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October 17, 2019

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Take 5: Five free Strip and downtown attractions you’ve got to see

Fall of Atlantis

Fall of Atlantis

Whether you are visiting Las Vegas or live here, the entertainment options are limitless.

But those options usually are pricey. Don't worry — we've found some free stuff you have to try.

The Fall of Atlantis

An artifact of Las Vegas’ 1990s “hey, let’s build theme parks on the Strip!” heyday, the Fall of Atlantis is two attractions in one: A 50,000-gallon aquarium teeming with colorful fish, and the Disneyland-like animatronic show that rises out of it. The robots are kinda clunky, but the special effects surrounding them are great — fire, water jets, the works. The show makes not a lick of sense, but you’ve paid real money to see worse movies. Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, 702-893-3807

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AKHOB at Crystals (Courtesy)


This James Turrell art installation, hidden away inside the Louis Vuitton store at CityCenter’s Crystals mall, is a difficult get: You’ll need to reserve an appointment to see it (and spots tend to fill up weeks in advance), the exhibition can only accommodate four people at a time, and you’ll be asked to sign a release, put surgical booties over your shoeless feet and stow away your camera. (And kids under age 16 aren’t admitted, even with supervision.) But all those caveats are worth enduring for the experience of spending a few minutes inside Turrell’s stunning, matchless art piece, which uses light and color in ways that seem to transcend the visual. 702-730-3150.

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Artist Kirk Jellum’s Praying Mantis frames the entrance to Fremont Street’s Container Park retail and dining plaza, and it costs nothing to stand underneath as it drinks propane and breathes spectacle.

The Praying Mantis

Our forebears knew some great roadside attractions: friendly brontosauruses grazing in front of gas stations and 25-foot-tall Paul Bunyans, pointing the way to something called “the Miracle Cavern of Wonder.” But none of those were giant metal insects built by former aerospace engineer for the express purpose of shooting bursts of flame into the night sky to the tune of “Whoomp! There It Is.” Artist Kirk Jellum’s Praying Mantis, which he created for the Burning Man festival some seven years ago, is exactly that. It frames the entrance to Fremont Street’s Container Park retail and dining plaza, and it costs nothing to stand underneath as it drinks propane and breathes spectacle. Bonus: Container Park has what is easily this town’s best kids’ playground, with interactive electronic games and a 33-foot-tall slide. 707 Fremont St., 702-359-9982.

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A look at the Burlesque Hall of Fame's black and white photo collection of burlesque legends June 24, 2017.

The Burlesque Hall of Fame

This cozy Arts District museum is nothing short of a love letter to striptease. Photos and artifacts from decades of American burlesque adorn the walls, arranged into a timeline that spotlights both performers who have become household names (Gypsy Rose Lee, Dita Von Teese) and performers who may be lesser-known outside of burlesque circles, but are equally influential to the art form (Julie Atlas Muz, Tempest Storm). It’s not for everyone — though there’s nothing genuinely offensive on display, some of the themes expressed here may be too adult for some kids — but it’s as vital a piece of popular culture as those presented at the Mob and Neon Museums. The museum is in the process of expanding, so for now, admission is free (though donations are appreciated). 1027 South Main St. #110, 888-661-6465.

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A live feed of the New Year's celebration in New York City is displayed on the Viva Vision canopy over the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017.

Viva Vision at Fremont Street Experience

Sure, Fremont Street’s immersive 1,500-foot-long Viva Vision screen has been putting pictures to music since 1995. But recently, the music choices have skewed closer to home — songs by The Killers and Imagine Dragons now mix with classics from Heart, Green Day and The Who. And the images accompanying those songs are still as big as the house you live in. 702-678-5600.

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