Not far from the Strip, next to Red Rock Canyon is a replica of an 1880’s mining town complete with wooden sidewalks, saloons, gunfights, bank robberies and hangings—Old Nevada at historic Bonnie Springs Old Nevada.

Las Vegas is known as the City of Sin, always packed with huge crowds, flowing spirits and debauchery, but just 30 minutes outside city limits is a showcase of how the region appeared when miners first settled into the area. Bonnie Springs Old Nevada is a great place for families and a wonderful escape into the outdoors for fun, food and even a history lesson. Settled outside of Red Rock Canyon, Old Nevada is a replica of an 1880’s mining town built on 115-acres of land known as Bonnie Springs Ranch. The town is complete with wooden sidewalks, stagecoaches, saloons, gift shops, a wax museum and even a chapel where weddings and receptions, complete with food and a minister on horseback, can take place.

For a small price per carload visitors can roam Old Nevada from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (5 p.m. in the winter season). Skits put on by actors in various areas of the ranch and offered throughout the day range from gunfights, robberies and hangings, to more audience participation-type shows. There’s always something stirring in the streets and in the saloons. Have lunch or dinner of BBQ pork ribs, corn on the cob and baked beans at the on-site restaurant before heading to the quaint petting zoo.

The zoo has numerous varieties of animals, such as peacocks, llamas, buffalo, deer, raccoons and more, and for a quarter you can feed the swans, chickens and pigeons. Also available at Old Nevada are guided horseback tours through Red Rock Canyon from 9 a.m. to sunset. Sunset Dinner Rides and Mustang Viewing Breakfast Rides are also offered. These tours are great ways to experience Nevada’s sometimes-overlooked desert beauty, and a great way to communicate with nature, friends and family.

The Bonnie Springs Motel is located within walking-distance of the ranch and provides over-night and weekly accommodations for longer visits. Chinese, Spanish, American Indian and other themed rooms, as well as rooms featuring large jacuzzis are available. So throw on a pair of jeans, cowboy boots and cowboy hat and get ready to experience the Wild West Nevada style.

by Rachel Heisler