Though we're here in Las Vegas for David's mum, we're definitely not occupied 24x7, so we're always on the look-out for things to see and do that we haven't done before. Some attractions are pretty pricey here in Vegas, but others are free or offer significant discounts for locals. You know us … we search out the best entertainment for the least amount of bucks. It's part of our cruising nature and philosophy. After a little research, I learned about the Neon Museum and thought it might be worth a drive-by.
The Visitor's Center is the original lobby of the historic La Concha Motel. It's so 1960's with a curvi-linear, shell-shaped space-age Jetsonian design. (You remember the Jetsons, don't you?) It was originally constructed in 1961 on Las Vegas Boulevard and was saved from demolition in 2005 and became the Visitor's Center for the Neon Museum in 2006. Some of the original signs are still in the lobby. It's a bit surreal looking … think Flying Nun habit.
The Neon Museum bills itself as “Part history. Part art.” and it is. It's the world's largest collection of neon signs. What better place than Las Vegas for that? It has an “unrestored collection of over 150 rescued architectural landmarks from some of the city's most celebrated properties”. The museum maintains the collection in a 2-acre lot called “the Boneyard”. We wandered around the lobby for a bit, looking around. Unfortunately, the admission fee is $25/pp for a guided one-hour tour in the evening. A bit too rich for us. It was hard to even sneak a peek into the Boneyard with its high fences and heavy mesh.
In researching a little further, however, we found there was a free driving tour of nine restored signs mostly along Las Vegas Boulevard with a downloadable map and descriptions. Why not? The most impressive was the Hacienda Horse and Rider installed originally in 1967.
We spotted and photographed all nine of the signs. Each with its own story. Each with its own contribution to downtown Las Vegas' colorfully-lighted history.
In keeping with the 50-60's motif of the day, we stopped at Sonic Drive-In for a “hand-crafted milkshake”. Sonic has been around since the early 1950s and we remember the girls on roller skates who used to serve at car side. The roller skates are gone, but the carhops still deliver your order right your car.
In keeping with our parsimonious natures, we waited till after 8pm when the milkshakes are 2-for-1. We figured this was our reward for … well, really, who needs a reason for a milkshake?