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May 5, 2015

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Neon Boneyard Park still not quite open to public


Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau

The grand opening of Neon Boneyard Park in Las Vegas on May 12, 2011.

Neon Boneyard Sign

The new sign for the Neon Boneyard Park in Las Vegas Monday, November 15, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Map of Neon Museum

Neon Museum

821 N. Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas

Hold your joy.

Before anyone gets too excited about Thursday’s ribbon cutting and grand opening of the Neon Boneyard Park, keep in mind that the city’s new park isn’t actually open to the public.

You’re gonna to have to wait a while. Bill Marion, board chair of the Neon Museum (for which the park was built), says the gated park will open for programming purposes, then hold regular hours when the Neon Boneyard Museum, which houses neon and other historic signs, opens next spring.

That’s another year’s wait for a sidebar to a project that’s been decades in the making, evolving piecemeal for years.

All that’s left in the completion of the Neon Museum is the construction of administrative offices behind visitors center housed in La Concha hotel lobby, which was moved from the heart of the Strip to the Boneyard (further north on Las Vegas Boulevard) in 2006.

The Neon Museum gives prescheduled guided tours daily of the outdoor Boneyard.

Last year, its signs (some weighing as much as two tons) were reorganized into a loose narrative of Las Vegas and Strip history for when the museum opens to the general public.

The corridors of signs, layered to maintain the feel of the old Boneyard, include a section of downtown signs, “Motel Row” (featuring signs on the Las Vegas Boulevard when it was still Highway 91), local business signs and signs from the Strip.

In 2009, three refurbished signs — Bow & Arrow Motel, the Silver Slipper and Binion’s Horseshoe — were installed on a stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard near the museum that’s been designated as a National Scenic Byway.

Construction on the adjacent Neon Boneyard Park — a $1.9 million improvement project made possible by funds from the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act — began in February 2010 and was completed by November. Boomerang-shaped benches and decorative cinder-block walls, commonly found in mid-mod neighborhoods, blend with a folded-plate roof that serves as a canopy over atomic-style tables and chairs paying tribute to our googie years.

A “ground breaking” for the museum’s visitors center administrative offices accompanied Thursday’s ribbon cutting.

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  1. The Neon Museum complex is a wonderful in-progress tribute to Vegas history. It's worth visiting during guided tours now, and will be really nice once the complex is completed.