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6 places Las Vegas locals miss visiting around the valley

Updated March 22, 2024 - 8:18 pm

Vegas has a reputation for being quick to demolish, rebuild and rebrand anything and everything — often breaking nostalgic locals’ hearts in the process.

Here are some spots around the valley we miss visiting:

The Old Nevada Mining Town at Bonnie Springs/Old Nevada in August 1997. Founder Bonnie Levinson ...
The Old Nevada Mining Town at Bonnie Springs/Old Nevada in August 1997. Founder Bonnie Levinson and her former husband, Al, built a motel and swimming pool, a restaurant and bar, a petting zoo and the Old Nevada mining town attraction at the site off of Highway 159 west of Las Vegas. (Andrea C. Figgatt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Bonnie Springs

Bonnie Springs Ranch, an Old West replica town located along state Route 159, closed its doors for the last time in March 2019.

Known for its petting zoo, mock gun fights and ghost tours, the ranch was a place where locals could leave the Strip and step back in time while enjoying the beauty of the Red Rock Canyon area.

Bonnie Springs was sold in 2019 to developer Joel Laub who turned the land into The Ranch at Red Rock — a custom home community with 20 residential lots.

The Henderson Pavilion photographed on Friday, May. 15, 2020, in Henderson. A minor league hock ...
The Henderson Pavilion photographed on Friday, May. 15, 2020, in Henderson. A minor league hockey facility with more than 6,000 seats will replace the pavilion. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye

Henderson Pavilion

The open-air amphitheater located at the corner of Green Valley Parkway and Paseo Verde Parkway was demolished in 2020 to make room for the Dollar Loan Center Arena — home to the Silver Knights, the Golden Knights’ American Hockey League affiliate team.

But the flattening of the performing arts facility built in 2002 did not come without major backlash from Henderson residents.

Hundreds of protestors drove by the pavilion amid the COVID-19 pandemic in protest of the city’s then-proposal to build the 6,000-capacity arena, arguing that city council members weren’t listening to residents’ concerns about the project.

Residents filed an initiative petition in May 2020 with Henderson to prevent the city from putting taxpayer funds toward the project, along with a temporary restraining order in Clark County District Court to stop a vote on the project.

Ultimately, the $84 million arena opened in March 2022.

Shoppers swarmed Fry's Electronics on opening day, Jan. 17, 2003. (John Gurzinski/Las Vegas Rev ...
Shoppers swarmed Fry's Electronics on opening day, Jan. 17, 2003. (John Gurzinski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Fry’s Electronics at Town Square

Las Vegas’ sole Fry’s Electronic store closed in February 2021 after 18 years in the valley.

The company decided to close the location and 30 other stores across nine states after facing financial struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Las Vegas location resembled a giant slot machine with an electronic reels and a fake coin tray above the store’s entrance.

The shuttered building is still intact, with a fence blocking off its parking lot.

Cinerama Theatre (File/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cinerama Theatre (File/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Cinerama Dome

Before the Sphere, there was the dome.

Las Vegans who lived in the valley in the 1960s and 1970s might remember seeing John Wayne on the silver screen in Sin City’s own movie dome (not to be confused with the one in Hollywood).

The Cinerama Theatre was located on Paradise Road between Twain Avenue and Flamingo Road, and opened in 1965 with “Circus World,” starring Wayne and Rita Hayworth, as its first feature film.

Review-Journal staffers at the time weren’t too kind to the film, but gave the theater glowing reviews, with one staffer calling the dome “the most beautiful and comfortable theater in the state.” Another wrote that “seeing the weird building is alone worth the price of admission.”

The dome met its demise in 1985 after briefly serving as the Centerama Christian Center to make way for a retail and office complex.

Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal ...
Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Erik_Verduzco

Sam Boyd Stadium

As former Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski put it in 2020, “If Allegiant Stadium is the bullet train in Las Vegas’ sporting future, Sam Boyd Stadium was The Little Engine That Could.”

The stadium bordering Clark County Wetlands Park was the home of UNLV football for nearly 50 years. But, once Allegiant Stadium was completed in 2020, Sam Boyd was mostly abandoned with UNLV now hosting games on the Raiders’ home turf.

UNLV played its last football game at the stadium in January 2021 (though the first, “last game” played there was in November 2019).

The stadium’s parking lot is currently blocked off by road barriers. Its future is uncertain.

Visitors ride the Raging Rapids attraction at Wet 'n' Wild on Las Vegas Boulevard in 1988. (Las ...
Visitors ride the Raging Rapids attraction at Wet 'n' Wild on Las Vegas Boulevard in 1988. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Wet ‘n’ Wild on the Strip

After two decades on the Las Vegas Strip, Wet ‘n’ Wild water park, a staple for Las Vegas families wanting to escape the harsh desert heat, closed in 2004.

The 26-acre park was soon demolished to make room for a megaresort and 600-foot Ferris wheel that never got off the ground.

Over the last two decades, various investors have promised future resorts and arena plans, most notably the All Net Resort and Arena which was first slated to break ground in 2014 and open in 2016.

Wet ‘n’ Wild built another park in the southwest valley that opened in 2013, but the park has since been renamed Cowabunga Canyon under new ownership.

For now, the lot north of the Fontainebleau is empty, with nothing but memories of water slides, the Lazy River and of hyping ourselves up to ride the Der Stuka.

Contact Taylor Lane at tlane@reviewjournal.com.

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