A love of nature can stick with a child all of their life. Just walking through the outdoors can create a sense of wonderment of their surroundings and a curiosity about local animals both big and small. Just walking through North Las Vegas, you can find natural preserves where you can spot bighorn sheep, speedy jackrabbits, and a host of migratory birds.

If you want to spend a day out in nature with your family (or just break away from the city for a few hours) the areas around Las Vegas offer plenty of options. Here are five experiences you can enjoy where you connect to nature.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

A yellow microbus driving through arches national park.

Image via Pixabay by Pexels

Just to the west of Las Vegas lies Red Rock Canyon, a sprawling park that features a one-way 13-mile scenic drive and 26 numbered hikes and trails for visitors of various skill levels. Plenty of short hikes are available for families, so your little ones don’t have to worry about long trails and major rocks.

The visitor center at Red Rock Canyon frequently hosts events to help locals get to know the park and its wildlife. For example, you can visit the Desert Tortoise Habitat and see desert tortoises (Nevada’s state reptile) up close. The volunteers there will also provide tips on what you should do if you see this endangered species cross a road or highway to ensure they make it to the other side safely.

If you are looking to spend more time at Red Rock Canyon, consider signing up for one of the various private excursions through the park. There are family-friendly sunset tours, biking outings, and nature hikes available to get to know this area better.

Location: 1000 Scenic Loop Drive

Springs Preserve

The Springs Preserve is just a quick 15-minute drive from North Las Vegas, making it a favorite local stop for families who want to enjoy the nature of the desert without getting too far off the beaten path. The Springs Preserve was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 because it was the original source of water for Native Americans living here thousands of years ago. Today, the Preserve is a 180-acre cultural institution that features outdoor events, museums, galleries, a trail system, and a colorful botanical garden.

Free parking is available on-site, and electric vehicle charging stations are also available. Families can rent strollers and wheelchairs as needed. Outside food and drink are not allowed in the Spring Preserve.

The Springs Preserve uses a timed-entry system, so you will need to book your tickets in advance. Admission is free for members, and you can gain access to the park an hour early. Non-members pay $5 per entry or $2.50 for children over two.

Location: 333 S. Valley View Blvd.

Clark County Wetlands Park

Most people associate Las Vegas with the impressive Mojave Desert, but there are very real wetlands that your family can explore just to the southeast of the city. Clark County Wetlands Park has been in operation since 1991 and continues to be a pinnacle of education and relaxation for local residents.

The Wetlands Park Nature Preserve is a 210-acre park that features hundreds of local plants and animals. It features ADA-accessible trails that span for 3 miles along with a smaller network of unpaved trails for more exploration. The most common path used is the 14-mile Wetlands Loop Trail which is popular with joggers, hikers, and cyclists. This loop is also fully paved.

This park is a popular destination for school field trips thanks to its ability to offer both guided and self-guided tours. Its facilities are mostly free for local residents because it is developed and maintained by the park service. You can also reserve meeting rooms for educational and community purposes for an extra charge.

Location: 7050 Wetlands Park Lane

Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary

If you head a little farther north, you can visit the Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary, a lifetime care facility for both domestic and exotic animals. This sanctuary has offered educational and cultural experiences to countless families. It operates on a 7-acre property that is home to more than 500 exotic birds and different types of domestic animals.

Consider bringing your kids here for a day of entertainment and education. You can take a private tour or attend an event at the outdoor amphitheater. This is a fun nature excursion that also provides opportunities to learn why wild animals don’t make good pets and why you should care for your domestic animal family members.

Location: 8103 Racel Street

Aliante Nature Discovery Park

Las Vegas is also a great place to discover animals that once roamed the Earth but can’t be found anywhere today. The Aliante Nature Discovery Park is also known as Dinosaur Park because it is a playground with dinosaur-shaped exhibits for kids to run around, play on, and climb over. Watch as your children run into the mouth of a gaping triceratops! Don’t worry, parents, these dinos won’t cause any harm to your kids.

Along with playing on the dinosaurs, kids can run around on a large playground and dig in a sandpit where they look for undiscovered fossils. There are also large green fields for playing a game of catch or inspecting the local flora and fauna of Las Vegas. This park is provided by the city and free for all families who want to visit.

Your kids are sure to return home exhausted and eager to return to the park again.

Location: 2627 Nature Park Drive

At Crème de la Crème of North Las Vegas, Nevada, we believe in helping families create engaging and enriching experiences for kids. Learning doesn’t stop when kids leave school for the day, and fun activities like hiking and bird watching can help children develop a curiosity about the world.