Las Vegas, Things To Do in Las Vegas

The Best Museums & Exhibits In Las Vegas (Including Free & Family Friendly Options)

las vegas museums and exhibits

Las Vegas may be known as a land of indulgence that caters to any whim no matter how weird or wild, but it also offers activities from the more moderate end of the spectrum. Enter museums—the perfect way to spend a hot day in Vegas leisurely learning about the past, the arts, and local culture in the comfort of a temperature-controlled space.

Las Vegas boasts a number of odd and interesting museum options, including the Haunted Museum, Hollywood Cars Museum, and the Erotic Heritage Museum. It also offers some less racy and outlandish museums for those looking for some non-weird, family-friendly options.

Here are our favorite museums, including history and science museums in Las Vegas, as well as art museums in Las Vegas.

History & Science Museums in Las Vegas

As a city and state located in a desert, Las Vegas and Nevada both have a fascinating history and some of the most unique flora and fauna in the country—after all, the people, animals, and plants that call this place home have had to adapt to some seriously harsh conditions. Learn more about the past, culture, and environment of the area at these museums:

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

dinosaur exhibit at las vegas natural history museum
Image Source: kennejima via Wikimedia Commons.

Location: 900 Las Vegas Blvd N, Las Vegas, NV

  • Not free

$12 per adult, $6 per child (children 2 years of age and younger are free)

  • Not on the Strip

Too far north to be within the officially designated “Strip” area of South Las Vegas Blvd.

  • Kid-friendly

Who doesn’t love a trip to a Natural History Museum? The LVNHM features the classic exhibits you expect (and enjoy!) at most Natural History Museums, as well as some Nevada-specific features. Spend an exciting and educational day strolling around the:

  • Prehistoric life gallery
  • Treasures of Egypt—one of two exhibits in existence made up of recreations authorized by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities!
  • Marine life gallery
  • African savanna gallery
  • International wildlife gallery
  • Wild Nevada Gallery
  • Prehistoric Mammals Gallery
  • Geology Gallery

Learn more about what the Las Vegas Natural History Museum has to offer.

DISCOVERY Children’s Museum

Discovery Childrens Museum Las Vegas

Location: 360 Promenade Place, Las Vegas, NV

  • Not free

$14.50 for all non-local patrons.

  • Not on the Strip
  • Kid-friendly

For those with children, you can spend some time exploring and learning at the many levels and exhibits of the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum.

Exhibits include:

  • The Summit—a 70 foot tower located inside the museum with interactive exhibits
  • Fantasy Festival—dress up as a pirate, prince or princess at this exhibit that features a pirate ship, castle and more.
  • Eco City—an environmentally friendly mini-city
  • Patents Pending—a lab where kids can tackle engineering and design challenges
  • Toddler Town
  • Water World
  • Solve It!—encourages kids to explore and solve mysteries
  • Young at Art
  • Discovery Lab

Learn more about events & activities to enjoy at DISCOVERY Children’s Museum.

Springs Preserve

springs preserve botanical garden las vegas nevada
Image Source: Renee Grayson via Flickr.

Location: 333 S Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas, NV

  • Not free

General admission to Springs Preserve includes both the Origen Museum and the Nevada State Museum

  • Not on the Strip
  • Kid-friendly

Springs Preserve is not a museum itself, but it is home to the Nevada State Museum, which offers exhibits such as:

  • A permanent gallery that explores the history and geology of the Great Basin, from prehistory to present.
  • Eclectic Nevada

The Nevada State Museum is also home to other changing exhibits. Check out what’s on now.

It also houses the Origen Museum, a portmanteau of “original” and “generations”. This museum has more than 75 permanent exhibits, including:

  • Flash flood exhibit
  • Live animal exhibits
  • Hoover Dam exhibit
  • Land auction exhibit

While you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of what Springs Preserve has to offer, such as:

  • Botanical gardens
  • Butterfly Habitat
  • Playground & splash pad
  • Nature exchange (temporarily closed for renovations—reopening Fall 2021)
  • Trails, train rides & bike rentals

And more! Visit Springs Preserve to see a full list of what they have available.

Clark County Museum

clark county museum near las vegas nevada
Image Source: Ron Mader via Flickr.

Location: 1830 S. Boulder Highway, Henderson, NV

  • Not free

But it’s only $2 for adults, $1 for kids & seniors.

  • Not on the Strip
  • Kid-friendly

Located in nearby Henderson, the Clark County Museum is full of interesting historical exhibits, offering a unique experience as you stroll around a recreation of historic Clark County. Be sure to check out:

  • Heritage Street—a unique collection of historic homes, restored to recreate the lifestyles of important periods in local history
  • Replicated 1900s newspaper print shop
  • The 1932 Boulder City Depot, featuring a 1918 Union Pacific steam engine and caboose
  • The mining exhibit
  • A resurrected ghost town

Some exhibits, such as the fun and fascinating “Obsolete Objects”, regularly change. Check out what’s on now.

Nevada Southern Railway Museum

nevada southern railway museum in las vegas
Image Source: Tomás Del Coro via Flickr.

Location:601 Yucca St., Boulder City,, NV

  • Not free

Some activities are free on certain days, check website for more info.

  • Not on the Strip
  • Kid-friendly

All aboard! Next stop is the Nevada Southern Railway Museum in Boulder City, just 10 minutes away from the Clark County Museum. Trains played a big role in North American history, and there is nothing more wholesome than a museum dedicated to trains and their tracks. At the Nevada Southern Railway Museum you can ride the rails in a genuine steam engine, view model railroads, or even be an engineer for an hour.

Check out what other activities NSRM has to offer.

Art Museums in Las Vegas

There are many small galleries and exhibits located in Casino & Hotels or among stores along the Strip, such as:

  • The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
  • The Gallery at ARIA
  • The Art of Richard MacDonald at O by Cirque du Soleil

And more! But for a full art museum experience, there is one place to see:

Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art

Location: 4505 S Maryland Pkwy, UNLV, Las Vegas, NV

  • Free

Voluntary contribution.

  • Not on the Strip
  • Kid-friendly

While history and historical art in particular can be fun and awe-inspiring, sometimes it’s important (and beneficial) to check out the artwork that is being created today.

In Vegas, you can find artwork from contemporary and up-and-coming artists, as well as some from the recent past, at the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art (AKA The Barrick) at the University of Las Vegas. It is home to several galleries hosting different collections and exhibits and boasts free admission (voluntary contribution recommended at $5 for adults, $2 for kids & seniors).

Exhibits change regularly. Check out what’s on now.

Conclusion

Museums are a great way to spend time getting to know the area you are visiting during your vacation. Enjoy a perfectly normal day pursuing some of Las Vegas’ most impressive historical, cultural, and artistic offerings at non-weird museums such as:

  • Las Vegas Natural History Museum
  • Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art
  • DISCOVERY Children’s Museum
  • Springs Preserve (Nevada State Museum & Origen Museum)
  • Clark County Museum
  • Nevada Southern Railway Museum

For more museums to visit, check out 9 Weird & Wonderful Las Vegas Museums.

Featured Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash.

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About Ria Borja

Ria is a Customer Experience Manager at Canyon Tours and an avid lover of the outdoors. When she isn't helping other travelers check destinations and dream vacations off their bucket lists, she's busy exploring the Southwest. Her favorite place to visit is (unsurprisingly!) the Grand Canyon.

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