The Mirage in Las Vegas is spending $25 million to reignite excitement with a new volcano attraction

When The Mirage opened nearly two decades ago, its erupting faux volcano stopped traffic on the Las Vegas Strip and drew packed crowds of tourists eager to glimpse or snap a photo of the lava-spewing spectacle.

Now the resort, which opened in 1989, is spending $25 million to reignite that excitement with a new volcano attraction.

The Mirage has joined forces with former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, Indian tabla sensation Zakir Hussain and Fountains of Bellagio design firm WET to create an all-new audio/visual spectacle.

The top-to-bottom overhaul is the final step in the property’s ongoing transformation and is scheduled for completion late 2008.

The Mirage created a sensation when The Volcano first erupted in 1989. Now the resort hopes to take that excitement to a new level, enlisting Hart, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy Award-winning composer, and Hussain, an Indian musical virtuoso, to create and perform an exclusive soundtrack for the iconic blast. 

“To put percussive sound to the image of fire and have it dance around a lagoon is something I’ve never done; I’ve never birthed a volcano,” Hart said. “Zakir and I immersed ourselves in the legends and myths and studied what really makes a volcano work. The result, a true union of the senses, will rattle your bones, just like a real volcano.”

Volcano highlights

  • Cost: $25 million
  • Designer: WET Design
  • Soundtrack: Collaboration of former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and Indian tabla sensation Zakir Hussain
  • Opening: Late 2008
  • Show length: 4.5 minutes
  • Description: Water will shoot some 120 feet in the air, and 120  fireball-throwing devices will be choreographed to music

Tasked with bringing the latest innovations to the project, WET will forge a primal volcanic environment of sound, light, music and heat. WET’s choreographed FireShooters, which send massive fireballs more than 120 feet into the air, were designed specifically for The Mirage using the latest developments in flame-expression technology. The FireShooters will punctuate the performances with eruptions of fiery “lava” that will flow down the mountain’s fissures in a series of lively flames. As the eruption ignites the surrounding lagoon, the FireShooters will bring Las Vegas’ signature blast within feet of spectators.

“It looks dangerous, but in reality it’s not. We just want people to stand back on their heels,” Jim Doyle, the director of new technologies at the Sun Valley, Calif.-based design firm WET, told The Associated Press.

Further enhancing the overall experience, The Volcano will feature a new Meyer Sound state-of-the-art sound system.

An industry innovator, Meyer Sound is widely recognized for providing the gold standard in audio systems, as heard in theaters throughout the world, including The Mirage’s own LOVE Theater.

With more than 60 Meyer Sound cabinets strategically placed throughout the lagoon, Hart and Hussain’s invigorating composition will immerse guests in the volcanic rhythm. 

Property makeover

The new Volcano is the crowning jewel of a transformation project that began at the property in 2006.

“The Mirage and our fiery Volcano have long been symbols of the energy and excitement Las Vegas offers,” said Scott Sibella, president and chief operating officer of The Mirage.  “We recognize that to remain at the forefront of this dynamic destination, The Mirage must deliver trendsetting attractions that excite and entertain, giving our guests a reason to visit again and again.”

During the past three years, The Mirage has introduced new amenities including The Beatles’ LOVE by Cirque du Soleil, nightlife outposts JET Nightclub and The Beatles Revolution Lounge; the luxury adult pool BARE, and restaurants created by the world’s most acclaimed restaurateurs and designers.

The Mirage recently underwent a $110 million room and suite redesign to enhance its market position. From luxury amenities to modern furnishings, the resort’s 2,765 deluxe and tower deluxe accommodations were designed to reflect an ambiance of contemporary upscale living, and to complement the energy and excitement of the new Mirage, the company said.