Las Vegas Natural History Museum
900 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
From dinosaurs to present-day wildlife, this museum takes its visitors on a journey through time. The collection of fossils includes skeletons of prehistoric creatures, cave bears and a skull and foot from a Tyrannosaurus Rex–all displayed in a real-life setting. Children are fascinated by the nine animated dinosaur exhibits, two of which are part of a traveling Smithsonian program. An auditorium for special shows and a children’s museum are part of the complex. The museum is open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, students and military, and $2.50 for children ages 4 through 12. Children younger than 4 get in free.
Lied Discovery Children’s Museum
833 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
This is an interactive place with exhibits in the arts, humanities and sciences. It’s a fun venue that lets families collaborate on problem-solving projects, experiment with a variety of contraptions and experience hands-on displays. From pulleys and electromagnetic fields to a pint-size grocery store and bank, the museum (pronounced “leed”) provides learning experiences at a number of levels. The museum also sponsors an Artist-in-Residence program in which artists in the fields of dance, the visual arts, music, photography, puppetry, theater, creative writing and multidimensional art conduct workshops for children in the fall and spring. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults; $4 for seniors, military and children ages 12 to 17; $3 for children 3 to 11; and free for toddlers 2 and younger. For residents, the best deal is an annual membership, which allows unlimited visits, workshop discounts and invitations to members-only events. Base price is $30, with an additional $5 for each person added to the membership. Hours vary by season, but the museum is closed on Mondays. It is inside the main Las Vegas Library just north of downtown.
908 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
Formally titled the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, this is Las Vegas’ oldest building. The fort, built by Mormon settlers in 1855, was purchased by the state from the city in 1990 for $300,000. Unfortunately, visitors can see only remnants of the original structures. Still, it’s a quiet taste of history not far from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Admission is $1 for adults and 50¢ for children ages 6 to 12. Daily hours are 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM.
Las Vegas Blvd. and Fremont Street.
Expected to open in late 2000, Neonopolis will be a three-level entertainment, dining and shopping complex encompassing a full city block at the east end of the Fremont Street Experience. Built around an open-air courtyard, Neonopolis will feature movie theaters, nightclubs, restaurants and retail shops. On the street level, some 30-plus vintage neon signs will be laid out in a kind of Neon Walking Museum. The retro signage will include several from Las Vegas’ colorful past, as well as some distinctive signs from other cities.