Parks Offer Family Friendly Alternatives to The Strip

Museums Focus on History of Las Vegas

Atomic blast Nevada Yucca 1951Credit: United States Department of EnergyMost tourists who visit Las Vegas go for the gambling. But the entire city isn’t neon lights, marble floors or themed hotels. If you’ve gambled to your heart’s content and burned out on flashing lights, there are a few places you can go for quiet and maybe even a little culture.

Atomic Testing Museum

The desert north of Las Vegas was once home to the Nevada Test Site. During off hours, employees at the test site came to Las Vegas to unwind. Tourists also came to Las Vegas in hopes of seeing mushroom clouds from bombs that went off during atomic tests. The exhibits simulate the experience of witnessing an atomic test. Other exhibits include testing equipment such as Geiger counters, and interactive exhibits that focus on radiation.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

Many of the large casino hotels on the strip show reproductions of famous attractions. Paris Las Vegas has a copy of the Eiffel Tower. The Venetian has authentic gondolas. Even Las Vegas’ museums have reproductions. In this case, the Natural History Museum has a collection of reproduction Egyptian treasures. These treasures, along with a reproduction of an Egyptian marketplace and King Tut’s tomb were donated to the museum by the Luxor hotel when they remodeled. Visitors will also see animatronics dinosaurs, a shark exhibit and an activity room for children.

Clark County Heritage Museum

The Clark County Heritage Museum is located on 25 acres that were once a military barracks. The focus of the museum is the history of Clark County, of which Las Vegas is a part. Exhibits include Native American, Mining, Railroad and Gambling themed displays. There is an authentic ghost town, restored houses with period furnishings, an 1898 Dewey Slot Machine and several old cars.

Lorenzi Park

The park is the home of the Nevada State Museum, a museum that focuses on the state’s history from prehistoric times to the present. There is also a lake, playground, tennis courts, softball field, gardens and walking paths in the largest park in Las Vegas.

Southern Nevada Zoological and Botanical Park

The Southern Nevada Zoological and Botanical Park is about a 15 minute drive from the strip. The park focuses on conservation of the native Nevada habitat. The park has over 150 species of animals and plants, including Barbary apes, parrots, reptiles, tortoises, flamingoes, ostriches, endangered cats and chimpanzees.