Best Museums in Las Vegas – all the Top Museums, Zoo’s, and Exhibitions

Let’s get straight to the point, No one comes to Vegas to go to Museums. The City is an entertainment mecca, a “Disneyland” for adults, Gambling, Drinks, Shows partying, and other adult pursuits are what makes Vegas, Vegas. After a night at the Roulette wheel, the last thing anyone wants is to traipse around a stuffy museum looking at paintings! If that is your thing, good, we love museums but we take them in at an appropriate location, The museums and galleries of New York and Chicago are some of our favorite places in America, but when we come to Vegas, that’s the last thing on our minds!

But Fear not, Vegas knows this, and no one is stupid enough to try and run a “classic” Museum in Sin City. The Best Museums in Las Vegas are a different breed, focused on fun and interesting topics that capture the imagination and transport you to different places and times. They are heavily themed, interactive, and fun. These are not meant to be boring or enlightening. They are not intended to be a feast of cultural delights, no one stands around the exhibits wondering what the artist intended!

Las Vegas Museums

What to Expect?

Most of the museums and exhibits in the City are themed around certain topics or events, these are not Art Museums or History Museums, but focus in on a single subject matter. One that is usually interesting, fun, and often macabre.

Because of this focus, the exhibits are usually pretty short, many require less than an hour of your time. Normally we would consider this a bad thing! But in vegas your time is precious and you may well have pressing things to attend to, such as hitting the bar or lying by a pool. We consider the Museum as more of a distraction than a focus. They are fun little breaks form the endless nightlife, drinking, and gambling.

While we call them museums that really isn’t the way to look at them. They are fun little attractions to take your mind off how much you lost in the casino or to distract from the hangover. Some however really don’t count as museums at all and are simply exhibitions, we still wanted to keep them on this page so they have their own section

We have also included a multitude of Animal Exhibits, Zoos, and Aquariums. Some of these are really fun attractions and well worth checking out.

Saving Money

A lot of these attractions are pretty expensive for what you are getting. If you were to visit several it really would begin to rack up significantly. However, there are several ways to save money and pay far less than the entry price.

You may be able to get access to some as a comp from the hotel you are staying and playing in, but we tend to prefer Buffet, credit, or room comps. You may also be offered them as rewards for Time Share pitches, avoid these like the plague.

Our favorite way to save is by using an Attraction Pass. We love most of Las Vegas’s pass options and have used and reviews all of them. Take a look here for our comparison. We have also listed any passes that the below Museums are included on you you know if you can use a pass for the ones that catch your eye.

If you don’t want a pass then you can check Group-on. These often have offer son certain attractions including the museums and allow a more mix and match approach than the Passes.

Finally, My Vegas offers some of the Attractions below as reward options. My Vegas is a great way to save LOADS on Las Vegas attractions, along with food drink and hotels, read more here about My Vegas…

Museums

1 – Mob Museum

the Mob Museum

The number one on our list is easily the most popular museum in Las Vegas. The town itself was built on Mob Money and as such, this is a fitting reminder of a time when the Mob ran a large part of the United States. The Museum is dedicated to exploring the Mob’s activities all across the states and not just Las Vegas

The Museum does not glorify this period and explores in pretty horrific detail the crimes and horrors of the Mob era. It also shows the huge lengths the underfunded, outnumbered, and outgunned law enforcement officials went to, in order to bring about justice and change.

The Exhibits look at the many aspects of the Mobs activity, including the prohibition rum-runners, Casino Skimming, Organised Hits, Massacres, and all the gory details of the dark side of organized crime. The museum is not all historical and recounts the details of how the Mob still operates today, things have changed massively, but such a big, powerful, and rich organization is not wiped out overnight!

We love the Mob Museum and it is a welcome break away from the strip, it is part of our pilgrimage to Downtown Las Vegas, we head to the Museum first then enjoy the fantastic old school party Vibe of Fremont Street!

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Sightseeing Pass

2 – Neon Museum

Restored_Neon_Signs_Fremont_Street_Las_Vegas

Not an obvious choice of a Museum and one we put off visiting as a bunch of old signs did not really appeal to us. However, our reluctance was misplaced and the Neon Museum is a fantastic attraction. The Bone Yard is a walk down memory lane revisiting Las Vegas Icons of yesteryear.

Las Vegas is a city that constantly reinvents itself and often casinos that are icons of the City are lost to redevelopments, such as the Sahara, Stardust, and La Concha hotel. When this happens the Neon Museums Boneyards is where the signs come to rest. Many lovingly restored, along with cast-offs from upgraded Casinos (Hard Rock Cafe Ceasars Palace) the tours take you on a real journey through Las Vegas’s history.

If you can come around sunset all the signs are lit and the whole place is FAR more impressive.

3 – Titanic Artifact Exhibition

Titanic Exhibition - grand Staircase
Grand Staircase

We have never really worked out why there is a Titanic Exhibit in an Egyptian themed hotel in Las Vegas Nevada, none of that really makes ANY sense, But hey this is Vegas, doe it have to make sense? We are keeping this in the museum section despite the fact it’s named “exhibit” as it just feels more Museum-like to us.

So, Despite not making sense, the Exhibit is quite fascinating. The name is pretty misleading and is FAR more than a few Artifacts from the ship. These are all present and genuine, you will find Luggage, Whistles Floor tiles, and even unopened bottles of Champagne! By far the most impressive artifact is the “Big Piece” a large section of the actual hull recovered from the ocean depths!

The Exhibition has far more going for t that just the Artifacts though, There are many displays and exhibits that bring to life both the grandness of the ship and the scale and horror of the tragedy. The Grand Staircase is brought back to life in Vegas-style as a full life-size replica, the Promenade Deck has bee recreated, complete with temperature control to replicate the frigid condition the passengers endured as they entered the Atlantic! There is even a replica Ice-Berg!

The Museum also strikes a very personal note and relays in a stark way the human tragedy of the 1,517 lives cut short, stories of the passengers are told throughout including on your “boarding pass” which will tell a story of a real-life passenger on that fateful night.

It really is a stunning exhibit and one that will interest most people. If you are looking for a Vegas connection there just isn’t one, the only parallel that can be drawn is the way both Egyptian tomb raiders and Titanic Explorers have plundered the graves to bring you artifacts in a museum. In that way, it fits right in at Luxor!

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer Pass

4 – National Atomic Testing Museum

  • Location Flamingo Road (Nr Hard Rock/Virgin Hotel)
  • Price – $22
  • Duration
  • Rating – 3.5 Stars!
Las Vegas A-Bomb

Nuclear Power is one of mankind’s greatest and worst achievements. The power to create and destroy on such a level is unprecedented and the fascinating story of how the US pioneers this feat is told in the National Atomic Testing Museum. If you are to head out into the desert north of Las Vegas you will find the Nevada National Security Site, an area pox marked with hundreds of craters from the USA’s Nuclear testing era, so unlike the Titanic Exhibit this museum is perfectly placed in Las Vegas.

In the Testing era’s heyday (if you can call it that) the flash and mushroom clouds of the test could be seen from Las Vegas and the city has a kind of synchronicity with the Atomic era. So the Museum feels right at home.

Here you will learn all about the incredible history of the atomic age, how the Bombs were produced, and how we unlocked the secrets of Atomic power. Experience a simulated Atomic Blast and all about the horrible effects of radiation.

Be prepared to learn something, this is one of the most educational Museums in Vegas, That said learning about one of the most staggering feats of human accomplishment never really feels like learning, even though you are bombarded with facts and science!

The History of Nuclear testing is one of the most visually impressive periods of human history, there is little we have created that is so strikingly terrifying than these fireballs that billow into the sky bringing untold death and destruction in their path. The fact these weapons no sit idly, nothing more than deterrent is sobering, but this museum takes you back to a time where their widespread use was a distant probability!

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

5 – Las Vegas, Springs Preserve

  • LocationRancho Springs
  • Price – $18.95
  • Duration – 2-5 Hours
  • Rating – 3.5 Stars!
spring preserve

If you have ever wondered how a town sprung up in the middle of the hostile Mojave desert then the Las Vegas Springs Reserve could be your answer. Located on the sire of the original springs that drew settlers to this location well before the formation of the United States.

The fresh spring water provided nourishment for settlers along with their crops and animals and the townships grew. The Origen Museum at the springs tells the story of how Las Vegas came to be. There are Botanical Gardens, a Butterfly house, Live animal Exhibits feating all kinds of desert creatures and several exhibitions on sustainability and water.

The Preserve is also home to the Nevada State Musem with ever-changing Exhibits and the permanent fossil displays featuring the Ichthyosaur Nevadas state fossil.

On top of this are 3.5 miles of Trails that head through a variety of habitats and feature archeological sites and endangered desert tortoises. It is quite a little piece of paradise in the middle of the City.

The State Museum is worth the entry on its own as is the Origen Museum, while the botanical gardens nature trails all just add to the fantastic Value. If you are looking for a getaway from the in-toy-face tourism in Vegas the Springs preserve really gets you away from all the glitz of Vegas and back to a spot of nature.

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

6 – Erotic Heritage Museum

  • Locationnr Trump Tower (Appropriate?)
  • Price – $30
  • Duration – ~1hour
  • Rating – 3 Stars!
EHM Museum

Do we need to say this is an Adult only Museum? No thought not, but we should say it is also not for the prude. While the Museum try’s to look at eroticism through an artistic and serious lense we tend to think the Museum is best taken with a dose of the giggles.

For most people apart from a good laugh the museum is pretty skippable, but for bachelorette or bachelor parties or other large groups, the museum can be a really fun way to spend an hour or two away from the pool. Fun-loving couples will also love the multitude of erotic themed exhibits.

While the museum can take this form of art really seriously and there will be some aficionado’s who can really appreciate the finer things amongst these exhibits the typical Vegas Crowd will just giggle and laugh at all the penises and breasts! Which is what we do, sorry art lovers!

Included on: Las Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas PassLas Vegas Sightseeing Pass

7 – Hollywood Cars Museum

Hollywood Cars Museum

If you are looking for the finest collection of Hollywood Movie cars, this is probably not it! Sorry.

However, it is a pretty cool collection with several ace additions that make the entry fee completely worth it. The thing about Hollywood is they very rarely make one Star car so these collections can pop up many places all with similar cars and still be genuine. Many of these cars we have seen elsewhere, such as Universal Studios Hollywood and Warner Bros Studios, but they are still cool.

Our favorite by FAR is the very apt Mercedes Benz 220SE from the Hangover! It doesn’t get much more Vegas than that! There is the Batmobile from Batman Returns, a Delorean, several cool Bond Vehicles, Street Racers from the Fast and The Furious, and a whole load more. If you are into cars, Movies, or both it is definitely worth checking out, but go with pretty tempered expectations, this is a private collection!

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

8 – Las Vegas Natural History Museum

LV Natural History Museum

The most Museumy Museum on the list and it gets the bottom place for its efforts. Which maybe us being pretty harsh. Bt we can rarely find time in a Vegas schedule to visit a museum such as this. We love Natural history Museums and they are very high up on our must-do lists in most Cities. Chicago’s Field Museum and the New York Museum of Natural History are just astonishing Museums!

The Las Vegas Natural History Museum fails to hit those highs and in a city of a million attractions, it has to be damn special to get your attention. We tend to leave the LVNH to the locals, for kids and schools in the City the museum is great and gets its visitors right up, face to face, with nature and can inspire the curiosity to last a lifetime, but for us tourists, it just a bit too educational.

At $12 it is really good value though!

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

Exhibitions

Marvel – Avengers Station

  • LocationTreasure Island
  • Price – $42 Adults $32 Children
  • Duration – 1-2 Hours
  • Rating – 3 Stars!
Marvel Avengers Station

There really is not that much to do in Vegas for kids, some of the museums and animal attractions below are great ways to alleviate boredom but most are not specifically kids orientated. While the Marvel Avengers Station is going to appeal to people of ALL ages who love the Movie Franchise Kids specifically can get excited about this one!

The Experience is geared around training you for a mythical S.H.E.I.L.D Mission and has several interactive exhibits that let you get under the skin of the marvel universe. There are heaps of props and full-size models of Marvel Characters.

It is a really fun Exhibition with a ton of interactivity but this on one attraction we are really glad we use the pass for. Unless you really spend a lot of time playing with EVERYTHING even an hour is optimistic and at $42 entry is really steep! That’s $148 for a family of 4! You have to REALLY like marvel for that to make sense!

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

Bodies Exhibitions

  • LocationBally’s Hotel and Luxor Hotel
  • Price – $32.95-$35
  • Duration – 1 Hour
  • Rating – 3.5 Stars!
Bodies Ballys Las Vegas

There is something incredibly fascinating about these macabre exhibits. What is on display is the preserved remain of actual people partially dissected to reveal the inner working of the Human body. To stand face to face with a once-living breathing human being is quite disturbing but ultimately the Exhibit is seriously fascinating. The level of detail is astounding and the human body and utter work of art. To see it laid bare in front of you is an astounding and humbling experience.

We admit the exhibits make us uncomfortable on many levels and some may find the concept of staring death in the face just a little too much. Others feel this is no place for children but from our experience, they really don’t get the exhibit, most see the displays as fake and cannot comprehend this is actually a person! Parents should exercise caution though before allowing children to attend, and there is some degree of nudity.

There are two exhibits in Las Vegas, Real Bodies at Bally’s and the BODIES the Exhibition over at Luxor. Both are very similar and included on most Passes. The Exhibits don’t take long to wander around but we don’t advise eating straight after as getting the exhibits out of your head can take a little longer.

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer Pass

Madame Tussauds

  • LocationParis Hotel and Casino
  • Price – $29.95 ($19.95 – online)
  • Duration – < 1 hour
  • Rating – 3 Stars!
madame tussauds las vegas alan

Ahhh good old Madame Tussauds, the Ultimate Tourist trap! We have visited Wax Museums the world over, and on the whole, they are pretty disappointing. However, we do find the Vegas version does hit all the right notes. The Vibe is very much Vegas Party and has some really cool exhibits. Most notable the Hangover Cast are all present, You can party with Steve Aoki, Ride with Miley on her wrecking ball, Wile out with Snoop Dog, GEt married at a wedding chapel, and, of course, hang out with the KING!

We really do not usually really recommend Madame Tussauds (apart from London) but if you are looking for a really fun break from the pool and the chance to level up your Vegas Selfies this is a great way to waste an hour, and for Vegas attractions and Madame Tussauds, in general, this one is pretty cheap compared to others such as New York, which is abysmal!

Even better if you have a pass

Included on: Go Las Vegas PassLas Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

Zoo’s, Aquariums, and Animal Exhibits

Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

  • Location The Mirage
  • Price – $25
  • Duration – 1-2 hours
  • Rating – 4 Stars!

The lush garden paradise of the Mirage pool area is one of our favorite places in Vegas to relax and take some much need pool rest, and hidden away in the back of this retreat it the wonderful Secret Garden. When Siegfried and Roys made took the decision to retire the show they needed a retirement home for their beloved lions and big cats and the Mirage dull provided them this habitat where they can live out their days relaxing in the sun.

The Habitat is split into two sections the Dolphin pools and the Lion Habitat. There are two large Dolphin pools with a family of Bottlenose Dolphins including some young calf. Shows run through the day, highlighting the care and training the Dolphins receive in their hidden retreat.

The Lion Habitat is quite small really but it is one of the better enclosures we have seen, it is not quite San Diego Zoo standard but the surroundings are natural and mimic the wild conditions of the animal’s natural surroundings. The Lions and Tigers are also some of the happiest we have seen. They show non of the worrying behaviors of other captive Big Cats, they just seem to spend the days happy and well-fed relaxing in the sun.

This is partly due to the huge affection the cats have from their owner Sigfried who makes daily visits to the habitat to check on his Cats.

Overall we love the Habitat, it is hard to remember you are slap bang in the middle of vegas as you take in the dolphin shows and Big Cat enclosures. Everything is peaceful, calm, and relaxed. It’s a bit jarring when you leave and remember exactly where you are!

Included on: Las Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

Shark Reef Aquarium

  • LocationMandalay Bay
  • Price – $22
  • Duration – < 1 hour
  • Rating – 4 Stars!
shark reef aquarium

The Shark Reef Aquarium is a really nice and fun distraction from the Strip’s usual past times. It is not a GREAT aquarium, it didn’t even make our Top 10 USA Aquariums list, but it also far from a bad one.

The main exhibit is the Shark Tank or Shipwreck as it is known. This is a BIG tank by any standards and houses some pretty impressive specimens, the big boys are the Sand Tiger Sharks, these grizzly looking beasts grow to a large size and have an impressive array of teeth. There are also Galapagos sharks and Blacktip and Whitetip reef sharks. There is also a Green Sawfish and Large Guitarfish which are both striking additions. It is an impressive collection rivaling most.

On top of the Sharks, there is a host of tropical and Pelagic Marine fish to accompany the sharks and several other large tanks with impressive displays. There is also a Giant Green Sea Turtle in the main tank which goes down well with most people, especially us!

The Jungle exhibit is an especially nice touch, we didn’t really expect this part of the Aquarium to be up to much, but on top of the huge Aligator, there are piranhas, Huge Arapaima (if you know you know!), Burmese pythons, Large river turtles, and to top it off a Komodo Dragon, one of our favorite animals in the world!

We really enjoy our trips to the Shark Reef, for a Casino based aquarium it really is a good exhibit. Most people come away presently surprised as there is often little expectation, and in fact, it holds up really well to many top-class Aqauroums, we have certainly paid more to visit a lot worse!

Included on: Las Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

Lion Habitat Ranch

  • LocationSouth Las Vegas
  • Price
  • Duration – 1 hour
  • Rating – 2 Stars!

We were far less enamored with the Lion Ranch than Siegfried and Roys Secret Garden. Here the lions are largely in empty unexciting cages. Four walls of metal mesh and just a few toys to interact with. The surroundings were Prison like and the whole place a had a compound feel to it. We did not enjoy being there so we can imagine the inhabitants felt exactly the same with no choice but to stay.

There just seemed no intent to theme the enclosures to anything like natural surroundings and for anywhere keeping creatures like this we consider that a must. It all just felt a touch sad and exploitative.

Included on: Las Vegas Explorer PassLas Vegas Pass

Have Your Say

What are your favorite museums in Las Vegas? Have you checked out the Mob Museum, The Neon Museum, or any of the Exhibits or animal attractions in the City? If so let us know your thoughts below. If you have any questions feel free to drop a comment below. Maybe you just ting Museums in Vegas are dumb, and you just want to hit the strip, again we value your input!

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