Great Basin National Park celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2016. The National Park Service also is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2016.
U.S. 50, the Loneliest Road Turns 30. In 1986, Life magazine published an article that designated the stretch of U.S. 50 that bisects Nevada “the Loneliest Road.” Nevada had fun with it, turning it into a travel campaign challenging visitors to drive it and offering “The Official Highway 50 Survival Guide” booklets detailing the handful of towns along the way. Get the booklet stamped at five of the eight communities and you can mail it to TravelNevada for a Highway 50 pin and a survival certificate.
Downloadable off the TravelNevada website: http://travelnevada.com/travel-guides
Note: Nevada’s Pony Express Territory is the group of tourism businesses along the Loneliest Road that promote travel. The Pony Express, the horseback mail service in operation from 1860 to 1861, roughly follows the same route as the Loneliest Road.
Bear Grylls Survival Academy opened an Adventure Day Course in September 2015 in Overton, about 64 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Shelter building, high rope work and a navigation challenge in Valley of Fire State Park are among the activities at the academy.
Casa de Shenandoah, the 52-acre Las Vegas estate of Wayne Newton just opened in September 2015. Tours include an introductory video about “Mr. Las Vegas,” a museum area that includes Newton’s private jet and classic car collection, an exotic animal collection and Newton’s mansion.
Jennifer Lopez will begin a headlining residency Jan. 20, 2016 at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The show will feature Lopez’s hits as well as a combination of ballads, Latin music, funk and more.
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip opened a 350,000-square-foot expansion to its convention center in August 2015, and plans a second phase of expansion that will transition existing space into a 70,000-square-foot carpeted ballroom. That project is set to be completed in early 2016.
The Park, an eight-acre, outdoor dining and entertainment district between New York-New York Hotel & Casino and Monte Carlo Resort and Casino is set to open in 2016. The Shake Shack, Bruxie gourmet waffle restaurant and Sake Rok, a theatrical restaurant/late-night lounge, are among the businesses set to open here. The Park will open in conjunction with the Las Vegas Arena, a 20,000-seat, $375 million indoor arena west of the Las Vegas Strip between New York-New York and Monte Carlo.
Speed Las Vegas, a new racecar driving experience on a 1.5-mile-long track, is set to open March 2016 on South Las Vegas Boulevard, about 11 miles south of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. Visitors will be able to get behind the wheel of exotic and muscle cars, including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Audis, Ford Shelby Mustangs and Corvettes.
The Moapa Band of Paiutes expanded its Travel Plaza in Moapa (off Interstate 15 and Valley of Fire Highway) to include an events center/concert venue to accommodate monthly events along with the Moapa Band’s annual Fourth of July concert, which featured LeAnn Rimes and Bret Michaels in 2015.
Craft brewery Beer NV opened in August 2015 at 15 Foothill Road inside the South Creek shopping center. The tap house, with 60 craft beers and four wines on draft, joins a host of craft breweries and distilleries in the Reno area.
The historical Cal Neva Resort & Casino, once owned by Frank Sinatra, is set to reopen sometime in 2016. The 10-story, 191-key Lake Tahoe resort will have a nonsmoking casino, three restaurants, a spa and a pool. The Cal Neva’s signature Circle Bar also will return.
Edgewood Lake Tahoe golf course on the shore of Lake Tahoe in Stateline, debuted a new No. 9 hole in 2015. The realignment of the No. 9 hole and other changes to the course are part of a project to open the 154-room Lodge at Edgewood in 2017. Edgewood is the host of the annual American Century Championship (celebrity golf tournament).
Heavenly Mountain Resort debuted a permanent climbing wall at its Epic Discovery center at the top of the gondola in September 2015. Also opened in September: a children’s ropes course and zip line, which will operate during the summer season. The resort is also set to open its alpine coaster in 2016. The coaster is at the top of the gondola, and will allow guests on individual sleds to descend on a raised track through forest and natural rock formations. Heavenly also plans to open its mid-station zip line canopy tour in summer 2016.
The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California is set to open a Travel Plaza in early 2016 in Gardnerville, part of a larger project that will include a casino. The Travel Plaza will have a 6,000-square-foot convenience store and smoke shop and a fueling station. An 18,000-square-foot casino is scheduled to open in summer 2016. The casino project is in partnership with the Poarch Creek Indian Tribe from Alabama.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in the Amargosa Valley, about 90 miles from Las Vegas, opened a visitors’ center in 2015. Interactive exhibits on area wildlife, including the rare desert pupfish, can be found here.
The Elko Convention & Visitors Authority is set to complete a 29,000-square-foot expansion to the Elko Conference Center in 2016. The expansion will add 19,000 square feet of meeting space; in total the Conference Center will have 80,000 square feet, with 30,000 square feet of meeting space and a 913-seat theater.
The Battle Mountain Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada in August 2015 broke ground on a new casino, hotel and travel plaza in Battle Mountain. The project will include a 150- to 200-room hotel, 200 to 300 gaming machines, a convenience store and two fuel islands, one for big rigs and one for smaller vehicles. The project is expected to be completed in December 2016.
Basin and Range National Monument, a 700,000-acre monument in Lincoln and Nye counties known for desert valleys rich with prehistory and recent history, was established in July 2015. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Basin and Range currently does not have a visitor center or facilities. Those interested in visiting should contact the BLM.
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, about 20 miles north of the Las Vegas Strip, was established in early 2015. The 22,650-acre monument has sites that represent geological periods from 200,000 years to 3,000 years ago. Currently there is no visitor center or facilities at this National Park Service-managed monument, but those interested in visiting can find information on the NPS website, nps.gov, then searching in Nevada in the “Find a Park” field.