Mommy Vegas Idea #24
Growing up in a “ghost town” I’ve always had a special fondness of old-west cultural hotspots. Exploring the likes of Rhyolite, Beatty, Ely, Tonopah, and so many other precious little century-plus old communities always seems to yield some quirky fun. I wanted to share some of this with the kiddlettes, but was a little concerned the history and novelty would be lost on them as they’re still pretty young. So I cooked up a silly little scavenger hunt of sorts to help keep them interested and engaged on our outing to the friendly little “ghost town” of Nelson. I’ve been wanting to take them to a few locations that are a bit more of a drive, but I wanted to test out our little ghost hunt without too much of a driving and time commitment, so Nelson being only about 45 minutes away, just south of Boulder City in Eldorado Canyon was the perfect fit!
The bulk of the family friendly remains of the oldest, and most profitable, mine and mining town in Southern Nevada are located on private property just beyond the modern-day community of Nelson, towards the Colorado River. Operating under the name Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours (Colorado River Tours, Inc.), the Werly family has worked tirelessly to open this great little spot to the public, offering what we understand to be a very informative and fun mine tour and history walk that highlights the details of the mining operation as well as the wild and sorted past that surround the gold and silver mining boom which originated in this area about 150 years ago. We were able to eavesdrop on a bit of it and were quite impressed! We’re excited to take the kids on the tour once they are just a bit older.
This is and EXCELLENT spot for pictures, so good in fact professional photographers and even movie productions shoot here (if you are a photographer and would like to shoot on the grounds, be sure to call the office in advance, see contact info. below).
They also offer canoe and kayak rentals. When you visit you will definitely want to peruse the gift shop and tour outpost, we were all tickled with the offerings and found the owners and associates of the property to be extremely friendly and knowledgeable.
Even if you don’t end up renting kayaks, you will still want to take the short trip down the road to see the Colorado. It’s a particularly picturesque view from the lookout and the beach is also a great spot, particularly in the warmer months.
THE GHOST HUNTThis simple hide-n-seek can be done just about anywhere, but we recommend GHOST towns of course! You may consider Rhyolite, Goldfield, Amargosa, Good Springs, or even the older portion of Boulder City may be fun. We fully intend to do some serious ghost hunting ALL THE WAY to Reno when we head up there in the Fall!
Simply print out the sign to bring along, make a few ghosts, and set out for a little ghost town near you! You’ll want to have at least two adults so you can have someone entertain the munchkins while the ghosts hide ;). Then set the hunters loose and make sure to have a predetermined prize. We brought along a box of little trinkets from which all accomplished ghost hunters could select a reward, but you could also plan to purchase a souvenir, get ice cream on the way home, a favorite snack, or whatever you think your little ones will jump at.
Our ghosts were really simple, like the ones I’m sure everyone made for Halloween in grade school. Just crumple up a tissue, place in the center of another tissue, pull the corners up around the “head” and tie with a string or ribbon around the “neck.” The Midnight Gnome and I made about 10 and added little faces with black marker. These were so simple, we were actually making them in the car at stoplights on the way there. <;’)
They’re open 7 days a week from 9:15 am to 2:15 pm for mine tours and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm for canoe/kayak rentals
be sure to call for reservations 702-291-0026
They are actually located about 1.5 miles past the town (village) of Nelson on Hwy 165. Take I-95/93 South out of Las Vegas. Just after you pass Railroad Pass Casino, take the first right, I-95 to Laughlin. You’ll see the dry lake bed off to the right and shortly after there will be a road to the left, this is Hwy 165 to Eldorado Canyon/Nelson Landing. It will be incredibly straight and flat until you get to the hills, enjoy the views and keep following until you reach Nelson, you’ll know you’re there because you will see the first buildings for the past half hour or so ;). Continue down the road until you see some old (and old looking) wood buildings. You’re there! Have fun! When you’re done, you may want to continue the short way down the road to the river. Happy Ghost Hunting!