Founded in the spirit of the late Dennis Hopper’s CineVegas festival, the Vegas Indie Film Fest! celebrates self-produced works from established directors and first-time creators alike. Whether their creations are feature-length, shorts, documentaries, or photo-realistic flipbooks, every director stands to win one of more than 100 Golden Bulb awards—which are made from actual lightbulbs from the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. Past events have been attended by the likes of Wayne Newton and Ted V. Mikels.
Outside of Graceland, The King's Ransom Museum showcases one of the largest collections of artifacts and personal treasures owned by Elvis Presley. Curated by Elvis historian Bud Glass and collector Russ Howe, the exhibit encompasses artifacts that span Presley's career from 1950 until his death. Highlights include familiar wardrobe pieces he donned on stage and screen, such as a custom two-piece leather suit and his massive ring from the 1972 documentary Elvis on Tour. The museum also houses large jewelry and gun and badge collections assembled by the "King of Bling," as well as the last car Presley ever purchased and other historic artifacts from his youth.
The museum also delves into Presley's private life, displaying more-personal effects such as the custom, red crushed-velvet bedspread from his Graceland home and his pajamas, whose dry-cleaning slips have been lost forever. To supplement these artifacts, Russ and Bud incorporate plenty of the King's private photos and home movies. On select days, the museum welcomes guest appearances from some of Presley's friends and colleagues, such as his Blue Hawaii costar Darlene Tompkins and his Kissin' Cousins costar Cynthia Pepper.
While the name would suggest a tribute to the underworld, The Mob Museum details both the history of organized crime in the United States and pays homage to the law enforcement agencies that worked together to end the Mob‰Ûªs rule in Las Vegas. It's set in an historic 1933 building, which was first a U.S. post office and later the federal courthouse that was the site of the 1950 Kefauver Committee hearings on organized crime. A dozen exhibits throughout the 41,000-square-foot, three-story building utilize high-tech theater presentations, interactive demonstrations, such as The Fire Arms Training Simulator (FATS), used to train law enforcement agencies at every level; and actual artifacts that include the wall from the 1929 St. Valentine‰Ûªs Day Massacre in Chicago and personal belongings of Al Capone, Charles ‰ÛÏLucky‰Û� Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Ben ‰ÛÏBugsy‰Û� Siegel, Frank ‰ÛÏLefty‰Û� Rosenthal, Tony Spilotro and John Gotti.
At each of several one-day festivals held throughout the country, thousands of revelers unite in an epic clash of pulp, beer, and live music. Armed with a cache of 300,000 tomatoes, participants don protective bathing suits and goggles and hurl the fruit at one another during a two-hour battle. Throughout the afternoon, live music and costume contests offer an entertaining respite from the front lines, as bartenders dispense drafts of beer to attendees older than 21, refueling soldiers' morale before they resign to writing goodbye letters to their produce vendors back home. All tomatoes used during the event are past ripe and already fated for disposal, making the battle an efficient means of tossing them before their cursed transformation into singing Muppets.
Vegas Indoor Skydiving was one of America’s first indoor skydiving facilities, built in 1982 right in the heart of the Strip. The wind tunnel, which blows air up to 120 miles per hour, has a mesh trampoline bottom and padded sides, creating a safe environment for novices and experienced fliers to simulate skydiving without an airplane or parachute.
Like celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, and Ozzy Osbourne, three past fliers, you’ll start your session with a short safety tutorial. Then you’ll be outfitted with a flight suit, goggles, and helmet and hit the wind tunnel for a 3-minute controlled flight—which is 5–6 times longer than the average duration of an outdoor skydive.
Battlefield Vegas is as much a living history museum as it is an interactive shooting range and training complex. At a 5-acre military-style compound just off the strip and at a more than 200-acre offsite desert training facility, instructors guide guests in operating handguns, rifles and shotguns, and automatic weapons that range from Prohibition-era weapons to current arms carried by NATO forces. Alongside this impressive weapon collection lies a fleet of vehicles that contains specimens such as Willys MB Jeeps driven in World War II and a UH-1C "Huey" helicopter flown in Vietnam.
In addition to managing the collection, Battlefield's staff also lets guests feel what it's like to handle the weaponry through 15 scenario experiences. In these supervised programs, instructors supply era-appropriate arms and guide guests through scenarios that re-create historic battles and common military campaigns. In Defending Stalingrad, for example, role-playing soldiers take aim with Tokarev pistols, Mosin Nagant M91/30 rifles, and PPsh-41 submachine guns. Beyond overseeing these scenario experiences and the training facilities, Battlefield's leadership plans to build a 32,000-square-foot outdoor airsoft field, as well as a military museum.