Today, I write about a recent family vacation we had in Las Vegas. We all do remember the movie, What Happens in Vegas, well, this blog isn’t a tell-tale of any surprise events we encountered in Vegas, rather events that didn’t just stay back but came along in form of loving memories.
We spent 5 nights 6 days in Las Vegas. As you all know, we are a family of three, with our lovely five-year-old daughter. And I must say Vegas may not have too many things for kids but it’s not a complete spoiler!!!
I would try to bring to you how best to utilize your time with kids and have a memorable trip. One thing peculiar about this trip was while my wife was here to attend a Conference for three days, it was me and my daughter who had to crash the time.
Trivia: We went to LV in October, and the temperature ranged between 29 degree Celsius to 32 degree Celsius (you would feel very hot during the daytime and cooler during the nights). Clouds are a rarity during this time.
Tip: Few things are a must when travelling with kids: Lots of water, sunglasses, hat/cap, Sun-tan lotion(s) wherever you are in Vegas!!!
Since we were travelling from Delhi, India to Las Vegas (it was a 25hrs flight via Newark), we were totally out zoned on time and our sleeping patterns got disheveled for couple of days. The worst was for our daughter who would end up sleeping at six in the evening and would get up at three in the night and Voila would wake us up as well.
Well, when you are up all night, time is just a matter of semantics!!! – Fringe
But this routine gave us enough time to spend quality & cozy time together in room, venture out/walk as a family before the sunrise on the strip every day; and see the in-house hotel casino/slot machines without any hustle-bustle and at leisure.
We stayed in Hotel Excalibur and had a pleasant stay here. It has its own charm and the MGM theme of living in a castle really stood its ground (very medieval with magnificent architecture full of huge turrets of different colors). The castle is as majestic inside as it is outside with excellent facilities including parking lots (both open and close), multiple entry points and exit points, huge pool and spa, casino on the floor, Gaming arcade, 4D theatre/cinema, and shows like Bee Gees, Hans Klok magic show etc. The staff is very cooperative and friendly, and we were given a room with Statue of Liberty view without any additional charge. We were also given a refrigerator in room without an extra charge when told that we are having our daughter along. The Business center was receptive and accepted one of our parcels delivered at hotel without charging us. There’s a floor dedicated to all the food stalls, clothing, tattoo art etc. There are two towers in the hotel, the Resort Tower and Royal Tower and the rooms are large, spacious and cozy.
Coming back to the trip, after having rested for a complete day, we decided to see the Strip (north to south) on the foot/bus on Sunday.
Tip: Travel by bus along the Strip (Deuce (double-Decker)/Sdx (Single level)) and no need to buy bus ticket per travel. There’s no ticket for kids (5-year old kids) and the tickets for both the buses costs like $6 for 2 hours, $8 for 24 hours, and $20 for 3 days. And the best part is, the same ticket can be used across for all the buses in Vegas.
The Strip is as magnificent during the day as it is during the night. I believe Las Vegas is an oxymoron because two things that describe Vegas in entirety are ‘life’ and ‘death’. Life for the dynamic and very vibrant culture 24*7 and death because of the cigarette smoke in the air throughout.
We roamed at very slow pace during the day along the Strip, the two lanes opposite each other full of varied restaurants’, hotels, shops, malls, casino(s), etc.
We also went to the Walmart Supercenter at W Charleston Blvd (take Deuce from the Strip and change it at Charleston @ Arville to board 206 which will take you to Walmart Store. It is huge and good place to buy all the gifts for people back home especially chocolates at very favorable price.
Next day, it was me and my daughter. So, we decided to hit the strip again during the day and ended up at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Amazing place for kids and one gets to see so many playthings/acrobatic moves showcased by lovely dolphins. White lions/tigers/ Bengal tigers/panthers are a treat to the eye. You would end spending the entire day here and is located in hotel Mirage. And the trainers here are so good, they make sure all the kids get a chance to catch the basketball thrown at them by these dolphins. Reach at the venue and purchase the tickets instead of buying them online (increases your flexibility with the schedule).
Tip: There are many Indian restaurants on the strip. We used to have food at Masala Express which is a decent restaurant with good options. Other easy to find joints include Subway, Pizza outlets etc.
The next day we spent in Hotel itself watch the 4D cinema running 4 shows of 15-20 min each. These are cool shows for kids to really enjoy and one doesn’t need to book the tickets in advance. The other show that is a must watch for kids (although a bit expensive) is the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater (see the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rgZxN3A7Rs
It runs at 4 PM and the best chance to view the show is by buying the tickets well in advance as it runs on limited days and is popular show in the town.
In night, the extravaganza includes viewing the Bellagio Musical Fountains (Hotel Bellagio). See the video below. It runs every half hour from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 8 p.m. – midnight and is worth every dime.
The following days, the kids’ places to visit include:
- Shark Reef Aquarium and Polar Journey package at Mandalay Bay. The aquarium opens at 10:00 am with the last admission at 7:00 pm (Sunday thru Thursday) and 9:00 pm (Friday and Saturday).
- Downtown Container Park: Play in a giant treehouse and see Zappos camp at Container Park. Just make sure the weather is right for the kids, it can too hot during the day.
- Downtown Fremont Street is a place full of street performances, light shows, entertainment acts etc.
Of course, there are other things like Slotzilla, the Stratosphere, David Copperfield show, Shania Twain, Lady Gaga, Criss Angel magic etc. for adults to really enjoy.
The last day we as a family visited the Valley of Fire (VOF). We rented a car from Alamo and it was worth a visit. If you could manage more time, try visiting the Grand Canyon. Since we had only one day left with us, we decided to go to VOF. It is 55miles (53min car journey) from the Strip and once can visit either the fire wave trail or the Arch or just keep hopping from one trail to another in car for photos. We didn’t do any trails, but we ended up climbing on one or tow mountains to get many photographic views. Once could easily spend 4-5 hours here, but one thing to note is that the VOF visitor center closes at 4:30 P.M. The best coordinates are 36.4882 -114.52875 or Valley of Fire State Park.
One can drive from the Strip via Interstate 15 and can follow the itinerary as given below:
- Visit the VOF Visitor center. Relax here, drink lots of water and there is an overflow car park here.
- Follow the route (on road) to White domes and stop by at the following points:
- Mouse’s tank: Named after an outlaw who hid here for days.
- Rainbow Vista
- Crazy Hill
- Fire wave trail (at Parking lot No.3)
- White Domes
- Come back and go to Seven Sisters.
While coming back to Vegas, follow the North shore road ahead of Seven Sisters. It is a bit longer but offers very good views. Once can also visit Hoover dam En-route (we couldn’t as spend our entire day viewing the entire VOF). One must visit VOF for seeing the nature in its full glory with various tinge of colors.
I represent the viewing sports as below:
Tip: There is no network in the entire area of VOF. One useful suggestion download the map of entire area (offline map) in Google maps application on your phone well in advance of journey. Saves you all the efforts in changing routes and being worried about the internet/network.
Hope the above helps.
As usual, I would like to highlight how important it is for all of us to take along nice, sturdy camera that makes the whole experience life lasting in form of lovable memories!!! And here I post this amazing piece of device from Canon which I very strongly believe stands true to its name and lineage. Canon DSLR