If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, and especially if you live here, you’ve likely already paid a visit to the Strip and experienced the casinos, the famous Bellagio fountains, and several fantastic shows. That’s the traditional Vegas experience. However, if you’re returning to Vegas, and especially if you live nearby, here are five lesser-known Vegas opportunities you absolutely must experience.
The Lion Habitat Ranch
For years tourists flocked to the MGM Grand in Vegas to get inches away from the beautiful, strong lions that lounged in the lion habitat. However, as part of a broad renovation to the property in early 2012, the lion habitat was removed. But if viewing fantastic, furry felines is high on your priority list, don’t fret, you can still visit them in their retirement at the Lion Habitat Ranch just 15 minutes south of the Strip. Visitors are allowed to view these magnificent creatures through a few inches of glass, and for an additional fee, groups of up to 10 are given the opportunity to eat dinner at tables completely surrounded by lions who might rather eat you for dinner instead.http://thecathouse.us/
Zombie Apocalypse Store
One half mile off the Las Vegas strip is a must-see for fans of the number one hit television series, The Walking Dead. A blend between the fun and the functional, the Zombie Apocalypse store offers food rations, weapons and gadgets for zombie enthusiasts and end-times “preppers” alike, while providing kitschy souvenirs and zombie-related experiences to thrill any visitor. The store both buys and sells items from visitors and aims to be an all-in-one shop for anyone looking to prepare for the worst. Whether you are a zombie fan, a worst-case-scenario “prepper”, or just someone looking to enjoy a unique experience, this is the place for you. http://zombieapocalypsestore.com/
National Atomic Testing Museum
If you’re looking for something to satisfy your interest in history, look no further than the National Atomic Testing Museum just off the Strip on Flamingo Rd. The majority of the museum focuses on the history of the Cold War, and the Atomic Bomb, but there is also an Area 51 exhibit for those interested in aliens, space and supernatural phenomenon. It is a Smithsonian affiliate and features scientifically accurate and intriguing exhibits such as: what it would be like to survive an atomic blast, a simulated atmospheric bomb blast, and details about how radiation is tested, tracked, monitored and measured. http://www.nationalatomictestingmuseum.org/
The Mermaids at the Silverton Hotel & Casino
Even if you’ve experienced the Las Vegas Strip before you might not have had a chance to view the real, live mermaids that swim in the Silverton Casino Hotel’s aquarium. The 117,000 gallon reef aquarium is incredible by itself featuring over 4,000 tropical fish, stingrays and sharks, but if you catch the timing just right, you’ll get to see live mermaids swimming with the fish as well. Truly one of the most unique experiences in Las Vegas, an interaction with the Silverton mermaids is a fascinating and imaginative adventure.http://www.silvertoncasino.com/las-vegas-mermaids.aspx
Downtown Container Park
For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, head 15 minutes North of the Strip to Downtown Container Park for a unique spin on food carts. Small business owners have created mini restaurants inside 650 square feet of previously-used shipping containers, and the results are fantastic. The park features an eclectic grouping of cuisine and drinks, as well feasts for the eyes and fun for all ages. Even if you aren’t hungry for any of the mouth-watering options available, experiencing the way these businesses operate and stay organized in such a small space is well worth the trip. http://downtowncontainerpark.com/
Whatever your association with Las Vegas, make sure to spend some time looking into a few of the hidden gems that are beyond the traditional Vegas experiences. There is more here than meets the eye!