Signs of the times, in neon

LAS VEGAS -- In this city that never sleeps, there actually is a museum that is open around the clock.

The Neon Museum features 11 restored neon signs from local businesses and hotel properties that visitors can stop and admire any time of the day or night.

In 1996, the Hacienda Horse and Rider sign was the first to be put on display. Others followed, including Aladdin's Lamp from the Aladdin Hotel, the Flame Restaurant sign, the Chief Hotel Court sign and Anderson Dairy mascot Andy Anderson.

Other restored signs are one from the 1940s that advertises wedding information; the Red Barn bar sign; the Nevada Motel sign; Dot's Flowers sign; the 5th Street Liquor sign, and the most recent addition to the display, the Bow and Arrow Motel sign, erected in February.

Guided tours of the signs, which are located in outdoor galleries in front of Neonopolis and on the Third Street cul-de-sac adjacent to the Fremont Street Experience canopy, are available for groups of 10 or more.

The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for students with ID, as well as seniors 60 years old and older; there is no charge for children 5 or younger.

The majority of requests that the museum receives, however, are for tours of the "boneyard," said Sandra Harris, the museum's executive director. Here, in a downtown spot near the Cashman Center, as many as 115 un-restored signs -- many built and donated by the Young Electric Sign Co. -- are kept.

That space is not yet open to the public, Harris said, "but we're really close. We're doing some heavy fundraising and looking to sign some agreements."

For more information about the Neon Museum, visit its Web site at www.neonmuseum.org or phone (702) 387-NEON. -- A.B.

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