During our 3 day “mini-moon” where T’s company gave him extra days to celebrate our wedding, we became tourists in the city we currently live in. T is originally from upstate New York and while he’s lived here for about 5 years, there is still a lot he hasn’t seen. To be honest, Las Vegas is one of those cities where there’s just so much to see and do, you’ll never be bored! Just the major shows and exhibits alone, keep changing all the time. We however skipped the bright lights and headed for lesser known museums with Groupon offers. YUP! I’m couponing again!
We spent a total of USD45 for the both of us visiting:
1. Atomic Testing Museum (with a visit to the AREA 51 exhibit) $20
We started with this museum because we wanted an off-the-Strip experience. No neon lights, no crazy partying. Some serious stuff, you know? Why this museum is so important is that the testing were done in Nevada. I’ve always kinda-sorta known some stuff about the bombs used in WWII but I never knew much otherwise. The atomic testing here definitely changed the history of this State and the world – affecting the land, the forced migration of Native Americans and devastation that followed after.
If you’re curious about the related historical events, there are films, photos, depiction of life in that era and lots of archived materials from the atomic testing programme itself. Extremely informative and educational (might not be something you want to bring your 3-8 year old kids to unless they are into this kind of thing).
The Area 51 exhibit though, was a total let-down for me. T rated 6/10 because he actually found some of the information about planes and technology (minimally explained) interesting. It was more like 4/10 for me. Poor quality displays and unclear curation that looked like it could have been done by some secondary school class (with a little bit of help from a teacher).
2. The King’s Ransom Museum – Personal Treasures of Elvis Presley $10
I think at $5 per person, this was really worth our time (even if it took us a while to find this place which is actually on Fremont Street and not The Strip). While this was really quite fun, I wouldn’t call it a museum. It’s a good-sized collection of random Elvis-related items. Some photos and trivia from his childhood, many were clothes he wore in movies and concerts, personal possessions that were given away to miscellaneous people in his life and even a section with Lisa-Marie’s childhood toys.
My favourite item in the entire collection was a library slip of a book he signed out for as an Elementary School kid. I’m not sure if it’s real or a copy but I think that if it is real, it’s awesome! I love books and as a child, I was always borrowing books in school and my mother would take us to the library in Toa Payoh every weekend to loan new ones. How did they even find that book with the slip? It wasn’t till much later that he became famous. Who’d have thought to save every single library loan slip signed!?
3. Erotic Heritage Museum $15
$7.50 per person is reasonable, I think – plus it’s near The Strip and very appropriate for Vegas! If you think it’s all pornography and smut, you’re only 1/3 right. It’s not pure pornography because it’s called the Erotic Heritage Museum for a reason (though maybe a little thinly disguised). There are videos, porn movies, sex toys, ancient artwork (Chinese porcelain figurines, Japanese paintings, handwritten Persian sex manuals etc), the evolution of selling sex throughout history, celebrity scandals etc. There’s also a small library outside the curated space of the museum with books on human sexuality.
I wouldn’t recommend this place if you’re purely looking for porn, also it’s a museum – how things get to be in a museum is that they are dead (or too freaking old). The porn stuff on display are the classics (if you can even call them that) that don’t seem to go beyond 1988. It was quite fascinating though and we spent about an hour in there.
Because Las Vegas is largely a tourist destination, there are so many other interesting little places to visit. I’ll definitely be checking out everything from Madame Tussauds, to Bodies… The Exhibition, to the Pinball Hall of Fame and all the little odd ones that are waiting to be discovered! So fun!!!
One thought on “Elvis, Atomic Testing and Sex (museums) in Las Vegas”
I love the Atomic Testing Museum- I always recommend it to people looking to do “non-vegas” type of things. The Elvis museum looks like something that I will have to check out the next time I’m in town. Definitely do the Pinball Hall of Fame when you have a chance. It’s a local gem!