Legendary Circus Circus turns 50


Orko Manna

LAS VEGAS – Circus Circus is celebrated a huge milestone Thursday — it turned 50 years old. The hotel and casino opened on this day back in 1968.

It’s the fourth oldest property on the Las Vegas Strip — after the Flamingo, Tropicana and Caesars Palace.

Thousands of employees celebrated the big 50 inside the Adventuredome at Circus Circus. This hotel has always been a different kind of property along the Strip. And when it comes to their business, they don’t clown around. 


“I can’t believe we’ve made it this far,” said Tom Nolan, vp of theme park operations.

Circus Circus is celebrating five decades of entertaining tourists on the Las Vegas Strip. Since it opened in 1968, the property has become a pop culture symbol — appearing in several movies, like the 1971 Bond film “Diamonds are Forever.”

It started as only a casino and then opened it’s first hotel rooms in 1972.

“Watched them build the west tower,” Nolan said.

Tom Nolan has worked at the property for 28 years. While there’s been many changes, he says one thing has remained the same.

“When I first started here, the first thing I felt is the family effect. Everybody that worked here at Circus Circus either before or present, it’s all a big family,” he said. “Twenty eight years later, it’s still family, it’s still fun to come in to work every day. It’s Circus Circus! You got to have fun.”

Family fun for guests is what the property is known for. Executives say that’s why people keep coming back.

“In the 90s, we opened Grand Slam Canyon which became the Adventuredome, which really made Circus Circus the ultimate family destination,” said Eric Fitzgerald, president & coo, Circus Circus.

“Circus Circus is synonymous with families. It is what our brand stands for, it’s one of the most recognizable brands in Las Vegas,” Fitzgerald said.

Looking ahead to the next 50 years, it’s about showing the circus is in town, and it’s here to stay.

“We just try to keep things fresh, keep things fun,” Nolan said.

Also at the 50-year celebration was MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren. He got a look at the storied history of Circus Circus with some of the employees.

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