Life is an adventure, particularly during a pandemic.
Not a lot of entertainment other than gambling, gawking, swimming, shopping and eating is open Las Vegas. However, I saw an ad for an open attraction, Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, the wax museum, and was curious. As long as I have lived in Las Vegas (some 17 years), I have never visited Madame Tussauds located at the Venetian Las Vegas. Last Thursday that oversight was rectified.
I drove to the Venetian parked on the fifth level of self-parking and started walking. I was startled to see so many folks at the Venetian: young and old, singles and families, many with rolling luggage coming and going.
I stopped along the way to ask directions and I had quite a walk — down a long hall (past many well-lit open stores); turning left at Sketchers and following the signs.
Finally I reached an outside balcony and continued walking to the escalator leading up then down to the museum ticket office. The escalator “up” was not working. I was by this time somewhat tired, so I voiced a silent “shit” and took the stairs, first up, then down. I had purchased my ticket online in advance ($24.99) and showed my receipt and was ushered in. I was not alone. A family had come in just in front of me and a few adults were behind me. After being greeted by a wax ex-Mayor Oscar Goodman with martini in hand, a dark escalator took me up to the first exhibit hall. (Note: the escalator lighting is so poor I wondered how many folks stumble trying to find a solid step. I was lucky and found a step.)
Once upstairs, the wax museum is just as I had imagined in terms of looking at faux figures of famous folks, but the decor was nicer and friendlier than I had imagined. The figures were quite well done, some more exact than others, but those that were done well were quite wonderful. I admit that I didn’t recognize everyone and did not purchase a souvenir guidebook (online $4.91) and somewhat too late found the wall plaques (in low light with small type) with explanations of who’s who. What I liked particularly was seeing how tall everyone was. I am these days just about Prince’s height; Brad Pitt is taller than I imagined, and a graceful, very tall, Michael Jordan is there, too.
I am not much of a selfie-taker, but the museum is perfect for photos with the famous folks, and lots of pictures were being taken with smiles galore often hidden by masks. At one point in the journey, folks are asked to take an elevator or stairs to a Hangover Bar (which was closed), but the bar opens to displays of Las Vegas entertainers, most of which I did recognize. Liberace is there as is Celine and the Rat Pack, Siegfried and Roy, etc. Loud music accompanies most of the viewing rooms so being able to narrate a video is nearly impossible, hence the photos. At the end of the visit, a well-stocked gift shop with a few snacks was, of course, on the route, and the gent in charge agreed that Madame Taussauds is an interesting place to visit.
In one of the museum’s hallways we get a hint of history about Madame Tussauds. This is not new information, but it was new to me. We are told that the Las Vegas museum was America’s first Madame Taussauds, but worldwide, under the Merlie Entertainment Groups, more than 20 Madame Taussauds welcome visitors. We are also told that a woman named Marie Grosholtz was born in Strasbourg, France in 1761. She learned her art of wax-making from Dr. Philippe Curtius, a skilled wax modeler who opened a wax museum in Paris in 1770. She was imprisoned during the Reign of Terror and commanded by the regime to model death masks from the heads of prominent figures. She inherited Curtis’s collections in 1784. She married Francois Tussaud in 1795 and took his surname. In 1802, she immigrated to England where in London in 1835 she established a museum that remains a principal tourist attraction, now known as Madame Tussauds.
OK, so I saw the museum and learned its history, and now I can check that off my bucket list. I made my way back to the parking area and went looking for my car. I could not find the car. I had an idea where I parked, but obviously not a good idea. I walked and walked up and down for about a half an hour and could not find the car. Finally I gave up and went back inside to a valet area and asked if a security person could help me find my car. About 10 minutes later a nice looking young black officer and his bicycle arrived. We went up to the fifth level. I waited by the elevators while he looked for the car. A little while later I looked up and saw several rows in front of me, the officer waving. I walked to him and he showed me my car — which I must have walked by several times during my half-hour search. The officer told me that I’m not the only one to have lost a car. He said, “Yes, it happens all the time, but I’m good at finding cars.”
Like I said, life is an adventure….