Sunday, August 16, 2015

What to do in Las Vegas other than the obvious

This weekend hubby and I are in Las Vegas, one of those places that you can seriously call an Entertainment Mecca. People come here from all over the world to gamble, see shows, swim in luxurious pools, and eat at restaurants run by famous chefs. You can spend a lot of time doing all these things and never need to do anything on this list.
So why do I have this list? Because my husband and I tend to go to Las Vegas at least once a year, don’t gamble, he isn’t into spending all day at a pool, and there is just so much time one can spend eating or going to shows. So this is a list of offbeat Las Vegas offerings that we’ve done over the years. Most of these things can be done in a few hours at most, as opposed to going to Lake Mead, or out to Red Rocks parks.
1. Of course there are the multiple galleries of art that are part of the Las Vegas hotel scene:
These are all relatively small galleries that don't take a lot of time. Just enough to kill part of an afternoon between pool, drinks, and dinner. Hubby and I have done some of the galleries when there have been special exhibits. At the moment there is a Picasso exhibit at the Bellagio and we might see that if we get the chance.
2. The Neon Museum -
Have you ever wondered what happened to those old neon signs that decorated the outside of the hotels in Las Vegas back in the old days? Well it turns out that much of that old signage was actually rented from the company that made them, Young Electric Sign Company, rather than owned by the hotels. So when the hotels swapped out their signs for newer ones, the old ones would get returned to the company, which dumped them out in the desert in their “boneyard” to ultimately rot. But that seemed like an ignominious fate for some of these iconic signs so the Neon Museum was born. Some of the signs are restored and are now placed around the Fremont Street Experience, and a number of others are placed in the medium strip along Las Vegas Blvd near the museum. Guided tours will take you through the new “boneyard” where you can get close to some of these old signs, including many that light up. Check out the following from Google Maps:
Yes, that is the Pirate Head from the old Treasure Island display staring up at you!
One of the testing sites for nuclear devices was just north of Las Vegas, which makes this something of a local history museum. It is worth more than a few hours to explore the exhibits, including the “Ground Zero Theatre” that simulates what it was like to view a nuclear explosion (from a “safe distance” of course.) They now also have an Area 51 exhibit, which I haven’t seen so I might be heading there again soon.
And now for something completely different… this is an installation of a ganzfeld by artist James Turrell, a chamber of light that somehow tricks the eye into making your surroundings disappear. At the time of this posting hubby and I just got back from that and it was a trippy an experience as I'd been led to expect. You stand outside a chamber that is a large bowl shape and when the light goes to just the right intensity, the bowl loses its edges and just becomes this intense void of color that shifts shades from red to blue to purple. There are spots that seem appear and disappear and I'm told later there were the blood vessels at the back of my eye. Okay then.
So as you can see there is a lot to do in Vegas. Hope you all have a great upcoming month!