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Venetian Hotel and Casino
No expense was spared building the Venetian Hotel, which aimed to recreate the city of Venice in the Nevada Desert and the result is fairly spectacular. Guests can travel around the hotel in a gondola - real canals run through the hotel - and a replica of St Mark's Square and the Basilica turns from night to day every three hours; visitors have to look carefully to notice that the sky is actually a vast fresco. The only things missing are the pigeons and the backpackers. The casino itself is massive, featuring 2,500 slot machines and 125 gaming tables. For guests taking a break from the tables, there are five swimming pools, a fitness centre, and 17 restaurants - mostly pizzerias. One of the main attractions is Madame Tussauds Las Vegas, a wax museum presenting some of the world's biggest icons including stars, politicians, record-breaking athletes and legends.
Bellagio Hotel and Casino
The Bellagio is one of Las Vegas' most opulent hotels and most popular casinos. With an Italian theme, the great bulk of the Bellagio sits in its own vast garden. It has over 3,000 rooms and hundreds of slot machines and gaming tables, however its best-known attraction is its amazing water show - a breathtaking union of water, music and light. Between 3pm and midnight (from 12pm on weekends) the Bellagio's world-famous fountains 'dance' to opera, classical or whimsical music with carefully choreographed movements. Beyond the Bellagio's gracious lobby lies the Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, a magnificent garden abounding in fragrance, texture and colour. The hotel also has a new fine arts gallery that hosts contemporary art exhibits.
Another MGM mega-casino, the showpiece at the Mirage is a Volcano that shoots flames 100 feet (30m) into the night sky every 15 minutes (6pm to midnight), spewing smoke and transforming a tranquil waterfall into spectacular streams of molten lava. As you'd expect of Las Vegas, it's all quite naff, but great entertainment. Siegfried & Roy's White Tigers used to be one of the Mirage's signature attractions, but the show was cancelled in 2003 after Roy Horn was attacked by one of the tigers during a show. A popular attraction is the aquarium located behind the Front Desk. This 20,000-gallon saltwater aquarium is home to angelfish, puffer fish, tangs, sharks and other exotic sea creatures.
Valley of Fire State Park
The Valley of Fire State Park is Nevada's oldest park, and is so named because of its red sandstone formations which appear to be on fire when the sun reflects off them. The rocks were shaped over 150-milllion years ago when dinosaurs roamed the area. Apart from the rugged beauty of the surrounding Mojave Desert, the main attraction in the park are the well preserved petroglyphs that adorn many of the red sandstone structures, left there by the ancient Pueblo people, also known as the Anasazi. This rock art dates variously from 300 BC to 1150 AD. Visitors should head to Atlatl Rock for some of the finest examples of ancient Indian rock art or petroglyphs, including a depiction of the atlatl, which was a notched stick used to propel spears, a predecessor to the bow and arrow. Other activities here include hiking, camping and picnicking.
The Luxor is themed on ancient Egypt and is one of the most prominent sights on the Las Vegas Strip. It is a massive black-glass pyramid containing 36 floors of hotel rooms, and shining through it up into the night sky is the world's most powerful light beam, which they claim can be seen by planes circling Los Angeles. The ground floor of the hotel is given over to a massive casino, which stands beneath a recreation of King Tut's Tomb. Other than gambling, entertainment at the hotel includes an IMAX theatre, gyms, swimming pools and exhilarating shows by comedians, dancers and singers.
One of the most famous casinos in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand was the largest hotel in the world when it opened in 1993 with more than 5,000 rooms; the complex also houses 19 restaurants, many shops and nightclubs, a convention centre, and a spa. The MGM Grand's most famous attraction was for many years the glass-sided lion habitat, however the casino closed this in early 2012 as part of an extensive renovation. Today, the MGM Grand is home to the Cirque du Soleil production, Kà, the Crazy Horse Paris nude ballet, and the interactive attraction CSI: The Experience.
The 44-story Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is among the largest on the Las Vegas Strip with more than 3,000 hotel rooms and a 135,000 square foot (12,500 m2) casino. The tropical-themed resort has a number of popular family attractions, including the Shark Reef saltwater aquarium and large-scale stage shows ranging from Broadway musicals to Cirque du Soleil productions. The most popular attraction at Mandalay Bay however, is Mandalay Beach, an 11-acrepool area featuring three heated pools, a wave pool, lazy river, and children's pool. Voted Best Pool of Las Vegas many times by Las Vegas Review Journal readers, Mandalay Beach has its own bar and two restaurants.
Imperial Palace Auto Collection
With over 250 classic antique cars on display (all available for purchase), the Imperial Palace Auto Collection is an absolute must for car enthusiasts. It is actually part of a larger collection and cars are rotated in and out of the showroom on a regular basis; once a car is sold it is replaced by another. Exhibited are rare models, racecars, muscle cars, touring roadsters and dozens of vehicles once owned by the rich and famous.
Fremont Street Experience
The downtown area of Las Vegas is where it all began and the Fremont Street Experience aims to celebrate this heritage. The street is also known as 'Glitter Gulch' for the bright neon signs and thousands of flashing lights that line the streets - this is where you'll find Vegas Vic and Sassy Sal, two of the nations best-known neon icons. Some of the city's most famous vintage casinos are found here, including the Golden Nugget and the Gold Spike, as are most of its strip clubs and stage shows. Most entertainment is on, or just off, the Freemont Street Experience Mall.
Las Vegas Roller Coasters
Unlikely as it may seem, Las Vegas is one of the world's top rollercoaster destinations, with some of the fastest, biggest, and most innovative rides. Some of the best are atop the 1,149-foot (350m) Stratosphere Tower, the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States and the tallest building west of the Mississippi River. Thrill seekers can enjoy excitement over 100 stories above the ground on four exciting rides: Sky Jump, Big Shot Insanity and the X-Scream. The latter should be experienced only by veteran rollercoaster fanatics or those wearing adult-size diapers. There is also a revolving restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere, which offers great views but pretty average food. Best ride first, then eat. The Sahara Casino and Hotel is home the Speed Ride, while Circus Circus's Adventuredome has the Canyon Blaster - the only indoor double-loop and double-corkscrew rollercoaster in the world - and Chaos, a ride designed to offer a different experience each time. New York, New York Hotel and Casino has the Manhattan Express, another high quality ride that gets rave reviews from rollercoaster connoisseurs.
The Grand Canyon
A mile deep, 277 miles (446km) long and up to 18 miles (29km) wide the breathtaking grandeur of the Grand Canyon is so impressive that pictures or words simply cannot do it justice. One of the great natural wonders of the world, it was formed by the cutting action of the Colorado River over millions of years, the harder rock formations remaining as great cliffs, pinnacles and buttes, and the different layers of rock possessing colours that range from purple, fiery red and pastel pink, to yellow, brown, grey and soft tones of blue. Whether by foot or on horseback, from a plane or helicopter, aboard a raft down the mighty Colorado River or by merely gazing in awe from the rim, the canyon's seemingly infinite depths can be experienced in a variety of ways and is a landscape not to be missed, however one chooses to see it. The park receives hoards of visitors from around the world, who cannot fail to be transfixed by the sculpted rock shapes, the shifting colours that change with the light and a tiny glimpse of the Colorado River far below. The Grand Canyon National Park comprises two separate areas, the South Rim and the more remote North Rim. Separated by the 10-mile (16km) width of the canyon, it is a 215-mile (346km) drive from one visitor centre to the other and the South Rim, being the most accessible and possessing more facilities, sees over 90 percent of the park visitors. The North Rim is higher in elevation and wetter, with thicker surrounding forests; it is further to get to and is usually closed by snow from October to May, but many people prefer the comparative peacefulness of its less crowded lookouts. At both rims there are several drives and walkways along the edge with numerous lookout points for views from different angles, as well as a few hikes down into the canyon where one can overnight at Phantom Ranch on the canyon floor. The impact of over four million visitors a year to the South Rim, especially during the busy summer months, has its negative influences on the park, with overcrowding and traffic congestion, but despite the hoards it is a positively memorable experience to have visited one of the most spectacular examples of erosion in the world.
Stretching 1,247 feet (380m) across the Colorado River, the Hoover Dam holds back the waters of Lake Mead and is a fine example of the engineering of its time. One of the world's most famous dams, the Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression in the 1930s - one of many vast public projects commissioned by the US Government to get people back to work. The dam employed thousands of men from all over the country, and its hydroelectric power generator supplies Nevada and its neighbouring states with electricity. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is popular with water sports enthusiasts as well as those just after a bit of sun and relaxation.
Red Rock Canyon
Red Rock Canyon is a dramatic valley ten miles (16km) west of Las Vegas and is a good excursion to escape the neon lights and jangle of the slot machines. Its defining feature is the steep Red Rock escarpment, which rises 3,000 feet (914m) on its western edge. Today the dramatic landscape is peppered with cacti and Joshua trees and is a good spot for walking, rock climbing, cycling or simply a scenic drive. The Mojave Desert is not barren as you might think; it teems with life and beauty that is rare and unique - waterfalls cascade into the canyons and high above red tailed hawks search for their next meal.
The glass-encased theme park of Adventuredome is the perfect attraction for thrill-seeking kids on holiday in Las Vegas - its loop roller-coaster and other gut-wrenching rides are not to be missed! If this adrenalin rush is a bit too excessive, there are also shows by the likes of magicians and jugglers on offer, as well as plenty of decadent treats like ice-cream, popcorn, candy...
When the Las Vegas summer heat gets too much for the kids head to the Doolittle Pool complex, which has a great swimming pool and pool toys for kids to enjoy. Other features of this attraction include a water slide and playground, as well as sports fields and a picnic area.
The Buffalo Bill's amusement park is an excellent holiday attraction for children, offering everything from earth-plunging rides that defy gravity or end with a huge splash, to log rides on a fantasy lake. Kids also love the Frog Hopper experience, bouncing around the park on the back of Buffalo Bill's life-like amphibian.
Blue Man Group
An entertaining attraction for children (and their parents) in Las Vegas is a show by the Blue Man Group. Three 'mute' performers, painted blue and wearing bald caps, keep kids on the edge of their seats with a combination of humorous theatrics, music and comedy. Ponchos are handed out to the first few rows, as paint can occasionally go flying.
Grand Canyon Helicopter and Ranch Adventure
Kids will revel in the exciting experience of flying through the Grand Canyon in a helicopter and landing at the Grand Canyon West Ranch. Once at the ranch, children are enthralled by horse-drawn wagon rides and the cowboys putting on a show. The western-style meal served at the Ranch House also goes down a treat.
No longer the family-friendly pirate hangout it once was, Treasure Island has revamped itself as an adult-oriented contemporary resort. The free Sirens of TI show is a special effects-laden production is a must-see on the Las Vegas Strip, with music, explosions, bussaneers, and beautiful women. Treasure Island is also home to the Cirque du Soleil show Mystère, and offers a number of restaurants and nightclubs.
A dream come true for many, Dig This is a wildly popular attraction in Las Vegas that allows you to operate enormous vehicles like bulldozers and excavators under the supervision of trained instructors. While the price tag is high (starting at $210 for 90 minutes), the experience is unforgettable as you team up with other participants to complete tasks. You must be at least 14 to operate the machines.