Ghost Adventures' is one of the most popular shows on Travel Channel. Spanning 19 seasons and one movie, there seems to be no end for the ghost hunting show. The show's main antagonist, Zak Bagans, even opened up his own museum off of the Las Vegas Strip. Zak Bagans' The Haunted Museum had been on my bucket list for a while. A few weeks ago, I finally had time to visit.
Leading up to my visit I was excited. I enjoy Zak's enthusiasm for the weird and unknown. Ghost Adventures is one of those shows that's fun to binge on a Saturday night. The museum seemed like something I would enjoy more than most people I know. So on a particularly sunny Wednesday I ventured out to the museum. Parking is a little confusing, but the guys working at the museum were very helpful and friendly. Word of advice, backpacks and camera's are not allowed in. You'll line up on the side of the building, where you'll be asked to fill out a waiver. The waiver contains standard things, such as promising to not sue the museum if you get sick or die. You know, basic stuff.
After waiting outside on the side of the building, you're then brought to the front of the building. It's clear whomever designed this line took inspiration from Disneyland. The lines are deceptive. They're also long. I parked at 1:30 p.m., and made it into the museum at 2:45 p.m. You're also treated to some spooky music while waiting. Again, the designer must be a Disney fan, because the music was reminiscent of The Haunted Mansion. And once you're in that Disney Parks mindset, it's hard to break it. Once inside you're treated to a creepy, doll filled waiting room. Another 20 minutes will pass until your tour guide appears. They go over the rules of the museum and what you may experience. At the end, they ask everyone to raise their right hand and take a vow that they will follow the rules and what not.
The museum itself is located inside a beautiful 11,000 square foot property, built in 1938. The house is absolutely stunning, and deserves to be appreciated in all of it's splendor. The first room you enter is a waiting room, filled to the brim with some unique oddities. Such oddities included death masks, skulls, weird animatronics, a Buster Brown poster, and dolls. The centerpiece is a fortune teller machine, modeled after Zak himself. After spending some time in the room, and having a little person dressed like a human doll jump out at you, you're led into the rest of the house.
Before I go further, let me talk about the positives. The oddities are truly fantastic. Seeing old toys is something I'm a fan of. I also loved the layout of the home. It's clear the people working here after also passionate about where they work. That can make or break an experience. Visitors can also gaze into the mirror of Bela Lugosi, or they can opt out. The tour guides let you opt out of a few different rooms if the visitor feels inclined. The upstairs of the museum is all circus themed, including a man putting a drill up his nose, and clowns that will jump out at you. The circus itself may be creepy and weird to many, but I don't associate it with being haunted.
The rest of this article will talk about acts of violence and death, so click out of this article if that doesn't sit well with you.
Unfortunately, that's all the good I can say about the museum. There are several rooms where people should absolutely be allowed to opt out of — including a room containing a blood stained bed where men had been raped and murdered (complete with a mannequin in distress). Along the walls are blown up photographs of said victims in various stages of duress. Another room features Jack Kevorkian's van where he performed his assisted suicides, complete with another mannequin. There's a room with photographs and artifacts from various serial killers (including a mugshot of Zak). A dead celebrities room features costumes and clothing, a molar from Patrick Swayze, and a Polaroid showing the bloody corpse of Chris Farley.
By the end of it, I realized the only thing that will "haunt" me is the $44 I wasted – not the museum. Clearly, there are better ways to spend your money. Hardcore fans of Ghost Adventures might get a kick out of this, but if you're a regular tourist — go somewhere else. There are endless things to do and see in Vegas. Don't let this museum be one of them.