Around Las Vegas: Museums

Photo courtesy of The Mob Museum

May 18th is International Museum Day! Las Vegas has a lot of fun, interactive and unique museums. Do you know what museums are located here? How many have you been to around town? 

For some, the word "museum" may draw up thoughts of some place stale or boring - but this is Las Vegas, we don't do boring! Take a look at the list below for the museums around town:

Boulder City / Hoover Dam Museum

Ok, we may be cheating a bit with this one since it's not quite in Las Vegas, but if you want to head to a museum in an old historic hotel, we suggest the Boulder City / Hoover Dam Museum. The museum gives you a great idea of the struggles and triumphs of building Hoover Dam (then called Boulder Dam) back in the 1930s. You can also get a sense of how the workers lived and played in and around Boulder City during construction. When you're through, eat at the restaurant located within the Boulder Dam Hotel! Or make a weekend of your Boulder City trip and book a room at the beautiful historic hotel.

Clark County Museum

Walk down Heritage Street and see actual buildings from around Clark County. Go back in time and see how early residents of Las Vegas and Clark County lived! Also, if you're a Pawn Stars fan, you may also see Museum Administrator Mark Hall-Patton! 

DISCOVERY Children's Museum

This museum provides a hands-on and fun experience for kids of all ages! 

Their mission statement: "The mission of DISCOVERY Children’s Museum is to provide a vibrant and engaging experience, through exhibits and programs, where children from economically and culturally diverse backgrounds actively participate in playful learning experiences that ignite a love of lifelong learning."

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

This Smithsonian affiliate museum offers interactive exhibits like the Young Scientist Center, Dinosaur Mummy CSI and Treasures of Egypt as well as galleries like the Engelstad Family Prehistoric Life Gallery, Marine Life Gallery and Prehistoric Mammals Gallery (plus many more!).

Their mission is: "To inspire, through educational exhibits and programs, a better understanding and appreciation of the natural world, the sciences, and ourselves."

The Mob Museum

From their website: "The Mob Museum offers a bold and authentic view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities and—increasingly—across the borders and networks of the entire world. Explore the real stories and actual events of Mob history through interactive exhibits and one-of-a-kind Mob and law enforcement artifacts found inside our restored 1933 former courthouse and post office building located just minutes from Fremont Street."

Plus, they recently opened a new exhibit about the Prohibition that includes a real speakeasy! Did you also know that the building is historic? It's the courthouse and post office that was built in the 1930s!

National Atomic Testing Museum

Learn about the history of atomic testing in Nevada! According to their website:

National Atomic Test Museum visitors will:

  1. Learn about world events leading up to the establishment of the Nevada Test Site.
  2. Learn about the progression of the Test Site from the above-ground tests to underground tests and non-nuclear activities.
  3. See a replica of the Control Point where the countdown was conducted before each nuclear detonation.
  4. Experience a Ground Zero Theater simulation of an above-ground test.
  5. Reflect on the history of atomic testing and its relevance to national security and international stability.

The Neon Museum

Wander through the history of Las Vegas' historic neon signs, either on a guided tour or self-guided one. Learn about the history of these signs, book night time tours, or photography tours. You can wander around the Neon Boneyard or check out what used to be the La Concha Motel lobby (which now houses the museum. There is always a cool event going on at this museum!

Nevada State Museum / Origen Museum / Springs Preserve

We are including all 3 of these in one listing because you can see all 3 with the price of one admission!

Nevada State Museum brings you this story of Nevada, ranging from its prehistoric days to modern times. There's a great permanent exhibit as well as rotating exhibits on Las Vegas history. They also have programs for the kids throughout the summer!

The Origen Museum has many popular interactive exhibits, including a Flash Flood Exhibit, Land Auction, the Railroad, Dinosaur Tracks and more. It also features live animal exhibits! This museum also houses traveling exhibits that change every few months, so there is always something new.

The Springs Preserve is known for their beautiful gardens and butterfly habitat. It also has a gorgeous amphitheater that hosts many events each year. It's also home to many interactive exhibits, including Boomtown 1905 which lets you see how Las Vegas was when it first started in 1905. You can also check out at the Waterworks exhibit, which is inside the Charleston Heights Pumping Station, which is an operational water pumping facility! The Springs Preserve is also home to desert tortoise Mojave Max!

Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park

From their website: "Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort, the first permanent, non-native settlement in the Las Vegas Valley, features the historic remains of an adobe fort built by Mormon missionaries along a spring-fed creek in 1855. The creek, the only free-flowing water for miles around, provided irrigation for fields and orchards and the 150 square foot outpost served as a way station for travelers. Today the park is located in what is now Downtown Las Vegas. In addition to the fort, which contains a multitude of historic artifacts, a Visitor Center contains exhibits and photos that illustrate the history of the site."

Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum

This museum was established in a home that was built in 1938 that is supposedly haunted and the location of rituals during the 1970s. The museum also houses many creepy artifacts, including Dr. Jack Kevorkian's VW death van, the original staircase from Indiana’s “Demon House,” and the vintage wine cabinet inspired the movie “The Possession”. 

Children under the age of 16 are not allowed in the museum.

Other notable museums and exhibits to check out include: 

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