The lure of gaming -as it’s euphemistically referred to in the industry-starts with slot machines at the airport. If you’re an innocent abroad, take a free lesson in the basics or browse in the Gambler’s Bookstore (630 S. 11th St). Slot machines may seem easy to play, but they account for over half the casinos’ profits. Bigger casinos generally give slightly better odds than smaller ones, and the payoff is slightly better with dollar than quarter machines.
Away from The Tables
The Las Vegas Natural History Museum is a good introduction to Nevada’s indigenous plants and animals. $ 900 Las Vegas Blvd N.; open 09:00-16:00. Be dazzled in close-up by the Liberace Museum: $ 1775 E. Tropicana Ave; open 10:00-17:00 Mon-Sat, 13:00-15:00 Sun.
Out in the desert, Red Rock Canyon (20 miles west, off Charleston Blvd) features some of e most spectacular desert scenery within easy reach of Las Vegas (visitor centre open 08:30-16:30). About 50 miles north-east of Las Vegas (off I-15 near Overton), the eroded red sandstone formations of rugged Valley of Fire seem to catch light in the sunshine; some rocks are covered with prehistoric petroglyphs. Open dawn-dusk. Man-made but hugely Ipressive, the mighty Hoover Dam, 30 miles east, on Hwy 93, is open daily 08:30-17:30 ($).
Everything in Las Vegas works better with ‘green grease’, or tips. Employees may be on the minimum wage or close to it, so they depend on tips, but service is generally good because of it.
For most visitors the Strip – Las Vegas Blvd S. – is Las Vegas, From the Stratosphere to the Mandalay Bay, its 3 miles are lined with more than 40 hotel-casino and acres of neon. Mobster bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo opened here on New Year’s Eve 1946 and every year seems to see a bigger, more flamboyant and restaurnts – and ‘living stautes’, The Luxor’s exact replica of king Tutankhamun’s tomb amy prepare you for Noew York, New Youk’s Statue of Liberty, but what about an erupting volcano, a rain forest id white tigers at the Mirage? The Imperial Palace’s Antique and Classic Auto Collection atures a 1928 Delage limousine owned by the late King of Siam and Eisenhower’s parade limo.
Spectacular shows for all tastes are a major attraction. At the Mirage Siegfried and Roy’s tigers and explosive lighting effects transform a magic show, while Cirque de Soleil at Treasure Island exercise prodigious feats of balance and skill. Downtown, 2.1 million lights nightly create the Fremont Street Experience. For family-oriented entertainment, MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park $$ has adventure rides, Merlin fights a dragon at the Excalibur, and there’s a free pirate battle at the Treasure Island (arrive early).
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