When you think of Las Vegas, the word “museum” doesn’t typically come to mind first thing. But believe it or not, Vegas is home to a number of museums that are interesting, entertaining and quintessentially Vegas. So when you’re visiting Las Vegas with teens and tweens, check out these amazing museums.
Las Vegas with Teens or Tweens: Must See Museums
Though known for its casinos, shopping and world class dining, Las Vegas is actually home to several cool museums that should be on your To Do list, especially if your tween or teen is along for the trip. Here are three awesome museums to check out when you’re visiting Sin City with kids and teens.
The Mob Museum
Located in downtown Las Vegas, the Mob Museum is a very cool spot to bring your kids for a history lesson that can only happen in Vegas.
Officially named the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, the Mob Museum features artifacts, photos, and a colorful look at the history of organized crime, as well as how law enforcement worked to stop them.
The Mob Museum traces the history of the mob, not only in Las Vegas but from its roots in Chicago and New York. Although the museum is fairly new (it opened in 2012), it is housed in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse, which was built in 1933. This locale gives it an authentic old feel. In fact, the centerpiece of the Mob Museum is its second floor courtroom, which was the actual location of mob hearings in the 1950s.
Another one-of-kind display is the blood-stained wall where the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre took place. Other exhibits focus on mob violence, casino money skimming and wiretapping.
The Mob Museum will keep your older kids and teens entertained with interactive exhibits, games, films and real like artifacts from throughout the mob’s history.
Only in Vegas…
Did I mention that there is a bar? In the museum? Yep, just in case your Vegas buzz starts to wear off, you can grab a cold one on the second floor of The Mob Museum. Only in Vegas! (Obviously, this bit of info applies only to the grown-ups.)
Make sure you plan a good 3-4 hours to really experience the whole museum. We thought we’d breeze through in about an hour, but enjoyed it so much we were there for three. We would have stayed even longer, but got hungry and the buffet was calling!
TravelingMom Tip: The Mob Museum is not for young kids. There is even a warning sign at the entrance to one section to alert visitors about graphic, bloody photos.
Bodies: The Exhibit
Part educational, part downright gross, and 100% awesome. Bodies: The Exhibit is an experience not to pass up!
You may already be familiar with this exhibit, as there are a number of them all over the country. In fact, Bodies is so popular that you will find two in Las Vegas – at the Luxor and Bally’s.
We visited Bodies at the Luxor. If you are not familiar, Bodies is an exhibit that displays real preserved human bodies. The exhibit showcases 13 whole-body specimens and more than 260 organs and partial body specimens. The bodies are “respectfully presented,” giving visitors the opportunity to view the beauty and complexity of their own muscles, organs and systems.
Guests visit multiple rooms where the bodies of various gender and size are fixed in poses, showing you the muscles at work. Additionally, you’ll see interesting displays like a healthy lung and a smoker’s blackened lung. The experience is riveting!
My son – who was 10 at the time we visited – was fascinated. Younger kids might get the willies. But if you can stomach it, this is definitely an eye-opening experience that can’t be replicated just by reading a biology textbook.
The Neon Museum
The Neon Museum features signs from old casinos and other Vegas businesses displayed outdoors over six acres. Affectionately called the Boneyard, the Neon Museum is in fact a graveyard of sorts. And it’s a terrific way to get a taste of Las Vegas’ heyday.
Located just off the Strip, the grounds are segmented into several eras dating back to the late 1800s. A tour guide leads guests through the early signs of business in Las Vegas, through the Mob era, all the way to the present day Las Vegas Strip. We enjoyed hearing the tour guide provide an overview of how the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas have changed over the years. Seeing the old signs is a unique way to illustrate the history of Las Vegas.
TravelingMOM Tip: The Neon Museum is located outdoors. If visiting in the summer, be sure to wear sunscreen and bring water.