By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse
The Las Vegas strip tends to take center stage in this neck of the woods, but there are plenty of other unique, fun and even family-friendly things to do if you are stationed at either Nellis AFB or Creech AFB.
#1 Check out the Thunderbirds
The USAF Thunderbirds are the third-oldest formal flying aerobatic team in the world, and they call Nellis AFB home. The Air Force maintains a Thunderbirds Museum on base which includes a full-size F-16 “Gate Guard” on display.
#2 Visit The Mob Museum
This downtown museum is officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement. Housed in the former Las Vegas Post Office and Courthouse built in 1933 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this museum features the artifacts, stories, and history of organized crime in the United States, as well as the actions and initiatives by law enforcement to prevent such crimes.
#3 Take Your Picture at the World-famous Las Vegas Sign
The sign is iconic and a must for scrapbookers. Get more of your neon sign fix at the Neon Museum. This unique museum provides guided tours and houses many of the historic neon signs from the last fifty years on the Vegas Strip.
#4 Take Advantage of the Great Outdoors
Clark County has a lot of parks if you like the outdoors. Most parks include a splash pad which is a lot of fun for the kids. There are little “pack a picnic and play” parks, as well as parks featuring amphitheaters, koi ponds, dog parks, unique toys and learning, and more.
The Clark County Wetland Park provides educational, recreational, and research opportunities to the public and it’s free!
The Springs Preserve is a nature exhibit that offers kids camps in the summer, nature and wildlife activities, and events all year round.
The Shark Reef along with Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat are two fabulous aquariums in the area.
#5 Take a spin around the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
The Las Vegas Motor Speedway features nine different race tracks, as well as three unique driving experiences. You can get behind the wheel and take a spin in your favorite luxury vehicle or drive a NASCAR-style stock car. This makes for an excellent gift for the racer in your life!
#6 Hiking and Camping Fun
From the many scenic trails to the gorgeous national parks, there are plenty of options for hikers or campers. Hiking the gorgeous trails or snow skiing at Mount Charleston and Lake Mead, there are many options to entertain the family outdoors.
#7 The Grand Canyon
Yes, it is a four-hour drive from Nellis AFB, but it is worth the 250-mile drive. There is simply nothing that rivals the Grand Canyon, and you shouldn’t miss this chance to check it off your bucket list. Check with Nellis AFB MWR for more information to help you plan a trip.
#8 The Hoover Dam
Another bucket list item, the Hoover Dam is only an hour’s drive from Nellis AFB. While there, visit Lake Mead. The area offers biking, boating, fishing, hunting, educational classes “parks as classrooms,” wildlife, marinas, canoeing, kayaking, camping and resorts if you are more of a “glamper.”
#9 Visit Chumlee at the Famous Pawn Shop
You too can join the more than 3,500 people that line up each day to visit the most famous Pawn Shop in the world. The cable reality TV show ‘Pawn Stars’ is shot in the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop at 713 S Las Vegas Blvd. It is free to visit, and parking is also free. It is one of the top non-gaming tourist attractions in the Las Vegas area.
#10 Take a Spin on the High Roller
At 550-feet tall, the High Roller Ferris Wheel is currently the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. Located on the Las Vegas Strip the giant wheel is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Each 225-square-foot glass cabin is equipped with eight flat-screen televisions and an iPod dock. It takes 30 minutes for one full revolution on the wheel.
Carla Olivo has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel and their two children.Carla Olivo