Going to Las Vegas can sometimes feel like taking a trip to another land. In a place that is constantly buzzing with activities, with restaurants and casinos open at all hours of the day and night with bright neon signs urging tourists to step inside, it can be easy to just go with whatever is shining the brightest. But to make the most of a Las Vegas trip and come back with stories that don’t primarily feature spending money at the slots or all-you-can-eat buffets, the list below is here to help.

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There are a number of hidden gems in Las Vegas that tourists can check out that are still within the vicinity of the city so that people can enjoy a variety of different activities. Whether a quiet nature walk or visiting a boneyard that features well known neon signs that have moved on to a better life, Las Vegas has a lot of hidden gems to offer.

Hand of Faith Gold Nugget

Although most people think of California when they hear about the Gold Rush, it is Las Vegas, Nevada that is home to the largest golden nugget in existence, the largest found with a metal detector, and the second biggest ever found. The nugget was not found in Nevada or even in the United States however, it was originally found in Australia buried only 12 inches in the ground and sold to the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel which paid over 1 million dollars to the man who found it. The nearly 50 pound nugget is now proudly on display to the public in the lobby.

The largest golden nugget is nestled in the back of the casino so eager gold lovers may have to brave the flashing lights and consistent noises of the slot machines to get to the dimly lit hallway which houses the famous nugget, but it is well worth it to take a picture of a piece of history and a lot of luck since the man who found the nugget in a small town in Australia back in 1980 was not even trying to find it!

Countless people rushed to California to make their fortune in mining but the Golden Nugget reminds us that sometimes luck can be fickle.

Springs Preserve

Located right in the middle of Las Vegas is Springs Preserve, a 180 acre adventure for those who want to connect with nature in a family friendly atmosphere that offers numerous activities. For those who want to learn more about how Las Vegas began, there are a number of trails that offer historical facts about archaeological sites and native habitats. Springs Preserve is also home to an award winning botanical garden which contains the largest public collection of Mojave Desert plants.

Kids can play in the playground which features modern and kid inspired recreational equipment including a variety of interactive elements, musical instruments, and numerous oversized replicas of wildlife. Adults can choose to eat indoors or outdoors at Divine Cafe which offers scenic views of the valley and as well as the Las Vegas strip. For a more hands on dining experience, cooking classes and secret recipes for gourmet food are also offered. People of all ages can also enjoy live animal exhibits as well as natural and restored habitats including their 15 acre Desert Tortoise Habitat.

Springs Preserve is active year round and offers a variety of different events and activities including seasonal signature events such as ice cream festivals, spring and autumn plant sales, and, performances, and haunted harvest.

The Neon Boneyard

One of the most recognizable aspects of Las Vegas are the brightly colored and flashing neon signs announcing everything from casinos to restaurants to hotels. In order to honor this distinctly Vegas style of advertising, the Neon Boneyard was established in 1996 and is home to over 150 well known signs. Along with more recent additions, the Boneyard also includes various vintage signs that have been restored from as far back as the 1930s to show visitors how styles have changed- or stayed the same.

Guided tours are offered for those who want a more thorough understanding of the historical and cultural significance of the wide variety of signs that have made their final resting place in the three acre plot of land in Las Vegas. Each restored sign includes a short story on who created it and the importance to Las Vegas history and culture.

Although the outdoor museum is open both during the day and at night, many visitors prefer to go when the sun has set to see the neon signs come to life and shine their bright colors once again. Since the non-profit who runs the Boneyard is still collecting signs to add to their collection, the museum is still growing.