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Flash floods gush every day at Las Vegas Springs Preserve

A torrent of water rages through a narrow canyon in a museum exhibit highlighting the dangers of flash flooding in the Mojave Desert.
A torrent of water rages through a narrow canyon in a museum exhibit highlighting the dangers of flash flooding in the Mojave Desert.
(Las Vegas Springs Preserve)

Summer usually brings monsoonal rains to the Mojave Desert. For those who don’t want to wait around to see the big rain, a Las Vegas attraction shows visitors just how dangerous it can be.

The catchphrase “turn around, don’t drown” is brought to life in the Flash Flood exhibit, one of the most popular at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. It is located on the site of the long-dried-up springs that provided early pioneer settlers with water.

While the National Weather Service pegs Las Vegas’ average annual rainfall at just about 4 inches, much of that total tends to fall during heavy storms that often lead to flash flooding.

Flash floods are dangerous, even deadly. Watch how nature unleashes its power.

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The amazing force of such flooding, which can sweep away not only people but vehicles too, is vividly seen at the exhibit in the Origen Museum.

As two animated hikers chat in a video seen on monitors, lightning flashes overhead, signaling an approaching thunderstorm. Guests stand on a metal platform overlooking a narrow desert canyon when 5,000 gallons of recycled water suddenly surges between the rocks, sending spray upward as the water rushes beneath visitors.

The dramatic storm entertains and informs kids and grownups. Origen is home to other desert-themed exhibits that combine education and fun.

The Flash Flood exhibit uses about 5,000 gallons of recycled water.
The Flash Flood exhibit uses about 5,000 gallons of recycled water.
(Las Vegas Springs Preserve )

At Desert Survivor, for example, guests become members of the tribal council and elect the “ultimate survivor” after zoologists introduce the audience to live animals that thrive in the often-hostile climate. Critters include a desert tortoise, gopher snake and kangaroo rat, plus scorpions and tarantulas.

Along with the attractions, you can explore hiking trails that run through the desert landscape.

Springs Preserve is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is located off U.S. 95 at the Valley View exit, about eight miles northwest of the Strip.

Admission is $18.95 for adults and $10.95 for youths ages 5 to17.

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Info: Springs Preserve Las Vegas, (702) 822-7700

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