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Origen Museum

Family standing in front of Flash Flood exhibit

The name "Origen" was derived from two words: original and generations. As the interpretive focal point for history at the Springs Preserve, the Origen Museum features more than 75 permanent exhibits, an indoor theater and traveling exhibit space.

Wander and explore the connecting galleries, within which await documentary films, multimedia historical recreations, live animal habitats and much more. Some of the highlights to be found in the Origen Museum include:


They crawl. They sting. They hiss. And we run! Let's face it, desert tarantulas, bark scorpions and centipedes aren't exactly the most charming creatures. But our desert can't do without them.

The BUGS! live animal show takes place on weekends at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. through May 30.

Want to know what else we've got in the works? See what's coming soon!

"Miracle in the Mojave"

Shown in our 156-seat Big Springs Theater, "Miracle in the Mojave," introduces visitors to the Springs Preserve. Narrated by Martin Sheen, the film explores the natural history of the region and takes an in-depth look at the importance of water in its development.

We also show entertaining educational films several times throughout each weekend inside the theater, with themes tied into each month's programming. Check our Events & Classes calendar for the current line-up.

Flash Flood

One of the Preserve's most popular exhibits, this theater space recreates a desert ravine, emulating the beauty and tranquility of the desert, until a thundering storm erupts. Suddenly, more than 5,000 gallons of recycled water rushes through a simulated canyon, crashing around and below your feet. Both exhilarating and educational, the Flash Flood exhibit will leave you with an appreciation for the awesome power of desert flash floods and their impact. View a video about our Flash Flood exhibit.

Live Animal Exhibits

View a video about our live animal exhibits.

  • Relict Leopard Frogs - Once thought to be extinct, the relict leopard frog is alive and well at the Springs Preserve. Come witness history, rediscovered. View a video about our Relict Leopard Frogs.
  • Lizard Habitat - Amongst the rocks and boulders housing several large exhibits, you'll find nine different species of lizards, including the chuckwalla, tiger whiptail and desert iguana.
  • Desert Cottontails -They're cute, they're fluffy, and they're so close you can almost touch them. Hopping about an exterior enclosure, these critters can be seen from a variety of perspectives, but perhaps the most fun is via a domed window from beneath the habitat! View a video about our Desert Cottontails.
  • Gray Fox - Though the nocturnal gray fox sleeps in its burrow during the day, you can see it through a small window inside a darkened rockwork cave.
  • Pocket Gopher - View an excavated trench exposing the network of burrows created by a Botta's pocket gopher.
  • Gila Monsters - Explore a grotto of large boulders to view Gila monsters in their burrows.

Land Auction

Immerse yourself in the famous 1905 land auction that set the stage for the boom town that Las Vegas would become. Life-sized, sculpted figures and audio narration from the "people" recreates the experience of the city's birth.

The Railroad

Step onto a recreated railroad car from the early 20th century as seated, sculpted figures tell stories about the early days of the railroad.

Native American Settlements

Explore the lives of the Las Vegas Valley's original inhabitants through a series of recreations, including an archaeologist's tent, a Puebloan dwelling room, a Patayan and Paiute garden, a group of Southern Paiute wickiups, and a Mojave pithouse.
View a video about Native American history at the Springs Preserve.

Hoover Dam Exhibit

Learn about the history and construction of Hoover Dam in "Dam, This is a Lot of Work," an immersive experience tying together a short documentary film and a scaled recreation of the dam itself.

Video: Origen Museum

Exterior of Origen Museum

The Origen Museum speaks to the origin of our city and the generations that have passed through here.


Photos: Origen Exhibits

Family playing with pollination exhibit

Take a virtual tour of the exhibits featured inside the Origen Museum.

Photos »


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