The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens offers an incredible opportunity to step away from the sensory overload that is Las Vegas and into a more serene setting. The 14,000-square-foot gardens is constantly changing based on the season. The gardens are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no cost.
In many ways, the Fountains of Bellagio are as recognizable as the Las Vegas Strip itself. The choreographed fountains give spectators a one-of-a-kind show, dancing to a range of music, such as Luciano Pavarotti and Frank Sinatra. There is no charge to view the fountains, which are located within an eight-acre manmade lake.
Located deep inside The Golden Nugget on Fremont Street is a golden nugget, one of the largest on display anywhere in the world. The “Hand of Faith” weighs an astonishing 61 pounds, 11 ounces. Kevin Hillier found the nugget near Wedderburn, Australia, in 1980. A year later, it made its way to the casino where it is on display for the world to see. The nugget — said to be the second largest ever discovered and the largest in existence — is valued at more than $3 million.
Built at a cost of $49 million — or $821 million with inflation — the Hoover Dam stops the Colorado River to create Lake Mead, itself a popular attraction. It has been open to visitors since 1937, and today, roughly 1 million people visit annually; the busy season falls between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Located roughly 35 miles east of Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam is an easy — and worthwhile — day trip from Sin City. A number of tour groups offer sightseeing excursions from Vegas hotels for those travelers who don’t have access to a vehicle.
The Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum chronicles the history of aviation in Las Vegas, from the first flights in 1920 to present day. The museum is located inside McCarran International Airport above baggage claim. Additional exhibits are located in ticketing and at the A, B, C and D gates. The museum is free, so even those who lost everything at the Blackjack table can enjoy this attraction.
Since 2006, the Pinball Hall of Fame has featured a vast array of pinball machines – ranging from modern machines to rarer classics. The attraction is free to visit, but it costs to play pinball. Still, it’s cheaper than the craps table.
Since March 2005, the National Atomic Testing Museum has focused its attention on a more ominous bit of Sin City’s history: its connection to nuclear testing and the development of atomic bombs.
No trip to Vegas would be complete without seeing the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Built in 1959, the sign is one of the most popular symbols of Las Vegas. The sign, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, is located in the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard, roughly a mile from Mandalay Bay on the southern end of The Strip.