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
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
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
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
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 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.