About two and a half hours from Las Vegas and in the middle of nowhere, is the top secret military base, Area 51. In fact it is so secret that even today the military refuses to acknowledge it exists!
Many people believe that Area 51 is home to survivors of the Roswell spacecraft crash and where the government have been rebuilding and flying alien spacecraft!
Yesterday we set out on our quest to find it.
Our first stop was the service station as you turn onto US Highway 93. Here we used the restrooms and filled up on petrol. It is a long journey and there are 3 petrol stations, this one and two in Alamo and Ash Springs. It is worth noting this so you can make sure you have enough petrol to make the journey.
Our next stop was as we turned off the 93 onto the 375, which is aptly named The Extraterrestrial Highway! There is a place to pull over so you can take your picture with the road sign.
Next, about 500 yards on the right and easy to spot due to the giant alien outside, is the Alien Research Center.
Here the extremely friendly staff will answer any questions you have and take your picture for you with inflatable aliens and a road sign backdrop. There is a wall to write on and read the messages of explorers who have gone before you.
The shop sells reasonably priced souvenirs, snacks and drinks. You can get maps, directions and information before you carry on your journey. The Alien Research Center is now open 7 days a week.
Our next stop was the black postbox. Now this amused me because legend has it that the black postbox was the postbox for Area 51 but it wasn’t. It also used to be black but then it was painted white but still called the black postbox. Then, it was stolen, so it is now a newer black postbox which is on the floor with a variety of other items that seem to have been left by previous travellers. These items include a large doll’s head, a deckchair with no seat and many business cards. It is located between markers 30 and 29 and, most importantly, it marks the beginning of a 20 mile dirt track down to the front entrance to Area 51. We chose not to drive to the front entrance as it was quite far on an unpaved road and all you get to see is a keep out sign which you can’t cross. We had heard that the back entrance is more exciting.
We carried on to the small town of Rachel, where we found the Little A’Le’Inn. It is on the left as you enter Rachel and easy to spot from the road, as outside there is a large sign and a pickup truck holding an ufo! The Little A’Le’Inn is a small motel and cafe/shop. Apparently their burgers are world famous and worth a try and they do various other things to eat and drink. There is a small selection of souvenirs to buy and if you are lucky you can speak to some of the locals who will tell you all about all their unusual sightings and experiences.
After eating our lunch we drove a little way back in the other direction to find the dirt track leading up to the back gate of Area 51. The road is unmarked but easy to find as it is the only left turn just before Rachel and has a stop sign for traffic coming out of it. If you get to the Little A’Le’Inn you have gone past the turning and coming back from the Little A’Le’Inn it is the first right. The road up to the back gate is about 8 miles long. It starts out as a dirt road but as you get closer the last three miles are paved.
We were told to be careful of cows that like to charge at cars on this road but the only wildlife we saw were deer and a lizard!
As we drove up towards the fence it was quite eerie. We were the only people there and although there were a lot of cameras pointed at us and I am convinced there were people hidden with guns on us incase we wandered too far in, there was noone in sight.
There is a big fence with a lot of signs, some buildings and cameras. You aren’t allowed to take pictures and you are definitely not allowed to go any further!
So we did it! We found Area 51! We met some interesting people and we saw the black postbox, Alien Research Center and the Little A’Le’Inn! We didn’t find any real aliens or see any UFO’s but there is always next time!
Taking a child with an ASD on an adventure to find Area 51?
There is a lot of driving involved in this trip. It is a long way through the desert so it would depend on your child’s ability to cope with long journeys in the car.
I would say a definite yes if your child is especially interested in aliens.
It would be an idea to show them pictures of the sights you are looking for on the way before you travel.
There are long parts of the journey with no stops and rest rooms. There are restrooms at the Love’s service station as you turn onto the 93, the Alien Research Center and at the Little A’Le’Inn.
The stop at the road sign is in the middle of two roads at a junction. There is a parking area but you are surrounded by roads. If this would be a problem you could always visit the Alien Research Center and take pictures with the sign on their wall. There is also a sign further up the road at Rachel where there is less traffic but no parking area.
Similarly, the stop at the black postbox is also on the edge of the road but this road is very quiet.
Depending on your child, it might be an idea to look from the car at the back gate as it is very strictly prohibited to cross or be seen as taunting guards etc.
To find the back gate of Area 51 from Las Vegas you need to head north on the I-15. Take exit 64 onto the US Highway 93 (take a left at the end of the ramp onto the 93) and follow this until you go through Alamo, Ash Springs and Crystal Springs where you turn left onto the 375 (The Extraterrestrial Highway). Follow this road all the way to Rachel. Between markers 12 and 11 and just before you get into Rachel is a small dirt road turning to the left. This is the way to the back gate. If you get to the Little A’Le’Inn then you have gone a bit too far, turn round and take the first right.
Be sure to take into account that the journey is long and through the desert. Make sure you have enough petrol, sunscreen, water and food. Do not take pictures of any guards if you do see them, do not attempt to cross the gate unless you fancy spending some time in prison and watch out for those crazy cows (and little green men of course)!!