A History Lesson…in Vegas?

Nevada Road Tripping Travel Vegas
Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. 

So, what to do on our evening in Vegas. I did a bit of research ahead of time and googling something like ‘off the beaten track Vegas,’ I came across the Neon Museum. Hmmm. This sounded intriguing! Daniel and I both like visual arts and music, so this seemed like something we might like. I booked combo tickets which includes their multimedia show, Brilliant!, and an evening tour of the Boneyard. Beware! If this interests you, Brilliant! books up every night so book it well in advance. Combo tickets were $42, but they offered a veteran’s discount for Daniel which brought his ticket down about ten bucks less than general admission.

We promptly arrived to the museum at our scheduled time of 7:30pm, checked in at the desk, got all wristbanded up, and our experience began with Brilliant! They walked our small group into their north gallery which consists of a crushed sand yard lined with tons of old, unlit neon with two large pillars in the central portion of the yard which projected images onto the neon and played an audio track. You can stand anywhere you like in the yard as the show plays; people tended to migrate around as Brilliant! was playing to get views of the different effects. This show is hard to describe! In the words of the museum, ‘Brilliant! is a show that redefines the way we explore the history of Las Vegas. This magical experience, created by noted artist Craig Winslow, transports visitors into the history of Las Vegas through sight and sound.  Brilliant! takes place in our North Gallery. ‘ No video or photos allowed during the show, but they gave us a few minutes afterwards to do that.

A short video of Brilliant! after the show when they allowed guests to make video and take photos. Volume up so you can hear some of the music.

Brilliant! is an incredible experience. It is difficult to tell from the short video I took, but none of the neon is actually functioning. All of the lights and effects you see originate from the projection poles in the middle of the yard. There was a screen on one end where short video clips of the history of Vegas were integrated into the multimedia experience. I found it very moving and entertaining. The show lasted about 25 or 30 minutes; Daniel and I were both in awe. This is a must do if you are planning a visit to Vegas!

The walking tour was about an hour long. The guide talked about the various neon and history behind some of the signs, and shared stories about mobsters and the rat pack. This made me want to watch some youtube videos about Vegas history! We did watch a cool documentary about the restoration of some of the signs before our visit and that enhanced our experience. If you are interested, please see youtube link to this documentary below.

We’d been on the hoof all day, starting in our hometown of Chico, California at 2:30am! The day was fun, but it’s time to rest a bit and get ready for the first day of our Western River Expedition Grand Canyon rafting adventure! Sweet dreams, y’all!


I'm an only child who grew up on a sailboat, a lover of adventure, a mom, wife, an RN, and a friend of all dogs.


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