The Neon Museum

Places to rock in Las Vegas with or without your little entourage.©

Take a stroll back in time, like way back in time, when Las Vegas wasn’t even a tiny pin prick on a Nevada state map, let alone the gaming and entertainment mecca of the world. Remember those days when people used to talk about “Cruising the Strip” so they could check out all the lights? I do. Growing up, that was one of my favorite family memories. The Strip just isn’t the same of flashing lights like it used to be, but you can go back in time and re-experience what that was like back then. Sort of.

las vegas neon museum

The Neon Museum, or Boneyard as some call it, is located in an enclosed dirt lot not too far from Las Vegas Boulevard. You begin your tour in a shaded, gated area (which will then become your last chance for shade) where a tour guide will greet you with a waiver and a bottle of water, go over a few rules and give you a rundown of what to expect.

neon museum las vegas

This is one of my favorite museums, yes, there are plenty of museums in Las Vegas, you just have to know where to find them. The grounds itself are segmented into several eras of neon and fluorescent lighting, dating back to the late 1800s, and some of the very first signs ever used in the city of Las Vegas. The tour guide leads you through the early signs of business in Las Vegas, all the way through when Bugsy Seagal and the mob ran the place, the Casino days, the Family Fun Town time and present day Vegas ala Steve Wynn and the Wall Street re-design of the Las Vegas Strip.

If you are a history buff, you will especially enjoy the interjections the guides offer of the historical over view of how the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas grew and changed hands and how fads and trends came and went, yet simple marketing gestures remained through the decades. It really is a fascinating trip down memory lane, and serves an educational purpose for those interested in learning more.

Tips:

Though younger children are permitted, this tour really is geared more towards those at a 4th or 5th grade level. I made the mistake of bringing my 5- year old daughter and 7-year old son. My son was somewhat intrigued while my daughter complained the whole time.

If you are planning on booking this tour in the summer, make sure to go as early as possible. There is very little shade and lots of direct sun. It’s Vegas; it’s hot. Bring a hat, water and wear sunscreen.

There are no bathrooms at the Boneyard, so make sure to do all potty stops before hand. The tour itself is just about an hour, and you won’t want to miss a thing!

Book your tour prior by visiting the Neon Museum website. It is a non-profit organization, and a $15 donation fee for ages 12 and up. You can bring cameras, but there is not commercial video or photography allowed without permission. This is a super cool place to photograph, so make sure you have lots of battery life and room on your memory card.

Do you remember the old lit up and neon signs? Which was your favorite Las Vegas neon sign? 

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9 thoughts on “The Neon Museum

  1. This is one place we haven’t explore yet! So glad you wrote about it…I was wondering whether or not my 5-year-old would be ready for this or not.

  2. I love this idea. We’re always up to visiting off-beat places when we travel and this sounds right up our alley! Very cool.

  3. I really, really, really want to go to this! I have always had in the back of my mind, but I have never set time aside when I visit. Next time, it’s at on my list.

  4. This sounds like something interesting and different to do in Vegas, especially if people have kids. I’ll keep it in mind to mention when people ask me about the different things to do in Las Vegas outside of the strip.

  5. My husband and I just visited the Neon Museum a few weeks ago. It was really nice to be able to see the old signs that used to grace downtown and Las Vegas Blvd. I have family out in Las Vegas, so as a kid I remember the Desert Inn, Stardust, Sahara (when it was still open), Aladdin, etc. It’s sad that they’re gone now, but seeing those signs made my face light up (no pun intended).

  6. Looks like a really cool stop! I’ve never been to Vegas, but I’d like to check this out when/if I’m ever there!

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