In this installment of Weird Travel we’re investigating the strange and downright bizarre history of nuclear weapons and aliens in Nevada. Once known as “Atomic City,” nuclear tourism helped create the modern Las Vegas that we all know today, but its story is also connected with another wonderfully weird phenomenon – UFOs and Area 51.
Weird Travel is a podcast within a podcast and my effort to chronicle and share some of travel’s fun mysteries and odd places. Helping me on this journey of discovery is Patrick Kozicky, a fellow podcaster and good friend.
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Nevada is famous around the world for the bright lights of Las Vegas, but there’s a lot more to love about the state than just the one-armed bandits. The state is also home to some of the strangest places in the country with unique histories to match. This week on the podcast we’re taking a deep dive into two of those weird events – nuclear testing tourism and the otherworldly presence of UFOs.
Nuclear testing in Nevada has a long history, but for a few years it was actually the top tourism draw to both Vegas and the state. Atomic City, as Las Vegas quickly became known, featured special mushroom cloud viewing parties, costumes and even bespoke cocktails. Around the same time another bizarre draw to the state was taking form, the mystery surrounding the presence of aliens on our planet and the role an out of the way military installation played in their arrival – Area 51. This week on the podcast we learn more about these bizarre tourism trends as well as go delightfully off topic more than once.
Patrick Kozicky lives in Minneapolis, MN. He is an Ensemble Member with DalekoArts, a theater company based in Minnesota. He is also co-host and co-producer of Gays Do the D, a Disney podcast with an LGBTQ+ point of view. He loves traveling, reading, dogs and popcorn. Passions include, volunteerism, social justice, and arts education. When he’s not busy saving the world (or at least saving the world from himself) he loves reading up on mysteries or true crime, and staying up late, watching horror movies. (with popcorn of course).