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Look Inside The Natural History Museum in Las Vegas!

Key Points:

  • The Natural History Museum offers a diverse set of exhibits that range from sealife to life in ancient Egypt.
  • Overall, I felt the museum felt a bit dated, dusty, and “thin”.
  • Although it only cost $12, the museum experience left me underwhelmed.

The Natural History Museum is often overlooked by tourists, despite its close proximity to Fremont Street (5 minutes by car).

The museum is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate and aims to promote “an appreciation and understanding of global life forms, past and present”.

Today, the Natural History Museum boasts a number of exhibits that cover topics like Ancient Egypt, marine life, prehistoric creatures, and animals by geography.

I was recently in the area checking out The Old Mormon Fort (which is next door) and figured it would be fun to swing by to check things out with the intent of sharing the experience with you.

Natural History Museum Cost

Tickets to the Natural History Museum in Las Vegas cost $12 for adults and $6 for kids aged 3-11.

There’s a $2 discount available for students, seniors, and members of the military.

An ample amount of free parking is available steps away from the entrance.

My Experience at The Natural History Museum

It usually makes sense to split these reviews up into a rundown of both “pros” and “cons”, as there are things that fall into both categories.

Let’s start with the good.

Things I Liked

Several Engaging Exhibits: I found several exhibits and displays within the Natural History Museum to be interesting and fun to explore.

The best, in my opinion, was the King Tut exhibit which provided an education on ancient Egypt and the discovery of King Tut’s Tomb.

The exhibit allows visitors to explore a small Egyptian village that details aspects of daily life, explains the importance of the Nile River, features a neat display that explains Egypt’s social structure, and provides a glimpse into a recreation of King Tut’s tomb.

Two golden statues depicting ancient egyptions stand guard at the entrance to the exhibit.
A mocked up ancient Egyptian villiage that can be explored with a home, market, and trees overhead.
A crack in the tomb wall, allowing me to see a golden statue inside the mock tomb.
A break in the wall of the mock tomb that provides visual of a large golden box.

Another exhibit that captured my attention was dedicated to sea life. Although the physical exhibit space left something to be desired (more on that below), there were live animals in aquariums and a shallow pool with live sharks that were interesting to observe.

A shallow circular pool with a few small sharks swimming in it.
Illuminated fish tanks line the back wall, and an interactive sand table for kids is in the middle of the room.

Of course, seeing life-sized dinosaurs is always an awe-inspiring experience.

A life sized TRex figure stands tall in the middle of the dinosaur exhibit.
Several life size dinosaurs pose in the dinosaur exhibit.

In a section of the museum dedicated to kids, there was a room full of live animals and bugs that was really fun to check out. There, you’ll be able to see guinea pigs, lizards, turtles, tarantulas, scorpions, snakes, and fish.

While it kind of had “budget pet store vibes”, I’m always down to peep at some little critters.

A room with many aquariums stacked along the walls that contain a diverse array of animals and bugs.
A snake clings to a log inside a cage.
Two furry guinea pigs rest inside an aquarium.

The grossest creatures, that legitimately made me gasp, were the hissing cockroaches pictured below.

An aquarium jam packed with hundreds of brown cockroaches.

Here are a few more pictures from inside the Natural History Museum in Las Vegas:

Two stuffed giraffes stand along the entrance hall.
A large bald eagle statue in flight.
An exhibit dedicated to geology with a number of rock specimens on display behind glass.
A number of animal skeletons and skulls on display.
Animal skeletons, to include the skeleton of a standing cave bear on display.
The outof Africa display with human like primates posed, and a TV playing an informational video.
Stuffed bighorn sheep rest on a rock in a desert wildlife display.

What’s Not to Like?

Many Exhibits Felt “Dated”: The museum didn’t exactly have a modern feel – Certain elements just felt old, dusty, and/or from a different era… not sure exactly how to describe it.

Much of the museum just felt tired and uninspiring.

Some Exhibits in Disrepair: This was especially evident in a room dedicated to kids that offered a number of interactive activities. While some of the activities worked well, others didn’t.

It was also evident throughout the museum that many displays, fixtures, and infrastructure were in need of a facelift.

A room full of childrens activies at the Natural HIstory Museum.

Thin Content: Some rooms and exhibits felt like filler, with a few artifacts, stacked aquariums, animals, etc. to look at… but minimal supplementary information.

Even rooms and exhibits I otherwise enjoyed seemed to be light on context.

An example of this is the marine life room – I felt as though the space was underutilized, and what was there was labeled with minimal information.

The shallow shark pool was a unique touch, but there wasn’t much other information aside from the types of sharks that were there.

I was able to breeze through pretty quickly, as there wasn’t much to absorb.

The marine life room at the Natural history Museum
A lot of real estate to take advantage of.
A large whale vertibrae under glass.
See what I mean? “Whale Vertebra”… Just not much information…
Shark memrobelia and products in a display case.
Shark Products. Is it interesting? meh.

Another example of thin content was the African animal room in the basement. While the staged scenes were unique, I was able to breeze through the placards in under 5 minutes.

There just isn’t a ton to digest.

A stuffed Rhino stands alonside stuffed primates in an African animal scene.
Two stuffed lions take down a horned animal in a staged scene.

The Verdict: Is the Natural History Museum in Las Vegas Worth Visiting?

I’ll get straight to the point – The Natural History Museum left me unimpressed and wanting more.

It’s not that it wasn’t worth the money – $12 is next to nothing. It’s that it wasn’t worth my time in a city with a lot of entertainment competition.

While there are certainly a few neat exhibits to explore and things to see, the museum as a whole was tired, dated, dusty, and with all due respect, not overly interesting.

In my museum reviews, I always like to point out that the best museums use multiple forms of media to convey information.

They leverage artifacts, creative visuals, interactive stations, video, audio, placards, and more to convey information in fresh ways that can appeal to various learning styles. No two exhibits are exactly the same and there is something new around every corner.

In my opinion, The Natural History Museum fell short on that front and is in desperate need of modernization.

In fairness, not everyone agrees with my assessment. The Natural History Museum has earned a solid 4/5 stars on TripAdvisor after 275+ reviews, with many espousing how much their kids enjoyed visiting.

My opinion aside, it’s tough to beat a $12 attraction ($6 for kids), making this a possible itinerary candidate for those looking for cheap kid-friendly activities near Fremont Street.

I’m of the opinion, however, that there are better options.

Here are a few museum attractions in Las Vegas that I think are better options:

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