The park that locals forgot

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Park isn’t particularly grand compared to some of Nevada’s other parks, nor does it take much time to explore. Maybe that’s why Las Vegas’ oldest structure seems to fly under the radar in the minds of most locals.

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Park
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Park | Image by Sarah Vernetti

Located across the parking lot from Cashman Center, next door to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, and down the street from the Neon Museum, the fort is a convenient activity to add to your downtown Las Vegas agenda.

After you pay your very reasonable admission fee ($1 per adult), you can venture outside to see a reconstruction of the fort’s large gates, the remains of the adobe fort building, and the site of the original ranch house. Or, you can explore the small indoor museum, which includes a 10-minute educational film about the history of Las Vegas, and exhibit space related to the settlement of Southern Nevada.

Although none of this is particularly earth-shattering, it is worth a look. After all, the perception seems to be that Las Vegas shuns history and lives by the mantra “newer is better.” Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort provides a reprieve from the fancy/shiny/loud aesthetic of other parts of the city.

This isn’t the glorious Clark County Museum, which offers a more comprehensive history of the region. However, it is a significant site, and any true Las Vegan should make a pilgrimage here to gain a better understanding of how the city began.

Considering that a visit requires such a small investment of time and money, why not?

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