When you’ve tired of all the eye candy on the Strip, spend an hour or two stimulating your brain at this Smithsonian-affiliated educational institution. Inside you’ll find much more than just the little-known history of nuclear weapons testing in Nevada.
Still sounds like a snooze? Wrong. Gawk at historical photographs of mushroom clouds towering over the horizon or the city’s first Miss Atomic Bomb beauty queen. Experience a simulated nuclear-bomb explosion inside the Ground Zero Theater, then shop for retro Atomic Modern souvenirs in the cool gift shop.
Less fascinating art and cultural exhibits are found just off the lobby, where you’ll buy your museum tickets at a replica of a Nevada Test Site guard station.
Monthly bus tours of the former atomic testing site, which is a long ride from Las Vegas, also depart from the museum. You’ll need to make reservations many months in advance, since tours fill quickly. For full details about the tours and a badging application form, visit the Nevada field office of the U.S. Department of Energy online.