A March 1997 trip
to Las Vegas by MCJ graduate
Quote: Concerning Las Vegas, "What trips your trigger or floats your boat?" Is it the gambling, the glamor and glitz of the landscape, headline entertainers, sidewalk entertainment, or outside Vegas attractions that wet your appetite? Whatever it is, jump on the plane and head for "Sin City".
Las Vegas has always been known to be America’s national capital for gambling. There is nowhere else that can offer you gambling around the clock, seven days a week, 365 days a year. And if you book your accommodation on the Strip, you can walk to several, several casinos. In our case, we booked our accommodation with Tropicana Hotel and Casino. Hence, we walked to various casinos, such as Excalibur, New York New York, MGM, etc.
If you are attracted to the glamour and glitz, then this is the place to be. I remember being greeted by the enormous lit-up sign, Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas. Then, after viewing this, I was mesmerized by both the casinos’ building themes (such as MGM’s Lion and New York New York’s New York City theme) and the flashing lights on the Strip.
Vegas has headlining entertainers galore. It seems every casino has a headliner, whether it is a famous singer like Wayne Newton, a sitcom icon/comic legend like Jimmy Walker, or a well-known band like the Rolling Stones. When we were there, we saw Jimmy Walker at Tropicana’s Comedy Stop. Therefore, there is always some type of entertainment available for your needs.
Sidewalk entertainment is present everywhere in Vegas. But it was Treasure Island’s Pirate Battle and the Mirage’s Volcano that took my breath away. It is the best free sightseeing and sidewalk entertainment available on the Strip. And if you mosey down to downtown Vegas, you can view the Freemont Street light show.
There, on Freemont Street, you will experience the greatest sound and light show ever. It has more than 2 million lights and 540,000 watts of sound. Just look up above your head and view the various shows it has.
After all the excitement in Vegas, you may want to unwind/relax and see outside attractions. We went to Lake Mead, Princess Cove, Valley of Fire State Park, and Bonnie Springs Ranch.
Hotel | "Tropicana Hotel and Casino"
The rooms were pretty typical, with two full size beds, a bathroom, and a walk out to the grounds (we were next to one of the pools). Both times, I originally paid between $88 and $95 a night.
But, in 1997, we had problems with our room. It had human hair on the floor and in the sink, wallpaper was peeling off one of the walls, and the entrance door had a huge gap between the door and where it was to shut and lock. I complained to the manager, and he came to the room to check it out. He agreed that all these inadequacies were present. He then offered us (and my sister, because she had a room next to us) rooms on the 20th floor, looking over the Strip. The rooms were fabulous. We had a bar area, a Jacuzzi in the master bedroom, an enormous bathroom, and a balcony overlooking the Strip. In addition, he gave us a $100 gift certificate for any of the restaurants we wanted to eat at in his hotel. We couldn't believe how generous he was in making it right. Honestly, we have settled for another room that was clean and safe. Anyway, we thanked him for Tropicana's generosity and told him we would be returning to his hotel when we visit Las Vegas.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 4, 2005
Tropicana Resort and Casino
3801 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Attraction | "Sitcom Icon and Urban Comic Legend Jimmy Walker"
Jimmy Walker is a great entertainer. He packed the crowd in, but our seats were good. Our table was practically on top of him. Within in just a few minutes of his act, it was evident he still had the same charming personality as he did when he played the character JJ on the show "Good Times." He connected with his audience well, giving one-liners.
After the show, he offered T-shirts to purchase and autographed them. When it was my turn and another person’s turn to purchase one, (there was only one left) he gave it to me instead of the man. He told the man, "I am sorry, but this goes to the lady—ladies first." I really thought that was a sweet gesture. I later asked him if I could give him a kiss on the cheek and he replied, "Ladies can always do that." Hence, the comedy show was a real highlight of my vacation. You could say that night was a "dynamite" one for me!
Tropicana Las Vegas
3801 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, Nevada
This park is Nevada's oldest and largest one. It received its name from the red sandstone formations and the beauty of the Mojave Desert. According to history, the red sandstone formations were formed by the great shifting sand dunes around the time of the age of dinosaurs 150 million years ago. And it was this shifting and huge erosion that made this current landscape.
Here, you can hike/walk and see areas of ancient trees (petrified ones) and petroglyphs done by early man. In addition, you can camp and/or take pictures and maybe view the animals (coyote, kit fox, jackrabbit, etc.) and reptiles like snakes. We saw a variety of rock formations, such as the beehives. And we viewed the petroglyphs. I also got a chance to see a large lizard sunning himself on a rock formation. In addition, the park has a full-scale visitor center and offers several group areas. Last, Valley of Fire is open year-round. Because of all the aforementioned, I highly recommend this attraction for everyone, especially families.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 5, 2005
Valley of Fire State Park
P.O. Box 515
Overton, Nevada 89040
Even though this attraction is not the most popular or glamorous, it has a lot of history to it. In addition, parts of the area are scenic. For example, the Colorado River is present, and groups of boats loll on the backwaters below the Spillway Gates on summer days. As a result of the cost, history, and scenic views, I definitely recommend it.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 6, 2005
2 miles upstream from Bullhead City, AZ
Las Vegas, Nevada
For me, the highlights of this adventure were participating in a reenactment of a bandit’s hanging and having the "Civil War"-era photo taken. The reenactment of the hanging was awesome. I was selected out of an audience of 20 spectators to play in it. My job was to make sure the "bad guy" was to hang for his crimes. I had to plead the case that the "bad guy" had to hang. The show was pretty realistic. The actors were in full character, especially the bandit. The mustachioed "bad guy" was dressed all in black and sported that mean "villain" look. Needless to say, the bandit did not get off with his crimes; he hung.
The other highlight was getting a "Civil War"-era photo taken. It was a blast. My partner and I had to dress for this occasion. I was the endearing wife of a man who was serving in the Civil War. Hence, my partner was the "Civil War" soldier husband. Part of the fun with this was picking out the clothes for it. We both searched for our props (big hoop dress, jewelry, etc., for me and a Civil War soldier uniform and rifle for my partner). And the other part of the fun was the photographer giving us various instructions as how to pose for the picture. The main one was us not to smile (back then, people didn't smile for picture-taking). Anyway, this was a neat experience. Because of all these unique things we saw and did, I highly recommend you venture out and go to Bonnie Springs Ranch.
German Valley, Illinois