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CSI: THE EXPERIENCE

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MGM Grand

3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S.

Las Vegas, NV 89109

877-660-0660

website

Adults $28

Children $21

Daily 9am-9pm

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

Crime buffs have an outlet in Vegas where they can engage their inner detective. The CSI Experience at MGM Grand is an interactive $5 million attraction that features fictional crime scenes and clues with which visitors try to catch a killer.

There are three different crimes to choose from including trying to figure out why a car crashed through a house, identifying a skull found in the desert, and solving the murder of a waitress. Visitors are presented with various bits of forensic evidence - fibers, hair and blood samples, etc. - and have to try to decide whodunit.

Where is it?

At the MGM Grand on the South Strip.

Is it worth the cost?

It's not cheap, but the bang for buck factor is pretty high here.

What else do I need to know?

Each mystery takes about an hour to complete and at the end of it you receive a CSI "diploma," although it's probably not something you should use to try to gain access to a real crime scene.

What's the bottom line?

A must for fans of the show.

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FULL REVIEW

As one of the most successful television franchises in history, "CSI" has inspired countless spin-offs and imitators. But the original is set in Las Vegas so it only makes sense that you can now become a crime scene investigator yourself in a new attraction in Sin City.

The CSI Experience at MGM Grand, in the The MGM Grand District shopping area, is an interactive exhibit that puts you in the driver's seat of a criminal investigation with the help of many of the stars of the Las Vegas show and real-life CSI technicians.

You start with a video instruction from your boss, Gil Grissom (yes, he's not really the boss anymore on the show, but go with it) and then you get to choose from one of three "crime scenes." In "A House Collided," a car has crashed into a house killing the driver. But is it that simple? No, of course not. "Who Got Served" involves a waitress found dead by a trash dumpster behind a seedy Vegas motel. And "No Bones About It" challenges you to figure out who the pile of bones in the desert used to be and how they got there.

As the CSI you are asked to examine the crime scene and make notes on a guide sheet provided to you. You can take as much time as you want and they even provide flashlights to get better views of the clues. Is that a bloody handprint on the hood of the car? Why yes it is.

Next you take your findings through a series of interactive workstations that will help you analyze everything from blood spatter to DNA to fingerprints to shoe prints and more. You even get to examine the "body" although it's much less gory than the actual show is. Each workstation unlocks another piece of the puzzle (or not, as the case may be) and sends you to the final test where you have to figure out the crime.

It requires patience to do the thing justice (no pun intended). In addition to needing to wait your turn while others are using the workstations, there is a lot of information to process. Although most of it is put in terms that the layperson can understand, it still involves science and for those who want to come to Vegas to NOT think, this may be a challenge. For instance I have the patience of a hyperactive two year old and anything involving things like physics makes my brain hurt.

But the good news that is that if you pay even a little bit of attention, you can actually miss some clues and skip some of the workstations and still figure out whodunnit. Expect to take at least an hour if you want to really do it justice but I managed to get through it in about 30 minutes and was able to ID the killer and get my CSI certificate.

It's not cheap - but for something this engaging it's not bad.

Fans of the show should absolutely make a stop here and anyone else looking for a unique Vegas experience should consider taking part in the crime scene as well.

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