Find out how Nevada played a major role in atomic bombs at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. Vegas even had Dawn Bomb Parties to view detonations!
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Last Updated: July 7, 2022
About the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas
The National Atomic Testing Museum is an affiliate partner of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum is unique because it’s one of only 27 national museums in the nation and the only museum in Nevada that is a Congressionally mandated national museum.
In the 8,000-square-foot museum, you’ll find one-of-a-kind exhibits and the rarest artifacts relating to the US atomic testing program. This includes over 16,000 official government and unofficial personal photos, and more than 3,500 artifacts.
Highlights are one of the original bombshells built for the Trinity gadget, one of the largest collections of survey meters covering 65 years, and a piece of the Berlin Wall. They even have the Ground Zero Theater where you can experience a simulation of an above-ground test. It’s pretty immersive and scary!
Tickets & Directions to the National Atomic Testing Museum
The National Atomic Testing Museum’s hours are Thursday to Tuesday 9:30 am – 3:00 pm (if you enter before 3, you can stay until 4:30 PM).
- General Adult Admission: $24
- Youth (7-14) Admission: $18
- Children Under 6: Free
- Seniors (62+): $20
- Students: $20
- Nevada Residents: $20
- Active Military: $18
National Atomic Testing Museum Address: 755 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119 (map)
Thankfully, they have their own parking lot making it easy when you arrive.
Making the Most of Your Visit at the National Atomic Testing Museum
The museum has a natural flow that is easy to follow. When you enter the building, the ticket counter is to your right. After getting your ticket, check out the Harry Reid Exhibit Hall to the left of the ticket counter. It’s a good place to start and where the Trinity gadget replica is. During our visit, the original bombshell was in the lobby, so be sure to check that out too!
Note: The videos they play in the Harry Reid Exhibit Hall are also available on YouTube (Ground Zero Theater simulation is not, so it’s a must during your visit!). You can get a link at the ticket counter.
Once you are done, start the rest of the museum to the right of the ticket counter. From here, you can’t get lost. Take the time you would like to check out the rest of the museum, which ends at their gift shop.
TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT
- On average, it takes 1-2 hours to get through the museum. We spent about 1.5 hours there.
- Don’t miss the Ground Zero Theater experience, which is right before you enter a tunnel.
- Make a reservation/buy tickets online, especially if you plan on visiting during the holidays or weekends.
- Bring a light layer. Don’t forget that when it’s scorching hot outside, most indoor attractions keep it cool in Vegas. Esther wore a short dress and could have used a light layer.
- We loved seeing the atomic-related memorabilia that showed how 1950s pop culture was impacted by the atomic age.
- The piece of the Berlin Wall is tucked in a corner near the end of the museum.
What are the museum’s hours of operation?
The National Atomic Testing Museum is open Thursday through Tuesday from 9:30 AM to 3 PM. If you enter before the doors close, you can stay until 4:30 PM.
How much is the Atomic Testing Museum?
General admission for adults is $24, children from 7-14 are $18, and kids under 6 are free. Discounted tickets for seniors 62+, students, and Nevada residents are $20, and active military personnel is $18.
Can you visit a nuclear test site?
The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) is a restricted-access government facility. Visitors must apply well in advance to attend a tour. You can find more details here. The tours are currently closed due to the pandemic.
Do I need a reservation to visit the museum?
No, although they recommend getting tickets online for weekends and holidays.
When is the museum closed?
The museum is closed on Wednesdays. They also close on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Is Las Vegas radioactive?
No, but the Nevada Test Site is still contaminated with roughly 11,100 PBq of radioactive material in the soil and 4,440 PBq in groundwater.
When did nuclear testing stop?
The United States’ last nuclear test was on September 23, 1992.
Can I visit Mercury Nevada?
Unfortunately, Mercury is a closed village since it is located within the Nevada National Security Site.
Who invented the nuclear bomb first?
J. Robert Oppenheimer is known as the father of the atomic bomb. He was an American theoretical physicist who was the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory during the Manhattan Project.
How many times has Nevada been nuked?
There were 1,021 nuclear detonations at the NNSS. 921 were underground tests.
Have you been to the National Atomic Testing Museum? What kind of museums do you like to visit?
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