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  • Las Vegas Natural History MuseumLas Vegas Natural History Museum Las Vegas, Nevada
    The Las Vegas Natural History Museum can be found in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada and is a private non-profit museum that is also across the street from the Lied Discovery Children's Museum. The majority of the displays concern what was once an ancient sea bed that encompassed the area that became Las Vegas. The museum began in 1989, when a little group of people from the city help them find a place to house the pre-existing collection of wildlife and prehistoric displays. The city bought a building that is part of the cultural quarters of the city, and leased the structure to the museum for a dollar a year. The museum is responsible for all upkeep and maintenance. Using help from local businesses and private people, the museum opened in 1991, with a diversified collection of prehistoric and wildlife, but on loan, until it was able to showcase its own marvelous collection that has become world class in scope and a wonderful place for education and interactive learning. Going to all the four corners of the world, from the deserts to the oceans, from the state to Africa, and prehistoric time to the present, everyone will have a great opportunity to journey through the ages and across the globe. People coming here will have the chance to discover how archeologists in the early 20th century discovered the secret treasures of Egypt, that included the world famous King Tutankhamen's tomb. A wonderful replica of the tomb has been recreated in the museum, that brings you to an exact copy of the entrance to the tomb, and fantastic relics that were found that includes the Golden Shrine, outer sarcophagus, chariots and the Golden Throne. You can examine an Egyptian mummy using state-of-the-art machines that will let you scan the mummy in real time and see the original images of that mummy. In the Engelstad Family prehistoric life gallery, you will be amazed at the 35 foot tyrannosaurus rex that can lower his head and roar using animatronics. You can see a triceratops, treacherous raptor and ankylosaur, plus a ichthyosaur, that was a huge marine reptile that had swum in the waters of the region during the age of dinosaurs. In the International wildlife gallery you will visit many variations of animal adaptations of the mammal family with numerous taxidermied species that include; deer, antelope, bears, big cats and wild dogs. The Las Vegas founders' African galleries have constructed a huge savanna where you can view the awesomeness of the Serengeti that has a replicated watering hole where predators and prey come to drink and usually one or the other is soon missing. Their rainforest display contains the wildlife found in the jungle, you can learn about the many creatures that hide in and around the trees and thick brush, as well as watch a thunderstorm arrive with torrents of rain and lightning. The E. L. Wiegand foundation, wild Nevada gallery showcases the incredible Mojave Desert and all the plants and animals that live around the area with a multi-sensory gallery, animation and interactive exhibits. The Marine Life gallery will be able to watch stingrays and sharks in a 3000 gallon tank full of beautiful and exotic fish and other creatures of the deep, with many life-size copies of these colorful fish hanging from the ceilings and walls. There are many live animals in this realm, with Burmese pythons, lizards, scorpions, tarantulas and snakes. At the MGM/Mirage young scientist center, families can try their hand a t paleontology and dig for fossils or go in a sub to travel the ocean's floor discovering unbelievable species that you can look at through microscopes, interactive displays and computers. Their geology gallery keeps an update of the latest science news, and showcases gorgeous minerals, many that are fluorescent and other geological natural resources.

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  • Bernard K. Passman GalleryBernard K. Passman Gallery Las Vegs, Nevada
    Bernard K. Passman was at one time, the world's best known and ornate sculptor of black coral, finding this rare and special gem in 1974, in Grand Cayman, when he was 58, and he magnified the qualities of this marvelous gem back into the public's eye with his exquisite carvings and magnificent jewelry designs. His inert talent didn't become public until he retired from an illustrious career as the CEO and president of a land development company and then opened a gallery in Galt Mile, Florida and realized instant success with his beautiful sculptures that contained and showcased stone, wood, clay and metal. He moved in 1974 to the Grand Cayman island so he could discover his passion for the art and found the black coral when a youngster brought him a bag of dirty old twigs, hoping he could carve him something. Those twigs turned out to be black coral pieces and he became intrigued by the stone and its hidden aura which he turned into splendid jewelry. After just five years, he achieved a success and renown with his special designs, that he began to be asked to create pieces for world leaders, dignitaries and celebrities. Some of his most famous pieces include; the Republican Presidential Tree that pays honor to the past presidents that go back to Thomas Jefferson, and show their profiles carved on wooden leaves of the tree that stands 21 feet high. In 1972, he was commissioned to add a second branch with the democratic presidents that should be done by the Democratic National Convention. As the sculpture came to the capitol, he added the 1972 president, Richard Nixon, who wanted something other than the side view that he'd done for the others, so Passman did a profile more to the right and placed him towards the top. In 1981, he was summoned by the Grand Cayman government to make a wedding gift from the British colony to Prince Charles and Princess Diana that was a 97 piece black coral and sterling silver tableware set. Other outstanding pieces include the coral sculpture made for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, as well as a black coral crucifix for Pope John Paul II in 1998. His magnificent pieces include the grandiose to the whimsical to naturally inspired wildlife. He carved four sculptures of Charlie Chaplin since he admired him so much, that showcased a different part of the actor's later life, but the first piece was unfinished when he found out the actor passed on. Passman passed on himself in 2007, at the age of 91, with galleries all over the world.

January 11, 2011