A year in the making, the Red Rock Canyon Visitors Center grand opening will be today, April 10.
Located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard/State Route 159, the new exhibits provide a glimpse of surrounding geology from the death of the supercontinent 250 million to 160 million years ago and of human history going back 10,000 years, including the Old Spanish Trail of the 1800s and Las Vegas today.
A new amphitheater with seating for 290 gives lecturers a place to talk, actors a stage to perform and provides a place outside to hold weddings.
Visitors will experience outdoor exhibits that bring replicas of some of the park’s most fragile features to the foreground: things such as American Indian rock art panels, desert tortoises in their natural habitat, and a life-size cougar that lurks atop one of the shade walls.
It’s all designed so people can touch, feel, see and understand the national conservation area from the perspective of earth, water, fire and air.
Park volunteers, Bureau of Land Management personnel and elected officials will hold a grand opening for the new visitors center and exhibit area at 11 a.m. before public access to the displays begins at 2 p.m. Among the attendees will be Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who championed the effort behind the $23 million visitors center expansion project and the bill that paid for it through the sale of public lands in Southern Nevada.
Look-alike Teddy Roosevelt actor Joe Wiegand will be at the grand opening today and again Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The admission fee to the park includes access to the visitors center and its outdoor exhibit area.
Visited by more than one million people each year, the 195,819 acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area adjacent to the visitors center stands in mark contrast to Las Vegas, a city primarily geared to entertainment and gaming. Red Rock Canyon includes a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas- and now, a new visitors center.