America's newest national park is right here in the Las Vegas Valley. Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is a window into the Last Ice Age when fabled animals roamed the Las Vegas Valley, and early humans, recently arrived from Asia, began hunting them. The best way to visit this brand-new park is on a guided group tour with a leader who can explain the area's geology, paleontology, archaeology, and history. The fossil deposits at Tule Springs were laid down during the Ice Age when the Las Vegas Valley was a lush valley supporting numerous megafauna. Begin the day with a 45 minute PowerPoint introduction to the site before heading to the first stop at the "Big Dig," where in 1962 scientists bulldozed a series of trenches and unearthed an abundance of large animal fossils, including mammoths, camels, bison, ground sloths, horses, American lions, and sabretooth cats. At Durango Drive and Upper Las Vegas Wash we will take a short hike into the monument through badlands topography and search for Ice Age fossils. If we find any we will photograph and GPS the location and not remove any fossils. We will lunch at Floyd Lamb Park in a lush, shady, watery environment not unlike what the Valley looked like during the Ice Age.
Please remember to dress for the weather, bring a hat, good walking shoes or hiking boots, water, and a camera. Meet at UNLV Paradise Campus, back parking lot, park in white "student" spaces only.
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