“Operation Teapot” nuclear test 1955 courtesy Wikimedia Commons

[Las Vegas, NV] — A nondescript office building on East Flamingo Road in Vegas holds secrets to America’s Atomic Age, and you don’t have to read WikiLeaks to learn them.

On January 27, 1951, the first atomic bomb test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site in the remote desert north of Las Vegas. The mushroom cloud could be seen in downtown Las Vegas, over 50 miles away. Atmospheric, above-ground nuclear testing continued at the site through 1962, then went underground through 1992. Today the area is called the Nevada National Security Site and comprises over 1,300 square miles of desert terrain.

The Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation has done an admirable job documenting the test site’s impact on local, state and international history. The 8,000 square-foot Atomic Testing Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, features displays and artifacts from America’s Atomic Age. A special exhibit, running through January 5, 2012, is titled “Building Atomic Vegas,” and helps explain the city’s historic and cultural ties with the Nevada Test Site.

On a recent motorcycle ride through Nevada, which I wrote about in an article called “Ghosts of the Open Road” for HOG Magazine, I visited the museum. Because of limited space, I didn’t include the museum visit in the article, but it is a place worth visiting and provides fascinating context to America’s Cold War nuclear history.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.AtomicTestingMuseum.org

755 E. Flamingo Rd.

Las Vegas, NV 89119


The atomic vegan

About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a Florida-based travel writer & photographer specializing in motorcycle touring and travel. He is regular contributor to Harley-Davidson's HOG Magazine, and his travel features appear regularly in motorcycle magazines and other publications.

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  1. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy

    November 19, 2011

    This is an unusual attraction I somehow missed. Sounds cool!

  2. Raymond @ Man On The Lam

    November 19, 2011

    This looks like a blast! Literally… 🙂

  3. Michael Figueiredo

    November 18, 2011

    This looks like good, kitschy fun! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in Vegas.

  4. jenjenk

    November 18, 2011

    ahah! i drove right by that!! i had no idea!!!

  5. Ashley

    November 18, 2011

    How did I miss this when I was in Vegas? We went to the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque, which was amazing.

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