Las Vegas Family Fun

Las Vegas Family Fun anaheimer

nullLas Vegas had 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 has been changing recently and is becoming more family-oriented. You can still find all the partying, gambling, and other sins if you are looking for it. But you can also find a lot of wholesome fun for the whole family. Many 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 resorts, Magic shows, Circus shows, Red Rock Park, Gardens, Dolphins, Tigers, Atomic Testing Museum, Fremont Experience, Water parks, Variety shows, Go-Karts, Speedways, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead water sports and cruises. Continue reading for a more detailed description of those attractions.

Getting there and around

nullMost people from neighboring states just drive to Vegas. The trip from Anaheim to 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 to LV, your car will be useful to get around, but traffic is a nightmare.

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.

nullIf you fly into Las Vegas, you can get around using public transportation. Taxis are metered and not costly, and you can always use ride-sharing services. A trip between Luxor and Wynn costs about $13.

Monorail service is available along portions of the strip. The trip price is $6 (some are free).

I found out that after the novelty of riding the monorail wears off, you will end up waiting for the trams and walking long distances from stations to destinations. You can get a taxi and avoid the lines for a little extra money. 

Bus ride fares are about the same – a single ride for $6 per person. Taking a taxi is much cheaper if you have a group of up to five. On crowded days, you will wait a long time for the next bus that is not already full – 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, my favorite mode of transportation along the strip is walking. Save money and enjoy the views.

Where to stay

nullEvery 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 accommodation, 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 an excellent choice. 

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

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.

Staying at the Bellagio was exquisite. The room was spacious and comfortable, and the ambiance of the whole property was elegant.

I also enjoyed the upscale restaurants and the Secret Garden. Read more about the Bellagio here.

Las Vegas on a Budget

It is hard to believe that you can have fun in Vegas without spending much money, but it is possible. Go on a walking tour of the strip, watch the dancing waters at the 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

null 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 plenty of shows are geared towards the whole family. Most shows are pricey, but you can get some good deals on the Internet (like Groupon) or from discount ticket booths like Tix4Tonight. Read the full article here. My all-time favorites are "O" and "KA" by Cirque Du Soleil, "Rock of the Ages", and Mystere.

Attractions, Museums and Tours

nullWhen 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 view the Titanic artifacts.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: 

The Spice Market Buffet has several food stations, each from different countries. The Middle Eastern station is especially tasty – don’t forget to grab Baklava for dessert. The seafood station is good but lacks a variety of sushi. The regular dinner price is $40, but you can get a ½ off promotion from many sources.

nullCarnival World Buffet at Rio: 

Like the Spice market with food from around the world. It has live-action food preparation, more sushi choices, and a wide selection of desserts. The price for dinner was around $32.

Tip: You can buy a twenty-four-hour 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 numerous rating agencies, and it offers the largest variety of cuisines by master chefs. 
Most of the cooking is done in front of the guests. Dinners cost from $55 to $65, depending on the day of the week.
The buffet boasts nine international cuisine stations, it is hard to decide what to eat. 
You can find Roman-style pizza, Laotian, Filipino, Indonesian, Chinese, Sushi, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes. 
And don’t forget about the dessert station with Earl Grey mousse, salted caramel popcorn, and gelato.
I always tell myself that I just take a few bites from each station to try to sample all the fabulous flavors, but it never works, and I always end up overeating.
The service was also outstanding. The server replenished our drinks without asking and immediately cleared the dirty dishes.
During our last visit, we loaded our plates with Asian delights and Sushi, and then we went back to sample some Mexican and some prime cuts.
For dessert, we tried many flavors of gelato. 

The Buffet at Aria: 

This is now my all-time favorite buffet in Vegas. The variety and quality of food are exceptional. You can find American, Asian, Sushi, Latin, and Middle Eastern dishes, plus a broad selection of desserts. The mixed drinks are also excellent. You can order several drinks for a fixed price of around $20.  

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 StratosphereStratosphere

For a remarkable view and delicious dinner, go to the top of the Stratosphere. The food is costly, but you are really paying for the top-of-the-world view of Las Vegas. The restaurant rotates slowly so you can relax and enjoy the 360-degree view. 

For drinks, light meals and DJ music, head to the 107 Sky Lounge on the 107th floor of the tower. 

After dinner, you can go to the top for an unobstructed 360 view or for thrill rides.

Can you add to my 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.

Bodies and Titanic Exhibits

Bodies and Titanic Exhibits anaheimer

Bodies and Titanic Exhibits - Human SkeletonThe Bodies and Titanic exhibits reside inside the Luxor resort, Las Vegas.

One exhibit takes you to the past to relive the grandeur and tragedy of the Titanic, and the other takes you deep into a scientific exploration of the human body. 

Although the exhibits can qualify as museums, they are definitely not your typical museums. It is important to make this distinction because some people – especially teens – are allergic to the word museum. 

Since those two exhibits are separate, you can buy tickets for one or both. Each exhibit will take around one and a half hours to complete – so plan your time accordingly. If you have an inquisitive young one in your party, plan to stay longer. The docents are very helpful and informative. 

Bodies and Titanic ExhibitsOnce you buy your tickets, you can pose for some photos with Titanic props. The backgrounds in those photos are blue so that they can be exchanged with more elaborate backgrounds. For example, we took a picture in front of the grand staircase. When we viewed the finished photo, it looked like we were on the Titanic in front of the staircase. 

At the Bodies exhibits, you will see many exhibits of the human body in full color and scale. Each room highlights a different part or system like: Muscular, nervous, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, endocrine, and circulatory. 

The specimens are created from real human bodies and using an innovative preservation method called Polymer Preservation, which uses a special liquid rubber. Using this method, the specimens can last exceptionally long without any decay.

All exhibits were informative and entertaining, but my family and I especially enjoyed the exhibit showing the human fetus during different weeks of development. It is mind-boggling how tiny the fetus is at three weeks and how fast it grows after that.

Another eye-opening exhibit was the stark difference between healthy lungs and damaged lungs due to smoking. If anyone is still smoking despite all the warnings, then this exhibit might just make them quit.

The Bodies exhibit is mostly independent at your own pace experience. On the other hand, the Titanic artifacts exhibit is more choreographed and guided.

Bodies and Titanic Exhibits - Titanic ModelAt the entrance to the Titanic, the docents let small groups in every 15 minutes, where they are greeted by a large room with a big screen. The first part of the journey is a short video about the Titanic's construction, launch, and tragedy. 

The Titanic was built to rival any other cruise liner in size and luxury and was billed as unsinkable. During its maiden voyage in 1912, the unthinkable happened. It struck a large Iceberg and sank to the bottom of the ocean, sending around 1,500 passengers to their doom. The biggest tragedy in this story is that many more lives could have been saved if the ship carried adequate lifeboats. 

Throughout the ensuing years, many salvagers and researchers recovered a treasure trove of artifacts from the doomed ship. 

This exhibit highlights those artifacts and the opulent life aboard the ship. In some of the exhibits, you will see the life-sized Grand Staircase, the first-class staterooms, and the expensive China that survived the drowning. In contrast, you will pass by the cramped crew quarters, with four crew members in each cabin. 

Bodies and Titanic Exhibits - Grand StaircaseThe Titanic’s maiden voyage attracted many of the rich and famous, who also brought with them their luxury items like jewelry and perfumes. You will see some of those on display, too.

In other exhibits, you will see the huge propellers and the engine room where the crew toiled to keep the ship running. Another display plays a looping 3D film showing the sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean. 

In most rooms, docents dressed as crew members provided information about the exhibits and answered questions. 

One of the rooms shows a huge Iceberg made from real ice. You can touch the ice to feel how cold it was on that fateful night. 

Around the middle of your journey, you will be seated in a simulated lifeboat while a crew member tells the story of the Titanic passenger’s escape and rescue. 

As you exit the exhibit, you will walk through a memorial for the people who perished and who survived, along with their photos - A very touching experience that makes the whole story more real and personal.  

Our favorite parts of the exhibit were the 3D film, the Iceberg, and the engine room.

 

Dining in Las Vegas

Dining in Las Vegas anaheimer

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars PalaceWhen in Vegas, dining is an indulgent adventure for me. I savor a wide array of cuisines, happily gaining a few pounds in the process.

Grandiose Buffets

I typically steer clear of buffets, wary of their endless temptations. However, in Las Vegas, I make an exception, drawn in by the high caliber of many establishments. Below are some of my top picks.

The Buffet at Aria

Now my favorite buffet in Vegas, The Buffet at Aria, impresses with its exceptional variety and quality. Offering American, Italian, Asian, Sushi, Latin, and Middle Eastern fare, along with a vast dessert array, it's a gastronomic delight. The mixed drinks are top-notch, too, with a fixed price of around $20 for several options.

Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood

Las Vegas dining - Buffet - Spice Market - from Wikimedia by Matt @ PEKThis buffet features an array of international food stations. The Middle Eastern section is particularly noteworthy, offering delectable stuffed grape leaves, hummus, and Baklava. While the seafood station lacks a diverse sushi selection, the overall experience is satisfying. Regular dinner costs $26, but discounts such as ½ off are available through Groupon. An all-you-can-drink option is also available for an additional $13.

Carnival World Buffet at Rio

Las Vegas dining - Buffet - Carnival World Buffet @ Rio - Wikimedia By Mark MillerSimilar to Spice Market, Carnival World offers international cuisine with live-action food preparation. Its expansive sushi selection and dessert variety stand out. Dinner prices range from $31 to $36, varying by day. Locals can enjoy special pricing.

Tip: Consider the twenty-four-hour buffet pass, priced at around $50. It's valid at many of the main buffets on the strip, including Carnival World Buffet at the Rio, Flavors at Harrah's, and more. Additional charges apply for certain meals at select buffets.

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace

Las Vegas dining - Bacchanal Buffet from Flickr by kennejimaRated highly by several agencies, the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace is a must-visit. With a vast array of cuisines prepared by master chefs, it's a feast for the senses. Prices range from $ 55 to $65, depending on the day.

Less expensive but still good

For more budget-friendly options without compromising on quality, consider The Buffet at Golden Nugget, Chop Buffet at the Plaza downtown, Ports O' Call Buffet at Gold Coast, and Fantasy Market Buffet at the Palms.

Unique Delights

Vegas offers more than just buffets. Explore favorite chain restaurants or discover new culinary experiences.

BLACKOUT Dining in the Dark

Top of the World restaurant at the StratIn this unique venue, guests are led to their table in total darkness and served a six-course prix-fixe meal. The dishes are a surprise, adding an element of mystery to the dining experience. Despite the upscale pricing, which can go up to $200 for two with drinks, the heightened senses and engaging atmosphere make it a memorable experience.

Top of the World

Located on the 106th floor of the Stratosphere Tower, this rotating restaurant offers stunning views of Las Vegas. While the cuisine is noteworthy, the highlight is the panoramic vista. Our favorites included Lamb Chop and Filet Mignon.

Tip: Visit at dusk to enjoy both daylight and nighttime views of the city.

The dessert highlight was the hummingbird cake, which was delicious and generously portioned. An observation deck visit is included with a restaurant reservation, offering even more spectacular views.

Lago at Bellagio

Lago at BellagioLago, an upscale restaurant at the Bellagio, pairs delicious cuisine with views of the iconic dancing fountains. Brunch here is a special treat, combining great food with a captivating water show.

Kabuto-edomae sushi

This acclaimed sushi spot offers a unique dining experience. The OMAKASE option lets the chef guide your meal, including sake, sushi, hand rolls, and dessert. An à la carte menu is also available.

Saffron Flavors of India

For an Indian culinary adventure, Saffron Flavors of India is a must-visit. Their menu includes traditional dishes, appetizers, and a unique Indo-Chinese selection. Desserts like Gulab Jamun or Almond Joy Naan are the perfect end to a meal.

Other dining options

Vegas also offers plenty of choices for those seeking a more casual dining experience.

Las Vegas - Nacho DaddyNacho Daddy

Nacho Daddy offers a lively atmosphere and a wide variety of nacho options. Our favorites were the Supreme Tostada Nacho and the Enchilada Nachos, both flavorful and generously portioned. They're also known for their award-winning margaritas and the unique scorpion shot.

Viva Las Arepas

Viva Las Arepas - from restaurant website

Viva Las Arepas, nestled close to the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, is a hidden gem offering a taste of Venezuela's vibrant culinary culture. Upon entering, the inviting atmosphere, reminiscent of a homely Venezuelan kitchen, immediately caught my attention. The aroma of grilling arepas filled the air, promising an authentic experience.

The menu, rich in traditional Venezuelan fare, featured a variety of arepas and empanadas. Each arepa, a grilled cornmeal patty, was stuffed with an array of fillings, from succulent meats to fresh, hearty vegetables. The balance of textures – crispy exteriors with soft, flavorful interiors – made each bite a delightful experience.

The empanadas, another highlight, were deep-fried to golden perfection. Their flaky crust enveloped a mix of savory ingredients, providing a satisfying crunch and a burst of flavor.

However, the true stars of my meal were the Pastelitos. These small, flaky pastries, offered both sweet and savory options, were a revelation. The savory Pastelitos, filled with a mixture of meat and spices, were a delicious testament to Venezuelan cuisine's rich, complex flavors. On the sweeter side, the Pastelitos filled with guava and cheese were a perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and creamy, melting in the mouth with every bite.

Viva Las Arepas served as a culinary adventure and a cultural journey, showcasing the rich flavors and warmth of Venezuelan cooking. It's a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the diverse gastronomic landscape of Las Vegas.

La Creperie, Paris, Las Vegas

La Creperie, Paris, Las Vegas

La Creperie, situated in the heart of Las Vegas at Paris, Las Vegas, truly encapsulates the charm and allure of Parisian street food. As I approached the quaint eatery, the aroma of freshly prepared crêpes wafted through the air, instantly transporting me to the bustling streets of Paris.

The crêperie's setup is reminiscent of a classic Parisian sidewalk café, complete with a traditional walk-up window on Le Promenade. This feature lends an authentic feel, allowing patrons to enjoy their crêpes on-the-go, just as one might do in the heart of Paris.

The menu was a delightful discovery, offering an extensive range of crêpes, each meticulously handcrafted and made-to-order. From savory options filled with cheese, ham, and eggs, to sweet varieties like the classic Butter Sugar, each crêpe was a testament to the culinary prowess of the chefs. The Ham and Cheese crêpe, in particular, struck a perfect balance of flavors with its gooey cheese and savory ham, while the Breakfast crêpe was a hearty start to the day.

However, the Butter Sugar crêpe stole the show for me. Simple yet sublime, it combined the perfect amount of sweetness with a buttery richness, all wrapped in a light, airy crêpe. Each bite was a delightful mix of textures and flavors, melting in my mouth and leaving me yearning for more.

Dining at La Creperie was not just about enjoying a meal; it was an experience in itself. The atmosphere, the authentic Parisian flavors, and the joy of watching crêpes being skillfully prepared at the window made it a memorable part of my Las Vegas journey. For anyone craving a taste of Paris in the heart of the desert, La Creperie is a must-visit destination.

Family Getaway to Las Vegas

Family Getaway to Las Vegas anaheimer

Family Getaway

Entertainment Capital of the WorldLas Vegas, often known as the "Entertainment Capital of the World" might not be the first destination that comes to mind when planning a family getaway with kids. However, beyond its dazzling lights and vibrant nightlife, Las Vegas offers a surprising array of family-friendly activities that can turn your visit into an unforgettable adventure for both young and old.

When my kids were younger, we took the plunge and spent a few days exploring the wonders of Las Vegas, and we weren’t disappointed.

Day 1: Arriving in the Neon Wonderland

Luxor casino and hotelExcitement bubbled within us as we approached Las Vegas on Highway 15. Even in bright daylight, the distinctive buildings with dazzling lights appeared behind the hills with the promise of great fun to become. 

Our family, consisting of my wife, our two kids, and I, swiftly checked into the family-friendly Luxor Hotel, strategically located along the iconic Las Vegas Strip. 

Being inside the Pyramid is a thrill, but the towering statues, intricate hieroglyphic designs, and the massive replica of the Great Sphinx set the stage for an immersive experience.

Las Vegas - BellagioAfter riding the fast-slanted elevators to the tip of the Pyramid, we entered our spacious two-bedroom suite, complete with kid-friendly amenities.

Eager to dive into the Las Vegas experience, we wasted no time and embarked on a leisurely exploration of the Strip. 

We started right inside our hotel, where we visited Bodies and Titanic exhibits, and, of course, at an Egyptian-themed resort, we had to visit King Tut.

After a long walk along the Strip, we reached the Bellagio Fountains, a mesmerizing display of water and light choreographed to music. 

We loved the show, but our children were particularly captivated by the magic of the fountains, and we made a mental note to return for the nighttime performance and the Volcano show at the Mirage. 

Las Vegas - VenetianInside the Bellagio, we explored the gorgeous and aromatic flower arrangements while listening to a harpist playing mesmerizing music. 

Across the street, we entered the famed Venetian Resort with its canals and piazza, where we enjoyed a gondola ride and an Italian lunch. 

Day 2: Thrills and Laughter

Las Vegas - Circus CircusOur second day promised adventure, and we were off to the Adventuredome Theme Park, nestled within the renowned “Circus Circus” Hotel. 

As we stepped inside, the kid’s eyes lit up with excitement at the sight of a mini amusement park enclosed under a massive dome. From adrenaline-pumping roller coasters like the Canyon Blaster to milder rides like the Circus Carousel, there was something for everyone. Laughter echoed through the air as we experienced the joy of shared thrills.

After the amusement park rides, we watched the free circus acts show on the second floor of the Casino. 

Following a morning of exhilaration, we indulged in a family lunch at the Rainforest Café, a whimsically themed restaurant known for its delectable fare and immersive ambiance. The kids relished every moment, from the simulated thunderstorms to the lifelike animatronics surrounding us.

Day 3: Desert Wonders and Curiosity

Today's adventure led us beyond the city's glittering façade to the stunning natural landscapes surrounding Las Vegas. 

Red Rock CanyonAn expert-guided tour took us to Red Rock Canyon, a breathtaking desert preserve characterized by its crimson-hued rock formations. 

Our family-friendly hike unveiled awe-inspiring vistas, and our guide's insightful commentary fascinated both kids and adults alike. To add to the excitement, we spotted a desert tortoise and jackrabbits, deepening our connection to the natural world.

In the afternoon, we explored the Discovery Children's Museum, an engaging space filled with interactive exhibits designed to stimulate young minds. The kids immersed themselves in hands-on learning experiences, from creating art to experimenting with science. Emma's fascination with astronomy was ignited in the “Water World” exhibit, where she learned about constellations and the water cycle.

Day 4: Mesmerizing Shows and Spectacles

Las Vegas - Blue Man GroupOur Las Vegas adventure continued with a touch of enchantment as we secured tickets to Nathan Burton Comedy Magic, a family-friendly magic show known for its humor and astonishing tricks. 

Both kids and adults watched in wide-eyed wonder as Nathan Burton effortlessly made objects vanish and reappear before their eyes. The laughter and amazement that filled the theater were infectious, creating an atmosphere of pure joy.

We experienced the world-famous Blue Man Group in the evening at the Luxor Hotel. The kids were spellbound by the trio's avant-garde performance, a blend of music, art, and comedy that transcended language barriers. The interactive elements had both of our children dancing in their seats, and my wife and I couldn't help but join in the fun.

Day 5: Cherished Memories and Farewells

Luxor Las VegasAs our departure day arrived, we spent the morning shopping for souvenirs along the vibrant streets of the Las Vegas Strip. The kids carefully selected trinkets and mementos from stores like M&M's World and the Coca-Cola Store, eager to preserve the memories of their Las Vegas adventure.

Before checking out, we enjoyed a final family breakfast at Luxor’s food court while admiring the unique Egyptian theme around us. 

While eating, the kids recounted all the fun things they did and still wanted to do. 

Five days in Vegas is not enough to cover all the thrills in town and all the adventures nearby, so we planned for a repeat visit. 

Las Vegas Attractions

Las Vegas Attractions anaheimer

Las Vegas - Indoor SkydiveWhen you have had enough of free entertainment and major shows in Las Vegas, you still have a lot of attractions 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 view the Titanic artifacts.

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 upward 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? 

It turned out that I actually did. 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 was known as a nuclear testing ground, 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 the 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 - Bodies ExhibitNot 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.

Spring Preserve:

Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Water Tower - from WikipediaA few miles away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Las Vegas and the Strip, you will find this nature preserve with exhibits, nature trails, and a bit of Las Vegas history.

The “Springs Preserve” is a 180-acre stretch of protected land around the original source of water for the Las Vegas Valley. Those springs formed an oasis in the middle of the parched desert and helped support early inhabitants from local Native American trips 10,000 years ago to first settlers in the 1800s. Read more here.

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, and 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 the north and south rims. 

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

How about a whitewater rafting trip on the Colorado River? Just 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. 

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

Las Vegas Tickets

Area15 Las Vegas

Area15 Las Vegas anaheimer

Area15 Las VegasJust a mile west of the iconic Las Vegas Strip lies a world of immersive experiences and artistic wonders: Area15. This experiential retail and entertainment complex, a joint venture between Fisher Brothers and Beneville Studios, showcases the evolution of entertainment in the heart of Sin City.

According to the promoters, Area15 does not exist, so enter at your own risk!

Unveiling the Enigma of Area15

Mega Mart Las VegasFrom the outside, Area15's design might appear minimalistic. As Michael Beneville explains, they aimed for subtlety rather than competing with the glitz of the casinos. However, once inside, visitors are met with a myriad of attractions.

The central hall, dubbed "The Spine," is a neon-lit spectacle housing various tenants. Among them is the highly-praised Meow Wolf's Omega Mart, a primary draw for many visitors.

Beyond Omega Mart, Area15 boasts a range of attractions. Guests can enjoy arcade games, zipline over The Spine, explore museums, play virtual golf, try their hand at axe throwing, or experience the thrill of a Grand Prix Simulator. And for those looking for an extraterrestrial experience, LiftOff outside the building offers drinks and a UFO ride.

You can find more experiences at the official Area15 website here.

Meow Wolf's Omega Mart: Rethinking the Grocery Store

Mega Mart Las VegasOmega Mart is far from your average grocery store. Managed by the experiential art collective Meow Wolf, this 52,000 sq ft interactive art exhibit provides a quirky twist on everyday shopping.

Over 325 artists collaborated on this project, which welcomed visitors for the first time on February 18, 2021. 

Omega Mart stands as a testament to Meow Wolf's three and a half years of detailed planning and their dedication to crafting a unique experience.

Mega Mart Las VegasOne of the standout features of Omega Mart is its array of portals that whisk visitors away to otherworldly dimensions. Hidden behind freezer doors, beneath shelves, and within seemingly ordinary passages, guests are transported to surreal landscapes, from neon-lit forests to barren desert wastelands. Each realm connects to the broader story, presenting fragments of a puzzle for visitors to assemble.

After perusing the store's regular aisles, our journey led us through a dim, tight crawl space, revealing a breathtaking alternate universe filled with enigmas. 

Visitors can choose their adventure be it a casual observer admiring the exhibits or a detective piecing together the backstory of this peculiar place.

We opted for the former, taking in the vibrant art, exploring the mysterious rooms on the upper level, and uncovering secret passages. Our exploration lasted about an hour, but those diving deeper into the mysteries might find themselves engrossed for longer.

One visit might not suffice to uncover all the secrets of this enchanting place. A return trip to Area15 is certainly on our agenda.

Battlefield Vegas

Battlefield Vegas anaheimer

Battlefield Vegas - tanksI never touched a real firearm in my life or even came close to one, but I was eager to try them at Battlefield Vegas.

I was intrigued when I heard about Battlefield Vegas. Here is a chance to try my hand at shooting a gun without committing to buying anything.

I booked the "Seal Team Six Experience" for three and drove to their location on a back street – away from the busy strip, but they offer a Hummer pickup from your hotel if you would rather not drive.

The experience started as soon as we parked the car. All around the parking lot, you can find war gear like jeeps, hummers, guns, and tanks.

Battlefield Vegas - storeAs we entered through the main doors, we came across a large shop with weapons, ammunition, and souvenirs.

We checked in at the back of the shop and browsed the store while we waited for our guide.

Our guide called us in, set us up with safety gear (goggles and earmuffs), and grabbed the four weapons we were going to shoot.

The shooting gallery room is huge, with targets that can be positioned at varying distances. It is also important to note that the A/C was on full blast, which was a great relief from the Las Vegas summer heat.

Note: Make sure to bring a valid ID to participate. Anyone 10 years or older is welcome, but kids under 18 must be accompanied by a legal guardian.

Battlefield Vegas - WeaponsWe picked the Seal Team Six Experience because of the team's reputation (the raid that captured Osama Bin Laden) and the variety of weapons.

We got to shoot the Sig P-226, MP5 SD (submachine gun), M4 CQBR (Close Quarters Battle Rifle), and M-249 SAW ( light machine gun).

Each one of those weapons provided a unique shooting experience. Some were light and easy to carry, others needed much support, and were harder to hold and aim. I can't believe how hard it is to counteract the recoil from the machine guns.

Battlefield Vegas - ShootingOur guide was awesome. He explained every gun's qualities and handling and demonstrated the right way to hold and aim each.

Although I will never own a weapon, I will revisit Battlefield Vegas to try other guns and experiences.

Visit their website for details about their experiences.

Is shooting guns not enough for you? You can also rent a tank and crush cars for fun – although it can be a costly experience.

2771 S Sammy Davis Jr. Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89109

(702) 566-1000

Dig This Las Vegas

Dig This Las Vegas anaheimer

null 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. 

nullOur 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. 

nullI 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. 

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

Las Vegas Springs Preserve anaheimer

Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Water Tower - from WikipediaA few miles away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Las Vegas and the Strip, you will find this nature preserve with exhibits, nature trails, and a bit of Las Vegas history.

The “Springs Preserve” is a 180 acres stretch of protected land around the original source of water for the Las Vegas Valley. Those springs formed an oasis in the middle of the parched desert and help support early inhabitants from local native American trips 10,000 years ago to first settlers in the 1800s.

Unfortunately, the wells dried out in the ’60s and Las Vegas now depends on the waters of Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Cactus Gardenthe Colorado River provided by Hoover Dam.

Tip: If you are looking for lush green gardens, this is not it. Most plants here are hardy desert plants and a few palm trees.

The preserve is run by the Water District which is taking measures to restore the area and provide visitors with a unique nature experience.

Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Kids play areaVisitors can simply walk through several nature walks and habitats for various desert plants or visit one of the museums and special exhibits.

If you have time, you can also take a hike through the extensive trail system.

If you prefer to explore without exertion, take the 20-minute train ride. The train takes through the expansive preserve with educational narration about the area’s history.

BestofVegas.com. Best attractions. Best prices.

Closer to the main entrance building you can enjoy a cactus garden, a Palm Oasis, a few Las Vegas Springs Preserve - Butterfly Exhibitfountains and kids play area. A seasonal Butterfly exhibit is also available for an additional fee. Check their website for times.

We paid the extra $3 fee to get into the Butterfly Habitat and enjoyed the few butterfly species that were present, but I wouldn’t visit again. The exhibit was small and you had to look for the butterflies.  

During our visit was mainly stayed outside to enjoy the great weather and have a little workout, there are plenty of things to do indoorsLas Vegas Springs Preserve - Train ride too.  

You can spend some time at Nevada State Museum with informative exhibits including holographic figures, stalactite caves, fossils, and a history of LV.

At the Origen Museum, you can walk through some 75 permanent exhibits, an indoor theater, and some traveling exhibits. The word Origen is derived from two words: original and generations. So expect to learn about the origins of the area.

On the way out you can enjoy a light meal at the Café and maybe get a few souvenirs at the gift shop.

We spent around 3 hours in this preserve to kill time before our hotel check-in, but if you have more time you can spend the whole day here exploring.

Marvel Avengers Station

Marvel Avengers Station anaheimer

Las Vegas - Marvel Avengers Station My daughter and I are fans of everything Marvel. We both enjoyed the comics growing up and we watched every Marvel Universe movie that came out.

So we were thrilled to find out about Marvel Avengers Station located inside Treasure Island in Las Vegas.

The exhibit was touted as an interactive experience, so our expectations were high. Although it was fascinating to walk through the various rooms, observe the artifacts, watch movie clips, and press a few buttons, the interactions were very minimal.

As you enter the station, you will be greeted by your guide, who is supposed to explain the Las Vegas - Marvel Avengers Station mission and help you get going. Our guide did not provide any instruction and omitted to mention the companion app for the experience.

We still enjoyed walking through the exhibits showcasing Marvel characters like Captain America, the Hulk, Black Panther, Iron Man, Thor, and Spiderman.

Some of the exhibits had interactive screens and buttons to push to get some reaction. I will leave those for you to discover.

Las Vegas - Marvel Avengers Station One of my favorites was trying to pull Thor’s Hammer off the ground. Of course, it did not yield to me.

Another favorite – and slightly disturbing experience - was walking through a corridor with an army of ants scampering between our feet.

The finale was supposed to be a shooting session on a large screen showing all the Marvel heroes.

After a short training session with our weapons, we were let lose trying to help the heroes to get the villains. 

I was disappointed. The weapons were useless. The whole thing was staged, and no matter how hard you tried, the scenario played out without any help from you - what a waste of time.

Despite the limited interactivity, we still enjoyed the exhibits, but it is a one-time event. Not worth a repeat. Also, try not to pay a full price for this activity. You can always find coupons at Websites like Yelp or Groupon.

Vegas Indoor Skydiving

Vegas Indoor Skydiving anaheimer

nullI 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.

I 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 was 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 suit, 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. 

nullThe 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. 

The 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

Las Vegas On a Budget

Las Vegas On a Budget anaheimer

nullLas Vegas has been changing in the past years and is 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 page is dedicated to finding free or inexpensive fun.

Highlights

Yes, you can enjoy Las Vegas without spending a lot of money

Walk down the Las Vegas Strip and gaze at the inviting casinos and blazing neon lights

Explore the Pyramid at Luxor with its ancient Egyptian decor

Step back to medieval times at Excalibur and visit the games arcade at Midway

Visit "New York New York" and experience a thrilling rollercoaster.

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 list of the places that offer free or inexpensive entertainment. 

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. 

nullMandalay 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 waterpark 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 many 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 the scale. 

nullLuxor: Enjoy the view of the glass pyramid and the Sphinx from outside, and admire 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 must climb sideways along the corners of the pyramid. Take the free monorail that connects Luxor to Mandalay Bay and Excalibur. Indoors you can enjoy a large plaza with games, shows, and theaters – and a food court.

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

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New York New York: See a replica of the New York skyline from the street and walk on the Brooklyn Bridge. If you would 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. 

The Park: Hidden in between New Your New York and Montecarlo, this urban park offers a refuge from the bustle of the city. While strolling through the park, you can enjoy some quick bites at Shake Shack and other restaurants and pass through some interesting water features.  

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 decor. You can also view many statues and art pieces throughout the property. Inside the “Crystal” shopping mall, witness the magic of self-sculpting ice columns and other crystal art.

nullBellagio: As you walk past the Bellagio you will notice a huge lake and many people waiting impatiently. Make sure to wait a bit until the next showing of the dancing waters shows. It runs every 15 minutes or every ½ an hour, depending on the 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 spectacular. 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.

nullCaesar’s Palace: Although this is one of the older resorts, it is still an important stop on your walking tour. If you love the 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 LINQ and HighrollerLinq and Highroller: Across from Caesar's Palace you can find the iconic Flamingo and right next to it, you can find the new LINQ, a new pedestrian promenade, and the High Roller ride. The promenade is full of shops and restaurants. The Highroller - a huge Ferris Wheel – is very prominent towards the end of this bustling street. You can get a half-hour ride with amazing views of Las Vegas, or you can go for a high-flying happy hour experience in one of the air-conditioned cabins.

More Highlights

Enjoying the colorful dancing fountains (Lumia) at the City Center

Don’t forget the amazing dancing fountains at the Bellagio

View the Strip from above while riding the Highroller Ferris wheel at the Linq

For a spectacular view of the city, ride the elevators to the top of the Stratosphere

Make sure to witness the Pirate Show at Treasure Island

Mirage: The Mirage is renowned 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 toonull 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 an excellent 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. 

nullWynn 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 the Wynn hotel. Once you get inside, head to “Lake of Dreams”. This is a huge man-made lake with a massive 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.

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nullThe Venetian: Across the Sands Street from Wynn, you can spot another grand resort. After admiring the grandiose styles of Venice from outside, walk inside 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 for adults and $15 for children (online advance tickets). The Venetian is also known for its 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 an excellent choice for breakfast.  

nullPlanet Hollywood: Across the street from Paris (through Paris rd.) you will walk into the Glamour 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 a 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 rainstorm. It starts with fog and a few sprinkles and ends with thunder, lightning, and pouring rain. The Rainstorm 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 superb with food from many regions of the world. More about the 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 Café; Fat Burger; Hard Rock Cafe; Denny's; Outback Steakhouse; and a food court. 

nullMGM 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 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. 

nullCircus Circus: On the north side of the Strip, this casino is well-known for its free circus acts and a huge 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.  

nullFremont 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 gold nugget on display. Also, the buffet is superb 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 Fremont are known to pay out more than average. 

Sam’s Town: This hotel and casino are 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. 

nullRed Rock Canyon: One of my favorite places to visit in Las Vegas. Pay the parking fee of $7 and enjoy nature as 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.

nullHoover DamTechnically this is not part of Las Vegas, but it is close enough for a quick detour. The dam was built in the 1930s, 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 – highly informative and awe-inspiring.

The long tour takes you through the inside passages of the dam and costs $30. 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 cars 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. Read more here.

nullLake Mead: The lake was formed by Hoover Dam, and it is considered the largest water reservoir in the US. It covers around 100 miles (ca. 161 km) in length and has close to 550 miles (ca. 885 km) 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 it at one of the rental outfits in 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. 

Las Vegas Tickets

Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

After walking the strip and doing some gambling, you might want to get back to nature and away from the casinos and the crowds. 

Many tour operators offer tours to the Grand Canyon – both South and West Rims. The best ones offer stops at Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. If you decide to go, make sure you don't book any other activities. The tours usually start very early and don't come back until later at night.

Grand Canyon Tours from Las Vegas - Save on Tickets!

Read about a trip to the Grand Canyon Here.

Hoover Dam Tour

Hoover Dam Tour anaheimer

Hoover DamHoover Dam is a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas, so you can carve out a few hours and visit this engineering wonder on your own, and we have done that many times.

But to get a different perspective and let someone else do the driving, I decided to go with Comedy on Deck tours for a VIP experience that included visiting the new bypass bridge, the power plant, the visitor center, and a hot lunch.

The tour started with a pickup from our hotel, and we had to endure four more pickups before we were on our way. Our guide entertained us with jokes and a running commentary about Vegas and Hoover Dam. 

Hoover Dam - bypass bridgeOur first stop was at the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (better known as the bypass bridge). 

This bridge was built to offer an alternate route for travelers between Nevada and Arizona, who had to cross over the dam in the past, creating nightmare traffic.

As a bonus, this bridge offers a fantastic view of the dam from a height of 900 ft. A pedestrian walkway makes it possible for tourists like us to hike to the middle for a commanding view.

Hoover Dam - MovieAt our next stop and the main attraction, we entered the visitor's center for a movie about the dam construction and then descended to the bypass tunnels and the power plant. 

The official Hoover Dam tour was impressive. It was great to see how the engineers first built tunnels to reroute the Colorado River before they started pouring massive quantities of concrete. 

They also had to cool the concrete blocks using pipes with refrigerated water to speed up the setting process. 

Hoover Dam - PowerplantIt was also sad to hear about the work conditions, accidents, and deaths during construction.

You can read more about Hoover Dam here.

After the dam tour, we got the chance to view the whole area from atop the new observation deck and then walk along the dam. 

On the way back, we had lunch at a popular diner. The food was good but nothing special, and we stuck with something that couldn't go wrong, cheeseburgers and chips.

I really enjoyed this tour and would go with Comedy on Deck again on their other tours.

Las Vegas Resorts

Las Vegas Resorts anaheimer

Las Vegas Resorts would satisfy every style and budget you can think of, from the extra cheap to the lavish luxury. You just need to pick the right place for you based on location, taste, and budget. 

Las Vegas Resorts

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

Rio All-Suites Resort is an excellent choice for the cost and the amenities.

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

Bellagio Las VegasI always like to stay in Luxor. I love the Egyptian decor and the slanted elevators. 

If you like to stay in luxury, you must try the VenetianBellagio, Wynn, and Aria, to name a few. 

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

Resort World poolsStaying at the Bellagio was exquisite. The room was spacious and comfortable, and the ambiance of the whole property was elegant.

I also enjoyed the upscale restaurants and the Secret Garden. Read more about the Bellagio here.

Resort World is the newest property in Las Vegas, opening in 2021. It has three hotels and a massive retail, conference, and entertainment complex. 

Read more here

Las Vegas Resorts

BellagioFountains at Bellagio

I always admired the Bellagio Hotel from afar and imagined that a stay at this property would be magical. 

Bellagio Secret GardenJust watching the dancing waters show on the huge man-made lake is a thrill. And going inside and admiring the Secret Garden, Casino and shops is a delight. 

So I finally broke down and booked a three-night stay with my family. Our experience was mixed. 

Despite the glamour and elegance, it turned out to be just another hotel. The rooms were average, and the service needed significant improvement. 

Read more about the Bellagio.

The Venetian

nullWhen you walk into the Venetian resort, you expect luxury, class, and excellence; that is 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 a 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.

Read more about the Venetian here.

Resort World

Resort World Last VegasThe Stardust hotel and casino gave way to the newest resort in Las Vegas, Resort World, which opened in 2021.

The three towers hold three hotels, Hilton, Conrad, and Crockfords, with a shared resort area with casinos, restaurants, a food court, and swimming pools.

Resort World Las Vegas is an Asian-themed property and includes a large casino. 

Resort World Last Vegas - GlobeThe "District" is a large retail area with various shops, restaurants, and an LED Globe measuring 50 feet (ca. 15 m) in diameter. The Globe stands 40 feet (ca. 12 m) high and has 8,640 triangular LED panels, which project interactive images with a 20-million-pixel resolution.

The Globe plays a digital light show every hour on the hour. You can also catch the show from several locations throughout the resort. 

Read more about Resort World here.

Resort World Las Vegas

Resort World Las Vegas anaheimer

Resort World Last VegasThe Stardust made way to the newest resort in Las Vegas, Resort World, which opened in 2021.

The three towers hold three hotels, Hilton, Conrad, and Crockfords, with a shared resort area with casinos, restaurants, a food court, and swimming pools.

Resort World Las Vegas is an Asian-themed property and includes a large casino. 

Resort World Last Vegas - GlobeThe "District" is a large retail area with various shops, restaurants, and an LED Globe measuring 50 feet (ca. 15 m) in diameter. The Globe stands 40 feet (ca. 12 m) high and has 8,640 triangular LED panels, which project interactive images with a 20-million-pixel resolution.

The Globe plays a digital light show every hour on the hour. You can also catch the show from several locations throughout the resort. 

Resort World Last Vegas - PoolsThe resort also includes meeting and banquet space, a massive pool complex with nine pools, and a spa. 

The Stardust resort is not totally lost to history. Hundreds of trees were salvaged from the hotel and are used to decorate the new property.

We recently stayed at the Hilton Resort World and really enjoyed our stay. The rooms were comfortable and spacious, and the view from our window overlooking the pools was remarkable.

Resort World Last Vegas - RoomExploring the resort and discovering all the restaurants and shops took some pleasurable time.

We also loved the free self-parking, and check-in and check-out were effortless – the staff was always friendly and helpful.

The only drawback is that the property is away from all the activity on the strip. The address is still on Las Vegas Blvd, but it is more due south and closer to Circus Circus. 

The Bellagio

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Fountains at BellagioI always admired the Bellagio Hotel from afar and imagined that a stay at this property would be magical. 

Just watching the dancing waters show on the huge man-made lake is a thrill. And going inside and admiring the Secret Garden, Casino and shops is a delight. 

So I finally broke down and booked a three-night stay with my family. Our experience was mixed. 

Bellagio Secret GardenDespite the glamour and elegance, it turned out to be just another hotel. The rooms were average, and the service needed significant improvement. 

We booked a fountain view room and were expecting to have an amazing view of the dancing waters from our rooms. We were totally underwhelmed. The windows overlooked other sections of the property and way in the distance you can see part of the fountains. 

View from Lago, BellagioThe beds and pillows were comfortable, which is vital, but everything else was just adequate. The most annoying part about our stay is that we had to ask for service. The room was left uncleaned with trash cans overflowing. I had to call and ask for service for the following day.

Outside of the rooms, the hotel was beautiful with an Olympic-size pool, multiple jacuzzis, a fitness center, and a Spa. The fitness center had modern equipment with a towel and water service. The pool offered cabanas, umbrellas and a café. 

Sadelle's brunch Tower - by Sarah Stierch - FlickrWe dined at three restaurants during our stay. They were all excellent but very pricy. 
At Lago, we enjoyed an Italian meal with a great view of the fountains. The food was delicious, and the service was excellent.  

At Yellowtail Japanese restaurant, we sampled several hand rolls and cut rolls. All were very tasty. And once again, we enjoyed a fantastic view of the fountains through the panoramic windows. 

Last but not least, we had a filling brunch at Sadelle’s. With options like the Saddele’s Tower (Fish, Bagel, Tomato, Cucumber & Capers), Eggs Benedict (with Salamon), Thick-cut French Toast with fruit, you can’t leave hungry. 

All-in-all it was a good experience, but I was expecting more from the Bellagio. 

The Venetian Las Vegas

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nullWhen you walk into the Venetian resort you expect luxury, class, and excellence and that is 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 a 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.

nullThe bathroom was large and elegant with a 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 a separate vanity area.

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

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

nullGo 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 an 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.

Las Vegas Shows

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Las Vegas - ROCK OF AGESEverywhere you go on the Strip, you will see huge electronic billboards announcing shows and attractions. 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 good deals from the Internet (like Groupon) or discount ticket booths like Tix4Tonight.

Rock of Ages at the Venetian

Las Vegas - ROCK OF AGESThis is one of my favorite Las Vegas shows and is also one of the longest. I enjoyed every minute of the 130 minutes and left wanting more.

The show is a celebration and tribute to 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 1940s and goes through the 50s, 60s, and 70s Las Vegas. It ends with a bang in the 80s era. And yes! No trip down memory lane is complete without an appearance by Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Frank Sinatra, or Vegas showgirls. 

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 Thunderstorm, 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 show 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.

“O” a Cirque Du Soleil Show

'O' a Cirque Du Soleil ShowThis is not your average circus act. From the first opening moment of the show, I was enthralled with the man-made lake on the stage and the enchanted creatures that lurked in every corner. 

Cirque Du Soleil has many shows in Las Vegas and around the world, but I think they surpassed their own fame with this extraordinary show performed at the Bellagio. Read more here.

KA by Cirque Du Soleil

Cirque Du Soleil - KA - Forest Duet - Photo by Jerry MetellusThis show is probably the biggest theatrical production in the world with the latest audio/visual technology. 
The show is a clever mix of traditional circus acts with modern technology and a storyline. The story is not clearly defined because the actors use an invented language. But that doesn’t detract from the wonderful production and amazing feats performed in a fluid environment.

My most favorite act was the final battle between good and evil. The stage floated up into the vertical position, and the performers engaged in a gravity-defying battle to the death. If it were possible to hide the ropes, you would think those actors have wings.

Read more here

Mystere

Cirque Du Soleil MystereI love Cirque Du Soleil shows and have difficulty deciding which is best. Each has a unique story and ambiance, but they all have great performances by skilled acrobats and actors.

My latest experience was at the Mystere show, which plays at TI (rebranded Treasure Island).

This high-energy show is filled with circus acts, dance, elaborate sets, booming music, and slapstick comedy.

The show opened in 1993 and is considered the longest-running Cirque Du Soleil show in Vegas.

The word Mystere is the French way of saying mystery. So, what is the mystery here? I have no idea!

Cirque Du Soleil MystereThe show starts with babies making noises and strollers rolling onto the stage, but I didn’t see any reason for this introduction. 

Later, a chubby baby interrupts the show several times while the stage is reset. There is no cohesion to the story, or more accurately, there is no story.

Despite all those shortcomings, the performance was mesmerizing. From the dancing duo on straps to the thundering drums or the flying acrobats, all the performers excelled and delighted us.

The dancing duo flying over the stage and above the audience was well choreographed and performed but brought up a crucial point about seating. Getting the first row next to the stage is not always a great idea. We had to crane our necks to see the action above and behind us.

I recommend this show to the whole family, but some young children may be frightened by the loud noise and dark scenes. 

Read more here

Illuminate

Illuminate at the Start“Illuminate” exploded on the scene as a finalist on America’s Got Talent and then took the world by storm.

In Las Vegas, Illuminate plays at the Stratosphere Tower with several show times every day. The ticket prices are more reasonable than the big-ticket shows.

The performance uses customized LED suits with wireless lighting programs that create extraordinary lighting effects that move along with the choreographed dance moves and the hurt-pounding music.

We reserved our seats several weeks in advance and landed a premium spot at a VIP booth with an excellent stage view.

Read more here

Absinthe Las Vegas

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nullAbsinthe 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. 

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Along with the crazy stunts, you will enjoy the X-rated humor and a lot of F* and 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 action. 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. 

nullUnlike 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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Disco Divas, Las Vegas

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Disco Divas - Olivia Newton-JohnDisco Divas in Las Vegas is just one of the countless shows that dazzle and entertain visitors. So, why choose this show? If you were enamored with the disco craze of the 70s and 80s, then Disco Divas at the Alexis Park Resort is tailor-made for you. It emerges as a radiant tribute to the disco queens.

About the Show

"Disco Divas" is a sensational all-female cast tribute show celebrating the iconic music of Tina Turner, Donna Summer, Cher, Diana Ross, Olivia Newton-John, and Gloria Gaynor. You're instantly transported back to the vibrant disco era as you enter the glittering theater.

Disco Divas - CherThe performers channel the energy and charisma of these legendary divas, meticulously capturing the essence of each artist. With every note and groove, "Disco Divas" pays homage to the timeless hits that defined an era, offering an unforgettable spectacle of glitz, glamour, and pure disco magic.

My wife, daughter, and I recently attended this show, representing three generations. My daughter, having never experienced the Disco days, was initially hesitant. My wife was also uncertain about the show. However, despite their initial reservations, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

The performers were incredibly energetic and captivating. I found the performances by Cher and Olivia Newton-John particularly delightful.

The show runs for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. You can find more information and tickets at their website here, but for better ticket prices, go to vegas.com.

Alexis Park Resort

Alexis Park pool - by Gail Frederick - WikimediaLocated a short distance from the Las Vegas Strip, the Alexis Park Resort is a serene oasis, a welcome respite from the bustling casinos. This is a nice way to say it's somewhat isolated, but if you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the strip, then it could be a peaceful retreat. 

The resort boasts all-suite accommodations, beautifully landscaped grounds, and three shimmering pools. For those seeking entertainment, the Modern Showrooms at the resort offers a range of performances catering to diverse preferences.

The Pegasus Showroom

The show takes place in the Pegasus Showroom, a quaint and intimate venue. The setup includes a few tables and chairs surrounding the stage, complemented by two TV screens on either side. This snug setting allows the performers to interact with the audience occasionally. The screens display vintage commercials,Alexis Park Garden Steakhouse setting the nostalgic mood for the show. The drinks on offer are both delicious and reasonably priced.

Dinner

We opted for the combo dinner and show package, assuming we'd dine as we watched. However, we learned that food isn't permitted in the theater. Instead, we were given vouchers for the Alexis Garden Steakhouse near the showroom.

While the food was decent, our steaks were served cold. Our server was amiable and attentive, which made up for the cold meat. I'd suggest considering other dining options before or after the show.

Illuminate at the Strat

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Illuminate at the Start“Illuminate” exploded on the scene as a finalist on America’s Got Talent and then took the world by a storm.

In Las Vegas, Illuminate plays at the Stratosphere tower with several show times every day. The ticket prices are more reasonable than the big-ticket shows.

The performance uses customized LED suits with wireless lighting programs that create extraordinary lighting effects that move along with the choreographed dance moves and the hurt-pounding music.

We reserved our seats several weeks in advance and landed a premium spot at a VIP booth with an excellent view of the stage.

Illuminate at the StartThe show was high energy, with popular tunes playing and the performers prancing around the stage and among the audience. All the loud music and thumping bass made me want to get up and dance with the performers – but I restrained myself. 

The choreographed dance with the LED lights was brilliant. I love technology, but the marriage of art and technology was spectacular. 

The team put together a show that paid homage to all music genres. they managed to fit in pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz, and rap. 

I highly recommend this show for the whole family, and you can make it a dinner and show night by visiting Top of the World restaurant with great food and a stunning view of Las Vegas from the Top.
 

Jeff Civillico Comedy - Las Vegas

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nullIf 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. 

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nullThe 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 to 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.

nullJeff 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. 

Great Las Vegas Shows Under $50!

KA by Cirque Du Soleil

KA by Cirque Du Soleil anaheimer

Cirque Du Soleil - KA - Forest Duet - Photo by Jerry MetellusWe sat in anticipation in the front row facing a deep abyss with exploding fires and eerie sounds. Cast members were standing guard prevent the curious from peeking in.

As we waited for the show to begin, we were admiring the vast theater with high platforms snaking among the seats and contemplated their purpose. We soon found out that a lot of the action is not on stage but all around the audience.

Tip: Although the front rows have their own attraction, try to sit a little further away from the stage. Much of the action happens behind and all around.  

Even before the show officially started, cast members began appearing on the platform yelling at each other and seeming to fly off into thin air.

The show is a clever mix of traditional circus acts with modern technology with a storyline. The story is not clearly defined because the actors use an invented language. But that doesn't take away from the beautiful production and amazing feats performed in a fluid environment.

Great Las Vegas Shows Under $50!

Cirque Du Soleil - KA - Chief Archer and Daughter - Photo by Erik Stein and Christopher DeVargaThere is no traditional stage in this theater. Instead, several floating platforms move around the stage in all directions including straight up – allowing total impression into fantastical environments. In one scene I felt like I was immersed in the ocean trying to reach the surface.

I will not spoil your fun by explaining all the acts in this awesome show, but I will share with you my favorites.

Tip: if you get to the theater early, you can enjoy some drinks from the bar and interact with the performers.

One of my favorite acts is the areal duet dance. Two performers take to the sky (on ropes) and dance around each other and float above the audience. The dance was well choreographed with many landings and takeoffs.

Cirque Du Soleil - KA - Forest - Photo by Norman Jean RoyMy most favorite act was the final battle between good and evil. The stage floated up into the vertical position and the performers engaged in a gravity-defying battle to the death. If it were possible to hide the ropes, you would think those actors have wings.

The jesters (or clowns) were entertaining and funny at times. I especially liked the sandy beach scene with a huge crab and turtle.

Tip: The storyline is hard to follow, so buy a program which includes a synopsis. This will help you understand what is going on.

KA by Cirque Du Soleil is probably the biggest theatrical production in the world with the latest audio/visual technology. It is located at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Cirque Du Soleil - KA - Final Battle - from CDS MediaThe theater has thousands of speakers along with personal stereo speakers on every seat. The video projection system utilizes infrared technology to tack performer locations and reacts to their presence.

We really enjoyed the show and planning to return to watch from a different angle soon. If you have kids older than 5 years, they will love it too.

Note:  Photography or videotaping is not permitted during the show. All media presented here is by permission from Cirque Du Soleil.

Cirque Du Soleil runs many shows in Las Vegas. One of my all time favorites is "O". Read about this Waterworld show here

Michael Jackson Live

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nullThis 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.

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nullMy 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. 

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 overdid it.

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

Great Las Vegas Shows Under $50!

Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil

Mystere by Cirque Du Soleil anaheimer

Mystere by Cirque Du SoleilMystere is one of the best Cirque Du Soleil shows in Las Vegas.

I watched many Cirque Du Soleil shows and enjoyed most of them, so it was difficult to decide on a favorite. Each has a unique story and ambiance, but they all have great performances by skilled acrobats and actors.

My latest experience was at the Mystere show, which plays at TI (rebranded from Treasure Island).

This high-energy show is filled with circus acts, dance, elaborate sets, booming music, and slapstick comedy.

The show opened in 1993 and is considered the longest-running Cirque Du Soleil show in Vegas.

The stage itself is a work of art and technology, with its moving parts continuously changing with each scene. 

The word Mystere is the French way of saying mystery. So, what is the mystery here? I have no idea!

Mystere by Cirque Du SoleilThe show starts with babies making noises and strollers rolling onto the stage, but I didn’t see any reason for this introduction. 

Later, a chubby baby interrupts the show several times while the stage is being reset. There is no cohesion to the story, or more accurately, there is no story.

Despite all those shortcomings, the performance was mesmerizing.

All the performers excelled and delighted us, from the dancing duo on straps to the thundering drums or the flying acrobats.

The dancing duo flying over the stage and above the audience was well choreographed and performed but brought up a crucial point about seating. Booking the first row next to the stage is not always a great idea. We had to crane our necks to see the action above and behind us.

I recommend this show to the whole family, but some young children may be frightened by the loud noise and dark scenes. 

Interesting Facts:

  1. Premiere Date: Mystère debuted on December 25, 1993, making it Cirque du Soleil's longest-running show in Las Vegas.
  2. Unique Blend: Mystère combines circus skills, dance, elaborate sets, opera, worldbeat music, and street theatre-style comedy.
  3. Theatre Design: The theatre seating 1,541 audience members was specifically built for Mystère at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino.
  4. Unique Stage: The stage floor is made of a layer of Base Mat, which is rubber made from recycled old tires and sneakers, giving it some bounce for tumbling.
  5. Largest Drum: The largest drum in Mystère, the ōdaiko, is 6 feet in diameter, 15 feet in length, and weighs half a ton. It's so large that it had to be brought into the theatre during construction and cannot be removed due to its size.

Tips for Spectators:

  1. Arrive Early: To fully immerse yourself in the experience, arrive a bit early to soak in the ambiance of the theatre.
  2. Dress Comfortably: While there's no strict dress code, it's always a good idea to be comfortable to enjoy the show to the fullest.
  3. Stay for the Entire Duration: The show is packed with breathtaking performances, so ensure you don't miss out on any part of it.
  4. Avoid Flash Photography: To ensure the safety of the performers and to not disturb other audience members, avoid using flash when taking pictures.
  5.  Engage with the Show: Some parts of the show might involve audience interaction. Don't be shy; it's all part of the fun!
     

Panda Las Vegas

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nullMy 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.

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The 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.  

nullI 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. 

Great Las Vegas Shows Under $50!

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 the full article about the Venetian here.

Panda plays Friday to Tuesday at 7:30 PM.

Phone: 702.414.9000 / 866.641.7469.

Rock of Ages Las Vegas

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nullThis 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.

nullThe 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.

nullThe 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. 

Great Las Vegas Shows Under $50!

The Las Vegas Sphere

The Las Vegas Sphere anaheimer

Sphere from Harras- by Cory Doctorow - WikimediaLas Vegas, known for its glitz, glamour, and groundbreaking entertainment venues, has added another jewel to its crown: The Sphere. Located just east of the iconic Las Vegas Strip, the Sphere is not just another entertainment arena; it's a marvel of modern architecture and technology.

Best Places to View the Sphere from Outside

The Sphere's exterior is a remarkable sight, featuring a whopping 580,000 sq ft of LED lights that light up at night with mesmerizing displays.

Sphere from streetThis means you're in for a visual treat no matter where you stand. However, for the best-unobstructed views, consider standing a distance away, perhaps from one of the nearby hotels or elevated walkways.

Interesting Fact: The interiors of the Sphere feature a 270-degree screen roughly the size of four football fields, covering most of the walls and ceiling.

I could see the Sphere from several streets and resorts during my visit. Still, the best views are at Manhattan Street, the top of Hughes Parkway Parking Garage, the Seventh Floor at Encore Self-Park, and the pedestrian bridge between Wynn and Venetian.

The LED displays can feature various themes, turning the Sphere into a giant Halloween jack-o'-lantern or a Christmas snow globe, making it a dynamic part of the city's skyline.

Getting to the Sphere

The_Sphere at The_Venetian - by Tomás Del Coro - WikimediaThe Sphere is conveniently located at 255 Sands Ave, Las Vegas, Nevada. For those relying on public transit, there are plans to build a new Las Vegas Monorail station to serve the Sphere and the Venetian.

A 1,000-foot pedestrian bridge also connects the Sphere to the Venetian Expo, making it easily accessible for those attending events or shows at either venue.

We had some time to kill, so we walked from the LINQ to Krueger Dr, Koval Ln, to Sands Ave. That was the long way to go, but as we walked on Krueger Dr, we had a great view of the Sphere.

Shows and Performances

Sphere AtriumThe Sphere made a grand opening on September 29, 2023, with the legendary Irish rock band U2 kicking off a 36-show residency titled "U2:UV Achtung Baby Live at Sphere."

Additionally, the venue showcased "Postcard from Earth," a docu-film directed by the acclaimed Darren Aronofsky, which debuted on October 6, 2023.

We missed the U2 show but had a great time with "Postcard from Earth". Read the review below.
Inside the Venue: An Immersive Experience
Walking into the Sphere is like stepping into the future. Before taking our seats, we were greeted with holographic displays and AI-powered Robots.
The wraparound LED screen boasts a 16K resolution surrounding the audience, offering an unparalleled visual experience.
The sound system, comprising 1,600 X1 speakers, uses advanced beamforming and wave field synthesis technologies, ensuring crystal-clear audio from every corner. Additionally, 4D features like seat movement, scent, and wind effects enhance the immersive experience.

Postcard from Earth

Sphere takeoffSuppose you have been to Disney's California Adventure and Soared over California (the ride). In that case, you have an inkling about this dreamy and immersive experience. But instead of the 5-minute ride at Disney's Park, prepare to be wowed for 50 minutes.

The story is about the evolution of life on Earth, from its aquatic beginnings to the rise of human civilizations.

Interesting Fact: To create films for the Sphere's massive screen, a specially fabricated camera prototype named "Big Sky" was developed, capable of capturing images in 18K resolution.

It also delves into a future where humanity leaves a tarnished Earth to inhabit other worlds while reminiscing about our planet's lost splendor.

The Sphere's curving screens make this narrative deeply immersive, allowing viewers to feel as if they are part of the scenes, whether it's swimming with jellyfish or marveling at architectural wonders.

My impression as I watched the story unfold was of being on a vast spaceship floating above the landscape while observing the world evolve.

Seating and Ticket Prices

The Sphere can seat 18,600 people, with all seats equipped with high-speed internet access. For an enhanced experience, 10,000 of these seats incorporate haptic technology.
While the ticket prices can vary based on the event and seating choice, it's advisable to check the official Sphere website here, or Ticketmaster for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Our "Postcard from Earth" ticket was $59, but prices vary based on date and time.
 

V-The Ultimate Variety Show

V-The Ultimate Variety Show anaheimer

null"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. 

V-The Ultimate Variety Show - Save Over 40% on Tickets!

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

nullThe lady magician: This magician left the entertainment scene for a while to raise a family and now she is back to enthrall everyone with their 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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nullThe 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. 

Planet Hollywood - Miracle mile shops

3500 S Las Vegas Blvd, 

Las Vegas, NV 89109

Vegas! The show

Vegas! The show anaheimer

nullA 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 1940s and goes through the ’50s, ’60s, 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. 

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nullIf 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.  

nullThe 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.  

Las Vegas Tickets

“O” a Cirque Du Soleil Show

“O” a Cirque Du Soleil Show anaheimer

“O” a Cirque Du Soleil Show This is not your average circus act. From the first opening moment of the show, I was enthralled with the man-made lake on the stage and the enchanted creatures that lurk in every corner. 

Cirque Du Soleil has many shows in Las Vegas and around the world, but I think they surpassed their own fame with this extraordinary show performed at the Bellagio. 

“O” a Cirque Du Soleil ShowLike any circus act, it has its share of high-flying acrobats, contortionists, balancing acts, gravity-defying swings and clowns. But “O” manages to merge those traditional acts with the exotic element of aquatic magic to produce something totally new and awe-inspiring. 

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Along with the usual cast of characters, the show had synchronized swimmers dancing in the lake and divers“O” a Cirque Du Soleil Show jumping from extreme heights.

The strangest thing is that sometimes the swimmers and divers jump into the lake and never come back out. I wonder if there are secret passages underwater for the performers to sneak through. 

The lake, which is the center of activity for the majority of the acts, is deep enough to allow extremely high dives. But on occasion, the lake totally disappears to be replaced by hard stage for some of the acts. 

My favorite acts were the fire and water scene and the flying ghost ship. “O” a Cirque Du Soleil Show

Great Las Vegas Shows Under $50!

During the fire act, performers spin the flames around, jumps through rings of fire, set another man on fire and then spray the flames over the lake. The flames were so intense we could feel them in our seats. 

In the ghost ship act, the haunting ship sails on air above the lake while a group of performers trapeze around the ship that swings precariously.  

The clowns kept us entertained, and in some cases laughing hard, in between acts. I usually don’t enjoy clown acts because they are overly silly. Those clowns were more subdued with a lot of innuendoes.

Unlike many Las Vegas shows, this one is appropriate for all ages. If you are planning on watching any shows during your visit, I highly recommend it for the whole family. But be prepared to pay a high price. 

The cheapest seats are around $100. If you want an excellent view, you will pay up to $250 per adult. If you plan ahead you may be able to find discounted tickets.

Get more info at Cirque Du Soleil Show “O”.