I used to have to travel to Vegas for work many moons ago, we won’t say how many, and I always SWORE that I WOULD NEVER take my kids to Las Vegas. And, then last week, when my husband had a conference to attend…there I was with my kids in Las Vegas having the time of our lives. I have to admit, it has changed quite a bit and although the same ol’ seedy stuff still exists, we didn’t see anything that we wouldn’t have seen in any other big city (thank goodness…).
I think the best part of the trip, is that I got to spend so much time with my children, just one-on-one.
We loved visiting New York, New York & took a spin through Hershey World that is attached. The kids loved the chocolate carved Statue of Liberty along with everything else in the store – lol! However, sadly, no purchase was made because it was our first stop, we had a lot of walking in front of us & it was over 100 degrees each day…there was no way chocolate was going in my travel bag :). But, it was fun to visit. However, we did stop at M & M world across the street on the way back & a purchase was made….but they weren’t thrilled that I limited the bag sizes they filled….lol.
Visiting Paris Las Vegas was on the top of my daughter’s list, so we not only visited but ate in their outdoor cafe for lunch that is fully air-conditioned. Great food & a definite must if you are planning to visit. We did not make it to their bakery, although I had a recommendation from a taxi driver & you can eat on the Eiffel Tower, which I would recommend for the evening to see the lights.
We loved visiting all of the hotels, each one is its own little world with so many features to be offered. There truly is something for everyone. We wandered through The Bellagio & loved the ceilings that lead us to the Botanical Gardens, which were very kid-friendly. We took one of my favorite pics of the entire trip in front of The Bellagio;
It’s one of my favorites, because when your teenager asks to have his picture taken with you, you soak in that moment & treasure it…..lol!
We went to The Venetian a few different times. The very first time we walked through we were obviously AMAZED! I still think it’s one of my favorite hotels. We had no idea that Buddy, The Cake Boss, was in town doing a show until we had arrived, nor did we realize he had a bakery & restaurant in the hotel. We walked down to the bakery only to discover that there was at least an hour & a half wait. We totally skipped the line & went on our site seeing way. The next morning we were up early, so I told the kids we’d grab a taxi down to The Venetian, try to get to the bakery early before heading over to The Mirage for the Dolphin Habitat. My teenager mumbled throughout this plan a bit I think there were sentences of doubt that sounded like ‘…this is going to be stupid, we’re going to have to wait in an hour in line…I don’t want to wait in an hour line…it’s not even the real bakery..yada yada yada’. Love my son, but teenage years have their moments :). Anyway, I ignored him, stuck with my plan & assured him that if the line was that long we wouldn’t wait, but also reminded him that we had no current plan to travel to Hoboken, so we should give it a try. We got there & were delighted to learn that there was only a 10 – 15 minute wait. There is a viewing window just before you get to the bakery so that you can watch them making the pastry, etc. People were taking pictures & we were just a few people from the window. My son walked up & announced Buddy was there – suddenly my idea wasn’t so bad after all. The kids were totally psyched! We watched and we snapped pictures with the other tourists. Finally it was our turn into the bakery kiosk & just as we entered, out came Buddy & I asked for a photo for my site & just like that there was a pose, a shake of hands, a snapshot & boom he was gone. We actually got the opportunity to meet him 4 years ago & have pictures with him then too. After we ordered our pastry, we learned he had not been at that bakery since July 2013, so we were even more thrilled to have had this moment.
Oh boy…Let’s see if I can remember what we got…I had an American Napoleon Pastry, my daughter had a cannoli Stack & my son had a mini cannoli & crumb pastry. We even brought dad home a cookie that we thought would last the rest of our day tripping fun. We sat on a bench along the canal in The Venetian, shared bites & ate our pastries as we chatted about how phenomenal that moment just was…
My son is quite the sports enthusiast & some how he knew that the US Men’s Basketball Team was practicing at The Wynn. Despite the heat, I wandered down in hopes to catch a peak at the practice, but no such luck. It was an invite only practice (ours was lost in the mail I’m certain of it…), but I was so thankful my son wanted to go. I would not have gone otherwise & it was so worth the visit. They had some of my favorite gardens of the entire trip & there is an outdoor waterfall with a music & light show for after dinner drinks in the evening that I got to visit with my husband later in the week = total great find!
So, like any vacation destination, there are no limits in Las Vegas. You can find a million things to do… I bought the kids and I a three experience pass, kind of like the city passes you can find in larger cities. We went to the aquarium & shark reef located at The Mandalay hotel. We also went to the dolphin habitat & secret gardens at The Mirage. And, finally, we went to the adventuredome located at Circus-Circus hotel. They were all great, but the aquarium & dolphin habitat ranked over adventuredome if you can believe that?!? In part, the adventuredome came with lines, lots of people & a whole lot of indoor roller coaster noise combined with overcrowding all at the end of our week. If I had known, I would have arrived right when it opened & had done it at the beginning of the week vs. the end, but now I can share those of words of advice with others.
One of our trip highlights was going to The Blue Man Group, which was playing at The Monte Carlo. To add to our trip magic, we swear we bought tickets at least 4 rows back to the left. We purchased, printed & never looked at them closely. When we arrived, we were front row center & there were ponchos waiting on our seats for us. Half of the experience was waiting to get sprayed with paint – lol. It was a great, completely family friendly show that combines music, techno, variety show, comedy & audience interaction. There is a skit in which they create a piece of artwork from paint & they handed it to my daughter, which survived the trek home (phew)! She is sharing that story with everyone…
It was one HOT trip, but the kids were troopers. We would walk one way, which was 4 – 5 miles every day & then taxi the other. We tried to get out in the morning & back to the pools at our hotel by 2. The conference was at The Mandalay Bay & the pools were amazing! They had a wave pool and a sand beach, a lazy river & several smaller, quieter pools which we migrated to by the end of the week.
There are way too many pics to share & too many hotels & sites to chat about, so I am only trying to share the highlights of which I know there are too many of those too – lol. We wrapped up Las Vegas with a date night. My husband was in classes so he did not get to take in all of the experiences with us. We went back to The Venetian for dinner & I shared my top 4 places he should see before leaving Vegas. They included The Venetian, The Bellagio, The Wynn & Caesar’s. He loved seeing it all & we wrapped up with my favorite find of the week, a Siberian Cherry Martini at the Vodka Vault in The Mandalay Bay. Cheers to Las Vegas, Cheers to a great time with my kids & cheers to amazing memories!