The Barbie brand and its lineup of dolls have been a staple in toy boxes around the world since 1959.
Uniquely, the dolls themselves, their careers, fashion choices, and accessories have changed pretty dramatically over the years, mirroring society.
The Barbie Cultural Icon Exhibition at Crystals in Las Vegas is a museum-like attraction those changes and puts them on display.
Now, I know you’re wondering if you can trust a middle-aged man’s Barbie Exhibit review. My expertise lies in the fact that I’ve personally purchased hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of barbie dolls, equipment, houses, and vehicles for my 2 daughters that are obsessed.
I also commonly review attractions in Las Vegas that I’m not necessarily the target market for. My intent is to assess them through the lens of those that are. Ultimately, I want to give you a peek inside to help you determine if an attraction is worthy of a slot in your itinerary.
Of course, I took a ton of pictures during my visit which I’ll share.
Barbie: A Cultural Icon Exhibition Cost
Tickets to Barbie: A Cultural Icon Exhibition cost $24.95 if you buy in person at the attraction (they don’t have a web presence).
Before buying, I would recommend pricing out Barbie tickets on Vegas.com, which can often be slightly cheaper.
My Experience at the Barbie Exhibition
When I visited, I bought a ticket and was whisked right through the small retail area into the exhibit. There weren’t any crowds and I essentially had the place to myself.
The attraction is laid out in chronological order, starting with the earliest incarnations of Barbie, and moving through time to the present day.
As I moved along, there were a few main themes and features that were especially engaging and fun to explore:
Going in, I kind of figured the Barbie Exhibit would exclusively be dolls in cases but was pleasantly surprised to find several TVs playing commercials from decades past.
It’ll be another dose of nostalgia for those that saw them air in real-time, and the audio/visual content enhanced the exhibit as a whole.
Obviously, a lot has changed since 1959 as it relates to race in America, and the Barbie exhibit showcased how the brand embraced diversity.
On display was Christie, their first Black doll (1968), the first Black and Hispanic dolls that were actually named Barbie (1980), and a display case showcasing the current line’s diversity.
I know firsthand that one of Barbie’s main appeals is fashion and the ability to buy outfits and accessorize.
Obviously, “what’s in” fashion-wise has changed considerably over the years, and those trends were on display as you make your way around the exhibit.
The fashion displays extended beyond trends and included partnerships with influential designers that brought their unique style to Barbie over the years.
Look, I own like 6 total shirts. I’m no fashionista, but I thought it was really cool to see how the world of fashion has evolved over the years.
As a father of two girls, I appreciate how the Barbie brand has been used to introduce kids to various career options, many of which have been historically dominated by men.
Representation matters, and I think it’s helpful to see someone who looks like you in aspirational roles, even if it’s just a doll. It plants an early seed, effectively conveying that women are capable of anything when they grow up.
It was interesting to see how the roles depicted changed considerably over the decades, starting with “traditionally female” roles in the 60s (minus Barbie in space) and transitioning to a more inspiring “we can do anything” tone as time marched on.
Information on “The Dream Gap Project” was also on display, which pointed out that “Research shows that starting at age 5 many girls stop believing they can be anything”. The Dream Gap Project was launched in 2018 to change that.
There were a couple of unique photo opportunities that may be worthy of your vacation photo album as well.
The first is life-sized “doll boxes” scattered about the venue that allows you to look like a packaged doll.
The other is the chance to take the wheel of a real-life Barbie Corvette. Pretty unique!
Is The Barbie Exhibit in Las Vegas Worth the Money?
Those that grew up playing with the early edition Barbies on display will find value here.
If you’re an adult that grew up on this stuff, then the Barbie Exhibition in Las Vegas will be a nostalgic walk down memory lane as you’re reminded of the dolls, outfits, and accessories that you loved as a kid. Well worth the money.
While the Barbie Exhibit may seem like the perfect thing to do in Vegas with kids, the ones I saw appeared to be bored. While older kids may get some value, younger kiddos may not be as interested. After all, it’s essentially a museum where you’re unable to touch or play with the toys.
Obviously, it goes without saying that those that weren’t passionate about Barbie to begin with are better off leaving the exhibit off of their itinerary.
As museum attractions in Las Vegas go, I was impressed with Barbie: A Cultural Icon Exhibition. It was laid out in a way that made sense, was visually appealing, leveraged video and audio, and provided a genuinely interesting education.
I left feeling even better about my girls’ obsession with the brand and what it communicates to them about what women are capable of.
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I’m a former software salesman turned Vegas aficionado. While the craps table is my preferred habitat, I pull myself away to explore new attractions, shows, restaurants, and outdoor activities around Las Vegas with the intent of sharing my experiences.
Ultimately, I just want to help folks plan a better trip and save a few bucks in the process.