Traveling to Las Vegas this fall? (Chicago remains one of the biggest markets outside of Los Angeles when it comes to Las Vegas tourism sources).
If so, you should make plans to visit two new tourist attractions, both off the Strip proper, and both definitely worth a look.
He is and forever will be “Mr. Las Vegas.” And now, Wayne Newton has officially opened his own public museum, Casa de Shenandoah, on the 52 acres of Las Vegas property he once called home.
Visitors will be able to get inside the white and gold-gilded gates of this posh estate and check out Newton’s gorgeous acreage, a sampling of his luxury car collection, his private jet, a showcase of his champion Aramus Arabian horses, and on some tour packages, you’ll get to step inside the main house itself (did someone say “Vegas Vacation”?).
But perhaps most exciting is getting a glimpse of some of Newton’s vast collection of memorabilia, from childhood costumes once worn by Newton and his brother Jerry, when the duo were performing as ‘tweens; honors bestowed on the entertainer from presidents and popes alike; military mementos from USO tours; celebrity “trinkets” such as Jack Benny’s Stradivarius and Jackie Gleason’s pool cue; and many of the costumes worn by Newton throughout the decades when his show was the hottest ticket on the Strip.
“So far, ‘the Man upstairs’ has been really looking out for us,” Newton told me about the project that became a labor of love for his family. “Between my family, dear friends and loved ones, it has been a tremendous project.”
The museum tour, which kicks off at a visitors’ center across from the property, is available in various package price points (shuttle buses take you to the home/ranch grounds). Casa de Shenandoah is located at 3310 E. Sunset (about a 15-minute drive from the Strip). For complete information and prices, visit www.casadeshenandoah.com
Just off the Strip, at what was once the Las Vegas Hilton and is now the Westgate, you can take in a marvelous Elvis Presley permanent exhibit, celebrating the all things the King, in the town where he performed more often than anywhere else in the planet.
“Elvis:the Exhibition,” celebrates Presley’s “return” to the desert city some 40 years after his last performance at the Hilton (originally The International Hotel, which Presley headlined on opening night was part of a record-breaking, four-week, sold-out, 57-show engagement). In fact, Presley performed more than 600 sold-out shows at the property in various engagements between 1969 and 1976. (A 21-year-old Presley first appeared in Las Vegas in 1956).
A view of Chicago through the back end of a fishing cruister. Credit: Dale Bowman In conjunction with Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., the Vegas exhibit is 28,000-square-feet of costumes, movie and concert memorabilia, musical instruments, cars, letters, family mementos and personal artifacts such as his high school yearbooks, culled from the massive collection and archives at Graceland. (Exhibit items will be regularly rotated with others from the Graceland collections).
The displays (in several gallery spaces) take visitors on a journey through Presley’s life and career, concluding with a 26-minute retrospective film of his greatest concert performances.
For ticket prices and more information, visit graceland.com/vegas
Posted at 2:57 p.m. Oct. 12, 2015.