After work today, we went out to the Neon Graveyard. It’s been on our bucket list and it was the only touristy thing we wanted to accomplish on this trip. I also found out it’s actually called the Neon Boneyard.

Our experience was not great. Which is very disappointing. This place has so much potential! Here’s how it plays out.

They treat it like a museum. The tickets actually call it the “Neon Museum.” But you’re not allowed to wander or explore like a normal museum. You’re required to go with a tour guide…

…and you’re not allowed to stray from the group or even lag behind to take pictures. Right. Like I’m going to allow a ton of people to be every one of my pictures. Needless to say, I lagged behind as much as I could.

 

I wasn’t alone though. Isa stayed back with me too. 🙂 Oh, did I mention it was crazy hot and sunny? It was.

Sadly, absolutely no video. 🙁

The tour guide’s cadence was jarring, so it wasn’t pleasant to listen to. She would ask questions, but not really play off the answers very well. It was like a recording that asks questions and then keeps going regardless of what you said. It was extremely informative though. We learned a lot.

Like that when the government was doing atomic bomb testing in the Mojave desert, a lot of casinos would sell “Atomic Vacation Packages” and they’d bus people up to the top of a mountain to watch the bombs explode in the distance.

We also learned about the different “periods” of Las Vegas. First there was the “sawdust on the floor” old-western casinos. Then there was a big push to clean up Vegas and bring more families out, so hotels and casinos started doing “themes.” The Mirage was the first one to have a loose theme – Polynesian. But Caesar’s Palace was the first to make the theme the central part of everything they did.

The Stardust was “outer-space” themed. Eventually they ran into financial troubles and changed their font to Helvetica and it’s said that was the nail in the coffin because they strayed from their theme.

Obviously, we took the daytime tour. It’s less expensive than at night, but they told us that only 7 of the signs actually work. The rest are lit up by strobes along the path.

And there are so many smaller signs and random letters strewn about that I feel like you’d miss a lot if you came at night, since they would be in the shadows of the larger signs.

 

They also don’t let you bring tripods or monopods or even different lenses if you have an SLR. You get one camera. Not even a phone and a camera. One.

So unless you have a REALLY good camera that can pretty much see in the dark or has really good image stabilization, I’d say go in the daytime. Because look at this scene, with only one light to light up this entire section, I doubt it’d be very easy to shoot at night.

They arranged the letters in “Moulin Rouge” to spell “in love.” Except it’s actually “in loue.” She made it sound like it was a coincidence. Right. I’m pretty sure those are bolted in place. That was on purpose.

The only sign in the entire park to actually say Las Vegas is the Las Vegas Club sign.

Overall, it was definitely worth seeing, but not quite worth $18. We wish they would have given options, like $10 to just walk around and take pictures. Then $6 for an audio guide. Put a placard by the major signs with a little blurb (like paintings in a museum) and a number to enter on the audio guide to learn more about the history. Then they don’t have to pay for a tour guide and if they’re really worried about people touching stuff, just put a few guards around the park like a real museum.

And then you can allow video because you won’t have to stress about people recording the tour guide. I’m seriously really bummed that I couldn’t make a YouTube video out of this. 🙁

This day’s not over yet! Keep reading here: Leaving Las Vegas

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