SEMA News—November 2013
By Steve Campbell
Photography Courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau
Good Times in Las Vegas
Taking Advantage of the Recreational Possibilities
Car Guy (and Gal) Attractions
The Richard Petty Driving Experience: Located minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, The Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Las Vegas Speedway allows participants to take command of the wheel and experience the thrill of driving a NASCAR race car. The Speedway is a modern motorsports facility that offers several competition courses for drivers looking to improve their skills. Location: 7055 Speedway Blvd., Las Vegas. Information is here or call 800-237-3889.
Fast Lap Indoor Kart Racing: Be there when the checkers fall! Fast Lap Las Vegas is within walking distance of the Strip for wheel-to-wheel racing at 40 miles per hour—which seems plenty fast when your keister is inches from the ground. Each heat allows 13 adults to compete in timed and recorded races, and Fast Lap is open from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Location: 4288 S. Polaris Ave, Suite 109, Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-736-8113
Pole Position Raceway: The karting at Pole Position Raceway offers another competition option. Standard races last about 10 minutes, with separate categories for adults and kids, and there are group and party packages that feature reserved times for private racing in two-, three- and four-race formats. There are also options for even larger groups that wish to rent the whole facility. Location: 4175 S. Arville, Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-227-7223.
Bitter Springs Trail Backcountry Byway: Four-wheel drive is recommended on this 28-mile route that runs from Valley of Fire State Park to North Shore Drive in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The trail traverses dry washes and skirts desert streams, abandoned mines and rare geological formations along the way. Information is here or call 775-861-6500.
Gold Butte Back Country Byway: The 62-mile Gold Butte Back Country Byway begins five miles south of Mesquite, about 90 miles outside of Las Vegas, and offers views of native desert wildlife, colored sandstone, sinkholes and ancient petroglyphs. The small town of Gold Butte was mined for copper, gold, zinc and lead beginning in the early 1900s, and the byway also passes a forest of Joshua trees. High-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. Information is here or call 775-861-6500.
Las Vegas Strip Scenic Byway: This tour of the Vegas Strip passes by the hotel and casino landmarks that have become synonymous with the city: an Egyptian pyramid, a medieval castle, the New York City skyline, a Roman temple, the Eiffel Tower, dancing water and an erupting volcano. This route has been designated as an All-American Road. Information is here or call 702-892-0711.
Red Rock Canyon Backcountry Byway: If you’re looking for something a little more pastoral, check out this scenic loop through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, which is found 12 miles west of Las Vegas off State Route 159. The paved roadway includes self-guided trails, picnic areas and vista pullouts. There is a fee of $5 per vehicle, which is used for improvements to the site. Information is here or call 702-515-5000.
Valley of Fire Scenic Byway: Replete with campgrounds, hiking trails and picnic grounds—and only 30 minutes from Las Vegas—the Valley of Fire is like a stone chameleon that changes color as the day progresses. Best viewing times are sunrise and sunset, when the rocks practically glow. Bring your camera. Information is here or call 702-397-2088.
Art and Museums
National Atomic Testing Museum: Atomic bombs were exploded just 65 miles from Las Vegas at the Nevada Test Site, which was the major nuclear testing facility in the United States from 1951–1992. The 8,000-sq.-ft. museum features video displays and galleries that explain the background behind the tests and the environmental impacts that led to the end of testing throughout the world. Location: 755 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-794-5151.
Arts Factory: Artists, architects, photographers and graphic designers rent space and work in this 50-year-old commercial warehouse that shelters a crafts cornucopia and is located near downtown Las Vegas in the 18b Arts District. In addition to artists and galleries, the building houses several bars and retailers. Location: 105 E. Charleston Blvd, Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-383-3133.
Bodies...The Exhibition: This exhibition displays real human bodies treated with a process called polymer preservation. The exhibits provide detailed, 3D views of human anatomy, with 13 whole bodies and more than 200 organs and partial bodies. The bodies are respectfully presented, “giving visitors the opportunity to view the beauty and complexity of their own organs and systems.” Location: Luxor Hotel and Casino, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas. Information is here or call 800-557-7428.
Las Vegas Natural History Museum: If you’re more into animals other than humans, visit the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. It includes displays on dinosaurs, marine life (including whales and sharks) and international wildlife as well as wild Nevada, the African savanna and rainforests. Location: 900 Las Vegas Blvd. North, Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-384-3466.
Madame Tussauds Las Vegas: You may not get to gawk at the world’s most famous celebrities in the flesh, but you can see immaculate wax representations at Madame Tussauds; there are more than 100 models. Location: The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, 3377 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 2001, Las Vegas. Information is here or call 866-841-3739.
The Mob Museum: This museum showcases organized crime’s origins in Las Vegas with theater presentations, artifacts and interactive exhibits. It provides an insider’s look at the events and people involved in both the law-enforcement and mob sides of the story. Location: 300 Stewart Ave., Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-229-2734.
Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas: This museum interprets the history of Nevada, dating from millions of years ago to the present. With displays on geology, flora and fauna, it also includes information about Native Americans, pioneers, early settlers and local landmarks. Location: 309 South Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-486-5205.
Titanic—The Artifact Exhibition: The 25,000-sq.-ft. exhibit features items such as luggage, an unopened bottle of 1900 vintage champagne and a full-scale re-creation of the Grand Staircase. Visitors even have a chance to walk through authentically re-created first- and third-class rooms, with furnishings by original manufacturers. Location: Luxor Hotel and Casino, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas. Information is here or call 800-557-7428.
The Great Outdoors
Golf in Vegas: There is a huge variety of golf courses in and around Las Vegas, including the Arroyo Golf Club at Red Rock; the Bali Hai, Mandalay Bay; the Rhodes Ranch Golf Club; the Snow Mountain course at Paiute Golf Resort; the TPC Las Vegas and dozens more. The well-kept fairways, water features and lush vegetation make each one a treasure. Information is here.
Hoover Dam and Lake Mead: For boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, wildlife and sightseeing all year long, Hoover Dam and Lake Mead offer great recreation. Located about 30 miles southeast of Vegas, the Visitor Center is open every day. Alongside Hoover Dam is the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge crossing the Colorado River—the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States. Information: www.nps.gov/lake or call 702-293-8990.
For Kids of All Ages!
Vegas Indoor Skydiving: You can fly! At least you can in this vertical wind tunnel with either a single flight session or as a participant in a personalized coaching program. It’s said to be a popular training resource for sport skydivers, competition teams and military units. Location: 200 Convention Center Dr., Las Vegas. Information is here or call 877-LUV2FLY.
Only In Vegas
Fremont Street Experience: Las Vegas got its start in 1905, and Fremont was the first paved street. The Freemont Street Experience is a bounty of the sights and sounds that have evolved ever since: legendary casinos, free entertainment, old-fashioned gambling, hospitality, famous bands and strolling showgirls. See where it all began. Location: 425 Fremont St., Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-678-5777.
Springs Preserve: Just three miles from the Las Vegas Strip, get a look at the natural beauty of this part of the world, with science and nature exhibits, botanical gardens, hiking, trails and live animal shows. There’s A/C inside, with more than 300 interactive exhibits, and 1.6 miles of walking trails outside that include animal exhibits and a children’s play area. Location: 333 S. Valley View Blvd., Las Vegas. Information is here or call 702-822-7700.