What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, as the saying goes, but things in Vegas sure don't stay the same. In Sin City, new attractions up the ante for visitors year after year. Case in point: In spring 2012, Wayne Newton is slated to open his estate, Casa de Shenandoah, to fans who want a firsthand look at the lifestyle of Mr. Las Vegas himself. Until then, though, you can still find plenty of new ways to scratch that old Las Vegas itch.
1. The Mob Museum
New in February 2012, the Mob Museum — from the same people behind the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. — recounts the history that put the "sin" in Sin City. Housed downtown in a former post office, it covers the history of organized crime in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Interactive exhibits and theater-style installations spill the beans on the fascinating stories surrounding such mobsters as Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel and John Gotti as well as their counterparts in law enforcement.
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2. Nevada State Museum
Located at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve, the Nevada State Museum reopened to the public in October 2011 after moving from Lorenzi Park across town. Displays in the 70,000-square-foot facility tell the Silver State's story — from its geological beginnings and desert ecosystems to the ascent of Las Vegas. Along the way, you'll also learn about the Hoover Dam, atomic testing and the Rat Pack, among other things.
3. The Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus
Open in January 2012, the Chuck Jones Experience is truly an attraction for the young at heart. It showcases the work of the late animator extraordinaire behind such Looney Tunes characters as Wile E. Coyote and Pepé Le Pew. The permanent installation includes displays on the man and his work, a theater, a room full of 3-D cartoon-character sculptures, and a workshop where you can create your own sound effects and record voice-overs.
4. Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace's 668-room Octavius Tower features its own entrance, a sports complex and luxurious guest rooms with all the trimmings. The January 2012 opening marks the completion of $860 million in hotel upgrades. And this is just an appetizer: Slated to open in 2013 is Caesars' Linq, an entertainment district with shops, restaurants and the world's largest observation wheel — the High Roller.
5. Fremont Street Flightlinez
See Glitter Gulch from a whole new vantage point when you soar over downtown Las Vegas on a zip line. Freemont Street Flightlinez originally opened in 2010 as a temporary attraction. A permanent structure, open in spring 2011, extends the ride an additional two blocks to Main Street. It's a hair-raising but safe experience for people of all ages.
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