To start, I'm going to break my review into three parts: the tour, the visitors centre, and the laser light show.
To start, the hour-long tour was a waste of time in my opinion, even if it was free. First 15 minutes were told by an unenthusiastic tour guide, the next 20 minutes was watching a video how to go through a metal detector (and what absurd items you can't bring on the tour, like fruits) and the actual stringent security search. They actually opened up my wallet! The 25-minute tour consisted of driving through town (as if we can't do that on our own time), an elevator ride to a room overlooking a bank of generators guarded by a federal officer with a huge should-mounted, Call of Duty sized automatic rifle, and a drive across the top of the dam where the buses were bookended by two white unmarked SUV's with more federal officers inside.
What really irritated me is that they don't let you bring anything on the tour besides a camera (not even the camera's bag). They want you to leave everything in the car and do not provide storage for the stuff. In my experience, EVERYWHERE tells you not to leave valuables in your car as a break-in can instantly ruin your vacation. They know their market too. It's not like you can just not leave valuables at home (like passports and such).
The visitors centre on the other side of the river was a great, well set up operation and has great exhibits. Worth visiting on your trip through and can take 20-40 minutes to look at everything.
We made sure to come back for the laser show. It tells a really good unbiased story about the history of the dam, how it works, and why it is so important historically and for today. Would recommend this too.
In short, see the visitors centre and the laser show but avoid the tour. You don't see much and for the amount of security hassle you go through (and being treated like the enemy) it's just not worth it, especially if your vacation time is limited.
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