Madame Tussaud began crafting wax likenesses in 1770s Paris, and a sense of history clings to her wax museums around the globe today—according to the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventurers, the location is haunted by unsettled spirits. By day, the collection of wax sculptures fills the serene exhibits with characters ranging from daredevil Evel Knievel (complete with his original Harley Davidson and good-luck teddy bear) to Lady Gaga and Whoopi Goldberg. A Hugh Hefner figure, wearing the Playboy magnate’s signature smoking jacket, reclines on a bed, and a nightclub-themed section of the museum honors Las Vegas’s entertainment history with a waxen Elvis and Wayne Newton.
Velvet ropes no longer cordon figures off from the public, granting guests up-close-and-personal photo ops. Madame Tussauds Las Vegas honors its spooky roots with special late-night Scream events, a shriek-inducing tour through a maximum-security prison set interspersed with ghoulish wax figures and live actors.
Stray Boots is an interactive tour that sets friends and family members loose on an exhilarating, knowledge-fueled undertaking guided by clues, trivia, and riddles. They operate in cities across the country, dividing them into special themed tours that contain the historical sites, local areas of interest, or eccentric child mayors unique to each city. During the explorations, clues point the way to cultural hot spots, which Stray Boots communicates via their official mobile app. At least one player on the team will need an iPhone or Android phone to receive clues, and none of the self-guided tours require previous knowledge of the city. Adventurers play at their own pace—most tours take two to three hours to finish—which allows them to spend more time learning about the city and photographing vibrant fire hydrants for aquacentric scrapbooks.
The 8,000-square-foot National Atomic Testing Museum, located just off the Strip, unveils the fascinating history of the famed Nevada test site. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum has a growing collection of permanent and special exhibitions. Boots quake as visitors experience a simulated atomic blast, and another exhibit details the Manhattan Project, the U.S.'s massive undertaking to create the first atomic bomb. Firsthand accounts of nuclear tests put museum-goers in the shoes of blast eyewitnesses; there's also a poignant exhibit that includes a 6-foot I-beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. The museum volunteer tour guides act as exhibit interpreters, encouraging hands-on exploration and teaching how to divide atoms using nothing more than a good set of kitchen cutlery.
Producer and V Theater owner David Saxe was born into Vegas show business, raised by a mother who danced at Les Folies Bergere and a father who led the band for the Rat Pack. The Saxe family’s entertainment legacy continues with the V Theater. The venue runs its 12 concurrent shows in a 40,000-square-foot space divided into four showrooms on multiple floors, each retaining an intimate feeling with seating that brings the audience closer to performers. The V Theater’s current shows range from a seven-act, family-friendly Ultimate Variety Show to Marc Savard’s Comedy Hypnosis, where Savard persuades audience members to hilariously dance, act like animals, and ghostwrite his autobiography.
Although most people traditionally try to steer clear of the world of organized crime, Mob Attraction Las Vegas pulls them back in with an interactive journey into the gritty underworld. Inside the museum’s recently upgraded space, guests face off with actors and 3D holograms of famous film crime bosses, such as James Caan and Frank Vincent. A collection of authentic, never-before-seen memorabilia, photos, and videos marries museum-like intrigue with performance art, granting an unprecedented access into the private lives of real gangsters such as Ben “Bugsy” Siegel, Tony Spilotro, and Meyer Lansky.
Based in Las Vegas, Comedy on Deck Tours began escorting sightseers on tours of nearby natural wonders in 2003. The company stands out among other tour companies by employing big personalities as tour guides. Comedy on Deck's tours are led by standup comedians, who are trained to keep things PG and interact with everyone onboard. After catching their breath, chuckled-out tour takers have complimented the guides for seamless weaving of history, geography, and family-friendly punch lines.