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Archive for nevada

Valley of Fire

By Linda Tancs

Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park owes its name to fiery Aztec sandstone, which formed from shifting sand dunes during the Jurassic Period. Established in 1935, the park comprises over 40,000 acres dominated not only by its iconic outcrops but also by creosote bush, burro bush and brittlebush. Consider yourself lucky if you spot the desert tortoise, a rare species protected by state law. Temperatures are mild this time of year, making it a preferred time to visit.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Iconic Events in Reno

By Linda Tancs

Despite its competition, Reno, Nevada, has held on to its famous moniker “The Biggest Little City in the World.” Located by the Sierra Nevadas and Lake Tahoe, it’s known for its casinos, nearby ski resorts and vintage cars, to name a few things. What you might not know is that the Reno Tahoe region boasts a series of events from May to October dubbed “The Iconics.” Those experiences include a rodeo, a Shakespeare Festival at Lake Tahoe, hot air ballooning, air races and a taste of Italy.

The Last School Standing

By Linda Tancs

Fourth Ward School in Virginia City, Nevada, is the last Second Empire-style school building standing in the United States. Named for the ward in which it is situated, the school opened in 1876 to alleviate overcrowding in the heart of the Comstock Mining District. The distinctive four-story school with a mansard roof was a combination grammar and high school, designed to accommodate 1,025 students. It remained in use until a new school was completed in 1936. The Fourth Ward School Museum showcases the town’s history as one of the largest mining camps west of Denver. The venue is open from May through October.

Pinball Wizardry

By Linda Tancs

The world’s largest pinball collection is housed at the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas. It’s a museum of sorts but quite interactive; fun is mandatory here. Close to The Strip, it’s run by a veteran arcade operator. You’ll find 152 machines: Gottlieb, Bally, Williams and other makes. Solid-state and electro-mechanical. It’s all there, including the 1975 Bally Wizard, featuring pinball score glass art work with Ann-Margret and Roger Daltrey of The Who’s “Tommy” musical.

Down on the Ranch

By Linda Tancs

Less than a half hour from the bright lights of downtown Las Vegas is Spring Mountain Ranch State Park, a peaceful haven sporting a historic ranch house that was once home to luminaries of a different kind. Through the corridors once roamed millionaire Howard Hughes, German actress Vera Krupp and Chester Lauck of the comedy team Lum & Abner. Open for tours, the house features Hughes’ bar as well as personal belongings of Krupp.

Water, Music and Light

By Linda Tancs

Themed water shows are nothing new, but few of them consistently make the world’s top 10 lists.  Of that class, the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas rank supreme.  Over 1,000 water-emitting devices spout streams choreographed to light and musical routines ranging from classical to Broadway.  Running daily, it’s free, too.  Now you have something fabulous to see once you’ve donated all your money to the tables.

Tripping the Light Fantastic

By Linda Tancs

Neil Young sang that it’s better to burn out than to fade away.  When iconic neon signs in Las Vegas burn out, they don’t just fade away.  They find a home at the Neon Boneyard.  Home to more than 150 historic signs that once graced the likes of Caesars Palace, Binion’s Horseshoe, the Golden Nugget and the Stardust, each sign is accompanied by a history lesson about its design and development.  The outdoor museum is accessible only through daily one-hour guided tours, weather permitting.  Park for free at McWilliams Avenue.

The World’s Highest Wheel

By Linda Tancs

There are plenty of high rollers in Las Vegas, but one High Roller is getting all the attention: the 550-foot-tall observation wheel commissioned by Caesars Entertainment.  Debuting in March, the wheel promises unparalleled views of the Strip.  At 51 stories high, it bests the Singapore Flyer, the Star of Nanchang and the London Eye, making it the world’s highest observation wheel.  As usual, Vegas will not be outdone by anyone.

The Mob Mentality in Las Vegas

By Linda Tancs

In the heart of downtown Las Vegas is a former federal courthouse and U.S. Post Office included on both the Nevada and National Registers of Historic Places.  Hearings on organized crime were conducted in this building at a time when legendary mobsters ruled The Strip.  Nowadays it’s better known as the Mob Museum, where theater presentations, artifacts, and interactive exhibits capture the struggle between organized crime and law enforcement.   Nothing but the truth prevails here, if you can handle it.

Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor

By Linda Tancs

Since 1884 the notables–and not so notables–have been quenching their thirst at the Genoa Bar and Saloon on Main Street in Genoa, Nevada.  The state’s oldest saloon was built in 1853, sporting curiosities like a trap door next to the pool table (the cold storage cellar), a red oil lamp (lit every year on New Year’s Eve) and a mirror from the 1840s layered with diamond dust.  Famous visitors include Mark Twain, Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt, Carol Lombard, Clark Gable, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash.  If only the walls could talk.

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