May 22, 2013

Visiting Las Vegas

There is no place in the world like Las Vegas. The hotels are over the top.  We stayed at the Venetian Hotel which is luxurious. The really amazing part was the room price for the nights we were there was about the same the Holiday Inn Express. But the rate is sometime over $300.  So, it pays to check all the hotels and look for deals. 

A note about taxis. We arrived after a long flight from Korea and hopped in a cab at the airport.  I knew he was taking the long way but I was just too tired to deal with it. We paid with a credit card so the next morning I emailed the company and told them we had been “long-hauled.” I also emailed a Nevada site where one can report taxi problems. Lo, and Behold!  They got in touch with me and credited my card with the overcharge. If you think you are being “long-hauled” do what I should have done. Ask the driver for his name and cab number, write both of them down, then report him – even if the cabbie rectifies the situation because they might do it again.

Visiting Vegas is like a trip around the world: Venice, Paris, Egypt and so on. You gotta’ love a street that has gondola rides, a magical musical fountain, the Eiffel Tower, a volcano, battling pirates ships, and more. However, once you leave the strip it is just like most other cities. We have family who live in Vegas and have been many times so I like to do something different.  I have watched TV’S “Pawn Stars” and knew it was filmed in Vegas so off we went to the store which is located in an un-glitzy part of the city. There was actually a line to get in but it wasn’t long. My son said sometimes the line is very long.  There are bus tours to Pawn Stars that includes other stops but we drove; there is plenty of parking.  The store was crowded but none of the stars were there, not even Chumlee. 

The promotion to advertise Las Vegas as a family destination did not work but there are a lot of family things to do. We have been hiking in Red Rock, flat water rafting on the Colorado River, and, this time, we explored Spring Preserve which is right in Las Vegas. Spring Preserve is an amazing place that has much to offer – and it is still growing.  One of the current exhibits is called CSI: Crime Scene Insect and is fascinating as it tells how insects help to solve crimes. One of the most incredible exhibits shows how flash floods occur in canyon areas. The display is complete with thunder, lightening and a torrent of water cascading over the rocks.  Of a more sublime nature there are displays that trace the history of Las Vegas from when it was a watering spot for Native Americans to the growth that followed the trains to the present time. There are wild animals, gardens, and plenty of learning activities for young and old.  A train/tram ride was being tested when we were there.  The 3.6 miles of trails explore the birthplace of Las Vegas – the site of the springs. The Spanish explorers named the valley "Las Vegas" (meaning "the meadows") because of the springs and the greenery surrounding the area.