Atomic Testing Museum
Las Vegas NV 89119
- Mon: 10am-5pm
- Tue: 10am-5pm
- Wed: 10am-5pm
- Thu: 10am-5pm
- Fri: 10am-5pm
- Sat: 10am-5pm
- Sun: 12pm-5pm
The National Atomic Testing Museum, one of 37 museums in the U.S. officially affiliated with the Smithsonian, chronicles the history of the atomic bomb in Nevada, where early tests were conducted in the desert outside Las Vegas. Its more than 12,000 artifacts illustrate the development and deployment of the nuclear bomb, combining educational resources and historical and scientific information with some playful, tongue-in-cheek touches appropriate for Las Vegas.
Best and worst time to go to the Atomic Testing Museum
The best time to visit Las Vegas is during the spring (March to mid-May) and fall (mid-September to late November). Weather during the summer (mid-May to early September) can be excessively hot, although that's less of a concern for indoor attractions. Hours at the museum are limited on Sundays, so it may be best to pick a different day to get the full experience.
Must see/do at the Atomic Testing Museum
In the GZ Theater, you can experience a simulated atomic blast, much like the ones people witnessed at the Nevada Test Site. "Area 51: Myth or Reality?" is a fun exhibit devoted to the various legends surrounding the supposed alien presence at the mysterious military installation. The museum's lecture series features presentations that combine pop-culture hooks with lessons on history and science.
Admission to the Atomic Testing Museum
Standard admission is around $20, with discounts for students, seniors, military, Nevada residents and children under 17. Museum members and children under 6 are admitted for free. Group tours are also available.
Parking and public transportation at the Atomic Testing Museum
Free parking is available on-site, and local RTC bus service stops within walking distance. For visitors staying on the Strip, a cab ride should only take a few minutes.
Food at the Atomic Testing Museum
No food or drink is allowed inside the museum, and there are no restaurants in the museum itself. But several strip malls are nearby with quick options for eating, and the Strip, with its wide range of restaurants, is a short drive or cab ride away.
Insider tip for visitors to the Atomic Testing Museum
Although the museum may not look that large from the outside, it can take more than two hours to experience all the exhibits, so make sure to allow enough time (especially on Sundays, when hours are shorter).
Josh Bell is a Las Vegas-based writer (and 20-year resident) and the film and TV critic for Las Vegas Weekly. Find him on Twitter and Facebook.