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National Atomic Testing Museum
National Atomic Testing Museum Review
Today's Las Vegas is lit by neon, but during the Cold War, uranium and plutonium illuminated the area from time to time as well in the form of a roiling mushroom cloud in the distance. This museum, in association with the Smithsonian, commemorates southern Nevada's long and fascinating history of nuclear weapons research and testing with film footage and photographs of mushroom clouds; testimonials; and artifacts (including a deactivated bomb, twisted chunks of steel, and bomb-testing machinery from the Nevada Test Site). Alien lovers will love the newest exhibit, which debuted in early 2012 and spotlights (for a $6 surcharge) the top-secret suspected alien landing ground dubbed Area 51.
National Nuclear Security Administration. Group tours of the 1,375-square-mi Nevada Test Site—that's larger than the state of Rhode Island—take you onto the terrain for visits to test-site craters and observation points. The site is 65 miles northwest of Downtown, and each tour usually covers a total of 250 miles. To register for a tour, contact the Nevada office of the National Nuclear Security Administration. And be warned: Tours book up to a year in advance. 702/295–0944. www.nv.doe.gov/outreach/tours.aspx.
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