All content, including photographs and text is copyright © 2012 by Maria Richard. All rights reserved.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Until a friend clued me in on the non-gambling attractions provided by the casinos to simulate far-away places, my interest in Las Vegas was virtually non-existence. Where else can you find facsimiles of the main canal of Venice, the Eiffel Tower and the famous Vatican staircase in the same town?

(Ceasars Palace)

If you do not gamble or spend days shopping, you can get through all the casinos on Las Vegas Blvd. South (aka the Strip) in a day or two, depending on how fast you walk.

  • Find a shady spot in the Flamingo's outdoor Wildlife Habitat for a break from the heat and a chance to see real pink flamingos as well as other exotic animals.
  • (Flamingos at the Pink Flamingo)

  • Wander though THE Hotel at Mandalay for a look at trés chic décor.
  • Claim a spot in front of the Fountains at Bellagio and hope they play All That Jazz. During the week, the water show runs every half hour from 3pm to 7pm and then every 15 minutes to midnight. Weekend show times are more frequent.
  • (Bellagio water show)

  • Between water shows, visit the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens inside the Bellagio.
  • Walk the Venetian's canal and look for roving entertainers in period costume.
  • See at least one big-name show. HINT: Purchase same day tickets to most Vegas shows at a discount at any of the 10 Tix4Tonight locations including the Hawaiian Marketplace and Showcase Mall (next to the MGM Grand).
  • Pull yourself away from the Strip for a half-day and drive 30 minutes to Hoover Dam. Look up to see the bypass bridge. Wonder, "How did they do that?"
  • (bypass bridge under construction)

  • Eat lunch with the locals at the Southwest Diner in Boulder City (761 NV Way, Boulder City) on your return trip.

I admit I spent money on the penny slots, gambling, winning, losing, winning and losing once again a grand total of $10. Learn from my experience and leave your pennies at home. Slot machines only accept paper bills and casino vouchers.