It’s tough to leave the atmosphere you’ll feed on at Mardi Gras Casino and Resort in West Virginia. But when a small town like Nitro is near an epicenter like West Virginia’s state capital of Charleston, curiosity to explore the area will get the better of you.
And it should, with all those locations that hit home on West Virginia culture, including the State Museum and Avampato Discovery Museum.
But hey, it doesn’t stop at cultural centers. With Cato and Daniel Boone Park nearby, the outdoor activities await you and your family. And if you’re hanging around the area during baseball season, Appalachian Power Park is a popular destination.
Let’s look at the top eight attractions surrounding the Mardi Gras Casino if you need a day or two off from gambling in West Virginia.
West Department of Arts, Culture, and History
Looking to gain insight on West Virginia culture? Come down and get inspired by what made the Mountain State everything that it is today at the West Virginia State Museum.
It is the museum’s mission to inspire and educate all who walk through its doors, and the staff will make your learning experience a lot of fun, too.
With their immense collection of art, geology, paleontology, or more, you’ll lose your breath quickly given the amount of history you’ll find in one convenient location.
The museum is part of a greater scope of locations in the department, which also includes historic locations like the Grave Creek Mound and Independence Hall—both of which are upstate in Wheeling, West Virginia.
If you’re looking to increase your knowledge and understanding, or if you’re just a history lover, then this location should rank number one on your itinerary if you’re looking to venture away from the Mardi Gras Casino grounds.
Avampato Discovery Museum
Located in the Clay Center in Charleston, the Avampato Discovery Museum features over 12,000 square feet of real estate encompassing three floors of major exhibits. So, what is there to do at this location?
The Discovery Museum is a fantastic place to take time off from the casino and to get together with the family if you’re either vacationing in or passing through Charleston. If there is one bet you’ll win, it’s that your kids will love the experience.
St. George Orthodox Cathedral
Looking for an astounding piece of history? Go to the St. George Orthodox Cathedral and appreciate the stunning architecture in the structure’s exterior.
Founded in 1905, the St. George Orthodox Cathedral has served the East Orthodox community since 1905, 13 years after the first Orthodox settlers arrived in the Charleston area.
But you need not be Orthodox to pay this magnificent building a visit. And if you love the breathtaking exterior, you’ll definitely admire the rich history that awaits through the doors.
The Capitol Theater
Also known as Plaza Theatre and West Virginia State University Capitol Theater, this old building found its way onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1985, and it still serves the people of Charleston, West Virginia, to this day.
If you’re into architecture, you’ll fall for the layout of the building’s Classic Revival Structure that includes inspiration from Greek architecture as well.
While the building no longer puts on regular performances, it’s a magnificent sight to see if you love architecture or are looking to snap a few photos of the area’s oldest and most historical buildings.
This is a great place to unwind after a long day of playing real money slots and table games. Cato Park is an expansive and vibrant park full of hiking trails to get a good workout in or to just enjoy nature. It also offers an Olympic-sized pool, picnic areas, tennis courts, and a nine-hole par-three golf course.
It’s the best place to find a retreat for the day or if you’re just looking to take a few hours off from the endless casino gaming at Mardi Gras Casino, then you’ll find Cato Park more than worth the visit.
The park also gives you a fantastic chance to interact with some of Charleston’s locals and to get to know this growing area even more from those who live and breathe Charleston culture every day.
It’s said to be the number one destination in town on sunny, summer days. So, if you’re heading over on a clear day, expect a crowd of friendly people awaiting your arrival.
Appalachian Power Park
Home to the West Virginia Power, Charleston Golden Eagles, and Marshall Thundering Herd baseball teams, Appalachian Power Park is a great place to let your inner-baseball enthusiast shine.
Here, you’ll find some top-level Class A minor league baseball in the nation, as future baseball stars take the field in an attempt to move up the minor league ranks and eventually, into the major league itself.
Or if the Thundering Herd or Golden Eagles are in town, you can also expect some of the most exciting play that college baseball offers in the area. But even if you aren’t a baseball fan, the venue hosts so much more than just America’s great pastime.
Appalachian Power Park has hosted concerts, trade shows, charity events, and even television coverage of college football games on the scoreboard. Its diversity of events makes it one of the most sought-after venues in the area.
The stadium also boasts several distinct features, including an authentic locomotive horn and a unique electrical outlet in the backstop behind home plate.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll glimpse the “Toast Man,” who is really local politician Rod Blackstone. Blackstone is nationally known as one of the most rabid fans in minor league baseball, and you’ll spot him quickly with the bread and toaster he’s known to bring to games.
So, if the events over at Mardi Gras Casino aren’t cutting it for you, head on over to Appalachian Power Park to catch a minor league or college baseball game. That’s if the park isn’t already hosting another exciting event.
Charleston Town Center
Are you up for a day away from the casino and a day out on the town? Surely, you’ll embark on a huge shopping spree once you glimpse the Charleston Town Center. It prides itself as West Virginia’s premier shopping center and exclusive shopping area.
Here, you’ll find a plethora of shopping and dining options along with activities for kids, a play area, and an open, clean facility just waiting for someone to explore its depths.
You will have to pay a small fee for parking. But other than that, you’ll hardly find a gripe among recent reviews of patrons who have visited the Charleston Town Center.
It’s the perfect place to explore and rejuvenate if you need a break from the casino, and you’ll love the wide variety of shopping options available to you. One reviewer has described the mall as a “Shoppers Delight.”
So, if that’s your ideal kind of day, definitely check this place out during your stay in or if you’re just passing through Charleston. It’ll be a shopping experience you’ll never forget!
Daniel Boone Park
They describe the park in the same way many describe the state of West Virginia—almost heaven. That will give you an idea of what you’ll find in the nature-laden Daniel Boone Park. From walking trails, to breathtaking scenic views of the mountains, and more, you’ll fall in love with the park and its nearby surroundings even if the great outdoors aren’t really your thing.
It’s a perfect place to visit after a few days at the gaming table. And if you’re one who gets heated at the slots or tables, heal the mind, body, and soul with a trip into nature.
If there is one safe bet out there, it’s that you’ll return to Mardi Gras Casino and Resort rejuvenated and ready for more gaming action.
Yup, you’re in for a potluck of adventure when you hit up the areas surrounding Mardi Gras Casino and Resort. Even if you didn’t win at the casino, perhaps you’ll win some knowledge instead at the museums, cathedrals, and theaters this state has to offer.
The outdoorsy soul in you will love what you’ll find at Cato, Daniel Boone, and the other surrounding parks. There’s always the wild and wonderful scenery that epitomizes the state of West Virginia if you’re down on your luck.
So, if you previously thought the resort was the only place worth visiting here in downstate West Virginia, this article should have given you a brand-new perspective on everything Charleston brings.
Have you spent time at Mardi Gras Casino and Resort before? And if so, did you venture out to explore the area? Let us know about your experience in the comments.