Las Vegas Family Fun

Las Vegas - Strip @ NightLas Vegas has a reputation as the city of sin – a lot of gambling, drinking and excess. So why would you take your family to this town that never sleeps?

Las Vegas have been changing in past years and becoming more family oriented. You can still find all the partying and gambling - and other sins - if you are looking for it. But you can also find a lot of wholesome fun for the whole family. A lot of those activities and attractions are free or inexpensive but expect to pay a premium for major attractions.  

Just to name a few of the family-oriented fun: Strolling down the strip; watching the various waterfalls and dancing water shows; Aquariums inside some of the resorts; Magic shows; Circus shows; Red Rock park; Gardens; Dolphins; Tigers; Atomic Testing museum; Freemont Experience; Water parks; Variety shows; Go-Karts; Speedways; Hoover Dam; Lake Mead watersports and cruises. Read further for a more detailed description for those attractions and more.

Getting there and around

Las Vegas - BellagioMost people from neighboring states just drive to Vegas. The trip from Anaheim or Los Angeles is about 4 hours with good traffic. If you are unlucky and end up driving during peak hours on major holidays, you may get stuck in traffic for up to 9 hours. 

If you drive in, your car will come in handy. You can always find free parking in this city. You can park the car yourself or you can use Valet services at all major resorts. The valet service is always free, but you are expected to tip the driver who delivers your vehicle. 

Tip: most people drive along the main thoroughfare called Las Vegas Boulevard (or the Strip) to get from place to place. It is fun to do so once to take in the views, but avoid it whenever possible. There are a lot of back streets you can take. Ignore your GPS insistence on driving along the Strip and venture out to parallel streets.

Las Vegas - Caesars PalaceIf you fly into Las Vegas you can get around using public transportation. Taxies are metered and not very expensive. A trip between Luxor and Wynn costs about $10.

Monorail service is available along portions of the strip. The trip price is $6. I found out that after the novelty of riding the monorail wares off you will end up waiting for the trams and walking long distances from stations to destinations. For a little extra money you can get a taxi and avoid the lines. 

Bus ride fares are about the same – a single ride for $6 per person. If you have a group of up to 5 taking the taxis is much cheaper. On crowded days you will end up waiting a long time for the next bus that is not already full to capacity - very inconvenient. 

Free shuttles are provided by some resorts. The purple bus starts from the Hard Rock Café resort and stops at several strip hotels.

Finally, the favorite mode of transportation along the strip is walking. Save money and enjoy the views.

Where to stay

Las Vegas - LuxorEvery time I go to Vegas I see new construction going on. New mega resorts pop up every few months. So there is no shortage of places to stay. You just need to pick the right place for you based on location, taste and budget. 

If you are on a budget and you really want to save on accommodations, then venture outside the strip for great deals. You can try Rio; Hard Rock; LVH; Palace Station and Red Rock. Some of them go as low as $20 a night. 

Rio All Suites Resort is a very good choice. 

Book with the Experts at Vegas.com 

If you insist on being on the strip, you still can find some bargains at hotels like Luxor; Excalibur; Planet Hollywood; Stratosphere and Tropicana. 

Experiance multiple Las Vegas attractions for one price. Get the Las Vegas All-Inclusive Attraction Pass

I always like to stay at Luxor. I love the Egyptian decor  and the slanted elevators. 

If you like to stay in luxury, you must try the Venetian; Bellagio and Wynn to name a few. 

I recently stayed at the Venetian and loved every minute of my stay. See the review here.

Las Vegas on a Budget

It is hard to believe that you can have fun in Vegas without spending a lot of money, but it is very possible. Go on a walking tour of the strip, watch the dancing waters at Bellagio, experience a volcano at Mirage, enjoy an operatic performance at the Venetian - and much more free or almost free entertainment. Read the full article here.  

Shows

See the Sold Out Shows in Las Vegas! VegasTickets.com has tickets.

Las Vegas - ROCK OF AGES Everywhere you go on the Strip you will see huge electronic billboards announcing the next big show or attraction. Take your pick from magic shows, standup comedy, dancing showgirls, daredevils, impressionists, ventriloquists and celebrity singers. Some shows are for adults only, but there are a lot of shows that are geared towards the whole family. Most shows are pricey, but you can get some good deals from the Internet (like Groupon) or from discount ticket booths like Tix4Tonight. Read the full article here.

Attractions, Museums and Tours

Las Vegas - Circus Circus - ChaosWhen you have had enough of free entertainment and major shows in Las Vegas, you still have a lot of fun to discover around town. Go skydiving indoors or go for a real jump; Take a tour in the city or venture out to Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon. Take the kids to a body parts museum or go view artifacts from the Titanic.Read the full article here.

Where to eat

Las Vegas is known for its extravagant buffets and celebrity chef restaurants.  Almost every casino has a Buffet, several restaurants and some even have food courts.

Buffets

Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood: Several food stations, each from a different country. The Middle Eastern station is especially tasty – don’t forget to grab Baklava for desert. The seafood station is good but lacking variety of sushi. Regular dinner price is $40 but you can get a ½ promotion from several sources.

Las Vegas - WynnCarnival World Buffet at Rio: Similar to Spice market with food from around the world. It has live action food preparation, more sushi choices and a large selection of deserts. Price for dinner around $32.

Tip: You can buy a 24 hours buffet pass for around $50 that is good for many of the main buffets on the strip. It includes: Carnival World Buffet at the Rio, Village Seafood Buffet at the Rio (Additional $10), Flavors at Harrah's, Paradise at the Flamingo, Emperor's Buffet at The Quad, Le Village Buffet at Paris, Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace (Additional $15 for Breakfast, $20 for Lunch, and $25 for Dinner), and the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood.

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace: It is considered the top buffet in Las Vegas by several rating agencies. It offers the largest variety of cuisines by master chefs. The majority of the cocking is done in front of guests. Dinners cost around $46.

Some of the less expensive but good buffets are The Buffet at Golden Nugget, Chop Chop Buffet at the Plaza downtown, Ports O' Call Buffet at Gold Coast and Fantasy Market Buffet at the Palms.

Las Vegas vacation packages

Can you add to the list?

Finally, one article can’t cover all the family fun you can have in Las Vegas. There are many more shows, water parks, speedways and excursions to nearby places. If you have a favorite attraction, hotel, casino or adventure to add, please submit an article or make comments on this page. Better yet, you can volunteer to be the local expert on Las Vegas – just let me know.

Las Vegas Attractions

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Las Vegas Attractions

Las Vegas - Indoor SkydiveWhen you have had enough of free entertainment and major shows in Las Vegas, you still have a lot of fun to discover around town. Go skydiving indoors or go for a real jump; Take a tour in the city or venture out to Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon. Take the kids to a body parts museum or go view artifacts from the Titanic.

Attractions

Vegas Indoor Skydiving

This is a very thrilling experience that simulates skydiving. The jump takes place inside a closed chamber with a huge airline propeller in the ground. The propeller creates a strong upwards wind – like a vertical wind tunnel. The skydivers jump into the wind – facing down and the wind pushes them up. But before you can accomplish your skydive you need instructions, equipment and practice. Read the full article here.

Dig This

I heard about this place from a friend and at first, I was reluctant to go. Do I really want to go play in the dirt again? 

Experiance multiple Las Vegas attractions for one price. Get the Las Vegas All-Inclusive Attraction Pass

It turned out that I actually do. It was great fun to learn how to operate a huge excavator and proceed to dig a big hole in the ground.  Read the full article here

Go-Karts and Racing

Las Vegas - Dig ThisFor the visitor looking for an adrenaline rush, Las Vegas has several venues for Go-Karts and racing. You can try the fast Go-Karts at Pole Position Raceway. The adult (56 inches or taller) Karts can go up to 45 miles an hour. For $25 you get one race with 14 laps. Other packages are available. 

Museums and Exhibits

Most kids and teens are allergic to museums, but there are a few choices in Las Vegas that may appeal to the whole family:

The Atomic Testing Museum: 

The Nevada desert is known as nuclear testing grounds, so it makes sense to place this museum in Las Vegas. It has many interactive exhibits and lots of information about the timeline of nuclear research and testing in US. Make sure to stop at Ground Zero Theater. This Museum is located near the convention center on Flamingo Rd.

Bodies...The Exhibition: 

Las Vegas - BodiesNot showgirl bodies - this is an exhibit about the human body and its organs. The exhibits include 13 whole bodies and 260 preserved organs. This might be very appealing to teens and somewhat disturbing to younger children. It is located inside Luxor.

Titanic - The Artifact Exhibition: 

Also located inside Luxor it features about 300 artifacts and several replicas of the ship. If you loved the 1997 movie you will enjoy this museum.

Mob Museum: 

An interesting downtown museum showcasing the history of the mob in Las Vegas. Learn about the famed gangsters and the heroes that brought them down.

Madame Tussauds Interactive Wax Museum: 

Located inside the Venetian hotel, it is the only guaranteed way to get up close and personal with the famous and the infamous. Some of the celebrities you will “meet” are Jennifer Lopez, Benjamin Franklin, Lindsay Lohan, Harrison Ford, Jenna Jameson.

Guided Tours and Sightseeing

Many tour operators advertise tours to exciting places in Las Vegas and surrounding areas. 

LAs Vegas - Hoover Dam BypassOne of my favorite tours is a twin-engine plane trip to the Grand Canyon. Trips vary from short jaunts to the west rim to a full day adventure covering north and south rims. 

Another great tour is by coach to the west rim, Helicopter to the bottom of the canyon and boat ride on the Colorado River. 

How about a whitewater rafting trip on the Colorado River? Just make double-check water conditions before you book your adventure.

Take a cruise on Lake Mead. Either drive to Lake Mead or take a coach bus with a pickup from your hotel. 

You want to know more about Las Vegas history and get the skinny on celebrities? Take a guided bus tour. 

Dig This Las Vegas

Las Vegas - Dig This I heard about this place from a friend and at first, I was reluctant to go. Do I really want to go play in the dirt again?

It turned out that I actually do. It was great fun to learn how to operate a huge excavator and proceed to dig a big hole in the ground.  

We started with instructions at the office. The staff were very friendly and informative. Once everyone learned the dos and don’ts we headed out to the big dirt field and mounted our excavators. Once we were in, we received additional hands-on instructions through radio headsets. 

Las Vegas - Dig ThisOur first task was to dig a deep trench. We had lots of fun moving the arm up and down and using the big jaws to “eat” the dirt. It is an amazing experience to be controlling this huge machine.

The second task was to pick up 4 huge tires, move them to another spot and stack them on top of each other.

At the end we played a game with the excavators. We had to pick basketballs with the mouth of the machine and drop it into a tire. 

Las Vegas - Dig ThisI really loved this experience and will go back to try the bulldozer next time. This experience is appropriate for all ages, but due to insurance restrictions, they can only allow adults on the machines.  I think they should get an exception for teens with driver licenses. 

Oh! And make sure you are sober before you go. They will make you breathe through a Breathalyzer. 

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Vegas Indoor Skydiving

I have wanted to try this adventure for a while now but was always hesitant. I was worried that it would be a waste if time or it might be too difficult – always finding an excuse.

Las Vegas - Indoor SkydiveI finally went for it in May 2013 with my daughter and we were very glad we did. It is a very thrilling experience that simulates skydiving. The jump takes place inside a closed chamber with a huge propeller in the ground. The propeller creates a strong vertical wind – like a wind tunnel. The skydivers jump into the wind – facing down and the wind pushes them up. But before you can accomplish your skydive you need instructions, equipment and practice. 

The place is well organized and the staff were knowledgeable. Our guide/instructor stayed with us throughout the whole process. 

First, you will get some verbal instructions and sign some liability release forms. Pay attention to the hand signals as they will come in handy during your flight.

Next, you will be issued a suite, gloves, goggles, earplugs and helmet. You put them on and practice your stance for the jump. You basically have to look like an X when jumping into the wind and you have to keep your head up. The earplugs are to protect you from the loud fan noise. 

When it is time for your group you will be led into the wind chamber. An observation room is available for non-participants. This is where the rest of my family went to wait and take pictures and videos. 

In the chamber you take turns jumping in the wind while your guide is helping you float in the air. In the adjacent control room, the operator adjusts the wind speed based on your height and weight. 

Las Vegas - Indoor SkydiveThe flights/dives were very thrilling and actually very exhausting. I didn’t expect it to be a workout, but it was for me. Younger and more agile kids had an easier time soaring on the wind. To really become good at this you need practice. One session is not enough. I recommend that you try to get a good price on a package that includes the initial session and an extra flight without the instructions. 

Price for a single flight is $85 and for a repeat flight $50. You can also buy a DVD of your flight for $25. 

My family took a lot of pictures and videos of us from the observation room, but the goggles and helmets made it very difficult to see faces and the fast action made most pictures fuzzy. Now I wish I invested in the professional DVD.

The pictures also showed that my suit didn’t fit properly. With the wind pushing up, it made me look like a sumo wrestler. 

I will definitely come back to this place and hopefully, I will convince the rest of my family to try it.

Tip: Before you book your flight go to their website and check the height/weight limitations. If your weight is too high for your height you will not enjoy this adventure as much.

Vega Indoor skydiving http://www.vegasindoorskydiving.com/

200 Convention Center Dr

Las Vegas, NV 89109

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Las Vegas On a Budget

Las Vegas - Strip at nightLas Vegas have been changing in past years and becoming more family oriented. You can find a lot of wholesome fun for the whole family. A lot of those activities and attractions are free or inexpensive, but expect to pay a premium for major attractions.

This article is dedicated to finding free or inexpensive fun.

Free or almost free fun

It is hard to believe that you can have fun in Vegas without spending a lot of money, but it is very possible. Here you will find a partial list of the places that offer free or inexpensive entertainment. This is going to be a live list. Please feel free to use the comments area – or start your own post – to propose new places or provide additional information.

Walking down the strip

Just start walking from your hotel on the strip and go in any direction. You will be amazed at the sights and sounds. As you walk you will pass the major resorts on both sides of the road. I am starting from Mandalay Bay because it is the southernmost end of the Strip, but you can start from any location. 

Las Vegas - Mandalay BayMandalay Bay: If you are staying at this resort then you will have access to the pool, beach, wave pool and lazy river. It is like a mini water park inside the hotel. If you are not staying, then walk through the hotel towards Shark Reef. You can view the water features from the hallway.  Shark reef is another good place to visit with the family, but expect to pay $18 for adults and $12 for children. There is a tunnel connecting Mandalay Bay and Luxor. You can use it to go to your next stop if you prefer to stay indoors. You will encounter a lot of shops and restaurants along the way. The Burger Bar is one of the best burger places in town, but it is on the expensive side of scale. 

Las Vegas - LuxorLuxor: Enjoy the view of the glass pyramid and the sphinx from outside and check out the smaller Egyptian pyramids and buildings inside. Gaze up at the interior of the pyramid where each floor of guest rooms is hanging over the floor underneath it. Don’t forget to try the slanted elevators. They have to climb sideways along the corners of the pyramid. Take the free monorail that connects Luxor to Mandalay Bay and Excalibur.

Las Vegas - ExcaliburExcalibur: Admire this medieval castle from outside and keep going – unless you have kids who are dying to go to the Arcade. Lots off video games and midway games for all ages. Excalibur is also home to one of the biggest food courts on the Strip.

New York New York: See a replica of the New York skyline from the street and walk on the Brooklyn Bridge. If you like to experience more of the Big Apple, go inside and walk the streets. If you feel like a thrill, go on the rollercoaster that whips around the hotel. This ride costs $14 per person. 

City Center and Aria Hotel: This is one of the newest additions to the strip. It is a collection of hotels and shopping malls with a connecting monorail between them. Start by enjoying the colorful dancing fountains (Lumia) at the main entrance then walk in and look up to view a scale replica of the Colorado River made of recycled silver suspends above the reception desk. Everywhere you walk you can admire the modernistic style and décor. You can also view many statues and art pieces throughout the property. Inside the shopping mall witness the magic of self-sculpting ice columns and other crystal art.

Las Vegas - BellagioBellagio: As you walk past the Bellagio you will notice a very large lake and lots of people waiting impatiently. Make sure to wait a bit until the next showing of the dancing waters show. It runs every 15 minutes or every ½ an hour depending on time of day. Every show is set to a different song or a classical piece. You can watch the show from the street level or you can walk up towards the hotel entrance and watch it from the top of the lake. Both views are amazing. Once you get your fill of dancing fountains head inside to admire the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. You can get to this fascinating display of greens and flowers through the main lobby. The exhibit changes based on the season.

Tip: If you stay at Planet Hollywood, ask for a room overlooking the Bellagio. Whenever you are relaxing in your room you will enjoy the free show across the street.

Las Vegas - Caesars PalaceCaesar’s Palace: Although this is one of the older resorts, it is still an important stop on your walking tour. If you love Roman style and Roman history then you will enjoy gazing at the architecture, statues and fountains. In the Forum Shops you can also enjoy a free show called Fall of Atlantis and a huge Aquarium right next to it.  

Tip: if you are already getting tired from all the walking, you can grab a seat at the outdoors café at Caesar’s Palace

Las Vegas - Mirage Mirage: The Mirage is famous for its Volcano show right on the Strip. The showings start at 7 PM but you will enjoy it better when it is dark outside. With loud explosions, fire and waterfalls you will feel you are witnessing a real volcanic eruption. Hidden inside the hotel you will also find one of the popular family attractions. It is the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. This exhibit is not free, but it is not too expensive. You will pay $20 for adults and $15 for children. 

Treasure Island: As you walk past TI on the Strip you will see a large pirate ship. This is the location of a very good free show called The Sirens of TI. It is a nightly show that tells the story of Sirens trying to lure a band of pirates into their cave. The show may not be appropriate for young children.

Tip: The viewing area for this show gets filled up very quickly so get there early to guarantee a spot. 

Fashion Show Mall: If you enjoy shopping, this is a newly renovated mall with a futuristic looking entrance. The main entrance looks like a spaceship. Inside you can enjoy free fashion shows – if you are interested. 

Las Vegas - WynnWynn Las Vegas: Across the street from the Fashion Show Mall you will find one of the newest resorts in Las Vegas. After admiring the distinctive design of the 2 main buildings from afar, use the pedestrian bridge to cross Las Vegas Boulevard and walk through fountains and waterfalls to get inside Wynn hotel. Once you get inside head to “Lake of Dreams”. This is huge manmade lake with a very large waterfall, rock formations, pine trees and mountains. Every ½ hour from 6 PM to midnight, the lake is transformed into a mystical water and light show. The show is free, but you can order some drinks while you are watching. Along the way to the show you will encounter a colorful indoor garden with hanging plants and flower arrangements. A very popular spot for pictures.

Las Vegas - VenetianThe Venetian: Across the Sands Street from Wynn, you can spot another grand resort. After admiring the grandiose styles of Venice from outside, walk in from any entrance and head to the Grand Canal Shops. The shops themselves are interesting – if you like shopping, but the main attractions are the canals and Saint Mark’s Square. The Canals have real Gondolas with real gondoliers. You can take a ride through the Canals, but it will cost you around $19 per person. At St. Mark’s square you can enjoy free operatic singers and mime shows. Don’t forget to treat yourself to excellent Italian Gelato (Ice Cream). If you are hungry, you will find several fine dining restaurants right at the square. Also at the square you can find “Madame Tussaud's Interactive Wax Museum”. The tickets are $24 adults and $15 children (online advance tickets). The Venetian is also known for it is excellent food court.

Bally’s Las Vegas: Sandwiched between Venetian and Paris you will find this older hotel and casino with a great Light, Water & Sound show on the strip. The show plays every 20 minutes after dusk.

Paris Las Vegas: Walk across the Flamingo Rd. and cross from Italy to France. This is where you will find the "Arc de Triomphe" and the "Eiffel Tower". You can take an elevator ride to the top of the tower where you can also enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Other Paris landmarks are The Louvre museum, The Paris Opera House and Alexander III Bridge. If you like Buffets, “Le Village Buffet” is a good choice for breakfast.  

Las Vegas - Planet Hollywood - Miracle MilePlanet Hollywood: Across the street from Paris (through Paris rd) you will walk into the Glamor of Hollywood. If you enter from the side entrances, you will end up at the Miracle Mile shops. It is a long stretch of shops and restaurants with comfortable seats and couches along the way. Close to the entrance you will find column with greetings in many world languages. This hotel used to be called Aladdin so some areas still retain a desert kingdom atmosphere complete with a desert rain storm. It starts with fog and a few sprinkles and ends with thunder, lightning and pouring rain. The Rain Storm is a free show. You can also find a free Fountain Show with colors and sounds. The Miracle mile shops are also home to Spice Market buffet and V the variety show. The buffet is very good with foods from many regions of the world. More about V show later.

Hawaiian Marketplace and Showcase Mall: Between Planet Hollywood and MGM Grand you will pass a long stretch of shops, bars and street performers. This is a good place to shop for souvenirs – mainly for convenience not price. This shopping center is also home to Tix4Tonight where you can buy discounted show tickets. If you are in the market for tickets expect to wait in long lines. Along the same stretch of the Strip you can find: Tamba Indian Cuisine; Harley Davidson Cafe; Fat Burger; Hard Rock Cafe; Denny's; Outback Steakhouse; and a food court. 

Las Vegas - MGM GrandMGM Grand: At night the various hotel towers shine with distinctive green and emerald colors. You can also see a lot of water features and a huge lion statue. Nothing much to see on the inside. They used to have a good lion habitat, but it recently closed down permanently.  

Tropicana: It is one of the oldest casinos on the strip, but it was recently renovated and expanded. You can enjoy a free Bird Show in the Tropics Lounge. And to end your walking tour, you can have dinner at the inexpensive buffet.

A skip and hop away 

There is still a lot of free or cheap fun to be had in Las Vegas, but you will need to drive there or take public transportation. 

Las Vegas - Circus CircusCircus Circus: On the north side of the Strip, this casino is famous for its free circus acts and a very large arcade. It also has its own Theme Park called Adventure Dome. The prices are very reasonable for a theme park. Expect to pay $28 for adults and $17 for children for all day rides. 

Stratosphere: The Stratosphere tower is the tallest observation tower in the US. Once you get to the top you can see stunning views of Las Vegas and the mountains. Tickets to the top are $18 for adults. At the top you can also find a few restaurants, including the rotating Top of the World, and a few thrill rides. The rides are more thrilling than other theme parks because you are already a thousand feet above Las Vegas before you start your adventure.  

Las Vegas - Fremont StreetFremont Street: A few older casinos reside along this street – some of them like the Golden Nugget were renovated. The whole street is pedestrian only and is covered with 12.5 Million lights that transform the canopy into a giant display screen. Every half hour a new show starts with lights, music and action. Don’t forget to visit the Golden Nugget casino to view the large golden nugget on display. Also the buffet is very good and reasonably priced. Along with the great free light show, the street is full of vendors, performers and activities. You can catch a ride on a Zip Line or, if you are visiting in winter, you can go ice skating. The slot machines at the small casinos on Freemont are known to payout more than average. 

Sam’s Town: This hotel and casino is not far from the Strip. You can stroll through Mystic Falls Park for free or you can catch a movie at the Cinemas or a game of bowling. 

Las Vegas - Red Rock CanyonRed Rock Canyon: One of my favorite places to visit in Las Vegas. Pay the parking fee of $7 and enjoy nature like you’ve never seen. It lives up to its name with amazing red rock formations, canyons and mountains. Lots of rocks to climb and trails to hike. Some rocks everyone can climb and others need professional climbers. If you just like to relax, there are a few picnic areas around the park. This place is not recommended in hot weather. There is no shade anywhere and it can get extremely hot in this desert park.

Las Vegas - Hoover DamHoover Dam: Technically this is not part of Las Vegas, but it is close enough for a quick detour. The dam was built in the 1930’s but still stands as a great modern marvel. From one side you can see the huge arch concrete dam and from the other you can view the lake it created. If you can take the short or long tours through the dam - very informative and awe inspiring. The long tour takes you through the inside passages of the dam and costs $30. Up until very recently, people crossing between Nevada and Arizona had to drive on the dam - which created huge traffic jams. Recently a new bypass bridge was opened for traffic which relieved traffic and provided a new stunning view of the dam. From the height of the bridge you can really appreciate the size of the dam – especially when you compare it to people and car passing over the dam. The road over the dam dead ends with a parking lot. It does not continue on to Arizona as it used to. 

LAs Vegas - Hoover Dam BypassLake Mead: The lake was formed by Hoover Dam and it is considered the largest water reservoir in the US. It covers around a 100 miles in length and has close to 550 miles of shorelines. Many water activities to choose from:  boating; jet skiing, water skiing, cruises, fishing, camping and hiking.  You can bring your own equipment or rent at one of the rental outfits on the marinas. The best way to enjoy the lake is to rent a boat and go exploring the many canyons and coves along the shoreline. If you prefer to relax and let some else do the piloting, then take a cruise. 

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Las Vegas Shows

Las Vegas - ROCK OF AGESEverywhere you go on the Strip you will see huge electronic billboards announcing the next big show or attraction. Take your pick from magic shows, standup comedy, dancing showgirls, dare devils, impressionists, ventriloquists and celebrity singers. Some shows are for adults only, but there are a lot of shows that are geared towards the whole family. Most shows are pricy, but you can get some good deals from the Internet (like Groupon) or from discount ticket booths like Tix4Tonight.

Tickets to the Hottest Shows in Las Vegas at VegasTickets.com

Rock of Ages at the Venetian

Las Vegas - ROCK OF AGESThis is probably the best Las Vegas show I have been to in a very long time. It is also one of the longest. I enjoyed every minute of the 130 minutes and I left wanting more.

The show is a celebration and tribute the music and culture of the 80’s. It is performed on a very well designed stage with great lighting and sound effects.  The backdrop morphs to match the scene or song. Big screens on the sides of the stage play appropriate clips or effects. Read the full article here.

Vegas! The show at Planet Hollywood

Las Vegas - Vegas the ShowA little bit of Las Vegas history, a lot of song and dance and some acrobatics sprinkled in-between - the show had something for everyone. 

The show starts in a graveyard for show props. The narrator takes you on a trip down memory lane to the good old days of Las Vegas glitzy shows. Your trip starts from the 1940’s and goes through 50’s, 60’s and 70’s Las Vegas. It ends with a bang with the 80’s era. And yes! No trip down memory lane is complete without an appearance by Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra or Vegas show girls. 

If you miss the old style Las Vegas productions with big band music and scant attire then this show is for you. Read the full article here

Michael Jackson Live at the Rio

Las Vegas - Michael Jackson LiveThis is a tribute show that showcases the most popular MJ songs. The show is performed in the Crown Theater at Rio Las Vegas. The main performer and his supporting crew were actually very good. He spent the next hour dancing, jumping, moonwalking and singing – almost non-stop. The best seats are at the Golden Circle and cost $62 – you can get it for $30 with discounts from Groupon. Read the full article here.

V – The Variety Show at Planet Hollywood

Las Vegas - V-The Ultimate Variety ShowV is a variety show that has a little of everything. You will find magic, special effects, Death-Defying stunts, comedy and trained birds – all on one stage. The show is performed in the V Theater inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. A visit to the Miracle Mile Shops is a must anyway – so you can visit the Fountain Show, the Thunder Storm and the Spice Market Buffett. The show is very good, but the theater itself can use some improvements. It is very small and the seats are crammed together. Ticket prices are $69 for general admission and $89 for VIP. You can get tickets for ½ the price with a Groupon. Read the full article here.

Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace

Las Vegas - AbsintheAbsinthe show is set in a big tent outside the main entrance to Caesar’s Palace. This is very appropriate because the show is basically a circus for adults. 

The cast will thrill you with their acrobatic feats and high wire balancing acts while making fun of everyone and everything.  Oh! And don’t forget the scantily clad athletes. You can’t have a Vegas shows without some revealing attire. Read the full article here.

Blue Man Group at Monte Carlo

Las Vegas - Blue Man GroupThis is one of the most entertaining shows I ever witnessed - great clean fun for the whole family. The show is basically a high-energy percussion and music show, but it is much more than that. The “Group” goes wild with drums, music, comedy, silliness and special effects. The performers engage the audience from the beginning when they parade through the lobby before the show. Several seating tiers are available. Try to get the Orchestra seats – full price around $150. You can get better prices on the Internet or at Tix4Tonight. AAA members can get a 30% discount.

Cirque De Soleil - multiple venues

Everywhere you go on the strip you will notice huge electronic billboards advertising the latest and greatest Cirque De Soleil show. You can watch “O” at the Bellagio, Ka at MGM, Criss Angel Believe at Luxor or the newest show Michael Jackson One at Mandalay Bay. Prices range from $75 to $200.

See the Sold Out Shows in Las Vegas! VegasTickets.com has tickets.

Absinthe Las Vegas

Las Vegas - AbsintheAbsinthe show is set in a big tent outside the main entrance to Caesar’s Palace. This is very appropriate because the show is basically a circus for adults. 

The cast will thrill you with their acrobatic feats and high wire balancing acts while making fun of everyone and everything.  Oh! And don’t forget the scantily clad athletes. You can’t have a Vegas shows without some revealing attire. 

Las Vegas - AbsintheAlong with the crazy stunts you will enjoy the X-rated humor and a lot of F* and d S* words sprinkled in. If you are squeamish or easily offended, you probably shouldn’t go to this show.

The good thing about this circus tent is that it is not too big. So no matter where you are seated, you will still enjoy the show. The first few seats are too close to the action – sometimes under the actin. Also, the performers like to pick on the people in those seats. Be warned! If you have a choice, try to get the seats at the end of every row. You will have a little more room and you get to the bar or the restroom much easier.

All the acts were entertaining, but my favorites were the roller skating couple and the group of male gymnasts. 

Las Vegas - AbsintheUnlike many Las Vegas shows, non-flash photography is allowed. The trick is to capture the action in the dark. Not easy to do.

If I have anything to criticize about this show it would be the racial jokes. I know it was all done with humor in mind but I don’t think the targets of this humor enjoyed it too much. 

Barring that little criticism, I highly recommend this show to all adults who would enjoy the great acrobatics and the raunchy humor.

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Jeff Civillico Comedy In Action

Las Vegas - Jeff Civillico Comedy In ActionIf you are on the lookout for an inexpensive family oriented show, look no further. Jeff Civillico’s comedy in action at the Linq is just the kind of show that can be enjoyed by the whole family. 

The show usually plays every day at 4 PM, except Tuesdays and Fridays. This 4 pm slot is perfect for families with children. 

Las Vegas - Jeff CivillicoThe show is very energetic and full of juggling and laughs. Jeff engages the audience from the start with his clean comedy and great juggling act. 

If you are close the stage you might be picked for a crash course in juggling or assist in his acts. You will most likely become the subject of good-natured humor. Some of the tasks you are asked to perform require a lot of strength so don’t be in hurray to volunteer if you are not up to it. But if you do, you may end up with free tickets to a show or to the Linq high-roller ride.

One of the great moments of the show is when Jeff picked an 8-year-old boy from the audience to assist him. The boy learned how to spin plates on sticks and was a hit with the audience.

Las Vegas - Jeff Civillico Comedy In ActionJeff shared with the audience how he was inspired by a street performer to become a juggler when he was 11 years old. That is why he tries to help and inspire new performers.

Jeff also does a lot for the community through his Win-Win organization. He and other performers visit kids in hospitals and the elderly to bring smiles and laughter to their lives.

The whole show was entertaining and engaging, but the finale was amazing. Jeff showed off his juggling skills using lighted objects. With the lights dimmed, we were dazzled with colors and shapes. 

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Michael Jackson Live

Las Vegas - Michael Jackson LiveThis is a tribute show that showcases the most popular MJ songs. The show is performed in the Crown Theater at Rio Las Vegas.

I went to the show with my wife and two teens and was very skeptical that we will enjoy it for two reasons. First I was worried that my teen daughters will not relate to Michael Jackson’s pop music. Second I didn’t expect anyone to be able to perform MJ’s songs the way he did.

I was pleasantly surprised on both counts. The main performer “Justin Dean” and his supporting dancers were actually very good. He spent the next hour dancing, jumping, moon-walking and singing – almost non-stop. 

His voice was good, but you can’t really compare it to the original. His dancing was energetic and loud. He performed many of the most popular MJ songs like: Bad, Billie Jean, Beat It, Dangerous, Smooth Criminal, Black & White, I Want You Back, Thriller and Man in the Mirror. My favorites were Thriller and Billie Jean.

Las Vegas - Michael Jackson LiveMy second surprise was that my daughters enjoyed the show. In the past when I tried to play Michael Jackson songs they always objected. They liked the dancing, lighting effects, fog and loud music more than the actual songs.

The theater itself was very good. The seats are arranged in a circular pattern around the stage. Every seat is comfortable. The walls surrounding the theater come to live with images and colors to match the mood of the performance. 

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When booking the show, ask for the Golden Circle. Box office price is $62 but you can get it for around $30 with discounts like Groupon. 

Tip: If you get the Golden Circle tickets and if the usher likes you, you may end up in the table seats. They are the closest to the stage and you get your own table for drinks.

The show is very appropriate for all ages. The only questionable act was the excessive crotch grabbing towards the end. I know that this was one of Michael Jackson’s signature moves, but Justin really over did it.

Other than that, we really enjoyed the show and I do recommend it to all Michael Jackson’s fans. 

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Panda Las Vegas

Las Vegas - PandaMy kids love everything about Pandas. So when we heard about a Panda show in Vegas we had to see it. 

We didn’t really know what to expect, other than cute wholesome entertainment with cuddly Pandas. 

We did get to enjoy the cute and cuddly Pandas, but the show was about much more. 

The show is basically another Vegas big production variety performance with acrobats, jugglers and dancers and drummers. What sets it apart from other similar shows is the ambiance and the latest special effects technology.

Las Vegas - PandaThe story is set in China and stars a Panda named Long-Long. He falls in love with a Peacock and just before they get married, she gets kidnapped by some demons. Long-Long spends the rest of the show learning from the masters so he can gain strength and liberate his fiancé. 

The theater is large and nicely decorated to reflect Chinese culture and hints of Panda habitat. As you are waiting for the show to start you will hear sounds of nature and peaceful oriental music. The curtains look like a bamboo forest which enhances the ambiance.  

Las Vegas - PandaI loved the fast changing props and the movie quality active backgrounds. Moving scenes from China’s various regions are projected behind the performers and become part of the act. Those active backgrounds along with lighting and sound effects will make you feel transported to another time and place.

Some of my favorite acts are: The air dancers - suspended from ropes; the monks with the pint sized performer that looked like a little boy; The Terracotta soldiers and the traditional Chinese dancers. 

Before the show we waited in the lobby, which has a good gift shop and a well-stocked bar. On the wall opposite to the entrance you will see large stuffed pandas hidden behind bamboo. This is a good spot for pictures. You can also spot some of the Panda actors walking around and posing for pictures. 

The show is playing in the Palazzo theater at the Venetian. While at the Venetian, enjoy a stroll through the Grand Canal shops or have dinner in St. Marks Square. See full article about the Venetian here.

Panda plays Friday to Tuesday at 7:30 PM.

Phone: 702.414.9000 / 866.641.7469.

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Rock of Ages Las Vegas

Las Vegas - ROCK OF AGESThis is probably the best Las Vegas show I have been to in a very long time. It is also one of the longest. I enjoyed every minute of the 130 minutes and I left wanting more.

The show is a celebration and tribute the music and culture of the 80’s. It is performed on a very well designed stage with great lighting and sound effects.  The backdrop morphs to match the scene or song. Big screens on the sides of the stage play appropriate clips or effects.

Las Vegas - ROCK OF AGESThe main storyline (without going into too much detail) is about a young couple who meets at the Sunset Strip and fall in love. Their romance is challenged by the 80’s rock culture, their Hollywood dreams and evil plot to modernize the Stip.

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The performers were excellent with amazing voices. The band really rocked the stage and the theater. Best of all the audience knew the songs and sang and clapped along. Everyone had free light torches and waved them around with the music. 

My favorite performances were “Come on feel the noise”, "Here I Go Again" and "Oh Sherrie".

The show has some crude humor and suggestive moves but it is not X-rated. I would say it safe for anyone age 13 or over.

Las Vegas - ROCK OF AGESThe 2012 movie with the same title wasn’t very popular when it came out. Some people who watched the movie may hesitate to watch a show with the same theme. I can tell you the live Las Vegas show is nothing like the movie. I highly recommend Rock of Ages to everyone who loves music.

The location in the Venetian Resort is a plus. Before or after the show you can enjoy a stroll in the Grand Canal Shops, have a drink at one of the bars or dine at one of the fine dining restaurants. 

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V-The Ultimate Variety Show

Las Vegas - V-The Ultimate Variety Show"V" is a variety show that has a little of everything. You will find magic, special effects, Death-Defying stunts, comedy and trained birds – all on one stage. The show is performed in the V Theater inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. A visit to the Miracle Mile Shops is a must anyway – so you can visit the Fountain Show, the Thunder Storm and the Spice Market Buffett.

The MC Clint Carvalho is a well-known bird trainer who was on America Got Talent TV show. He performed some very exciting stunts with his birds, but the sound was too loud during his performances and made his voice very annoying. 

I enjoyed all the acts, but the most memorable were:

Las Vegas - V-The Ultimate Variety ShowThe lady magician: This magician left the entertainment scene for a while to raise a family and now she is back to enthrall everyone with here unique act. It is part magic and part dance and theater

Aerial Expression: The duo performs some gravity defying acts using ropes and the strength of their bodies.  

Skating Aratas: A couple skating to music on a tiny circular rink. 

Comedy: A comedian asks for volunteers and dresses them in masks. Then control their actions to tell a funny story. 

The theater itself was not memorable. It is very small and the seats are crammed together to allow for maximum seats. Some of the seats were broken. My family and I had to be separated because there was a broken seat in the middle. 

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Las Vegas - V-The Ultimate Variety ShowThe box office will try to sell you the VIP upgrade. I was tempted but decided not pay $20 extra per seat. I was happy I didn’t get the VIP seats. They were crammed right under the stage so you had to look up to see the acts. Also, people in the VIP seats were right under the flying act of Aerial Expression and right next to the dangerous acts of the Skating Aratas. 

You can buy drink tickets at the box office for ½ the price ($8 instead of $16 inside). It is a good deal and the drinks were just okay, but with the cramped seating, it is almost impossible to get your order through. The drinks come in a souvenir glass you can take home.

If you forget about the seating arrangements, the show itself was very good and entertaining. It is appropriate for the whole family – except for some sexual innuendo during one of the comedy acts. 

Ticket prices are $44 up to $89 depending on seats and discounts. Las Vegas Show Tickets

 

Planet Hollywood - Miracle mile shops

3500 S Las Vegas Blvd, 

Las Vegas, NV 89109

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Vegas! The show

Las Vegas - Vegas the ShowA little bit of Las Vegas history, a lot of song and dance and some acrobatics sprinkled in-between - the show had something for everyone. 

The show starts in a graveyard for show props. The narrator takes you on a trip down memory lane to the good old days of Las Vegas glitzy shows. Your trip starts from the 1940’s and goes through 50’s, 60’s and 70’s Las Vegas. It ends with a bang with the 80’s era. And yes! No trip down memory lane is complete without an appearance by Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra or Vegas showgirls. 

Las Vegas - Vegas the ShowIf you miss the old style Las Vegas productions with big band music and scant attire then this show is for you.

I personally don’t enjoy this old style of shows and I admit I don’t like Jazz too much. But in spite of my prejudice, I found the show entertaining. 

In between acts you get to watch a comedian, some acrobats and a guy with trained parrots. The parrots were especially entertaining. 

One of my favorite parts is a movie clip about the implosions of old Las Vegas casinos set to song and dance.  

Las Vegas - Vegas the ShowThe show plays at Planet Hollywood in the Miracle Mile Shops. This is a very convenient location. Before or after the show you can go window shopping or dine at the Spice Market Buffett. 

Most of the seats are good, but if you have a choice, avoid sitting in the first row. It is slightly lower than the stage. This is not ideal for viewing the action.

Make sure to order a frozen margarita from the bar or the barmaids. The strawberry margarita was delicious and large in a souvenir cup. The only drawback is having to wait a long time for the drink to arrive. Check your ticket. Some tickets have a voucher for a free drink.

The show is appropriate for all ages.  

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The Venetian Las Vegas

Las Vegas - VenetianWhen you walk into the Venetian resort you expect luxury, class and excellence and that exactly what you get. 

The rooms were spacious and comfortable. My suite was split level with the upper level dedicated to the king bed and bathroom. The lower level housed the living room with couches, a desk and dining table -very tasteful furniture everywhere. Each level had its own flat screen TV. The snack bar was well stocked with soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. 

Tip: Some snacks and drinks were placed on top of the refrigerator on a weight sensitive plate. If you moved it you bought it. It is very convenient, but it would be nicer if it came with a warning.

Las Vegas - VenetianThe bathroom was large and elegant with deep sunken bathtub, multi-jet shower, tiled walls, huge mirrors and its own small flat screen TV. Along with 2 sinks and large mirrors, it had separate vanity area.

The rest of the resort is full of activities, shows, shopping and dining opportunities. 

Spend some time at one of the luxurious pools that offer soft cushioned sofa beds or lounges, private cabanas with flat screen TVs and a full cocktail service. 

Las Vegas - VenetianGo shopping at the Grand Canal Shops. Along with the many elegant shops, you can enjoy your stroll along the canal, listen to opera singers or have lunch or dinner at one of the fine restaurants at the Piazza. If you are in the mood, take the gondola for a romantic trip through the canal with authentic Italian serenade. 

The Venetian is also home to several great shows you can’t miss: Rock of the Ages, Panda, Lipstick and Georgia on my Mind to name a few. See the separate review for Rock of the Ages.

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