MEET UP IN LAS VEGAS: SANS GAMBLING
Day Two saw me drive the last hundred or so miles into Sin City. A quick pick-up of the girls at the airport, check in at the Aria Hotel https://www.aria.com/en.html, and we were settled in our room on the 15th floor. Wow! Very nice room with a terrific bathroom and a view. Wow!
You could quite feasibly stay a week in Las Vegas and never leave your hotel and never be at a lack for things to do. Between the pools, casino, theater, restaurants, and shopping in each big hotel on the Strip (Aria included), there is never a shortage of entertainment.
We always research our trips ahead of time, find places we are interested in, and plot them out on a paper map. Seeing everything marked on a physical map helps us plan our days. A great planning tool is the museum guide put out by A2Z Las Vegas. A2Z also lists other attractions and activities. http://www.a2zlasvegas.com/otherside/museums.html
Who knew the Mob had their own museum?! Or neon? Or pinball? Or Erotic Heritage? [say what?]. Since my niece actually did have to work while we were there, my sister and I headed out that afternoon to UNLV's campus and the Marjorie Barrick Museum. Interesting of collection of paintings by angst-filled student artists. 'Nuff said..
From there, a short jaunt to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Geared primarily to families, we had fun getting to know the plants and animals of Southern Nevada, as well as an exhibit on African savannah and rainforest, and Egypt. Where else can you see a dinosaur mummy? http://www.lvnhm.org/
By this time, we knew Christina would be done with her conference for the day, so we headed back to the Aria. I could really get used to someone parking my car for me, but that also meant if we forgot something in the car, we had to put some effort into retrieving it.
Our first night's dinner was at one of the many restaurants in the hotel and it was quite excellent but pricey fare. We followed dinner with the fantastic and mystical "Zarkana" by Cirque du Soleil right in the hotel theater.
Each evening, we planned to walk a different direction on the strip and see the nightlife. What a trip! There were men handing out business cards for brothels; magic acts; people in costumes; and a plethora of tourists ranging from small groups like us to huge Japanese tour groups. Each tour group's guide held a small, colorful, blinking light pennant aloft so they could gather.
I was just recovering fromfoot surgery, so we occasionally took advantage of the free elevated tram. A monorail, taxis and public transit buses help keep DUIs down to a minimum.
In addition to all the shopping ops, most of the large casinos have some sort of free show. Caesars Palace has recreated the shop-fronted, winding streets of Rome, culminating in a huge fountain display complete with Neptune and his flying stallions. Where else can you see the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, and the Spinx of Luxor all in the same evening stroll?
The Bellagio's stunning Conservatory and Botanical Garden are worth a stroll, and each evening their 8-acre lake grabs the crowds with their signature fountain show. Circus Circus has ... a circus! Every night.
For those of us in need of a pharoah fix, the Luxor's 30-story black glass pyramid can fill the bill. The Mirage hosts a 100-foot high atrium filled with rainforest flora and a dolphin habitat, and out on the Strip itself, a volcano regularly erupts.
Robert Louis Stevenson may have a hard time recognizing the Strip's version of Treasure Island, but the kids love it. The Venetian has recreated the canals Venice, along with a replica of St Mark's bell tower and the Doge's Palace.