4pm - Midnight 7 days/week @Downtown | Old Vegas neon signs outdoor museum of restored and un-restored historical Las Vegas signs
Tickets available at Neonmuseum.org
About Neon Boneyard from Vegas.com
When tourists think of Las Vegas, naturally their memories flash back to its glittering lights. In addition, their first impression of the city often comes from the world's most famous neon attraction. Designed by Betty Willis, the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada" sign has been greeting visitors at the southern end of the Strip since 1959.
Neon signs, introduced in Las Vegas in 1929 at the Oasis Café on Fremont Street, enjoyed their heyday between the 1930s – 1980s. But as LED and LCD screens began taking over the Las Vegas Strip, many of the old signs were removed. About 20 years ago people from the Allied Arts Council and Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO), the manufacturer responsible for creating a number of the city's neon pieces, began collecting and preserving the old signs.
The Neon Museum was officially established in 1996, the city allocated space in downtown on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard for the Neon Boneyard. YESCO then donated its retired signs to the fledgling organization. About 40 percent of the Neon Museum's collection originated there, and items from newly imploded or remodeled properties are added continually.
The Neon Museum's visitors center is located adjacent to the curated collection of signs at the boneyard. The center is in the rehabilitated La Concha Motel lobby, the seashell-shaped, Mid-Century Modern building designed and built by architect Paul Revere Williams. The La Concha used to be located on the Las Vegas Strip next to the Riviera. It was saved from demolition in 2005 and relocated to the Boneyard to become the visitors center.
There's something surreal about seeing the skeletons of dearly loved signs from Vegas' past as they sit slowly decaying in the desert sun. You'll discover this at the museum's boneyard, the large outdoor lot that's the exhibit space of the Neon Museum. It's like a graveyard full of electronic fossils. But instead of burial, here retired signs get an afterlife. Saved from the dump, they can be viewed by visitors and their storied backgrounds can be retold.
The Boneyard encompasses two acres forming a divided rectangular parcel. Half of the space makes up the Boneyard. About 120 signs are there. They comprise the curated collection that the public can visit on a guided tour. The other half of the space serves as a staging area for commercial photographers and videographers. The Boneyard is fenced off and located directly behind the new visitors center. Adjacent to the Neon Museum is an additional acre of space being used by The Neon Boneyard Park. Along with benches, tables, a stage, informational kiosks and a parking area, there is a giant sign that welcomes visitors featuring replicas of letters from iconic casino signage.
We highly recommend visiting the museum in the evening hours. There are seven fully restored signs lit and displayed in the museum's boneyard including the La Concha Motel sign, but all the other signs have lights projected on them, making for a beautiful display.
If you're unable to visit the Neon Museum or you just want even more neon signage, check out the nine restored signs that have been placed on medians along Las Vegas Boulevard, between Bonanza Road and Washington Avenue as part of the Scenic Byways beautification plan. Although you can see them at any time of the day, these cultural icons truly shine in the evening.
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