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October 9, 2015

Fans Can Investigate 'CSI' at MGM Grand Las Vegas

by John Scott Lewinski, posted Feb 28th 2010 3:14PM
You get to inspect the crime scene at MGM Grand Las Vegas' CSI: The Experience.Fans of the original 'CSI' can try their hand at solving a murder right in the middle of the massive MGM Grand Las Vegas.

'CSI: The Experience' offers visitors families (and other visitors looking to escape the constant "dinging" and "blooping" of slot machines) a chance to follow a simulated murder case from the initial crime scene to a selection of the most likely suspect.

While the attraction's designers struggled in vain to make it a compelling and vibrant way to kill an hour or so, the exhibit is essentially a course in basic forensic science and observation.

On a recent trip to Vegas and the MGM on business, I decided to scoop up my magnifying glass (which I always take with me on vacation) and give it a try.

After you select one of three "crime files," former series star William Petersen assumes his familiar Grissom character to brief you on your "first case" via video. Blow this one, and your fresh career as a crime scene investigator is over before it began.

After the briefing, armed with your clipboard for note taking, it's off to your crime scene. You need to spend some time observing the visual evidence in every way possible. But, if you miss something, later phases of the investigation will give you a nudge.

Depending on your case, you find yourself in one of several small labs where you can check into ballistics, blood spatters, hair and fiber traces, plant seeds and spores, insect traces and any other field of study you've come to know from the long-running show.

One smart feature of the labs is real forensic scientists answer questions and explain their jobs via pre-recorded video. While it's fun for fans for series stars in character to help them find clues and make the right calls during their suspect hunt, some of the information that really sticks with you comes from the scientific pros who catch real killers on a daily basis.

My investigation took me right through a simulated autopsy performed via 3D projection on a white "screen corpse." Even if I missed something along the way, a final checklist of all evidence makes sure you have everything you need for your final analysis and choice of murder suspect.

You enter your final data and make the call on a suspect via computer at the end of the exhibit. Basically, you have to be pretty dim not to nail your killer as the exhibit designers steer you through your investigation carefully. It makes sense if you consider no one wants to pay to tour an exhibit only to be told they're rock stupid.

I made the correct collar and received my special 'CSI' diploma via email that same night. My mother will be so proud.

Similar temporary exhibits were set up around the country at various museums and science education centers -- hoping to use a little compelling crime solving to get kids interested in the sciences.

As for the MGM version, it's an interesting diversion -- even if it feels a little out of place in one of Vegas' largest and most upscale resort hotels. And, with an adult admission of $30, you're well advised to take your time and get your money's worth. I spent the extra time chatting up the attractive (and unexpectedly young) "CSI Agents" on hand to guide you along.

As far as that went, I probably should've stayed in the casino.

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I walked into that exhibit a few months ago - it's definitely in one of the less-walked areas of the casino and you take an escalator down...super interesting. :)

If anyone wants to watch CSI episodes online by the way, I came across a website that might help out: CSI Episodes - AXN. It's from a TV network called AXN and they have CSI Las Vegas as well as CSI NY and CSI Miami. Just throwing that out there!

Anyways, I didn't go through with the whole CSI exhibit because of the price (now what am I doing in Las Vegas in the first place if $30 is pricey?!), but it did look really fun.

March 10 2010 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jessica's comment

Oops - my link didn't go through. You can watch CSI episodes online here: (http://mx.axn.com/shows/csi).

March 10 2010 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had the chance to do this when it came to the Boston Museum of Science a few years back. I had a great time, but I wish I had really been "into" CSI then. I am now and I'm just so mad that it's all the way in Las Vegas now!

March 02 2010 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As someone with actual training in forensics, I always enjoy doing things like this. It worries me a bit, though, that this may perpetuate the myth of crime-scene-to-arrest in under an hour.

March 02 2010 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Erika's comment

Oh yeah, it'd be terrible if criminals thought they would be caught in an hour, lol.

March 02 2010 at 11:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lisa g

they had this same thing 2 years ago at COSI in columbus...it was like $3 or $4 extra. i went through it while on a field trip with my then 7th grader and had a blast with him and his friends.

March 02 2010 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i loved the CSI experience! it was awsome!! i recommend it to anybody who likes the show "CSI". :-)

March 02 2010 at 8:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bring back Star Trek the experience over this anyytime

March 02 2010 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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