Situated about six miles from the famous Las Vegas Strip, the city’s Natural History Museum offers a welcome respite from the non-stop entertainment in the City that Never Sleeps. This museum offers visitors the chance to learn the fascinating natural history of Nevada, from the time that the entire region was located beneath an ancient sea until the present day.
Visitors to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum may well be surprised by the expansive exhibitions and the details put into each of them to make this a fun and educational experience. There are several rooms housing exciting displays, as well as a number of hands-on options. This is one of the best museums in the area to allow children (and adults) to truly understand the natural history of the region.
The museum places much focus on the prehistoric era of Nevada’s history. Visitors can view Nevada’s state fossil, the ichthysoar Shonisaurus, and see a 35-foot tall model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex fighting with another fierce prehistoric predator, the Triceratops. Another early ancestor, the phobusuchus, is also displayed in all its 50 foot glory, giving visitors a glimpse into the life of this ancient alligator. Fossilized eggs from China and local dinosaur tracks are also available in this fascinating exhibition.
The Marine’s Life Gallery is home to a 3,000 gallon shark tank which holds sting rays, Port Jackson sharks and other species. From the life-sized jaws of the great white shark, to numerous swallowed objects found in the gut of tiger sharks, this exhibition allows the visitor to gain a true idea of the power and ferocity of these creatures. The Marine exhibition also displays smaller aquariums with eels and other fish species.
At the Snake Pit, visitors can spend time watching a pair of sinister looking Burmese pythons named Bonnie and Clyde. This couple is a popular attraction at the museum.
There are many interactive options to try out at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. The first is the Wild Nevada Gallery, which is home to several plant and animal displays. Children and adults alike will have great fun touching and smelling their way through this exhibition, as well as listening to information about Southern Nevada’s indigenous history on headsets.
Another hands-on option is the Young Scientist Center that allows visitors to discover the joys of natural history through touching and other sensory experiences. This is the place where visitors can dig there way through sand to find shark teeth or spend time in a paleontology lab to truly discover this world.
There are plenty of spots to rest throughout the museum, including a great picnic area on the outdoor patio. Nobody will want to leave the Natural History Museum without a souvenir and the well-stocked store is the perfect place to find just what one is looking for, from toys, to books and other paraphernalia.
The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm and there is an entrance fee for adults. There are various discounts available to seniors, students and military personnel, as well as children of various ages. Kids under two are admitted free to the museum.