Palm Springs Family Activity Windmill Tour
When you fly or drive into Palm Springs from the West, you cannot miss the sudden, dramatic appearance of hundreds of windmills. To be exact, 2200 at this writing. Few people know that it is possible to take a tour of this windmill farm. In fact, it is a delightful family activity. Standing at the bottom of a windmill and looking up is a thrill for even the most skeptical participant.
The formation of the windmill farm, as it is now called, origin began in 1984. The location was chosen for it is consistently the windiest place in the United States. Winds regularly are clocked at 30 mph, for air current is trapped and funneled between the two mountain ranges.
With the oil crisis in the 1980s came the need to increase the development of energy; thus, this area received international attention and became a focus for rapid design and development of more efficient windmills. Today, constant research is done by four companies, including one from Spain.
With changing times, the Windmill Tour Company pivoted. Previously, a bus trip through the area was accompanied by a volunteer narrator for the tour. Now, one can take a vehicle with up to eight people and drive through the farm with a video or audio narration.
Upon arrival, you are handed a sanitized iPad in a plastic bag. Then you drive through the designated path, which is marked, and look for the blue barrel with a number that matches the narrative on the video. At each stop, there is room to park so that you can get out and take as many pictures as you want.
Highlights of the Tour
For the engineers, there is a display of the original turbines with detailed descriptions of the design. We learned that the original open-tower design proved noisy and caused the demise of many birds. Thus, it was back to the drawing board for redesign, especially the blades. Today, the fiberglass blades can be 144 feet long,
almost the width of a football field.
One of the stops allows you to get right up to the windmill with a column that extends 300 feet into the air. The majesty of this engineering feat is difficult to comprehend.
Helpful Hints: Make reservations on their website. There are no restrooms available. Make sure you take plenty of water and a hat, for there is no shade on this tour. Finally, when you sign up for the tour, be sure to copy the directions. It is handicap accessible.
This approximately 1.5-hour tour is truly a magnificent experience. You learn, take in the fresh desert air, and your appreciation of windmill power will increase tenfold.
Palm Springs Windmill Tours
62950 20th Avenue
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Kathy Condon is a freelance travel writer and blogger. She is the Founder of the Palm Springs Insider Guide. Her book It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s All About Communication was named Best Book Finalist by USA Book News Kathy@kathycondon.net 760-902-3094 http://www.PalmSpringsInsiderGuide.com