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Atomic Testing Museum

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East of the strip

From the city that once trotted out atomic pin-up girls in mushroom-cloud swimsuits for cheesy publicity stills comes a one-of-a-kind insight into the Nevada Test Site, the US's principal on-continent nuclear weapons testing facility from 1951 to 1992. The story it tells is fascinating: how nuclear power came to represent the future in the USA, how it came to be something approaching a tourist attraction in this most carefully blasé of states, and - most crucially, and in layman's terms - how it actually works. The headline exhibit is the motion-simulator that endeavours to give visitors a taste of what it must have been like to sit in on one of the several hundred tests carried out at the site between 1951 and 1992. But the real keys to the museum's success are the clarity with which it tells its tale (chronologically, through a succession of themed rooms), and the eye-popping quality of the exhibits (some kitsch, some terrifying). The last two or three rooms essentially comprise an advertorial for nuclear power, which doesn't sit well after what's gone before. But this is still comfortably the most interesting and enlightening museum in the city.

Name: Atomic Testing Museum
Address: 755 E Flamingo Road
Las Vegas

Cross Street: between Swenson Street & Paradise Road
Venue phone: 702 794 5151
Website: http://www.atomictestingmuseum.org
Opening hours: 9am-5pm Mon-Sat; 1-5pm Sun.
Transport: Bus 202
Price: Admission $12; $9 reductions; free under-6s.
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