As you get to know the Silver State’s spectacular story, make sure Nevada’s atomic history is part of it. Situated minutes from the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, there’s no better way to blast into the past than the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. As the United State’s main site for nuclear testing, the Nevada Test Site—now known as the Nevada National Security Site—was monumentally important in understanding nuclear warfare and continues to be vital to national security to this day. A small number of free tours are available each month at the Nevada National Security Site itself, but fill up almost instantly and are not booked through the museum. The good news? The National Atomic Testing Museum is open seven days a week and ready to fill that noggin with all the Atomic Nevada history you can imagine.
Get to Know This Nuclear Museum
Thoroughly documenting the history of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site in the desert north of Las Vegas, the National Atomic Testing Museum outlines the fascinating story of America’s nuclear weapons program and the Cold War. Visitors touring the museum will take delight in never-before-seen, first-person narratives, impressive artifacts, theatrical devices, environmental recreations, and interactive exhibits.
The Atomic Museum is home to both the Silo Museum, which plays a short film about the Nevada Test Site, and the multi-sensory Ground Zero Theater, which explains the history of atomic testing. Video footage of the actual atomic bomb tests can also be found in other parts of the museum. Beyond the Silo Museum and Ground Zero Theater, the museum brims with fascinating exhibits, from a display of authentic Geiger counters, radio badges, and other testing devices to a range of artifacts discovered in and around the Nevada Test Site. Enormous drill bits and other equipment can be found in the Underground Testing Gallery, which offers a look at underground atomic testing. History buffs will find that the museum is an intriguing place to learn the story of the atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project, with various artifacts from the project in their collection. Best yet, experience a simulated atmospheric bomb blast!
One of the most popular exhibits features an assortment of atomic-related memorabilia and chronicles the enormous impact that the atomic age had on 1950s pop culture. Visitors to the museum will even find a portion of the Berlin Wall, while the Innovators Gallery and its walls of photos pay tribute to the men and women who played a part in the history of atomic testing.
For an extra layer of history, add a $6 audio tour to your visit. More than 20 markers throughout the Atomic Museum can be scanned to activate recordings from community partners and prominent figures within today’s nuclear industry. Narrators include Dorothy Oppenheimer Vanderford—granddaughter of J. Robert Oppenheimer— as well as Major General Harencak, head of the Nevada National Security Sites, museum docents, and more.
The National Atomic Testing Museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. For more info on planning your visit, get in touch with the Atomic Museum directly at (702) 409-7366.
Admission to the Atomic Museum in Las Vegas is $29 for adults, $27 for both seniors and military/first responders (with ID), and $25 for Nevada residents (with ID). Children ages 7-17 are $15, and kids under 6 are free.