Feb 25, 2014

Two new places to visit in Vegas

John and I visit Las Vegas frequently because we have family there.  There is always something new and different to do – something other than gambling.  This time we visited the new Mob Museum where the true story of the mob is revealed along with the myths and legends. The Mob Museum opened on Valentine’s Day 2012 in the very building where some of the Kefauver Committee hearings to investigate organized crime were held in the early 1950s.  The courtroom has been restored to the way it looked during the hearings.

When we got into the elevator to take us to the third floor where we wanted to start our tour a video informed us of our Miranda Rights. It set the mood! The third floor is where the story of the mob starts with the history of the mob in America. The mob created a “shortcut out of the ghetto” to the American Dream for many new immigrants. When the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibited the making and sale of alcohol it was the perfect enterprise – albeit illegal - for the mob. It was the fuel that led to the development of a National Crime Syndicate in the United

States. At one point Meyer Lansky, dubbed the “Mob’s Accountant,” quipped “We are bigger than U.S. Steel.” Gang wars broke out over control of the illegal trade. One of the most famous shootouts was the St. Valentine Massacre where seven men were gunned down. Incredibly, the museum has the actual wall where the “Massacre” took place. The second floor of the museum follows the development of the Las Vegas mob where, in the beginning, specific areas were set aside for gambling, drinking, and other vices.  

The bottom floor deals with the government’s attempt to
eliminate the Mob. It also includes the Mob’s connections with Bobby Kennedy, Cuba, and JFK’s assassination.  One display tells what happened to the “old” mobsters and where they are today. Some are dead and others are enjoying retirement – some in jail and some in luxury. The Mob Museum details organized crime today

To add some balance to our trip we took the grandkids to the
Lied Discovery Children’s Museum which opened in 2013 in a new location next to the Smith Center in Symphony Park. It has many family-orientated, hands-on learning experiences with a focus on science, the arts, and culture. It is a fun learning experience for all ages.  The Summit, a 70-foot climbing tower ascends all three floors with interactive activities along the way.  On the first level Waterworld was a real draw with the younger children as they splashed and learned about the power of water. In Fantasy Festival kids can climb the pirate ship and watch a stage show.  On Level Two “It’s Your Choice” we learned about making healthy lifestyle choices that ranged from exercise, using sun screen, and picking foods to eat or not to eat.

Our favorite area was on Level Three at “Solve it! Mystery Town.” A brief video challenged us to solve a mystery. We were given paper on which to record our “Field Notes” as we tried to use the clues as to what happened in the Mystery Town. It was a great exercise in problem solving. Also on the same level is “Patents Pending” where the grandkids designed and tested their “inventions” using the Drop Zone, Air Towers, and Quake Proof Testing.