By Steve Beauregard (Updated September 1st, 2017)
Before there were Bellagio dancing fountains, or the Fremont Street Light Show, the erupting Mirage Volcano was THE iconic freebie show in Las Vegas.
And while other casino attractions have bit the dust (“Pirates of T.I.” anybody?), this faux exploding volcano at the Mirage remains as popular and impressive as ever.
In fact, it may be even more impressive than when it debuted in 1989.
The Mirage Volcano goes off 3 times a night on weekends
That’s because the Volcano has undergone two refurbishing and upgrades – one in 1996 to keep up with the then newly-opened Bellagio fountains, and again in 2008, when resort officials closed down the attraction for about nine months while they completed a $25 million dollar refurbishing of the iconic show.
In either case, the Mirage volcano remains a must-see (at least once), for every visitor to Las Vegas. The combination of red smoke, shooting flames, and spouting water, all set against the backdrop of a beautiful contemporary hotel/casino make this a memorable show. And best of all it’s free!
From start to finish, the show lasts four and a half minutes.
So when are the Mirage Volcano show times? Here’s a breakdown, which we update each month, as the show times change based on the season (summer show times start later than winter times).
Mirage Volcano Times 2017
The volcano show used to run every half-hour from sundown to midnight. However that changed in July of 2015, when MGM Resorts (owners of the Mirage), announced a significantly scaled-back schedule.
The new schedule is as follows:
Sunday through Thursday: 8 PM and 9 PM
Fridays and Saturdays: 8 PM, 9 PM and 10 PM
While these are the official, posted hours straight from the horse’s mouth (The Mirage), please keep in mind that shows can, and will be cancelled if there happen to be high winds. After all, you don’t want hot lava blowing onto the strip, singeing the potential customers.
Please also know that the show has always attracted a good-sized crowd. This is even more so now that there are only two or three shows a night. What I’m trying to say is to get their early.
Prime viewing spots include the area next to the Mirage valet parking area directly in front of the resort, as well as the Las Vegas Strip sidewalk. If you’re going to watch from the sidewalk, try to go more towards the left of the lagoon, (when looking at it from the Strip), as that way, you get a little better view.
Another good view is from a window seat on the second floor of the Las Vegas Strip Outback Steakhouse across the street from the volcano, above the Casino Royale.
More about the Mirage Volcano
* As mentioned earlier, the show lasts four and a half minutes. The music you will hear during the show is compliments of Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, and a lesser known musician from India, Zakir Hussain. The two combined to create the music specifically for the eruption.
* From the volcano, water is shot up to 120 feet into the air. Meanwhile, in the lagoon in the volcano’s shadow, natural gas jets shoot flames of fire into the air. The combination of swaying fire and shooting water makes the volcano show sort of a Bellagio dancing fountains, only with fire.
* To avoid the natural gas smell, the Mirage fills the jets with a Pina Colada scent. (See if you can smell that during your visit).
* The designers of the original volcano back in 1989 was the special-effects company “WET.” The company would later design the Bellagio fountains, and be in charge of the Mirage Volcano show upgrade in 2008.
* In the great book about the Las Vegas Strip, “Winner Takes All,” original Mirage owner Steve Wynn’s scary tale of the resort’s opening night is recanted. According to Wynn, a drunk man jumped into the lagoon just minutes before the first scheduled volcano eruption was to take place.
Fortunately for Wynn, (and more fortunately for the drunk), security was able to fish the man out of the water before the power and heat of the natural gas fired jets injured, (or possibly killed) the man.
* The Mirage volcano has made numerous cameo appearances in films. These include Vegas Vacation, and Indecent Proposal, among others.
* There are 120 fire shooters to send flames into the sky. One of the fire shooters is capable of shooting fire 60 feet into the air.
(Photos courtesy of Theresa Earnheart, and Nan Palmero via Flickr).