When we escape, we shed our introvert persona in the most subtle ways. We know we’re escaping to something we totally geek out about so we’re in our element. We have no problem doing things alone, in fact some times we prefer that so we don’t have to engage in all that small talk. Give us a damn good conversation that goes beyond the weather and the latest jargon and we are in…
So off I go to geek out at the Neon Boneyard. As I already said what Vegas lacks in sophistication and culture it surely makes up for in glitz and excess but it does have history. There’s no denying that and I’m a history geek so the Neon Boneyard fit me to a tee.
It’s easy to get one of the ubiquitous cabs and it turns out it’s my first cabby’s first day. I look at the bellman…really? He confirmed, it’s the kid’s first day. What a joyful twenty minute ride. A young man with an accent I couldn’t place. He misses his family but didn’t share where they were. Please forgive me but I must use the GPS… he was incredibly cautious and sloooowwww. We chatted about Vegas, how it’s no place to be in the summer. And he hopes to be in school by then. But so what, we made it by the time my tour started. My guess would be confirmed later that my fare was a bit more than it probably should have been but we enjoyed each other’s company. Hopefully his confidence will grow and his self conscientiousness will subside. And a new life is in store for him.
From their website: In 2012 the Neon Museum Boneyard opened at 770 Las Vegas Boulevard North. The nearly two-acre campus includes an outdoor exhibition space, known as the Boneyard, which features more than 200 signs, seven of which are restored, a visitors’ center housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery which houses additional rescued signs and is used for weddings, special events, photo shoots and educational programs.
So basically we toured a lot full of broken down, pieces and shards and rust and chipped paint. I loved it. Our group was small, maybe 8-10 people and our guide was cool and knowledgeable. As I’m prone to do I hung behind and poked and snapped away.
From the website: The Museum includes nine restored signs which can be viewed as public art and visited on a self-guided tour twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The gallery includes the Lucky Cuss Motel, the Bow & Arrow Motel, The Silver Slipper, Society Cleaners, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Normandie Motel, the Hacienda horse and rider, the Landmark and 5th Street Liquors.
Some of the more prized refurbishments which may be retrofitted with led lights for the night tour. If you’re going to go, book your night tour as early in your visit as you can, it sells out quickly.
From their website: Most of our signs are exhibited in the Boneyard where they serve as inspiration to fascinated artists, students, historians and designers. It is home to some of the most treasured and world-famous signs of Las Vegas – Caesars Palace, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget and the Stardust.
The two-acre Musuem campus includes the adjacent Neon Boneyard Park, the Boneyard itself, which houses more than 200 historic signs, and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery which contains approximately 60 additional signs including signs from the Palms Casino Resort, New-New York, Lady Luck and O’Shea’s.
Each sign in the collection has a unique story about who created it, what inspired it, where and when it was made, and how it fits into the development of Las Vegas and the city’s rich history. Changes and trends in design and technology are also illustrated in the pieces that range from the 1930s to the present day.
As part of our guided tours of the Neon Boneyard, the signs can be viewed at ground level and up close. Each has been donated or loaned by individuals, businesses or sign companies.
A popular destination not only for events and weddings, but also photographers, film and production crews from around the world, the North Gallery enables the museum to keep up with growing demand and international attention the signs bring. It provides a picturesque backdrop not only for weddings and special events, but also commercial and commemorative photo shoots as well as educational programs. At this time the North Gallery is not available for guided tours.
There are people running this museum with the same dedication you’d expect from any non-profit trying to preserve history. It is worth your while to visit for the history but their enthusiasm is contagious. And the hour tour won’t seem long enough. But that’s ok you can stay as long as you like and then chat with them while they call you a cab.
What begins with a cab ride naturally had to end with a cab ride. This time, Manuel, a well seasoned cabby since 1982, first in California and now in Vegas, knew every shortcut and back road to land me at the front door of the Aria in at least 5 minutes less during rush hour. He knew a great deal about Fremont Street and “what goes on there”… and managed to give me a good education and highlight some sites along the way back. And yes it was cheaper, but I can assure you my tip was the same…