Diana Edelman

Our Picks for the 10 Best Museums in Vegas

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Looking for a little culture in sin city? Here you go!

Sure, most hit up Sin City to drop their hard-earned bucks into the mesmerizing blinking and chirping slot machines, bottles of overpriced booze and saliva-inducing culinary treats from some of the best chefs in the world. But! Wait! There is (gasp) culture in a town built on chance. Still with us? Yes, Las Vegas has museums. Real museums. With exhibits. And family stuff. And, uh, even some sex stuff. (We knew that might peak your interest.) Here are 10 of the best!

The Neon Museum

neon museum

Photo Credit: The Neon Museum

Bands like The Killers have used the artifacts here for background in their music videos. See what all of the fuss is about — and trust us — there is something to fuss about. The Neon Museum lets visitors step back into a world when mobsters ran Vegas and neon bubbled through thin tubes to illuminate hotel names. The most spectacular part of the museum, aptly named “The Boneyard” is home to some of the most well-known signs in the world, including former signs for Caesars Palace, Golden Nugget and the Stardust, all strategically placed to deliver the ultimate photo shoot (which you can sign up to do for a small fee). It’s two acres packed with history and, with a guide, quite educational. Daytime tours cost $18 for adults and night tours (with the signs illuminated) are $25 per adult. Tours are one hour long and times vary based on the season. 770 N. Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 387-6366 neonmuseum.org

Nevada State Museum at Springs Preserve
The Springs Preserve opened to a lot of fanfare in the late 2000s and continues to attract locals and out-of-towners alike, thanks to the outdoor environment spanning 180 acres of conservation. The preserve, which is home to hiking trails, a certified wildlife habitat, educational exhibits and more, teaches kids and grownups alike about preserving the environment. The Springs Preserve is now also home to the Nevada State Museum. Included with the price of admission, this museum houses exhibitions that takes visitors through the geology of the state, plus features fossils, exhibits depicting the history of Nevada, recreations of nature and more. It gives insight into the atomic era in Vegas, caves and even the glitzy, vintage showgirl side of Sin City. Adult entry into the Springs Preserve is $18.95. 309 South Valley View Blvd., (702) 486-5205 springspreserve.org

The Mob Museum (National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement)

The Mob Mueseum Las Vegas

Photo Credit: The Mob Museum

Get a better look at mob life and the impact the Las Vegas mob scene had on the world. From gangster artifacts to tales from both the law enforcement and mob side, this museum located in downtown Las Vegas, gives visitors a chance to learn more about the dark side of Vegas’ past via interactive experiences, weapons and investigative tools and more. The museum hosts special speakers and events regularly. Adult entry is $19.95 (with an option for a guided tour for $10 more) and is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. 8 p.m. Other admissions available. 300 E. Stewart Ave., (702) 229-2734 themobmuseum.org

Atomic Testing Museum
It was more than six decades ago that Las Vegas became known for its atomic testing. Parties were held to celebrate the mushroom clouds rising from the desert beyond the city. Today, what’s left of that is the Atomic Testing Museum, which provides exhibits and tales of what really went down in the 50s and 60s during the testing at the Nevada Test Site. It’s newest exhibit is Area 51 – Myth or Reality? and presents visitors with information about the mysterious testing site outside of the city. The Atomic Testing Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. General admission tickets are $22. 755 E. Flamingo Rd., (702) 794-5151 nationalatomictestingmuseum.org

The Burlesque Hall of Fame

The Burlesque Hall of Fame

Photo Credit: Dani Blanchette

It’s small, but we all know “size doesn’t matter.” Housed inside Emergency Arts just a stones throw from the uber-touristy Fremont Street Experience, the Burlesque Hall of Fame preserves the legacy of the burlesque world by exhibiting costumes, props, pictures and personal belongings from some of the most well-known burlesque dancers ever to have shook what their mama gave ‘em. Bonus points: Dita Von Teese is on the Board of Directors, so you know this spot is legit. If you want to check out the Hall of Fame, take note — it is only open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, so, plan ahead. 520 Fremont St. #120, (888) 661-6465 burlesquehall.com

Madame Tussauds
Get up-close to George Clooney or Angelina Jolie on your visit to Vegas. This international brand delivers life-like wax figures of some of the most iconic people in the world to Las Vegas. The two-story, 30,000 square-foot museum at The Venetian Las Vegas features more than 100 wax replicas visitors can cozy up to ranging from Hollywood celebs to high-profile athletes and more, plus a multi-sensory 4-D Marvel theater where Marvel characters save Vegas from being destroyed. It’s the perfect spot for Facebook pics where you can weave stories of a Vegas vacation with the stars. Admission is $29.95 for adults 13 and older’ $19.95 for children 4 – 12; free for children three and under. It is open Sunday – Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday form 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 3377 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 862-7800 madametussauds.com

Discovery Children’s Museum

Discovery Children’s Museum

Fresh in its new and improved digs, the Discovery Children’s Museum (formerly Lied Discovery Children’s Museum) is three stories and more than 58,000-square-feet of brand, spankin’ new space with nine permanent exhibits packed with 26K of interactive displays to engage the children. There’s make-believe, a toddler zone (hello, babysitter via museum fun), lessons about how an eco-friendly city works, a chance to get creative, play with water and more. It’s open from June 1 through Labor Day Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. From Labor Day through the end of May, it is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $12 for all ages. 360 Promenade Place, (702) 382-3445 discoverykidslv.org

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Forget the film, the Titanic exhibition housed inside The Luxor, takes visitors back in time to the tragedy on the water. Featuring more than 300 artifacts of passengers on the doomed ship, as well as replicas from the ship, this exhibition gives a glimpse into the voyage, as well as the people on board. It include personal stories of love and death, belongings and even a decorative section of the Grand Staircase and a portion of the hull. The Titanic exhibition is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission: $32. 3900 S. Las Vegas Blvd., (702) 262-4400 luxor.com

The Erotic Heritage Museum
What happens when you get a preacher and a pornographer to work together? This – the Erotic Heritage Museum. Encompassing more than 17,000 square-feet, the museum operates with the mission to preserve erotic artifacts from film and fine art. It’s got special exhibits and pushes the idea that pleasure and erotic fun are all part of the crazy ride of being a human. Located just off Las Vegas Blvd., the museum is open 7 days a week, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Regular adult entry will set you back $30. Discounts for members, locals, seniors and military. 3275 Industrial Rd., (702) 794-4000 eroticheritagemuseumlasvegas.com

Marjorie Barrick Museum
Housed on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus, the Marjorie Barrick Museum is the place to go to get an art fix (aside from the galleries in 18b). This spot is home to an impressive contemporary art collection, as well as Pre-Columbian pieces. It’s kid-friendly, too, complete with an art bar for the young ones to get all Picasso with. With a rotating exhibition as well, plus lecture series and film screenings, this free museum ($5 donation suggested for adults, $2 for children and seniors) is a great spot to cool off and get some culture. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy., (702) 895-3381 unlv.edu

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