The Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas gets a BOOMING round of applause from my family! Last Saturday was their "Family Fun Day", so we jumped in the car to check out the "Journey Through Japan" events and take our first peek at the museum. When I first moved to Viva Las Vegas I noticed that the Atomic Testing Museum was on every list of "Must See" things to do in the city and wondered what on earth (pun intended) it could possibly have inside. The answer: a lot of very cool stuff and an incredible staff!
My kids and I enjoyed all of the Japanese entertainment that was provided for the Family Fun Day, but it was the museum itself that truly captured our attention. You can see some really great pictures on their web site that show some of the displays and even videos that are featured inside the museum, but this is one of the few times when a picture is not worth a thousand words. We had the most amazing tour guide take us through the museum and explain so much that our heads were exploding (yep, another intended pun).
Matthew Bentley (shown in the pictures) is a grad student at Stanford University who used to work at the museum, but was just swinging by for the day and volunteered to show us around. As if that alone weren't generous and impressive enough, he spent almost two hours with us, teaching us little known facts about nuclear history in the world and really bringing the museum artifacts to life. At such a young age, Matthew is a nuclear policy expert who will be a huge asset to politicians who might be toying with the idea of pushing that little red button. (I don't know...is it red?) We were very lucky to have him as our tour guide, and we're even more lucky to have someone like him on our side.
The museum features fascinating exhibits, interactive displays, videos, memorabilia, and now can even boast a beam from the Twin Towers after September 11th and a piece of the Berlin wall! All of the displays are very tastefully done and with proper perspective, leading to the goal of using nuclear energy for the good of mankind, rather than for its destruction.
You can go to www.archives.org to watch the first Disney movie reel "A is for Atom" which was created to teach young Americans about this powerful energy. In addition to that movie clip and many others, the museum also has a multi-sensory theater where you can see and feel the shock waves of a nuclear blast. My ten year old son thought that was the coolest thing ever. Well, that and the atomic candy he ate after the tour in the gift shop. This museum does the Smithsonian name proud. You'll be impressed.
The Atomic Testing Museum is open to the public:
• Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
• Sunday from 12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
55 E. Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Museum Store: (702) 794-5150
General Tour Reservations
Guided tours are offered Tuesday through Saturday
All pre-arranged tour reservations must be made at least 3 weeks in advance.
All pre-arranged guided tours must have a minimum of 10 people.
The maximum size for a guided docent tour is 40 people.
Guided tours of the museum take an average of 45 min-1 hour.
A confirmation e-mail will be sent at least 1 week before the tour date.
Payment may be taken the day of the tour.
Guided Tour Prices
Adults (18-65): $8.00
Students (College): $5.00
Seniors (65+): $5.00
Group Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday