Having heard great things about the Mob Attraction at the Tropicana, Dan and I purchased discount tickets through the Tix4Tonight booth at the Town Square Mall. I'm glad we did, as this was one of the most entertaining things that I have ever done on a Vegas vacation. I'm glad that we got a discount, but it easily would have been worth the full thirty-three dollar admission price.
The Mob Attraction is highly interactive, with several actors sprinkled through the exhibit. This is not an attraction in which the visitor is a passive observer, you are thrown right into the story and given a task by a mob boss.
From a discussion with the sales person at Tix4Tonight, I knew to expect to high level of interaction. However, this knowledge made me a nervous wreck throughout the entire exhibit. I treated it like a Halloween maze and kept expecting to be startled. There are many sections of the attraction where you are walking down dark, seedy streets with blind corners. If you are like me and can't handle being startled, rest easy, as nothing will jump out at you. It's just creepy and atmospheric.
SPOILERS AHEAD.... DON'T READ IF YOU PLAN TO VISIT FOR THE FIRST TIME
You enter the Mob Attraction through a doorway in the gift shop and are transported back to New York in the 1920's as an immigrant coming to America. We were given a passport to hold, which initiated interactive elements as we walked through the exhibits.
While walking through the docks, we read about the early mobsters in America during the 1920's. One particular stand-out was known as the Black Hand, a crime syndicate that would kill when their extortion tactics failed to work.
The "immigration officer" was really an employee taking a series of green screen "passport" photos of us. She has us do a series of poses and I figured that it would just be to sell us an expensive souvenir at the end of the attraction. It was. However, the pictures were also an interactive element later on and they let us email one of the pictures to ourselves for free. Cool deal.
The first stop in New York was down some dark alley to a speakeasy, where we knocked on a door and gave a password to encounter our first actor. He clued us in on how he was moving alcohol during prohibition and told us that the mob boss had a special job for us. We were to meet the boss at a cafe down the street.
We walked through winding mock streets that felt like being on a movie set until we were intercepted by the Boss' body guard. He checked us out, made sure that we didn't have a weapon like an ice pick and then led us over to the boss, who was sitting at a cafe table.
The boss invited me to sit next to him and he grilled us on our loyalty and skills. He determined that Dan could work with transporting alcohol and that I could help out as a waitress at the speakeasy. He gave us cash to bribe the police officer, who had been watching us the entire time.
We got to the Police Station and the officer did not believe that we were just tourist. He grilled us for about ten minutes and showed us a picture that he had...
Apparently, we were criminals, but he could be bought off with a bribe, so we slid over the cash. All of the actors were great, but the police officer was particularly hilarious and quick with comebacks. He had me laughing and I was flustered trying to come up with good responses to his questions. I love watching improv, but I don't like taking part in it!
We walked into the jail to learn about police corruption.
The attraction then shifted to gambling and the Mob taking root in Las Vegas. We walked through a series of rooms, each with holographic video components featuring actors like James Caan and many cast members from The Sopranos. Each room featured a different component of the mobs business in Vegas, like how they skimmed money or how they dealt with cheaters in the casinos.
After going through a series of small rooms, the attraction space opened up into a more conventional museum layout. This section was dedicated to personal artifacts of famous vegas mobsters, including one who liked creepy clown pictures.
It was easy to spend a lot of time playing on the computers that showed the growth on the Vegas strip. The computers allowed you to click on a year and watch buildings pop up on Las Vegas Blvd. It also gave information on the properties. We took a picture of the web address to spend more time checking it out at home. Take a look!
There was a section of sort of artsy/ sort of kitschy portraits of mobsters.
We watched a video about how the mob is portrayed in Hollywood and their influence over the movie industry.
Moving towards the end of the attraction, we found a dark room with video screens and interactive detonators that allowed us to virtually demolish casinos. There is something about watching enormous buildings implode that is mesmerizing.
We turned the corner to find a smashed case and things took a turn for the sinister.
We walked into a long, dark alley with a mysterious man waiting at the end in the shadows. As we approached him, he told us that the boss wanted to see us and led us into a room with a holographic movie screen. The boss came on the screen and we were told that we passed the trust worthiness test, but before he could finish speaking with us, there was a shoot out. We were caught in the middle of shoot-out. I was super nervous because the employee at Tix4Tonight told us that she got shot in the end and that it physically hurt. It's just bursts of air and doesn't hurt at all. It may have been mildly surprising if I had not anticipated it.
The attraction dumps into the same gift shop in which we entered with an employee waiting to wrangle us over to look at our pictures.
We had a fantastic time. It's a very creative attraction and the interactive elements are well orchestrated. We visited on a Saturday morning and the place was super quiet. We had the first half of the attraction completely to ourselves, which gave the actors ample time to interact with us, making it feel like an upgraded experience.
The signage in the museum is often repeated in multiple areas, which I thought was a great idea for crowded days. The first two-thirds of the exhibit are timed in such a way that it would maximize crowd movement. The Mob Attraction was very well planned for maximizing the visitors experience.
It has just the right blend of entertainment, education and interaction. The Mob Attraction should be at the top of the Vegas to-do list for tourists. It's an exceptionally fun way to spend a few hours.
A special shout-out to Dan's co-worker, Maria C. Thank you for telling Dan that I needed better pictures for my blog. Dan took me to Fry's Electronics in Vegas and bought me a pink Sony Cyber-shot. The Mob Attraction was the first place that I tested out my new camera. Unfortunately flash wasn't allowed in the exhibit, so I didn't get the best results. I'm looking forward to practicing with my new camera and getting better pictures up on my blog. Thanks for reading Maria and thanks for planting the seed in Dan's mind for the camera!