- Type: Museums
NileGuide Expert tip:
A free, although brief, alternative to other entertainment options at McCarran.
- Modern air travel can be considered both a blessing and curse, but without it, Las Vegas would have a tough time filling its hotels. Planes are vital for Las Vegas' tourism-driven economy. If you'd like to understand the history behind aviation in Southern Nevada, the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum at McCarran International Airport can help you. The main exhibit area is above the baggage claim area, but travelers can also get a dose of history via displays at ticketing, A, B, C, and D gates.
Las Vegas' first airport was opened in 1920 at Sahara and Paradise, not too far from McCarran's current location. Those humble beginnings soon attracted commercial flights in 1925. Today, McCarran International serves millions of passengers each month. According to the Las Vegas Sun in 2011, McCarran ranked as the 22nd busiest airport by passenger traffic in the world. The museum is named after a prominent Southern Nevadan who had a love of flying. In 1937, Howard W. Cannon—later an Army pilot in World War II, a respected figure in Southern Nevada, and a Nevada senator—was performing aerial acrobatics at fairs. It seems only fitting that the museum is named in his honor.
The Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum's displays detail the history of how air travel became an important part of Southern Nevada. More than 30 display cases and a brief video presentation tell the story of airplanes and Las Vegas. The exhibits are free and open 24/7, so stranded, bored, or delayed passengers can enjoy them at whatever time they are at McCarran.
Additional exhibits can be found at the North Las Vegas Air Terminal, the Signature Flight Support terminal for corporate aviation, and the Henderson Executive Airport.
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