visitor Center - Observation Deck Level
- The Observation Deck: You can access this top floor of the Visitor Center by taking either the stairs or elevator adjacent to the entrance of the Exhibit Gallery. This floor includes open and enclosed observation areas that provide panoramic (and camera-worthy!) views of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, the Colorado River and other features. On the open/outside deck, an audio presentation offers significant facts about the dam and its surroundings. Inside, view a model of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge that is presently under construction, and a sculpture portraying many of the benefits that Hoover Dam gives to the Colorado River Basin states.
Street Level Displays and Exhibits
- Winged Figures of the Republic: This bronze masterpiece is directly across the street from the Visitor Center. A presentation at this site discusses the concepts the artist had mind in creating the statues, as well as details related to the "star map" at its base. A detailed compass framed by the signs of the Zodiac, and bronze seals of the seven Colorado River Basin states are also featured in this area.
- The Old Exhibit Building: If you continue walking toward Lake Mead from the Winged Figures plaza, around the corner, you will see the Old Exhibit Building. Originally used as a headquarters for soldiers protecting the dam during World War II, this building served as the dam's first visitor center. It contains educational exhibits and offers a narrative overview of the Colorado River Basin highlighted through a topographical model showing the location of dams and reservoirs along the river and its tributaries.
- Nevada and Arizona Spillways: On each side of the dam (toward the lake) are huge spillways that designed to direct high water from Lake Mead around the dam through tunnels in the canyon walls. The spillways are so large that a World War II battleship can be floated in each one!
- The Nevada Intake Towers: On top of the Nevada side of the dam, an audio presentation offers information about the role these towers have in Hoover Dam's power generation process, and details about some of the artwork incorporated into the towers on the downstream face of the dam.
- Top of the Dam: A walk along the sidewalks on top of the dam provides awe-inspiring views of the dam face, Lake Mead, the intake towers, the Colorado River, and other features around the dam site.
Last Reviewed: Mayl 2012