5 Things to Do in Las Vegas

If you think Las Vegas is all bright lights, big city buzzing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you only need to know the meaning of Las Vegas to know there is more than a concrete jungle here. When the area was discovered by Spanish explorers on their way west, they named it Las Vegas, meaning “the meadows” because of the vast expanse of greenery. And certainly, the 32 million visitors to Las Vegas annually are most likely there for those bright lights and the 24/7 buzz, but we found five different ways to enjoy the area.

While exploring all Las Vegas has to offer, book a stay in our Las Vegas cabins.

Cabin at Thousand Trails Las Vegas
Cabin at Thousand Trails Las Vegas

1. Museums: Just like the variety of shows, Sin City also offers up some pretty varied museums. There’s the Atomic Museum, whose mission is to “tell the story of America’s nuclear weapons testing program at the Nevada Test Site.” Exhibits include the Phoebus 2-A, a real nuclear reactor, several lesser-known atomic weapons and the interesting Pop Culture, which displays artifacts like comic books and toys related to the atomic bomb (atomicmuseum.vegas). The Mob Museum tells the story of organized crime and law enforcement (themobmuseum.org) while the Neon Museum is dedicated to collecting and preserving the iconic neon signs of Las Vegas (neonmuseum.org).

2. Wildlife: The luxurious hotels along the fame Strip are home to more than gambling casinos and entertainment venues; there is also an amazing array of wildlife to be found. The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay has not only sharks, but giant rays, sea turtles, and piranha. If you drop by the iconic Flamingo Hotel, not only will you see the exotic Chilean flamingos but also other exotic birds, turtles, and fish among a four-acre garden complete with streams and waterfalls at the hotel’s Flamingo Wildlife habitat. The Mirage Hotel is home to Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat where visitors can see white lions, tigers, and leopards amidst a jungle setting while the dolphins can be seen from an underwater viewing area.

3. About 30 minutes outside Las Vegas is the town of Boulder City, which was built for the purpose of housing the workers who helped build the nearby Hoover Dam. Today the city is worth a road trip if want to visit the Nevada State Railroad Museum, walk or bike the Historic Railroad Trail, check out the Bighorn Sheep roaming the green grass at Hemenway Valley Park or enjoy the restaurants, shops, and galleries in the downtown area and glimpse some really cool 1930s architecture. FYI, Boulder City could be a great stop if you’re heading to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which is about 15 minutes away.

4. The Other Wild Life: As they say, when in Paris…so why not experience a bit of the wild side of Las Vegas? Consider Omega Mart, Meow Wolf’s interactive art installation with secret portals and storytelling to peak the imagination. Omega Mart is just one of several interesting sensory experiences found at AREA15 which also offers non-traditional dining experiences including the space-odyssey inspired LIFTOFF.

5. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Just outside Las Vegas, this desert location has plenty to do. There are 26 different trails to hike and explore, the 13-mile Scenic Drive through the canyonlands, rock climbing options, and plenty of native flora and fauna worthy of an Instagram post or two.

Hiking at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Hiking at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Read More:

Dad Fun

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio • Guitars

What does every Dad want on Father’s Day? Most likely, the opportunity to spend time with family, get a pass on chores, and enjoy some grilling time (he’ll probably want to take control with that activity). We’ve got a few more ideas to help celebrate Dad – whether it be on Father’s Day or plans for an upcoming trip that may take him back to the days when his responsibilities were few and his free time was all about fun!

Amusement Parks: Bring back the thrills and chills Dad felt as a child and take him to an iconic amusement park. California’s Disneyland (disneyland.disney.go.com) is the granddaddy of the big theme parks. Opened in 1951, original rides still in operation include the Disneyland Railroad, the Jungle Cruise and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. With the success of Disneyland, Walt Disney turned to Florida to open Walt Disney World (disneyworld.disney.go.com) near Orlando in 1965. Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World, two of the most popular original rides, are still in operation here. While Disney was busy building magical kingdoms on both coasts, Six Flags was busy opening their Texas-sized amusement park near the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Six Flags Over Texas opened in 1961 and remains in operation today. Six Flags expanded and now has parks in California (outside Los Angeles), Illinois (outside Chicago), Massachusetts (near Sturbridge, MA), New Jersey (and hour from Cape May) and New York (near Lake George). Each park offers something a little bit different. Before heading out, make sure to check if the closest park to you is open for the season, as many are delaying openings this summer.

Good Guys and Bad Guys: If your Dad was into gangster lore and legend, he may enjoy the Mob Museum (themobmuseum.org) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Showcasing the beginnings of the mob through current day, exhibits include The Underground, which replicates a Prohibition-era world as well as a Crime Lab that details how forensic evidence is studied and used to build cases against crime bosses.

The Mob Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada

If anything to do with the Old West is your Dad’s favorite pastime, consider a trip to the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, or the Scottsdale Museum of the West in Arizona. The Autry (theautry.org) is dedicated to “exploring an inclusive history of the Old West” and was co-founded by Gene Autry, Hollywood’s Singing Cowboy. The Scottsdale Museum of the West has 1,400 pieces of old cowboy gear, Hopi pottery dating back thousands of years, and a large collection of paintings, sculpture, and other artifacts representing the Old West (scottsdalemuseumwest.org).

Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles

Music, Music, Music: Of course, you may not agree with your Dad’s musical taste, but a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (rockhall.com) in Cleveland, Ohio should be a trip that everyone can enjoy as it showcases the history of rock and roll from Chuck Berry to Green Day. If country music is his thing, Dad will enjoy a Nashville trip that could include a tour of the Ryman Auditorium that has featured artists from Johnny Cash to Kings of Leon and a visit to the Grand Ole Opry. Travel further in Tennessee to Memphis, which is a mecca for anybody who enjoyed the music and films of Elvis Presley and tour his home, Graceland (graceland.com). See the Jungle Room, the Lisa Marie, Elvis’ private jet, and his collection of cars.