The Top Museums to Visit in Las Vegas, Nevada

Springs Preserve | © Ken Lund / Flickr
Springs Preserve | © Ken Lund / Flickr
Photo of Nick Dauk
2 July 2021

Not to knock the slot machines, but Las Vegas has way more to offer than fun and games. Figurative and literal worlds of history await in Sin City’s many diverse museums. See The Strip and its surroundings in a new light as you uncover the days of desert past, as well as other education and interactive exhibits showcasing our planet’s history, at these Las Vegas museums.

The Mob Museum

Museum
Map View
© robertharding / Alamy Stock Photo
Get a glimpse into both sides of the law at The Mob Museum. Once inside this historic courthouse, you’ll see the unending battle between organized crime and law enforcement play out across four floors. From the birth of the mob and Prohibition to mob-run Vegas casinos and the organized crime outfits of today, the violence yet fascinating history of this battle comes to life. And if someone whispers a password in your ear, head down to the basement and use it to sneak into The Speakeasy.

The Aquarium

Aquarium
Map View
With 85 species of fish floating in Mirage’s 20,000 gallon Aquarium, we won’t judge you for spending hours in the lobby. This 53’-long tank features an artificial coral reef where puffer fish, tangs, and angelfish play. Set your alarm for an early wake up and you may see an aquarist dive in to clean the tank. Think you’d enjoy scrubbing coral and wiping down the window, too? Ask the concierge how you can dive in and become an aquarist for a day.

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay

Aquarium
Map View
The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay hotel and casino in Las Vegas
© Yaacov Dagan / Alamy Stock Photo
Get lost in a sea of wonder at Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium. Walk through a glass encased tunnel and watch as more than 2,000 colorful sea creatures glide by. Laugh over lunch with your kids as they feed the stingray, sea turtles, and sharks in the aquarium. Feel like going for a scary swim? You can suit up and dive into the water where you’ll float alongside exotic sharks that you won’t find together in the waters of the wild.

Springs Preserve

Botanical Garden, Natural Feature, Park
Map View
© Chon Kit Leong / Alamy Stock Photo
Springs Preserve is a living museum that captures the history of Las Vegas while constantly evolving. Boomtown 1095 and the Nevada State Museum showcase the history of the city from the fossils of prehistoric beasts to the rapidly changing landscape as miners began to settle here. To watch the Silver State change in real time, the live animal exhibits in the Origen Museum and extensive horticulture in the Botanical Garden will give you a new appreciation for the locals of Las Vegas.

Aviation Museum

Museum
Map View
Fly into Las Vegas and immediately land in the American Museum of Aviation. This dedication to the achievements of aerospace is inside the McCarran International Airport, making it a breeze to jet through when you’re waiting for your flight. Commercial and military aircraft are all on deck, including the cockpit of the first American Airlines Boeing 767-223. Keep their ever-growing collection of exhibits on your radar like the crash artifacts from an USAF F-86E and displays highlighting Trans World Airlines.

Pinball Hall of Fame

Museum
Map View
Classic vintage pinball art in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 1, 1998
© evan Hurd / Alamy Stock Photo
If you’ve played the silver ball ever since you were a youngin, the Pinball Hall of Fame is a must-visit. Aiming to be the largest collection of pinball machines on the planet, wall-to-wall of this museum is lined with 400 pinball machines from the 1950s through 1990s. Stand like a statue in front of the ‘66 Gottlieb Central Park, become part of the machine ‘83 Atari Star Wars. Think you’re the Bally table king or queen? Better bring the quarters and supple wrist to prove it.

SeaQuest Las Vegas

Zoo
Map View

Have you ever been kissed by a fish, pet an otter, or taken selfies with a kinkajou? How about hand fed a shark or swam with a stingray? Check off all of the above and more at SeaQuest Las Vegas. This interactive zoo wants to introduce you to the fish, birds, and other animals from around the world. Hands-on activities fill this interactive exhibit from the Icelandic Fishing Village to the Amazon River. If you’re feeling courageous, you can snorkel with reef sharks and feed caimen.

Titanic Exhibition

Museum
Map View
Dive deep into the triumph and tragedy of the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition within the Luxor. This massive 25,000SF exhibit features dozens of items recovered from the ship’s wreckage including luggage, a piece of the hull, and the ship’s whistles. No need to imagine how lavish this ship was; full-scale recreations of the Grand Staircase, first-class and third-class rooms, and the Promenade Deck help you envision the grandeur of this “practically unsinkable” ship.

The Neon Museum

Building, Museum, Shop
Map View
Las Vegas Neon Museum | © Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr
Nights of Las Vegas past are alive with vibrance at The Neon Museum. Venture into the two Neon Boneyards and discover hundreds of signs which once lit up the Las Vegas streets. Some have been restored, some show their scars from the Sinatra days; all will dazzle and delight as you learn about each sign’s role Sin City history. Though tours are strictly guided, you can sign up for an independent photo session with your own equipment or with a private photographer.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

Museum
Map View
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum | © Kennejima / Flickr
Get to know the camel, mammoth, and other prehistoric beasts that roamed the desert long before the Strip at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Fast forward millennia into the future and come face-to-face with the local dessert life in the Wild Nevada Gallery. Submerge yourself in a sea of fun at the live Marine Life Gallery then dry off under the sun of the African Safari Gallery. You can even discover the Treasures of Egypt without visiting Luxor.

Still thirsty for some more culture? Las Vegas also has amazing art galleries. Alternatively, hit all the must-see attractions Sin City has to offer. After all that exploring and learning, unwind with a drink at the best bars downtown, and rest your head at a cozy boutique hotel or at a budget-friendly stay.

Lauryn Wilder contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on July 2, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"