Thursday, May 11, 2017

Our California Trip - Part 5 - Las Vegas

Wow! Las Vegas you really are a party town! 
Now Las Vegas isn't somewhere I would necessarily think of going on my family holiday but we were so close to it, Simon had never been and wanted to check it out and there were enough kid friendly activities available for us to include it in our road trip.

Day 13 - Las Vegas

After leaving Palm Springs and detouring through the Joshua Tree National Park we drove towards Las Vegas. We drove some of the way on the legendary Route 66 and through some amazing scenery with a mix of desert and mountains.

We arrived in Las Vegas in the afternoon and checked straight into our hotel. Simon had chosen the MGM Grand for us to stay at as he is a boxing enthusiast and had always wanted to stay here plus we were also right in the midst of the action on the Vegas Strip. 

OMG walking into the MGM Grand on a Saturday afternoon was an eye opener! Lots of people in town for bucks + hens weekends and everyone was in party mode. I also noticed the smoke straight away, obviously Las Vegas smoking laws are different to ours in Australia and people were smoking inside everywhere! It was funny to walk the kids through the middle of a casino to get to the elevators to our rooms but there were lots of other families about and our younger 2 boys were oblivious to the party atmosphere around them. Although Simon, Finn and I found it very entertaining!

After settling into our room we decided to wander downstairs and check out the rest of the hotel, find somewhere to have dinner and go directly across the road to have a browse through the New York New York casino. Each casino has their own section of restaurants, shops and attractions and it's fun to duck in and out of the different ones. The boys loved the World of Chocolate and the magic shop at New York  New York. They also have a rollercoaster but we ran out of time to try it.  It's kind of wonderful to see these recreations of different cities all plonked along side each other.

We went up to the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental to see the champagne vending machine and grab a bottle. You pay your money to Reception and they give you a gold "Moet" coin to use.
It's a fun way to get a drink! 
Also the view from the 23rd floor at night of the Vegas lights is beautiful.

We then headed back to the MGM Grand for dinner and bed. Simon headed downstairs later that night for a beer and to try his luck on the Blackjack tables.
When in Vegas! ;)

Day 14 - Las Vegas

After breakfast we decided to head out and explore some of the other hotels along the strip.
The Vegas Strip is long and the casinos/hotels are quite spread out. We didn't want to walk for miles in the sun with the kids so as the MGM Grand owns a few hotels along the Strip we could park for free at their parking stations so it was easier to jump in the car and stop. 

We stopped for a gondola ride at The Venetian and did both the inside and outside ride. It's amazing to see the recreation of Venice inside the hotel! Minus the pigeons in St Mark's Square ;)
Only 4 people per gondola so Finn sat this one out.

We had lunch at Ceaser's Palace and then drove through Old Vegas, I loved seeing the old faded signs, vintage cars, the motels and wedding chapels. We then drove over to check out the Fremont Street Experience. Lot's of buskers, spruikers, casinos and a scary looking flying fox experience. Simon and Finn made enquiries about this but it was all booked out so something you would have to book in advance. We then drove to the other end of the Strip to check out the Las Vegas sign. There is usually a line to get a photo in front of the sign, we lined up for about 15 minutes. It was fun to watch the wedding photos happening in front of the sign and the people taking endless selfies while the long line looks on :) After another full day we headed back to the hotel for dinner and bed.

Day 15 - Las Vegas

We headed out to do some shopping as Finn had some shops he wanted to visit. We then drove past the Mayweather Boxing gym for Simon and Finn to check it out and for them to grab a photo in front of it. There is usually no public access inside the gym but Simon got talking to one of the boxers as he was heading inside and he invited Simon and Finn inside to see the gym and watch some of the fighters train. They were stoked! It was one of those right place, right time experiences.
A huge thrill for the boxing fans in the family.

 The day was quite hot so we decided to head back to our hotel and spend the afternoon by the pool. Only hotel guests are allowed in the pool area and can use one of 4 pools, 3 whirlpools and a lazy river.  There are bars, a snack area and lots of lifeguards dotted around the place. 
It was a nice way to spend the rest of the afternoon and we had to try out some of the frozen margaritas while we were relaxing!

Later that night we headed down to see the lights and watch the water show at the Bellagio.

If we had more time we would have considered a visit to the Grand Canyon but we gave it a miss this time.

Things to see in Las Vegas.......

Lion and boxing ring at the MGM Grand

Gondolas at The Venetian

Shark Reef and beach at Mandalay Bay

Big Apple Coaster at New York, New York

Circus Shows at Circus Circus

Sky Jump

Ride the lift to the top of the Paris Hotel and watch the Bellagio water show

Insanity at The Stratosphere

Bellagio Fountain

Champagne Vending Machine - 23rd floor Mandarin Oriental

Neon Junkyard

Las Vegas sign photo

Grand Canyon

You can catch up on my other posts here....

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


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