I’ve never really known too much about the mafia. In fact, my first exposure to anything mob-related was the rodent mobsters (with its ring leader bearing a strong resemblance to Al Capone) on the Disney cartoon “Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers.” And while I saw the movie “Casino,” I was too young to really remember anything that happened.
Visiting the Las Vegas Mob Experience inside the Tropicana definitely opened my eyes about the real gangsters. Not only do you feel like you’re in a movie with all the interactive elements throughout the attraction, but the actors you’ll run into make the experience come to life.
Tuesday night was the grand opening of the $25 million Las Vegas Mob Experience. The private reception in the ballroom next door was serving everything from ziti patties and mushroom croquettes to cheese calzones and array of sweet treats. Plus with an open bar, live DJ and dancing, this was the perfect way to celebrate the opening of such a big attraction.
I’m glad we came a little later that night — we were able to bypass the long line I heard so much about.
The Las Vegas Mob Experience was definitely more than I anticipated. I really felt like I was part of a movie as I walked through the displays.
There were points where I was trying my best not to laugh because the actors were so into character, especially Big Leo, who instructs you to tell authorities you “know nothing!” The FBI agents toward the end of the exhibit actually intimidated me. When they questioned me about the mob, I kept giggling out of nervousness. The agent got up-close in my face and said, “You’re laughing. You got something to hide?” I was nervous because I had just spoken with Big Leo a few minutes before. It took a second for me to snap back to the reality that this was all for fun.
I was curious about my “fate” at the end of the experience though. While I kept my mouth shut the whole time, we were still shot and killed at the end. The gun shots sounded so real, I actually tried to hide behind people! Typically, depending on how you make decisions throughout the attraction, you can either get shot or join the witness protection program. Let’s just say that ultimate shoot out gave me the heebie jeebies.
Another interesting element of the museum is being able to read about all of the mobsters and their contribution to Las Vegas history. In case you’re like me and don’t really know anything about them, you’ll be an expert in no time. There’s a slew of memorabilia as well. You’ll even see a replica of Bugsy Siegel’s living room with his home movies playing. With so much to see and do, I’m sure you’ll find a few favorites. I personally liked Meyer Lansky’s touch-screen journal. The holograms of all the key figures weren’t too shabby, either.
I appreciated the fine details, like all the different rooms and pieces. It’s more than just your average museum. This almost felt like a Disneyland for adults. Before you come here, be prepared — the experience is not a brief walk in the park. Plan on being here anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour.