Please istall Adobe Flash player to see this menu, or use text links at the end of the page.
More Las Vegas Family Activities!
Hoover Dam and Ethel M Candy Factory Tours are spotlighted on this page!
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of Hoover Dam, an important source of electricity and water regulation for the entire Western USA. You may tour both outside and INSIDE Hoover Dam...and enjoy a variety of exhibits, as well. On this page, you'll find info about Hoover Dam tours...and about the FREE Ethel M Chocolate Factory tours, as well!
Las Vegas Family Attractions--
Hoover Dam Tour
Does your family enjoy industrial tours or educational types of fun? If so, try a visit to the giant Hoover Dam!
A beautiful new visitors center awaits you for your "Hoover Dam Discovery Tour," a self-guided overview of the Hoover Dam that you'll enjoy at your own pace. On the Hoover Dam Discovery Tour, you'll see---
* A movie about how this massive dam was built, and about the wonderful difference the water from Hoover Dam has made for desert agriculture and residents of the western USA.
* All sorts of exhibits, which include maps, diagrams, photos, murals, sculpture, etc.
* A viewing of the Nevada wing of the Hoover Dam's power generators, for which you'll descend 500 feet into the Black Canyon by elevator!
After enjoying the visitor's center, you'll stroll along the top of Hoover Dam, enjoying the magnificent view. Both in the visitor's center and along the dam itself, you'll find guides for asking whatever questions come into your mind---and ALSO, these guides give regularly-scheduled talks throughout the day on various topics related to Hoover Dam (also called the Boulder Dam).
If you've been on a tour of the Hoover Dam in the past, none of these activities may sound familiar to you. That's because the old Hoover Dam tour was a guided "hard hat" tour. It was a great tour, but if you've taken it, then you KNOW how long the lines used to get for this very popular tour! For a Las Vegas family attraction that gets nearly one million visitors each year (!), the line was only doomed to grow longer and longer with the passage of time.
The new visitor's center solves the "waiting forever in line" problem by letting folks start their tour whenever they arrive...and keep going at their own individual pace. PLUS the exhibit area in the new facility is MUCH larger than the old exhibit area was. If you haven't been to Hoover Dam in awhile, it's worth your time to take a brand new peek! (PLUS, there are still some hard-hat tour times available, too!)
* Hoover Dam address---Hoover Dam has no street address! You can find it by taking Interstate 515 from Las Vegas. I-515 turns into SR 93..which you'll simply follow until you get to Hoover Dam...about 1/2 hour to 40 minutes. You can see a Google Custom map to Hoover Dam to your left.
* Hoover Dam Visitor's Center Hours--- 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. We would advise you to be parked and in the building by 3 pm if you'd like to take the tour, because the last tour leaves before the museum closes. If you can't make it in time, then it is indeed worthwhile to visit the museum without taking the tour. However, there's no discount if you're too late for taking the tour.
* Hoover Dam Self-Guiding Tour Admission and Ticket Prices--- Prices are current as of January, 2013: Adults (17--61), $11 Seniors 62+, $9 Juniors 7--16, $9 Military, $9; FREE, if in uniform Children ages 6 and under are FREE!
* Hoover Dam Parking--- There's a very stylish parking structure (imagine that!) on the Nevada side of the dam which costs $7, cash only. It's very large; you'll probably find plenty of spots, even on a crowded day. However, if you're driving an RV (or if the parking garage is full,) you'll need to park in the open-air parking lots on the Arizona side of the dam. Note: while the parking garage does not accommodate RV's, our high-top camper van was able to fit in without being too tall.
* Hover Dam website: You'll want to visit the Bureau of Reclamation's web pages for the Hoover Dam Tour details. See the
Hoover Dam tour web page here.
Ethel M Candy Factory Tour and Cactus Garden
In the slide show above, you're viewing pictures of the Ethel M Cactus Garden and Candy Factory in Henderson, Nevada. Ethel M's Candy is the upscale division of the familiar M & M/Mars candy company. You may watch candy being made and stroll through a lovely garden featuring handsome Western USA plants, trees and cacti. Best of all? Both self-tours at Ethel M's Candy are FREE!
The Ethel M Candy Factory tour is one of the fun Las Vegas family attractions that you may enjoy along your I-15 road trip.
Located in Henderson, NV (about 1/2 hour's drive from the Las Vegas Strip,) this popular self-guided tour is popular with all ages; kids, teens and adults all seem to enjoy the tour equally (ESPECIALLY the free samples!)
The Ethel M self-tour is free of charge; so is the adjacent cactus garden self-tour. Both are open daily. However, no candy is made on Saturdays and Sundays. If you arrive at a time when no candy is being molded, decorated or boxed, however, you can view videos of the process (which are available any time during Ethel M's open hours.)
Two different gift shops are available on the premises; one for M & M's related items and another yummy-smelling shop where Ethel M candies are sold. The shop also features a snack bar and items for those interested mainly in the cactus garden, as well.
Ethel M's "Chocolate Wonderland" holiday display: Are you looking for lovely Christmas lights in Las Vegas? Starting in mid-November and lasting until the first week of January every year, the beautiful Ethel M Cactus Garden (seen in the picture to your right) is lit with tens of thousands of colorful, twinkling mini-Christmas lights! It's so beautiful! And for those who have never seen Christmas lights on cactus, it's quite an UNUSUAL spectacle, as well! You might even want to PLAN a special December holiday trip to the Las Vegas area just to see it!
On weekends throughout the Christmas holidays, Santa Claus comes to greet the children visiting the Ethel M Christmas Wonderland...and strolling carols make the scene festive with their renditions of favorite Christmas holiday tunes. Note: if you'd like to learn about other good places to view Christmas decorations in Vegas, please see our Las Vegas Christmas Lights page.
Practical info for the Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour---
* Ethel M Chocolates telephone number--- Local phone: (702) 433-2500
* Directions to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour---The Ethel M address at "2 Cactus Garden Drive" isn't much help---Cactus Garden Drive is so short that it only shows up as a tiny speck on a road map of Las Vegas! Instead, remember that the Ethel M Candy Factory is at the intersection of Sunset Road and Mountain Vista. (Those streets you CAN easily find on a map!) Sunset Road is a major street running through Henderson; in fact, it runs all the way from Henderson, NV clear through to Las Vegas Blvd. From Las Vegas Blvd, go east on Sunset Road; from spots in Henderson, such as the Galleria Mall, or the HUGH Henderson Auto Mall, go west on Sunset Road. When you get to the light at Mountain Vista, go 1/2 block on Sunset Way to get to the Ethel M candy factory and cactus garden.
Some of Henderson, Nevada's factory tours have closed. We used to "make a day of it" by enjoying all of the factory tours in the Henderson area. Sadly, though, the other tours are no longer in operation. They were the Kidd Marshmallow Factory tour and the Cranberry World West factory tour. These were very interesting tours, and it's sad that these fun, family attractions are no longer available. People searching for the Kidd Marshmallow Factory and Cranberry World West still reach this page every month--and we're so sorry to have to break the bad news to them!
M & M's World
While in Las Vegas, candy lovers will also enjoy paying a visit to the huge M & M's World family attraction on the Strip in Las Vegas. (The address of M & M's World is 3785 S. Las Vegas Blvd, and the phone number is 702/736-7611.) The M & M's World on the Las Vegas Strip is located near the intersection of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana. You'll find it just a few steps north of the giant MGM Grand Hotel, which makes it also in walking distance of the New York New York Hotel and the Excalibur Hotel...both of which have family activities on-site.
You can't miss spotting the M & M's World building. Its exterior facade is outlandishly fitted with giant decorations! Inside, you'll find 4 floors worth of M & M's products on which to feast your eyes!
The star attraction of the M & M's World is a free 3D movie presentation. (However, it hasn't been in operation either of the 2 times that I've been there, so I didn't get to see it.)
Even if the 3D movie isn't operating, the off-the-top, whimsical M & M's merchandise itself can keep you entertained for at least an hour, easily! You'll see M & M's stuffed "animals," M & M's figurines, M & M's race cars, M & M's clothing for men, women, children and babies, M & M mugs, all sorts of whimsical M & M's dispensers...and OF COURSE, the real M & M's chocolate candy around which all this other merchandise is based!
You'll see M & M's in all the colors of the rainbow! You'll find M & M's gift packs of all types, and appealing to people with different sorts of interests.
If you pay a visit to the M & M's World on the Las Vegas Strip, you'll surely want to take in the other family attractions in the immediate area. It's only steps away from the free MGM Grand Lion Habitat, and across the street from 2 other family attractions: the giant New York New York roller coaster, and the fun Excalibur Hotel's game arcade. Families can spend the better part of a day enjoying these various activities centered around the Las Vegas Blvd/Tropicana intersection!