Longtime Las Vegas performer Wayne Newton admits he’s a bit of a pack rat.
The singer, affectionately known as Mr. Las Vegas, has been an unabashed collector of memorabilia and items gathered over decades from his time performing with some of the biggest names in music.
"I'm a pack rat and I kept it all."
In September, Newton opened his 52-acre home, Casa de Shenandoah to the public for a look inside the entertainer’s life.
The newly constructed museum, located just a few minutes off the Las Vegas strip, includes a stunning array of animals, including Newton’s Arabian horses and peacocks, wallabies, and of course, his capuchin monkey, little Boo. It also features an expansive collection of rare automobiles—including Liberace and Johnny Cash's personal cars-- a Native American artifact collection, Newton’s private jet and armed forces items with rare military keepsakes and letters to Newton from U.S. presidents—all featured on the tour.
“And things from the astronauts. And we have been fortunate to entertain our men and women in the Armed Forces in every confrontation the country has been in starting with Vietnam, so all of that is there too. I'm a pack rat and I kept it all,” says Newton.
Visitors can also enjoy the property’s gorgeous landscaping, with ponds and waterfalls and oak trees decorating the land.
Yet, today’s Vegas is a different destination from the days of when Newton was a household name.
Similar attractions dedicated to the old Vegas performers haven’t stuck. The Liberace museum closed in November 2010, in large part because Liberace’s name recognition had waned and Cirque du Soleil’s “Viva Elvis” closed in 2011 after ticket sales were not living up to expectations.
But Newton says travelers need a break from all the glitz and glamour and pine for a taste of old-school Vegas.
“I think that people who go to Vegas many times have tunnel vision about where they are going and what they are going to do,” he says.
Some of his favorites? Past The Strip are places like Valley of Fire in the Mojave Desert approximately about 60 miles Northeast of the city where you hike the red rock formations.
“It's where the astronauts were trained for the moon flights. That's what NASA determined would be the most likened to landing on the moon. So it's magnificent,” says Newton.
Or skip the celebrity chef brand restaurants and hit Piero's, the classy Vegas institution serving traditional Northern Italian fare.
For Newton, Vegas and Casa de Shenandoah is home –the place he lived with his parents and brother, and the house where he raised two daughters.
“There are eight homes, two of which I lived in," he says. "And those represent when I started out and when I started to make a dollar and half, you know?”
The Casa de Shenandoah Visitor Center is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with tours starting at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Tours start at $35 at 3310 Sunset Road.