Effort To Save Star Trek: The Experience Sign In Doubt – Las Vegas Hilton Paints Over Sign

An effort to save the last remaining piece of the former Star Trek: The Experience may have come to a sad end. This month the Las Vegas Hilton has chosen to paint over the original sign for the attraction, instead of preserving it. Details and reaction below.


Hilton Paints Over Star Trek: The Experience Sign

In December we reported that former cast members of the Star Trek The Experience were trying to save the original sign for the attraction. The Experience ended its 11-year run at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel in September 2008, yet the original sign is still affixed to the side the hotel. This movement garnered the attention of local media in Las Vegas, including the local CBS News affiliate. The former cast members were trying to get the Hilton to either preserve the sign or donate it to a local museum. Both the Neon Museum of Las Vegas and the Hammargren Home of Nevada History have reportedly expressed interest in taking the sign off the Hilton’s hands. The Hammargren Home, owned by eccentric millionaire and former Las Vegas Lt. Governor Dr. Lonnie Hammargren, already purchased many items at last year’s CBS Star Trek: The Experience auction.

Original Star Trek The Experience Sign

So far the Hilton has not responded to the museums about the sign, nor have they commented to the media (including TrekMovie.com). And in the last week they have actually painted over the sign, which may negate any chance of it being preserved.

The sign today, with lower portion painted over, upper ‘logo’ is sun-faded but not yet painted over (photo: Vernon Wilmer)

One of those spearheading the save-the-sign movement has been Vernon Wilmer, former ST: The Experience cast member, who sent TrekMovie the following comment:

This seems to be the final solution by the owners of the Las Vegas Hilton, at least until the whole sign is inevitably taken down. It’s difficult to say since they’ve never offered a response to anyone’s inquiries, not even Colleen McCarty of Channel 8 news. It follows that they would do something this petty, rather than cooperate with the organizations or private collectors who were interested in acquiring the sign. As far as I am personally concerned the matter is closed. The conventions will now be held at the Rio, and except for a large ghostly Starfleet symbol on the side of their building, the Hilton has completely washed their hands of their involvement with Star Trek with a gallon of white paint and a big middle finger to the fans.

Las Vegas Trek Con To Rio – Future of new LV Star Trek Experience In Doubt

As Wilmer notes, 2010 was the last year at the Hilton for Creation’s Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, their biggest Trek con. The con survived at the Hilton for two years following the closing of Star Trek: The Experience, but for 2011 Creation is moving the event to the Rio, cutting the last big tie between the Hilton and Star Trek. The sci-fi themed "Space Quest" bar is still at the Hilton, but all the gaming machines (including the Star Trek slot machines) have been removed and replaced with a dance floor and the bar is now only open on weekends. 

As for any new Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas, the future remains in doubt. Despite some optimistic announcements from developer Rohit Joshi and Mayor Oscar Goldman, there appears to be no movement on the project. CBS has stated they are committed to bringing a Star Trek attraction back to Las Vegas, but the poor economy certainly put a big delay into the project, if not outright killed it.

More of Wilmer’s Star Trek: My Experience coming

If you are feeling nostalgic for the former Star Trek: The Experience, there is more coming in Vernon Wilmer’s documentary series "Star Trek: My Experience". Here is a new trailer for the next installment.

Previous releases from the "Star Trek: My Experience" project can be seen at blip.tv.

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February 17, 2011 6:17 pm

Sad. :(

February 17, 2011 6:18 pm

I went to the convention in Las Vegas last year at the Hilton. If that’s how they are going to treat the fans, it’s a good thing that they won’t get any more of our money. On to the Rio!

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
February 17, 2011 6:30 pm

I guess the Hilton does not want any kind of Business and they do not mind not making any more Money. I lived in Vegas for 2 and a half years and went to the Experence quite a bit. Loved sitting in the Capt Picard’s Chair and just Imagining what it would be like to actualy be on the Enterprise. I used to love Arguing with the Frengie about the cost of anything and asking them for the Where a Bouts of Quark as I had a score to settle. I sure do Miss that place. Oh. My Fave Drink in Quarks was the Warp Core Breach. Some great memories. Or at least when I was not to Drunk. Lol.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire
February 17, 2011 6:31 pm

Oh. I do still have a Bottle of Romulan Ale and some Klingon Blood Wine. Yes. I have a Tribble. But. it is safe. I think.

February 17, 2011 7:02 pm

Off the topic, but I just finished watching *BLEEP* My Dad Says and *SPOILER ALERT* Shat’s character has another son. Any word on Chris Pine making a cameo on the show????

February 17, 2011 7:10 pm

great video piece. I should NOT have to ask, but what is the music used??

February 17, 2011 7:14 pm

Children of Dune soundtrack by Brian Tyler. Used in a LOT of trailers.

Ian K
February 17, 2011 7:23 pm

Someone needs to go paint over the regular Hilton sign…

February 17, 2011 7:27 pm

LOL Ian!!!

February 17, 2011 7:31 pm

“Killed off by corporate America”?? Okay, if Hilton was looking to re-brand, I could see them wanting to show it the door. But come on, the Hilton is a business and if The Experience was not making money, it was doomed to die. If CBS wanted to keep it afloat, all an investor would need is to see the books and someone would pony up the bucks to open it elsewhere. Vegas is full of attractions, so that’s not an unreasonable expectation.
Even if Hilton had not pulled the plug, the recession might have done The Experience in, anyway. Last time I rolled through Vegas a lot of stuff off strip was closed.

February 17, 2011 7:34 pm

I still remember the last time i visited the Experience. All the letters of support posted on the wall. This place mattered to a lot of people ! Its a shame that CBS isn’t working harder on trying to bring back the experience in some way or shape.

Please Bring back the experience !

February 17, 2011 7:39 pm

I never was privilaged enough to see the expierence. I have always wanted to go. I dream of on day being able to go when they make a new experience. As far as the hilton, screw them. Boycot them. Do not spend money there or at any other hilton or hilton garden inn around the country!!

Michael Hall
February 17, 2011 7:59 pm

Sheesh. As someone who’s loved Trek most of my life and happily visited the Experience twice, I have to say that as tragedies go the painting-over of a sign for a now-defunct attraction is a pretty small one. Trekkers really should save their angst for the tens of thousands of Vegas residents (including those great folks who worked at the Experience) who currently find themselves out of a job through no fault of their own.

February 17, 2011 8:09 pm

Oyy, here we go.

10. Phil: Fine perspective, but I’m afraid you don’t have all the facts. It will all be in the documentary, I’m not making arbitrary statements here.

13. Michael Hall: You’re correct it’s a small matter, but there’s no major angst implied here – just the end of a very long story of back-and-forth with the Hilton.

February 17, 2011 8:20 pm

Went to the ST:TE three times; even stayed at the Hilton on one trip.
I enjoyed it very much. It was ‘living the dream’ for Trekkies like myself.
I agree that the recession would probably have killed it anyway.
It’s such a damn shame, as it was a hell of a lot of fun.
Those were very good times.

So many things I’ve enjoyed in the last decade are either closed, or in danger of closing (even Border’s books, my home away from home, has filed Chapter 11). These are ruthless, cutthroat times. Whatever place or restaurant you enjoy now? Well, enjoy it while you can.
This recession is BRUTAL.

It’s so sad; I had so many fond memories of ST:TE. Now, I just have some old pictures and nice memories.
:- (

February 17, 2011 8:25 pm

I took my father (a WWII pilot and retired farmer) to the Experience, and he went through the ride with me – it was probly the closest he will get to space flight. When we got out, I asked him how he liked it. He said it wasnt bad, but he had his eyes closed most of the time! (LOL). That was about 11 years ago, When my wife and I went a few years earlier, the motion on the ride was a little more jarring – seemed to be toned down a bit when my dad and I rode – good thing too, cuz he was about 80 then, and while he could still probly beat me arm wrestling, hips can be easily broken… Now – no one gets the ‘EXPERIENCE’

Michael Hall
February 17, 2011 8:25 pm

Mr. Wilmer,

Oy, no offense intended. :-) Again, I really enjoyed my visits to the Experience, which to my mind was much more fun and worth the price of admission than the Star Trek Exhibition (having stood on both, I can say that the Exhibition’s TOS bridge re-creation compares very poorly to James Cawley’s). Since I loathed almost everything about the 2009 film, the closing of the Experience, with its basis in the ‘Prime’ universe, was truly the end of an era for me. Good luck with your documentary.

February 17, 2011 8:32 pm

#3: “I guess the Hilton does not want any kind of Business and they do not mind not making any more Money.”

If they were making the kind of money you assume then the Experience would still be open. Clearly they were not.

February 17, 2011 8:40 pm

Michael Hall,

I loathe J.J.’s movie too! Call me V.

Harry Ballz
February 17, 2011 8:40 pm

I find it more than a little ironic that the description at the top of this thread reads, “the Las Vegas Hilton has decided to PAIN over the original sign for the attraction, instead of preserving it”

Freudian slip?

February 17, 2011 8:42 pm

To say it simply, thank you Vernon. I enjoyed the documentaries.

February 17, 2011 8:48 pm

BobOrci, just curious, did any of you and the writers get to experience “The Experience?

I finally got in a visit right before they closed. Oh how I wish I had gone sooner and enjoyed it a few more times.

February 17, 2011 8:48 pm

Thanks jcjlrchat, plenty more to come.

LOL Harry! I think you’re right…

Gonna be offline for a few days folks, I look forward to reading all your comments when I get back. Thanks for your interest, and thanks Anthony! ~Vernon

February 17, 2011 8:49 pm

wow I typo’d there, should say “…did you and any of the writers…” Sorry!

February 17, 2011 8:51 pm

I was there the first day it was opened. Got to go thru the sim ride with Jeri Ryan, Richard Hatch, and was in groups with a lot of Trek alums. It was a great day and one I enjoyed it. But all good things must end, and I do hope it will be reborn and better than ever. Many thanks for the time it was there!

February 17, 2011 9:24 pm

got to go there 3 times took my kids once loved the attraction shame it went i wont spend any monet at the hilton anymore i think the way they treat people is just sad but it seems thats the way the world is going
Vernon thnx for the insights love the vids LLAP

Red Dead Ryan
February 17, 2011 9:28 pm

“This month the Las Vegas Hilton has chosen to pain over the original sign for the attraction, instead of preserving it.”


Canon Schmanon
February 17, 2011 10:24 pm

Didn’t get here in time for the typo, but it was quite appropriate, if you ask me. I was never fortunate enough to get the the “Experience” and that makes me a little regretful. It sounded quite fun. Still, my fandom doesn’t run so deep that I’m weeping and gnashing my teeth or anything. ‘Tis a shame, though. Maybe if they could make the movies a little closer together :-) it would have prompted them to rethink dismantling the whole thing. Better yet, maybe they should start another damned series ;-) !!!!!!!!

Tanner Waterbury
February 17, 2011 10:35 pm

I’m still bitter over the closing!! I was supposed to go on my birthday to the Experience on Sept 29 2008, but INSTEEEAAAAAD, they close it on the 1st of SEPTEMBER!!!! COULDN’T THEY HAVE AT LEAST WAITED A MONTH?!!! Okay…bitter rant over. Its still sad that they painted over the sign.

February 17, 2011 10:35 pm

20. Harry Ballz – February 17, 2011

I think it was Freud who said that “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Corrected typo, nothing more.

Jim Nightshade
February 17, 2011 10:36 pm
And so it goes–Thanx for nothin Hilton….over the 10 years the experience was there I went many times…every trip to vegas almost and stayed there more than once also….and attended the one vegas trek con celebrating treks 40th anniversary….eating at the Hiltons many restaurants, playing their slots like crazy etc….after I heard they were closing, I blamed the Hilton…my last visit there 2 weeks before they closed we actually stayed at the Imperial Palace I couldnt bear to give any more money to the hilton…when I mentioned that to April she said she heard that a lot….Since the Hilton closed the Experience i have not set foot at the hilton…It was awesome to ride the monorail to the experience….very futuristic…the year the monorail opened there was one train decorated with the Borg and we rode that with my parents who I also got to share my Trek Experience with…They went on both attractions ate at Quarks got pix taken with Ferengi…my dad got put into a tos pix…said it was full of imagination….Well My dad finally passed away Jan.22 at 92 from cancer…the last week was not fun…he was surrounded by 4 generations of family…I look back at that trip to vegas with them and the experience as one of my fondest dearest memories now.. I think the year was 2004….I admire Vernons many heroic efforts on behalf of the Trek Experience, his wonderful documentary series, and wonderful employees and actors like him and April….Like My Father, my memory of… Read more »
Dr. Cheis
February 17, 2011 10:39 pm

I bet somebody got yelled at for breaking the Voyager. Somebody would have paid good money for it if it were intact.

Interestingly, I think the building looks better with the bottom part of the sign painted over. It gets to stay a memento of what was once there without misleading people into thinking the Experience still exists in that spot.

I just wish I had gotten a chance to go :(

February 17, 2011 10:46 pm

What about the new Star Trek Experience?

When will it open?

What are the news?

February 17, 2011 11:08 pm

@Susan, Vegas economy has slowed to an even slower crawl than the national economy. The guy that said he was going to do it has done nothing and very likely not to do anything for many years at this rate. My suggestion, catch the Exhibit. It’s not the same but its at least a taste. As long as that continues to do well I don’t think we’ll see the experience.

Jonny Boy
February 17, 2011 11:14 pm

Still saving a bottle of Romulan Ale and Klingon Bloodwine. Good times…

Captain Conrad
February 18, 2011 12:41 am

If the Voyager ride hadn’t sucked so badly, this might not have happened

February 18, 2011 1:38 am

THis is really sad news.

Star Trek: The Experience was one of the best theme attractions ever. The first two times I was at the Vegas conI loved going on Klingon Encounter and Borg 4D. I felt like I was in the Star Trek universe. I loved it.

And the performers really got into their characters

I feel sad that is no longer there and the final insult is that the Hilton do a middle finger and paint over the sign without auctioning it away.

Anthony Thompson
February 18, 2011 2:13 am

Much ado about nothing.

February 18, 2011 6:30 am

Why don´t they just move it to Orlando?

Only evil people, and “Knight Rider” extras, go to Vegas.

February 18, 2011 6:34 am

I find it troubling that, even with media coverage, Hilton never even reacted, let alone issued some generic corporate response.

Facing facts, hating the Hilton for the decline in Star Trek’s fortunes is misplaced. The Experience was not a museum, but more of a theme park for a concept that was in 2002, being called ‘stagnant’ and ‘dead’ in the media once ENT farted out of existence. The loyal fans kept it up, but it lost Mr. & Mrs. Joe Sixpack and family, who are the real bread and butter.

February 18, 2011 6:41 am

see more imagery of the Hilton ST:EXP sign at the “staff access” section of startrek360.com and then click “launch photos”

February 18, 2011 7:41 am

You want to know something it’s only a sign used for advertising the experience it wasn’t used in the production of any movie or television series. The Experience is closed, time to move on. Nobody stepped up and offered to buy it from the Hilton and if the sign had any value it would of been sold off in the auction. I’m surprised the Hilton didn’t have a clause in the contract that the sign had to be removed by the company running the Experience after it closed.

As a collector I am interested in collecting items that was used in the television shows and the movies, not something that was used in a commercial operation.

Earthman Jim
February 18, 2011 7:54 am

Is the Star Trek: My Experience documentary available for sale on dvd? It looks really good and I would like to buy a copy for myself as I did not have the pleasure of attending Star Trek : The Experience. This documentary would be my only way to do that.
I remember reading that it was closing in just one or two weeks right before I went to Dragoncon in 2008. While at Dragoncon I went to a Voltaire concert and painfully regretted not going as I listend to Voltaire’s reaction to the closing and a detailed description of his own experience at Star Trek: The Experience.
Going there was a dream of mine that never came true.

February 18, 2011 8:12 am

I am sure that this has nothing to do with the sign, but where The STAR TREK EXPERIANCE WAS HELD AT, known as the HILTON WAS ACTUALLY NOT OWNED BY THE HILTONS, rather the hotel Was owned by another party other than the HILTONS, the hotel only leased the name Hilton, not owned by them. I don’t remember the chain that leased the Hiltom name, but it was definatly not owned by the HILTONS. YOU CAN PROBABLY TELL AS THE HOTEL SLOWLY ALLOWED TO BE RUN DOWN AND NOT UP TO THE HILTON STANDARDS.

SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS OFF AND ON, but my phone would not allow me to switch between caps and lower case.

February 18, 2011 8:26 am

so cyberghost. i think i am confused. did you say that the Las Vegas Hilton is in fact owned by the hiltons? thats incredible! To think that The Las Vegas Hilton was actually owned by the hiltons. I would have figured another company bought the rights to use it’s name, but i’m glad that the Las Vegas Hilton was indeed owned by the hiltons

February 18, 2011 8:27 am

You know, a lot of people are venting about how horrible the LV Hilton was to ST:TE. All they were was the building it was housed in. The Experience was owned by Paramount Parks (I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m mistaken) and when Paramount got out of the amusement park business The Experience went with it. The building still draws tourists because Elvis performed there. Trek does not have that level of loyality, so it really was just a business decision.

Niall Johnson
February 18, 2011 8:31 am

My wife and I stayed at the Hilton last weekend, and it really is on a slippery slope downhill. They gave me the keys to a dirty room with a conference table still covered with half full glasses of orange juice and half eaten breakfasts when I checked in Friday night. Not impressed! I don’t the new owners give a fiddler’s about the place. It’s a shame as I love the buffet and its staff, but I’m not in a rush to stay there again. BTW, the poor sign is verrry faded.

Jerry Modene
February 18, 2011 8:42 am

Actually, there are a lot of rumors floating around town that the Hilton will be demolished to make room for some new high-rise condos.

Tony Todd's Tears
February 18, 2011 8:44 am

Seeing this dishonor makes me want to cry, how could they so blatantly give us the finger like that?

My dishonor as a Klingon is complete.

Anthony Thompson
February 18, 2011 9:16 am


Did you ask them why they gave you a room with a conference table in it?