Neon Museum and Boneyard, in Las Vegas (credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Most of the time when you tell someone you are visiting Las Vegas, chances are they are envisioning pictures of you gambling and partying the night away along The Strip. However, in most cases, those images cannot be any further from the truth. Why? Because there is so much more to see and do in the Las Vegas area than just walk up and down The Strip and go to a casino. Here’s a look at things you can do in Vegas that will give you a new appreciation for the non-gambling side of the city.
No visit to the Las Vegas area is complete without a stop at the Hoover Dam. Approximately 45 minutes southeast of Las Vegas at the Arizona and Nevada border, you will find the dam rising more than 700 feet tall and extending more than 1,200 feet long. There are many tours available to the Hoover Dam, including helicopter and plane tours from above. However, you will want to drive to the dam and see what makes it tick.
There is no physical address for the Hoover Dam, but you can easily get to it by taking U.S. Highway 93 to Nevada State Route 172 to the Nevada-Arizona border. The visitor center for the Hoover Dam is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission prices vary depending upon the tour you plan to experience. Contact the Hoover Dam visitor center for current tours, times and ticket prices.
The Mob Museum
300 Stewart Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Explore the one museum in the Las Vegas area that has everything from an electric chair to a pair of brass knuckles used by the mob. That’s right, The Mob Museum, which is housed in an old federal courthouse, is home to everything both mob and law enforcement related. The museum features a hands-on, interactive learning experience that takes you through the history of the Las Vegas mob. Located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas, this museum is home to one-of-a-kind artifacts and exhibits. The museum also offers presentations about both sides of the battle between law enforcement and organized crime in the area.
The Mob Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., with the exception of summertime, when it stays open until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Cost of admission is $21.95 for adults, $13.95 for children ages 11-17 and children ages 10 and under are free. Discounts are available for Nevada residents, law enforcement, seniors and teachers or by purchasing your tickets online.
National Atomic Testing Museum
755 E. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, 89119
Though the National Atomic Testing Museum is not detonating anything, it is definitely something you have to see when visiting the Las Vegas area. This museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute and offers a unique perspective into the history of nuclear testing in the desert just north of Las Vegas at the Nevada Test Site. There are more than 12,000 unique artifacts that showcase the history of development and testing of the nuclear bomb.
The National Atomic testing Museum is open daily for both guided and self-guided tours on Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. It is highly recommended you allow two to four hours to see everything this museum has to offer. Cost of admission is $22 per person with discounts available for children, group tours, seniors, military personnel and others.
Neon Museum And Boneyard
770 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Just because the old Vegas signs have been removed from their hotels and other local businesses does not mean they have been tossed away to be forever forgotten. Many of those signs have been laid to rest at the Neon Museum and Boneyard. Taking a tour through this museum will definitely give you a glimpse into the history of businesses, including those that have long been forgotten. Tours are offered during both the day and evening hours, however, the museum seems to come to life once the sun goes down and the neons are set aglow.
Tours last approximately one hour and include a narrative explanation of signs from a variety of businesses, including the Lucky Cuss Motel, The Silver Slipper, Binion’s Horseshoe and the Normandie Motel. Guided tours are mandatory and no self-guided tours are allowed. It is recommended to book your tour at least one month in advance. Check website for current prices and tour times.
4055 Dean Martin Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89103
If you love driving fast or experiencing the thrill of exotic cars without having to pay to purchase one yourself, you have to visit World Class Driving. World Class Driving offers various exotic and muscle car experiences that take you out on the open road driving cars many have only dreamed about. Your experience will include your choice of taking the car out into the Nevada desert or onto a racetrack.
Experiences available include 3-car and 4-car exotic open road and 3-muscle car open road experiences. Reservations must be made in advance. Contact World Class Driving for current experience times and prices.
Las Vegas is home to so much more than the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip. There are plenty of attractions and museums to visit, most of which are just a short drive away from The Strip. If you want to see a different side of Las Vegas, the above listed attractions definitely need to make it onto your vacation list.