Visiting Las Vegas: 5 Specialty Museums to Visit

Las Vegas

When people visit Las Vegas, they’re often looking for an experience they can’t find anywhere else. Between the world-class dining, gambling, and special performances, Vegas delivers. But there are also attractions that not only provide a fun time for the whole family, but offer some cultural enrichment, as well.

As a crossroads between California and the rest of America, Las Vegas has built an amazing collection of museums that offer a glimpse of bygone Americana and other areas of curiosity.

Here are five of the best specialty museums Las Vegas has to offer.

1. Visiting Las Vegas – Pinball Hall of Fame

Las Vegas Pinball

You don’t have to be a “pinball wizard” to enjoy a trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame. It’s 10,000 square feet of lights, bells, sirens, bumpers, and balls was established as a way for the Las Vegas Pinball Collector’s Club to show off their wide collection of machines.
While most of the machines are from the 1970s and 1980s, the oldest models date back
decades farther, while the newest machines are from the 1990s and feature themes that
younger generations be familiar with. If you’re a pinball buff, you’ll find hours of enjoyment at this museum.

2. Visiting Las Vegas – The Mob Museum

Las Vegas Mob Museum

If your movie collection features names like DeNiro and Pacino, then The Mob Museum is for you. Built as a time capsule of organized crime and the brave G-men who worked tirelessly to take down gangsters, The Mob Museum offers a rare look into the seedy underbelly of an American criminal institution: the Mafia. You’ll explore exhibits that follow the mafia from its Sicilian roots to Las Vegas itself, with all of the juxtaposition of glamour and gore that has kept Hollywood and movie audiences everywhere enamored with the with tales of the mob. Static and interactive exhibits abound, giving you an up-close look at the lives of gangsters.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to try out the display guns. For that, you’ll need to visit Machine Guns Vegas, where you can try out popular law enforcement firearms and real machine guns on their highly safe Las Vegas shooting range. For fans of The Godfather, it’s an offer not to refuse.

3. Visiting Las Vegas – Zak Bagans’ The Haunted Museum

Las Vegas Haunted House

At 11,000 sq.ft. and already reportedly haunted, this museum is a perfect fit for Zak Bagans’ collection of the paranormal. As the collection has grown, so have the reports of strange apparitions and occurrences. One of the most famous pieces in the collection is the Dybbukbox, a haunted wine cabinet with a storied past that was the inspiration for the movie The Possession.

If you’re frightened of things that inexplicably go bump in the night, this museum may not be for you. However, if you can’t resist the thrill of rubbing shoulders with the alleged supernatural, The Haunted Museum may make you leave believing that ghosts are indeed real.

4. Visiting Las Vegas – National Atomic Testing Museum

Las Vegas Atomic Bomb Museum

Relive prepping for the Cold War with a trip to the National Atomic Testing Museum. An affiliate of the Smithsonian, this museum contains relics of the burgeoning atomic age, some of which come directly from the nearby Nevada Test Site for military weapons.
Features include inactive nuclear weapons, geiger counters, pop culture materials from the 1950s to present that are associated with nuclear war, and a simulated nuclear test that lets you experience a virtual version of an atmospheric nuclear test. Of all the museums on the list, it’s safe to say this one will be a blast.

5. Visiting Las Vegas – King’s Ransom Museum

Las Vegas Elvis Museum

Las Vegas is known for entertainment, and there has never been a modern music star bigger than The King. If you’re an Elvis Presley aficionado, be sure to put the King’s Ransom Museum on your to-do list. Packed with the Presley’s own property, you’ll see clothes, cars, and accessories that are instantly recognizable from his movies, performances, and public life.

This multi-million dollar exhibit may not be Graceland, but it’s the next best thing. It’s a great way to honor and remember the King of Rock ‘n Roll. Elvis played 636 sold-out shows at the International and Las Vegas Hilton from 1969-1976. A museum to his rock-and-roll majesty was definitely in order.

Meet the Author:
Jordan McDowell is a writer, aficionado of American culture, and second amendment rights advocate. As a proponent of responsible gun rights nationwide, he writes about recreational hunting, American history, and the latest developments in state and federal firearms legislation.

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5 Reasons For A Ski Trip To Europe!

The glitz, glamour and après ski of the Alps is calling. And some of the great ski destinations of the world are calling – Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, and more.Rossütte mit Blick auf Seefeld- copyright Olympiaregion SeefeldOlympiaregion Seefeld

A European Ski Vacation is as much about experiencing culture, history and alpine scenery as it is about skiing. The full European alpine experience is hard to beat – après ski thermal baths to soothe sore muscles; Italian cappuccino in Italy (after skiing in from Switzerland); drinking beer in Munich after a day of skiing on nearby mountains. A European ski vacation offers a unique experience on another continent with different cultures —and world class skiing!

Here’s 5 points to ponder if you are thinking it’s time for a ski trip to Europe:

  1. Why Europe?

Why not? If you haven’t been to Europe, you have to go (ski season or any season). Almost everything is different – language, cuisine, money, electrical outlets, time zone. And now add the ski specific differences in Europe – over 4,000 ski areas; huge terrain; great snow; incredible lift systems and super long top-to-bottom runs.

SkiEurope- St. Moritz- engadin-1068784_960_720

  1. When To Go?

Generally speaking, most mountains in Europe open at the end of November and close mid to late April, with a few exceptions.

January tends to hold the best deals for European ski resorts and is less busy than peak holiday times. Most resorts are quiet and more peaceful. Fewer skiers on the slopes means that there are of course shorter lift lines! Prices can be almost double at peak times such as Christmas and New Year, and during the school holidays of Christmas, Easter, and particularly February Reading Week.

If you are going on your skiing holiday during late March-April (with longer and sunnier days), you’ll greatly reduce the risk of poor skiing conditions by skiing at a resort with a higher altitude. Val Thorens, France; Zermatt, Switzerland; Livigno, Italy all fit the bill. As a glacier, Zugspitze is skiable from early autumn until late spring, the highest (2,100m) and most snow-sure mountain in Bavaria, and just 90km from Munich.

SkiEurope- val-disere_main

  1. Where To Stay?

Choices for accommodation range from traditional Alpine chalets and guestrooms in charming historic hotels to fully equipped apartments. Deluxe and moderate accommodations are available at most ski resorts in Europe. Austria and Italy are known in particular for their great value. If you’re after luxury, there’s no shortage of first-class transportation, five-star boutique hotels and world-class experiences! A few top Europe luxury ski resorts include Courchevel, France; St. Moritz, Switzerland and Cortina,Italy.

Modern ski resorts, (purpose-built ski resorts) are of course perfect for skiers and boarders. Purpose-built ski resorts are situated at higher elevations and have consistent snow conditions. They offer ski in, ski out and true slope side lodging. Think Val D’isère, and Les Trois Vallées, France.

Historic Alpine villages provide both true alpine ambiance and the quintessential Europe experience with skiing. Walk cobblestone streets; eat traditional local cuisine and stay in centuries old chalets. The nearby slopes are typically a short shuttle, train or cable-car ride away. Think Zermatt, Switzerland; Chamonix, France; and St. Anton, Austria.

  1. What To Do? (When You Are Not Skiing)

Many European resorts offer spas, boutiques, bars, restaurants and other off-mountain activities. Resorts near major cities offer city shopping, dining and sightseeing—perfect for a day away from the slopes. For example, skiers in Seefeld, Austria can take a quick 20 minute train ride down the mountain to Innsbruck. Or do it in reverse- stay in the city and travel to the slopes. Munich can be a perfect springboard to the nearby mountains of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Nearby Wallberg or Alpspitze are great options too. You can ride all day, and then enjoy the city of Munich by night.

SkiEurope- munich2

  1. Ski Terrain, Passes and Guides

Europe is home to thousands of miles of groomed and off-piste terrain, and several resorts are interconnected by lifts and trails. A multi-resort ski pass like the Dolomiti Superski Pass offers 700 miles of Italian Alpine terrain spread over a dozen resorts. The world’s largest ski area, Les Trois Vallees in France, includes Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens and 5 more resorts. The Milky Way Ski Area straddles France and Italy and offers the opportunity to ski across actual country borders (and have a croissant in France or espresso in Italy).

A local ski guide is also worth your consideration. An experienced local can take you through little known ski terrain and has the inside scoop on lunch spots for locals and après parties. A ski guide in Europe packs a ton of value and can go for as little as 250 euros per day.

And at the end of your European ski holiday, you can still have more Europe! Add on a trip extension to an iconic city like Paris, Berlin and Rome, rich in history and culture. Europe anyone?