Spotlight on Las Vegas, NV, USA


             Las Vegas is one of the most exciting locales in the world.  Many casinos vie for the tourist dollar by enticing them with both free and fee attractions.  This is truly a place that never sleeps!  Whether it is the water show at the Bellagio, or the “Battle at Buccaneer Bay” at Treasure Island, or shopping at the forum at Caesar’s Palace, or taking a gondola ride at the Venetian, Vegas has something for everyone, even those not into gambling.  The nightly shows are tremendous, with semi-permanent top performers, such as Celene Dion, or Cirque de Soleil and, occasionally, famous guest performers.  Each casino has tried to outdo its competition with beautiful and authentic venues. Examples include various Parisian monuments like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc d’Triomphe at the Paris, a huge Egyptian-style pyramid at the Luxor, a tall monolith topped with an amusement park at the Stratosphere.

            Be sure to walk up and down the Strip to check out all the major hotels and their particular theme (the lobbies and interiors of some are spectacular). Another characteristic of Las Vegas hotels is to offer huge, elaborate, and reasonably-priced buffets, which are extremely popular with tourists.

            The Freemont Street Experience is a laser-light show projected above this pedestrian street in the old part of Las Vegas. It transfixes observers with its incredible colors and action.  While here, check out some of the casinos which dominated the scene before the Strip became the Mecca of the area.

            Hoover Dam, located about 30 miles (48 km) from Las Vegas, is an imposing monument to man’s ability to modify his own environment.  The Dam created Lake Mead when it was completed in 1936 and is still recognized as one of the greatest public works projects of all time.  See the orientation video at the Visitor Center, then take a tour of the facility. 


            Gary’s Gem:

                        1.  Unless the visitor has never been out West before, don’t bother to visit Red Rock Canyon.  It’s attractive but nothing spectacular!

                        2.  Do visit the Hoover Dam and take the tour! The “Hard Hat” tour is worth the extra money.

                        3.  Valley of Fire State Park, south of the city, makes a great scenic drive and relaxing change from the hustle and bustle of the gambling and entertainment Mecca.


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