The next time you’re in Las Vegas, think about doing something a little bit different. In addition to seeing a show or playing the slots, head to the Atomic Testing Museum, a place so interesting you’ll find learning fun.
Located on Flamingo Road, east of the Strip, the museum, in association with the Smithsonian Institution, shows visitors how atomic weapons were developed. My husband, Mike, was a bomb guy during his 30-year stint in the Army, so the place was extra interesting to him, but I enjoyed it as well. During our visit we learned that from 1951 to 1992 there were 982 nuclear tests on the Nevada desert 60 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Unfortunately, tests were conducted above ground until a 1963 treaty required underground testing.
Visitors can view films, see what it’s like inside a simulated underground testing tunnel, and watch detonations in the Ground Zero Theater. They’ll also learn about radiation monitoring and so much more.
The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission fees are $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, military and students with identification, and children 7 to 17; children 6 and under are free. For more information, call (702) 794-5161 or visit www.atomictestingmuseum.org .
Donna Ikenberry is a photojournalist who lives in South Fork, Colorado.