Las Vegas 2021: Museums. Yes, Museums

Only in Sin City: Museums for the mob, pinball machines and neon signs

Lighting up 2021: The Neon Museum.

Sin City has some of the country’s most unique museums and Las Vegas in 2021 might be the best time to check out a few.

Las Vegas 2021 for museums?

Why not? The city is on the cusp of a visitor rebound. March Madness in Vegas is looking to be at 50-percent capacity. College hoops fanatics are making last-minute plans to fly half-mast back into Sin City.

Even the most ardent bracket-ologists need to put the betting sheets aside for a couple hours. Here are three offbeat shrines to consider: The Mob Museum, the Pinball Hall of Fame and the Neon Museum.

Whether you’re rooting for your parley at a sports bar or learning about the origins of the mafia, know that as of March 15, all venues in Las Vegas will legally be allowed to welcome 50-percent capacity.

Masks and social distancing due to COVID-19 will still be mandatory and strictly enforced.

Las Vegas. 2021. Masked up in the Mob Museum. Makes as much sense as anything these days.  

The Mob Museum

The Mob Museum.

The intention is not to celebrate the bad guys. The Mob Museum is also known as the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement.

Walk through exhibits entitled: Crime Gets Organized, Prohibition, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, The Feds Fight Back and Follow the Money.

There are also three immersive experiences:

Firearm Training Simulator. Sweat through an experience where you make split-second decisions. Face role-playing scenarios similar to what law enforcement officers encounter.

Crime Lab Experience. Explore the work of forensic scientists with fingerprint analysts, DNA profilers and medical examiners.

Distillery Tour & Tasting. Sample house-made spirits and learn about Prohibition and the drinking culture that existed before the 1920s.

Thirsty after all that mob bustin’? There’s an onsite Prohibition-era Speakeasy to lift your spirits. It’s the Bee’s Knees, and admission is free with a museum ticket. Just hunting for the speakeasy? You’ll need to get the password and find the side door.

Pinball Hall of Fame

The Pinball Hall of Fame.

Bonus points! Las Vegas’ Pinball Hall of Fame has been saved from extinction.

The nonprofit museum nearly went tilt after a COVID-related closing cut off funding sources. Thanks to donations, the Hall of Fame is getting a bigger, brand-new, less spartan spot on the Strip (4915 S. Las Vegas Boulevard).

From the Big Flipper to the Big Hurt, Star Wars to Star Trek and Super Mario Bros. to Superman, there are more than 150 games in the museum arcade. Most can be played for the throwback sum of one quarter.

Admission is free, though donations are accepted. A registered 501(c) (3), the museum turns over any profits to the Salvation Army.

You can check this link to read more about the museum’s cool history. Details about the new location haven’t been updated, yet. Call 702-597-2627 for information.

The Neon Museum

The Neon Museum.

Founded in 1996, The Neon Museum essentially got its start as a place to store The Sands signage after that legendary Rat Pack hangout was demolished to make way for the Venetian.

The museum’s indoor-outdoor displays pay homage to old casinos and businesses from Vegas lore. The colorful signage is both an artistic and historic draw for guests.

You’ll likely recognize the Horse and Rider sign from the Hacienda Resort, and other icons.

Individual and guided tours of the outdoor Neon Boneyard are available. The main collection includes more than 200 unrestored signs. All are illuminated with ground lighting at sunset. A couple dozen restored signs are lighted at all times.

Read and heed this warning before touring: “Due to the broken glass, rusty metal and darkness, we recommend night tours for visitors ages 12 and up.”  J&J

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  1. Wow! I never thought Las Vegas would have museums .. but then why not? It has enough history to warrant one. I have not been to Las Vegas yet. I was quite close once….:(

  2. I have been itching to get to Las Vegas and when I do I will have to check these museums out as they look fabulous. I am a history buff so these are perfect fro me 🙂

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