CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval, with 8-year-old daughter Marisa in tow, arrived by steam locomotive Wednesday to announce expanded hours and days of operation at Nevada’s many museums.
With Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki on hand at the state Railroad Museum in the capital, the state’s top elected officials also announced two opportunities to visit the state’s museums for free.
The message ahead of the Fourth of July holiday was: “Rediscover Your Nevada Museums.”
The museums are offering free admission for adults on Saturday, July 6, and Saturday, July 20. Children age 17 and under are always free. The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City will offer one-half price train ride fares on the dates as well.
Sandoval urged Nevadans and visitors alike to visit the museums, which have expanded their days and hours of operation as a result of additional funding approved by the 2013 Legislature.
“That was one of the tough things with the recession, was having to reduce the hours,” Sandoval said. “And as we recover I think this was an important part of this recovery — to show the people of Nevada that Nevada is open for business, and particularly the museums.”
The expanded days and hours include the Lost City Museum in Overton, the East Ely Depot Museum in Ely, the Nevada State Museum in Las Vegas, the Boulder City Railroad Museum and the Nevada State Museum in the capital.
Sandoval also urged Nevadans to visit the many historic places around the state and to participate in Discover Your Nevada, a campaign to pick the state’s top treasures. He said one of his favorite places is Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in central Nevada.
“Make sure that you nominate your favorite treasures,” he said. “It can be a state park; it can be a special place where you have an experience; it can be an event.”
The nominations — activities, experiences, places or events — began Wednesday and can be made through July 12. The first round of online voting will then run through July 19 to narrow contenders to the Top 10 in each of six Nevada territories — Reno-Tahoe, Las Vegas, Cowboy Country, Pony Express, Nevada Silver Trails and Indian Territory.
A second round of voting July 22-26 will whittle contenders down to two in each territory before final voting between July 29 and Aug. 2 determines the winners.
Votes can be cast via the Nevada Tourism Commission’s Facebook page, which is also accessible through its website, http://www.travelnevada.com .
Sandoval said the goal is to encourage Nevadans to explore their own state.
“Last summer this program helped generate more in-state travel and highlight some of Nevada’s treasures around the state,” he said. “I am thrilled to announce an encore of the program this summer.”
State officials are attempting to boost the recovery of Nevada’s tourism industry as well as highlight the state’s sesquicentennial, a yearlong birthday celebration that begins in October and ends a year later on Nevada Day 2014, when the Silver State will celebrate 150 years of statehood. Many of the museums will be offering special exhibits this summer as part of the celebration.
As part of the state’s sesquicentennial, a new license plate commemorating Nevada’s 150th anniversary of statehood will be available beginning in late July through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“The license plate provides an opportunity for Nevadans to support the sesquicentennial and the state’s historic assets,” Krolicki said.
The license plate features the Nevada 150th logo and has embossed numbers on a blue backdrop. The plates cost $32.50. Renewals are $10. Those fees are on top of other registration costs.
Revenue from the license plate sales will support projects and events associated with the sesquicentennial.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900.