Las Vegas is not just about gambling, drinking and getting married, there is so much for to it for everyone . . .
by dkm1981 on January 15, 2012
Despite the fact that Las Vegas is located slap bang in the middle of the desert, there is lot of wildlife to be seen on the strip. Granted, not much of it is (if any) is local, but it is worth searching out all the same.-Flamingos and Friends-If you are on a budget, head to the Flamingo hotel where you will find a flock of their namesake pink birds amongst other things. You can wander around the gardens of the hotel spotting giant fish, turtles and many other birds and it is quite pretty. There are lots of signs telling you a bit about the creatures you will find and a little bit about them too.-Lions At MGM Grand-There are currently two lions living in the enclosure at the MGM Grand and you can walk through a glass tunnel to get a good view. It’s a very busy exhibit so you may have to queue to get to the front. There is also a gift shop nearby where you can get all manner of souvenirs. There is a sign on the front that tells you when the feeding times throughout the day are.-Secret Garden-The Secret Garden and Dolphin enclosure at the Mirage Hotel is a tribute to Siegfried and Roy. Even though they no longer perform at the resort, their famous white tigers are still here and form the star attraction at the zoo. It's quite a big zoo and there are some fun animals here including the playful dolphins and it is a nice way to spend a few hours. Entry is around fifteen dollars a person so it's not for those on a budget.-Sharks and Fish-If you head up as far as the Mandalay Bay resort you'll find their star exhibit in the Shark Reef aquarium, which is probably not worth the entrance fee unless you are specifically interested in aquariums. A much better bet is the huge aquarium at the end of the Forum Shops in Caesar's Palace, which is free to observe and has some pretty big fish in it.
When you think of shopping in the US, you wouldn't necessarily think of Las Veags straight away but you should because it really is a shopper's paradise. Whether you are looking for bargain basement offers or high end designer wear, you'll find a mall to entice you in Sin City.-The Forum Shops-This mall is the original one in Las Vegas and is located in the Caesar's Palace hotel. Apparently it is the most successful mall in the whole of America and i think that is probably because it is a tourist attraction as well as a shopping mall. Even if you aren't into shopping, it is a great place to wander round and admire the amazing attention to detail. It is a much more accessible mall than many because it isn't lined with mega expensive designer stores, but rather with a collection of designers and high street favourites such as Abercrombie and Fitch. It is generally always quite busy although, like everything in Las Vegas, it is big enough to accommodate the crowds.-The Grand Canal Shoppes-This mall is based at The Venetian hotel and is modelled around the Italian city. it is a very pleasant place to wander round and soak up the quite accurate Italian atmosphere. There is a grand square designed to be like St Mark's Square and it is lined with restaurants and coffee shops so is a great place to rest a while. The shops here aren't as many or as varied as in The Forum, but there is a nice collection none the less.-Las Vegas Outlet Centre-This is a huge outlet centre located around three miles south of Mandalay Bay at the end of The Strip. It has over 150 shops and a huge car park so is very easily accessible. The prices are supposed to be lower than usual, but you have to look fairly hard to find the real bargains. It is full of high street favourties like Levi's and Reebok.-The Fashion Show Mall-Located at the Northern end of The Strip just opposite the new Wynn Las Vegas hotel, this was the first shopping mall built independently of a hotel. You can spot it a mile off because it has a huge disc thing outside that is perhaps supposed to look like the rim of a fashion hat, but it doesn't! The difference between this mall and all the others is that it has the big department stores as well. So if you are a fan of Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Sak's Fifth Avenue, then this is the mall for you.So, take a break from the gambling and the over indulging on food and get some exercise whilst pounding the streets of the many shopping malls in Las Vegas.
by dkm1981 on January 14, 2012
When you think about Las Vegas, you automatically think about spending money because of the gambling and the big budget shows, but Las Vegas doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact there are a lot of things in Las Vegas that you can do for free.-Bellagio Fountains-The huge man-made lake in front of the Bellagio hotel transforms into a free show throughout the day. It is probably one of the most iconic things in Las Vegas and is definitely worth a visit. The show consists of canons shooting water into the air to music and it is sort of like a dance. The music is well thought out and we particularly enjoyed it when the jets of water shimmied to ‘Luck Be A Lady’. The show takes places every thirty minutes during the day and every fifteen minutes once the sun has gone down. It lasts about eight minutes and is better after dark.-Mirage Volcano-This is another free show that takes place outside of a hotel and is well worth a watch. It takes place on the hour every hour from 8pm and lasts about fifteen minutes. There is generally a crowd of people waiting before it starts so if you want to get a good front row place you are better getting there around ten minutes early. The display is excellent and will please all ages of visitors.-Lions At MGM Grand-There are currently two lions living in the enclosure at the MGM Grand and you can walk through a glass tunnel to get a good view. It’s a very busy exhibit so you may have to queue to get to the front. There is also a gift shop nearby where you can get all manner of souvenirs. There is a sign on the front that tells you when the feeding times throughout the day are.-The Sirens of TI-This is a pirate related performance that happens in front of the Treasure Island hotel twice a night. It is again very popular and lasts a lot longer than the other shows at about half an hour. It involves singing, dancing and two huge pirate ships moving towards each other for the ultimate firework accompanied finale. To be honest I thought it was pretty lame and about halfway through I began to wish that I wasn’t in the inescapable middle of the crowd. Other people seemed to enjoy it though so maybe it was just me.-The Fremont Street Experience-Away from The Strip (but close enough to get a fairly cheap bus ride there) you’ll find Fremont Street in old Las Vegas. It is absolutely definitely worth making the effort to get here because the light show is fantastic. Every hour on the hour, all of the lights go out on the casinos on Fremont Street and the roof lights up in a show that will entertain you no end. The roof is actually a huge arch that is covered in over two million lights and the street is lined with huge speakers. You might get a little bit of neck ache, but it is worth it!So like I said, Las Vegas doesn’t have to be expensive – in fact it can be the exact opposite and you can still have a great time in fabulous Las Vegas!
by dkm1981 on January 13, 2012
There are so many options for dining out or eating on the go in Las Vegas that it is hard to know where to start, but here are a few suggestions:-Eating at a Buffet-Buffets are one of the dining experiences that Las Vegas is famous for and there is no shortage of options. Probably the most famous, and arguably the best, is the Buffet @ The Bellagio. We actually tried to go to this one twice but the queue the first time was so long that we opted out that time. We found that going a bit later the following day (after 8pm) meant there was no queue at all. It was worth it when we got in there because the choice was amazing – fresh shellfish, a carvery selection and a counter full of puddings that will make your eyes pop! It’s not as expensive as you’d imagine either at around $30 per person. The surroundings are surprisingly basic and plain though.We also enjoyed the buffet at The Flamingo, which is cheaper, plainer but no less plentiful. Like the Bellagio, this one had a long queue to get in before 8pm, but unlike the Bellagio, you could pay an extra $5 per person to skip the line. The buffet here is about $20 per person (excluding the queue-jumping fee), which is extremely reasonable I think considering the choice of delicious food that is available.-Finer Dining-There are again lots of choices for something a bit more upmarket, no matter what nationality of food you are in the mood for. I can heartily recommend the restaurant at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower in Paris hotel. The food is absolutely delicious and well prepared. I had salmon and it was perfect. It’s not cheap though and the service is lame to say the least. The lady that served us was not very welcoming and in fact was quite rude. Annoyingly because there was more than five in our group, we were forced to give a 20% tip. Nevertheless the food and the general atmosphere were good enough to make up for this.-Food on the Go-As you would expect, there are so many fast food restaurants on and around the Las Vegas strip that you are indeed spoilt for choice. There is a McDonalds restaurant right next to Hurrah’s hotel that is very popular but large enough to accommodate this. If you can’t decide exactly what it is you want, you can head up to New York, New York where there is a food hall. Here you can grab Chinese, Italian or American food and there is a fairly large area to eat it. -For Those with a Sweet Tooth-Again you are spoilt for choice here too, whether it is sweets, cakes or ice creams that float your boat, you’ll find it in abundance on the strip. One of the most popular places to get sweets is from the M&M shop where you fill find your favourite chocolates emblazoned on all manner of souvenirs. The star of the show though is the help yourself area at the back where M&M and M&M Peanuts are sorted into colours and, quite literally, on tap. If you prefer jelly beans head across the road to New York, New York, where you’ll find the Jelly Belly shop, fronted by a huge Statue of Liberty made from jelly bean sweets.If cakes are your favourite, there is a great little patisserie type shop in the entrance to the Bellagio where the choice is mouth-watering. Always one for a bargain though, I have to tell you that you can head across the road to the coffee shop in Bill’s Gambling Hall and Saloon, where you will find exactly the same selection of cakes for a much lower price!So, like I said, you are spoilt for choice, no matter what you want in Las Vegas. Even here I have only covered a small selection of the options available, there is so much more and most hotel rooms will have a free magazine inside them that lists almost every eating establishment in the city, so it is worth picking one of those up if you can.
by dkm1981 on January 9, 2012
When you think of Las Vegas, you instantly think of an adult's playground because you have to be over 21 to enjoy everything that it offers right? Not so. There is a lot to do for younger visitors as well. In fact even more so since Las Vegas changed its image from gambling mecca of the world to the resort mecca of the world. So what will the kids love?1. Circus CircusIt's all in the name really. This hotel at the bottom end of the strip is designed with children in mind. The main part of the building itself is in the shape of a big top and everything inside brings you all the fun of the circus. When you first enter, you are hit with the sights and sounds of the gambling floor, but beyond that is a children's haven. Right at the centre is a theme park which includes roller coasters that will thrill the big kids and smaller rides for the little ones. Upstairs the area is lined with all of the games and stalls that you would see at a fairground and in the centre is a stage where there are numerous shows throughout the day. We particularly enjoyed the magician who was both funny and entertaining.2. New York, New YorkAt the other end of the strip is the huge New York themed hotel. Inside is everything you would associate with the big apple, from gift shops selling New York memorabilia and typical New York burger stalls. Upstairs from the main gaming hall is the thing that will please children no end. There are lots of games and rides to keep children of all ages entertained. For the thrill seekers there is the huge outdoor Manhattan Express roller coaster which isn't cheap at $14 a ride, but my husband says is quite a thriller (I was too sensible to find out!).3. Outdoor showsThe fountains at the Bellagio are entrancing for people of all ages, but I imagine that children would really be mesmerised by the dancing water cannons that are accompanied by familiar music. It takes places every thirty minutes during the day and every fifteen minutes after dark and is free to watch. For something that really packs a punch head down the Mirage where you can see the volcano that erupts every hour after darkness and is again free. it lasts about fifteen minutes and begins with the sound of the jungle to build up the anticipation.The third thing you can see for free is the Sirens of Treasure Island, which is a show put on twice a night and revolves around two pirate ships. it's pretty lame really, but it's accompanied by fireworks and the like. it is a fairly long show though at half an hour and children's interest may wane.4. ShoppingWhen I asked my fourteen year old niece what her favourite thing about Las Vegas was she excitedly replied that the Coca Cola and M&Ms shops 'were amazing'. Both of them are enormous shops that cover five floors and are filled with more branded merchandise than you can shake a still at. I didn't understand the point of them myself, but they were filled with excited children who had bags of pocket money burning holes in their pockets!5. WildlifeThere is plenty of wildlife related fun to be had and it will please children no end. If you are on a budget, head to the Flamingo hotel where you will find a flock of their namesake pink birds amongst other things. You can wander around the gardens of the hotel spotting giant fish, turtles and many other birds and it is quite pretty. Head to MGM Grand to see the lion habitat in which two lions are housed. It's a very popular attraction though and can be hard to get a good view unless you are prepared to elbow your way through to the front!So, it isn't just for adults by any stretch of the imagination. There is a lot to do for children too and not all of it has to cost the earth either.
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