Without a doubt, the highlight of our visit to Las Vegas last year was the guided tour of the Neon Museum’s Boneyard.
The tour is actually a superb introduction to the very colorful history of Las Vegas.
The museum houses discarded neon and incandescent signs from Vegas’ glory days.
The museum’s limited funds allow for the restoration of only a few signs each year.
The restored signs are displayed in the downtown Las Vegas block known as the “Fremont Experience.”
The rest of the collection — a hodgepodge of more than 150 historic signs — is on display at a two acre lot known as “The Boneyard.”
There, you can find some of the most iconic signs of Las Vegas – Caesars Palace, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget and the Stardust.
The hotels are mostly gone now, and all that’s left are the signs: broken, rusty, and in ill-repair.
Each sign has a story to tell, and the volunteer docents bring them to life.
As travel writer Larry Olmsted observed in a recent article in Forbes magazine:
Name notwithstanding, the Neon Museum is not about neon, it is about the history of Las Vegas as told through its relics, in this case the neon (and incandescent bulb) signs that have ended up here, many from long gone establishments.
At nearly every piece of art here, no matter how mundane, the tour guide has some colorful story worth hearing, one that illuminates the entire Las Vegas experience, then and now. — Larry Olmsted
In the summer, due to the intense heat, tours are scheduled in the morning and after dark when the signs are dramatically illuminated by colored lights.
A landmark of mid-century architecture, the relocated La Concha motel lobby now houses the Neon Museum.
The Neon Museum is open seven days a week. The museum visitors’ center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.
To tour the museum’s Neon Boneyard exhibition area, you should sign up for a guided tour, well in advance.
Daytime tours of the Neon Museum are $18; evening tours are $25, with discounts for seniors, students, and military. You can purchase tickets online from the Neon Museum. Advance Reservations are highly recommended.
The tours sell out quickly; a very limited number of walk-in tickets can be purchased at the museum, day of and in person.
Do any of these signs bring back memories for you?
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