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The world's biggest bong

Vegas Has an Interactive Cannabis Museum Now

Cannabition is as Instagrammable as S.F.’s Museum of Ice Cream, only visitors might actually learn something about cannabis in between selfies with Hunter S. Thompson’s Caddy.

With its sprinkle pool and the swing installed in a nook filled with pink aerosol whipped-cream cans, San Francisco’s Museum of Ice Cream is the House that Instagram Built — fun for 8-year-olds and inner 8-year-olds alike. And now that it’s secured permanent digs, its cheery pink-clad docents are likely to be with us a long time, too. Like the Color Factory and Candytopia, it’s part of a new crop of immersive installations that build on the oeuvre of Jeff Koons and Claes Oldenburg, charging patrons to have some wholesome fun for an hour and post all the selfies to prove it.

Newly opened just off Las Vegas’ Fremont Street Experience is the next logical extension of this trend: Cannabition, the immersive cannabis museum. It’s full of sculptures of oversized nugs in giant plastic bags — plus a chubby Buddha you can sit on and the world’s largest blown-glass bong. “Bongzilla,” created in partnership with Jerome Baker Designs, is 24 feet tall, and its bubbling chamber is the size of the Weird Sisters’ cauldron from Act I, Scene I of Macbeth. While you can’t smoke out of it, you can pose as if you were — and timed tickets mean there won’t be a glut of impatient people queuing up behind you.

Under the UV lighting, those giant furry buds look a little like Sweetums the Muppet (or maybe like viruses magnified 1,000,000 times). But the section designed to look like a grow room is considerably brighter. It probably goes without saying that even though Nevada allows recreational cannabis, you can’t buy any on-site (although a shuttle service to a dispensary is in the works). Further, Las Vegas is currently mulling the possibility of cannabis lounges, and Cannabition will be ready to jump on that train the instant it departs Terrapin Station.

When SF Evergreen took a tour, mere hours before Cannabition opened to the public, the air was still heavy with the smell of paint. But even though it hadn’t fully opened yet, the museum had one advantage over its peers: actually informing people about stuff. While the Museum of Ice Cream labors hard to come off as a museum through inane wall-mounted trivia about things like which state produces the most ice cream — surprise: It’s California! — Cannabition has an entire wall dedicated to explaining the various strains of marijuana. If you’re a little hazy on the differences between Northern Lights and White Widow, or if you want to know which ones have analgesic properties and which are anti-inflammatory, you can learn about it.

Hunter S. Thompson’s actual car that he took to Las Vegas in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

And with no disrespect to the Sprinkle Pool, which is genuinely a lot of fun, Cannabition has Hunter S. Thompson’s beautifully restored Cadillac convertible. He’s the paradigmatic Boomer icon and maybe few millennials have ever read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but the creamy white interior is just cool. There are a few other visual jokes for the savvy, such as the white rhino mounted to one wall above two Space Age egg chairs (spoiler alert: that’s the name of another strain). And Thomas Jefferson, wearing shades, presides over a copy of the 2014 Cannabis Declaration of Independence. It’s on hemp paper, naturally. Did you know that the U.S. might shortly legalize hemp as a crop, in no small part due to the efforts of total square Sen. Mitch McConnell, whose home state of Kentucky was historically a major hemp producer? The future is now.

Cannabition – Immersive Cannabis Museum, inside Neonopolis, 450 Fremont St. #140, Las Vegas. $24.20-$42, cannabition.com