Getting Exposed to Nukes at the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas
Harking back to the romantic, nuclear era of Las Vegas in the 1950s, the Atomic Testing Museum is a delightful diamond in the rough. In Vegas, mushroom clouds began going off within ear- and eye-shot just north of town, prompting every booster in town to promote the blasts -- until atomic atmospheric testing came to an end in the 1960s. At the museum, one often finds engineers on hand who have put in years at the Nevada Test Site and are happy to explain the dioramas and give the exhibits a sense of grounded reality. An on-site A-bunker offers an immersive experience of underground testing (halted in the mid-1990s), and the library here is open to the public for research. A whimsical gift shop sells nuke-messaged T-shirts, mugs, and fountain pens; not surprisingly, Fat Man and Little Boy keychains (nicknames of the bombs that decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, respectively, in 1945) are among the most popular trinkets.