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 underworld’s gritty underbelly. Inside the museum’s recently upgraded space, guests face off with actors and 3-D holograms of famous film crime bosses, such as James Caan and Frank Vincent. A collection of authentic, never-before-seen memorabilia, photos, and videos, as well as a fully interactive courthouse and jail, marry museum-like intrigue with performance art, granting an unprecedented access into the private lives of real gangsters Ben “Bugsy” Siegel, Tony Spilotro, and Meyer Lansky.
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.
Opened in 1991, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum presents a collection of wildlife, historical, geologic and prehistoric exhibits. Nine galleries fill the two-story building with lifelike replicas of extinct and present day fauna, including animals that once roamed the area that is today known as Las Vegas. The Marine Life Gallery features a vast assortment of sea life, with full-sized whales hanging from the ceiling, an interactive display of sounds from several species of oceanic creatures and a pool filled with live baby sharks and sting rays. In another area, dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and Ichthyosaur transport visitors back to the time before humans walked the earth. And not far away is Treasures of Egypt, a 4,000-square-foot monument to King Tut’s tomb, which houses more than 500 replicas of the boy king’s burial chamber.
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.
Home of Las Vegas’ first traffic light and high-rise building, Fremont Street keeps fans of vintage Vegas consistently starstruck, with lavish celebrations thrown by the landmark's eponymous party-planning committee. As 2011 wanes, the TributePalooza celebration shreds resolutions into neon ticker tape with eight hours of crowd-pleasing rock strewn across three stages. Headlining the event, raucous hair-metal heroes Steel Panther glam it up with unabashedly goofy stage moves and unapologetic spandex. Following suit with headbanging levity, fellow silly-string strummers Rock Sugar mash up sound-pies of ‘80s pop and mascara metal, creating laughter you can dance to.
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.