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February 23, 2007
From journal Only in Vegas... Baby...
January 29, 2006
While gambling is by far the most common reason people go to Las Vegas, be sure that there are plenty of other things to see and do. We’ve been to Vegas over a dozen times, with a variety of family members, and never tire of showing everyone the sights. Here are some of our favorites.
A nighttime walking trip, down the strip, is a must. When "hiking" along the strip, keep in mind that objects (such as buildings and signs) are huge, making them seem MUCH closer than they really are. While you are enjoying the lights, stop by a few of the FREE attractions shown below.
The Bellagio conservatorium is open 24 hours a day. While you are in the casino, be sure to check out the lobby area, for scenes made almost completely from flowers (including people). The Bellagio also has a wonderful outdoor fountain show, which operates every 30 minutes during the afternoon (Mon-Fri beginning at 3pm; Sat/Sun beginning at noon) and every 15 minutes at night (8-midnight). The fountains are best seen at night, when colorful lights add to an already spectacular show.
Ceasar’s Palace has two fountain shows, inside the Forum Shop area. The Festival Fountain show is okay, but the Fall of Atlantis show (known in our family as the Fire and Ice Show) is a must see. Both shows run hourly (Sun-Thu 10am – 11pm; Fri-Sat 10am – midnight). Get there early so you can get close to the action. There are huge fish tanks and an ever changing "sky" to amuse you while you are waiting for the show to start.
For the animal lovers, you can visit the MGM Grand, which has a Lion Habitat (open 11am to 10pm daily) or the Mirage, which has a White Tiger Habitat (open 9am – 2:30pm daily). Most days visitors are luckier that they are at the poker table and the animals are up and moving.
Treasure Island presents the Sirens of TI, an outdoor pirate ship battle, 4 times nightly (5:30, 7, 8:30 and 10pm). Be sure to get there early, spaces fill up early. I wouldn’t suggest going on a windy day, because there is nothing worse than waiting an hour for the show and then it’s canceled due to high winds!
The volcano at the Mirage "erupts" every 30 minutes, between 6pm and midnight. Again, get there early and avoid windy days.
The Rio Hotel and Casino has "Masquerade in the Sky" shows that takes place at 3, 4, 5, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30pm daily. We normally catch this show while waiting in line for the seafood buffet. By the way, watch out for flying beads!
The Fremont Street Experience lights up the night every hour, on the hour, between 7pm and midnight. This attraction is downtown and there is plenty of space, so you do not need to arrive early.
From journal Las Vegas - It's Not Just for Gamblers
El Paso, Texas
August 12, 2004
From journal Las Vegas at its best
February 8, 2003
From journal Royal Vegas Getaway
Medford, New York
January 21, 2003
From journal Try Your Luck in Las Vegas
I hope I didn't leave anything out. When I visited on vacation, the downtown area had the Freemont Street Experience. Not only was the laser show fantastic, they had Mardi Gras bands on every corner. I came home with loads of beads! What a great time we had!
by Scott S.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
September 4, 2001
If you aren't a high-roller, there are two tricks to getting stuff Las Vegas casinos: casino club cards and funbooks.
All of the major casinos have a player's club card that they want you to sign up for so they can track your play and periodically mail stuff to you. By signing up, you often can get special deals on rooms or food. Some of the casinos offer a special incentive to sign up, such as bonuses on play, a one-time rebate for your losses, or a funbook. Make sure you get all the details beforehand, especially on the "rebate" deals; you usually have to play a certain amount for a certain time, and the rebate comes in the form of a check that is mailed to your home, and you can only cash it by returning to the same casino within a given time period. The Rio and Stratosphere offered great rebate deals. If you are planning to return, you really can't go wrong.
Some casinos also have a club or email list that you can sign up for online. Mandalay Bay offered an excellent package including a room, passes to the spa, and other perks just for joining their "Paradise Club", which was as simple as giving them your name and email address.
Casino "funbooks" range from the very valuable to the nearly worthless. You often get a funbook by signing up for the casino club card, but sometimes you will need a coupon such as those found online at www.lasvegasfunbook.com or from the Las Vegas Advisor's coupon book (not free). These funbooks usually have discounts for drinks, food, and trinkets in the gift shop. The Hard Rock has a great funbook that you can get with a coupon and new casino club card membership; it includes free drinks and a free shot glass from the gift shop. But the best funbooks offer a bonus on your casino buy-in, meaning that you get $30 of chips for $20, for example. The catch is that these chips have to be played at the casino's tables; they can't be cashed in. When you win a bet made with them, you get paid in regular chips that you can then cash in. In other words, you have to play the bonus chips until you lose them, but hopefully you have won some regular chips along the way. If you were planning on playing table games anyway, this can be a great deal since you start off with a few dollars worth of free chips. Look for this deal at Excalibur, the Sahara, and Circus Circus, among others. When you sign up for a card at Circus Circus, they give you a funbook with a coupon for a free funbook at Excalibur, and both of them have this "bonus buy-in" included.
From journal Las Vegas tips, tricks, and best deals