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Las Vegas is not all about hotels and gambling. It has some of the finest museums in the U.S. While there are dozens of museums and exhibits of various themes and interests located all over the city, these are the best ones to check out when visiting Las Vegas:
Atomic Testing Museum
755 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119;702-794-5161
With 8,000 square feet of gallery and exhibit hall and a specialty gift store called the ATM Store, the Atomic Testing Museum provides multiple viewpoints of the Nevada Test Site and its impact on the country. It features many artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and pieces of the Berlin Wall and World Trade Centers. Its design offers a highly interactive experience filled with touch screens, motion sensitive plasma TV presentations, audio interviews with former workers from the test site, and other valuable multimedia components for the benefit of museum visitors.
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art Museum
3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89109; 702-693-7871
The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is Las Vegas’ premier exhibition venue hosting various exhibits of paintings, sculptures, and other works of art by the world’s leading and most influential artists. It has already featured works of many renowned artists from Picasso to Warhol. Its rotating museum-caliber exhibitions offer visitors rare opportunities to view legendary and historical works of art carefully selected from prestigious international collections.
Clark County Museum
1830 S. Boulder Highway, Henderson, Nevada 89002; 702-455-7955
The Clark County Museum provides guests with the uniquely valuable experience of visiting Southern Nevada’s past. Visitors can tour many sites such as the Heritage House, Mobile America, Beckley House, Esslinger Barn, Giles/Barcus House, Boulder City Depot, and Candlelight Wedding Chapel. Its Heritage Street features unique collections of historic homes restored to recreate lifestyles of important periods in local Nevadan history. There are replicas of the 1900s newspaper print shop Donald Reynolds Printshop, outdoor exhibits of a resurrected ghost town, a Paiute Indian Camp, and a Pueblo-style Exhibit Center providing a historical journey through its timeline from the Ice Age to the Age of Entertainment.
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
900 North Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89101; 702-384-3466
The Las Vegas Natural History Museum features animated dinosaurs, Southern Nevadan plant and animal life, international wildlife room, shark exhibit with live sharks, children’s hands-on exploration room, exhibitions about the African Savanna and African Rainforest, and other interactive natural science exhibitions and educational programs geared towards understanding, appreciation, and natural history preservation of the planet’s wildlife, ecosystems, and cultures.
1775 E. Tropicana Ave. Las Vegas, Nevada; 702-798-5595
The Liberace Museum features collections of jewelry, pianos, rare cars, costumes, antiques, customized automobiles, and elaborate costumes from Liberace’s million-dollar wardrobe. The entertainer and pianist Liberace was a mainstay of Las Vegas for many decades. His diamond-studded gold piano, fabulous capes, million-dollar furs, a Louis XV desk owned by Czar Nicholas II of Russia, an authentic uniform from Czar Nicholas, a piano played by Frederic Francois Chopin, and a concert grand owned by George Gershwin can all be seen in the museum. It also displays the world’s largest collection of rhinestones and other memorabilia.
Lied Discovery Children’s Museum
833 N. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada 89101; 702-382-3445
One of the largest children’s museums in the U.S., the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum features over 100 hands-on exhibits about science, arts, and humanities. There is an everyday living section where children can pretend to pick a job, earn a paycheck, conduct bank transactions, go shopping, and do the groceries for them to experience the tasks typically available for adults. There is also a section where children can simulate what it is like to be physically impaired. They can also explore a science tower with fiber optics and a weather station.
Nevada State Museum and Historical Society
700 Twin Lakes Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89107; 702-486-5205
The Nevada State Museum and Historical Society is a state agency and an educational institution that serves as a museum for the advancement and understanding of the natural history of Nevada, with emphasis in Southern Nevada and its relationship with its surrounding areas. Aside from hosting national and international traveling exhibits in many of its gallery spaces, it has the three permanent exhibits Biological Sciences, Regional History, and Earth Sciences. This museum continues to grow as it continuously collects, researches, interprets, and preserves the state’s past and present heritage.
Marjorie Barrick Natural History Museum
University of Las Vegas Campus, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, Nevada; 702- 895-3381
The Marjorie Barrick Natural History Museum offers a dedicated collection about native cultures in the Southwest and Central Americas. It carefully illustrates the natural history of Southern Nevada and its bordering regions and also serves as a valuable learning facility for students at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). This regional center for natural history features survival arts and native artistry of the Southern Paiute, dramatic weavings of the Navajo, beautiful carvings of the Hopi, dance masks of Mexico, and huipils of Guatemala. Guests can explore the earlier periods of Las Vegas, the building of the Hoover Dam, and the pre-Columbian cultures. Many of its exhibits also showcase diverse and fascinating wildlife and fragile ecosystems.