The state of Nevada is celebrating its 154th birthday this year on Oct. 26. The state's birthday is technically on Oct. 31 but Nevada Day is the last Friday of October.
A huge parade is being held in Carson City to celebrate the day. There are no known celebrations in Las Vegas, but all state, county and city government offices are closed, along with most schools and libraries.
Here are some fun facts about Nevada:
Official State Bird: Mountain Bluebird
Nevada State Capital: Carson City
Official State Flower: Sagebrush
Official State Fish: Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
Official State Fossil: Ichthyosaur
Official State Tree: Single-Leaf Piñon & Bristlecone Pine
Official State Reptile: Desert Tortoise
- Nevada became the 36th state on Oct. 31, 1864.
- Nevada was the 2nd state added to the Union during the Civil War.
- Nevada was named after the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
- More than 900 nuclear tests were conducted at Nevada Test Site between 1951 and 1992.
- Nevada is the largest gold-producing state in America.
- There are more than 300 mountain ranges in Nevada.
- There are more than 300 natural hot springs in the state.
- Nevada is the only U.S. state where prostitution is legal.
- Gov. Fred Balzar legalized gambling in the state in March 1931.
- The first casino in Nevada was the Pair-O-Dice Club. It opened on Highway 91 in 1931.
- White fur trappers came to the Elko area in 1828.
- The first permanent non-native settlement was built in Nevada by the Mormons in 1851.
- Nevada takes its name from a Spanish word meaning snow-clad.
- Nevada Indian tribes include the Shoshone, Washoe and Paiute.
- Even though Goldfield was once the largest city in Nevada, it’s now the second-smallest county seat in the U.S.
- Winnemucca is one of the sunniest towns in Nevada with 201 cloud-free days.
- Kangaroo rats can live their entire lives in the Mojave Desert without water.
- Blue jeans (Levi's) were invented by Jacob Davis of Reno.
- Lake Tahoe is the 3rd deepest lake in the U.S.
- Mark Twain’s writing career began as a reporter for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.
- The Stratosphere Tower is the tallest, free-standing observation tower in the U.S.
- Virginia City is believed to be the most haunted town in the U.S.
- Most of the state is desert but the Sierra Nevada mountain range near Reno and the Ruby Mountains near Elko has snow for half the year.
- State nicknames include the Sagebrush State, the Silver State and the Battle Born State.
- Nevada was made famous by the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, the richest known U.S. silver deposit.
- The 98-mile stretch of State Route 375 was renamed the Extraterrestrial Highway in 1996 because so many people have claimed to see extraterrestrials on the road.
- Nevada’s Berlin-Icthyosaur State Park contains the largest known Shonisaurus poplars ichthyosaur fossils. The extinct marine animals ranged in size from 2 feet to more than 50 feet.
- The first slot machine was invented by Charles Fey in 1899 and it was named the Liberty Bell.
- An elephant named Bertha performed for 37 years at the Nugget casino in Sparks. She was 48 when she died.
- Nevada was the first state to ratify the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving African-American men the right to vote.
- Howard Hughes used to own many hotels and casinos in Las Vegas including Castaways, Desert Inn, Frontier, Landmark, Sands, Silver Slipper and Harold’s Club.
- The Las Vegas Strip is actually under the jurisdiction of Clark County.
- Las Vegas has more hotel rooms than any other place on earth.
- Famous people born in Nevada include Patricia Ryan Nixon, Abby Dalton, Dawn Wells, Andre Agassi, Kurt and Kyle Busch, Barry Zito, Matthew Guy Gubler, Thomas Ian Nicholas, and Amy Purdy.
- Nevada has more mountain ranges than any other state, with its highest point at the 13,145 foot top of Boundary Peak near the west-central border.
- Nevada is the seventh largest state with 110,540 square miles, 85% of them federally owned including the secret Area 51 near the little town of Rachel.
- The state has about 50,000 miles of paved road, much of it featured in films like "Vanishing Point," "Breakdown," "Rain Man," and "Lethal Weapon 4.”
- The state's Highway 50, known as the Loneliest Highway in America, received its name from "Life" magazine in 1986. There are few road stops in the 287-mile stretch between Ely and Fernley.
- Frank Sinatra once owned the Cal-Neva at Lake Tahoe's Crystal Bay.
- It is possible to stand in both Nevada and California inside Cal-Neva's building.
- Writer and commentator Lowell Thomas called Elko the last cowtown in America.
- Camels were used as pack animals in Nevada as late as 1870.
- The first community college in Nevada opened in Elko in 1967. Great Basin College was the forerunner of a statewide system associated with the University of Nevada.
- Reno is further west than Los Angeles.
- Hoover Dam was a massive undertaking.
- Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1935. It is 726 feet high and 1,255 feet long.
- Hard hats were first invented specifically for workers on the Hoover Dam in 1933.
- Nevada is one of only 7 states that does not have an individual income tax. It also doesn’t collect corporate income tax.
- Nevada is the driest state in the U.S. with fewer than 10 inches of rain per year.
- Although several states don’t have laws banning public intoxication, Nevada is the only state that specifically prohibits any local or state law from making it a public offense.