- Written by Mike Handelsman
Las Vegas is home to entertainment of many styles from casinos to family oriented entertainment.
There’s enough to keep people of all ages, interests and budgets occupied. For thrill seekers there are roller coasters, virtual- reality simulator rides and erupting volcanoes. And for those who want to kick back and enjoy the scenery there are day trips to breathtaking destinations – not far from the strip. So when you’re not visiting industry peers at Clean, there will be plenty for you to do outside the doors of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Animal lovers can experience the wild side of Las Vegas at a variety of attractions. The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat at The Flamingo Hotel has Chilean flamingos, swans, ducks, koi, goldfish and turtles. At MGM Grand, see The Lion Habitat, a showcase for public education and appreciation of this majestic creature. The lions live in custom accommodations on an 8.5-acre ranch 12 miles from MGM Grand and visit the habitat daily. Get up close and personal with endangered and unusual aquatic animals at Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef. Visitors journey through a replica of an ancient temple ruin and a sunken galleon ship surrounded by several varieties of sharks.
THRILL SEEKERS MEET THEIR MATCH
If you’re a thrill seeker, you can soar along an 800-foot-long zip-line with speeds up to 30 miles per hour at the Fremont Street Experience. Stratosphere has four of the world's highest rides located 100 stories above the ground: Skyjump, the newest thrill ride, is a "controlled freefall" in which the rider plummets 855 feet at a speed of up to 40 miles per hour, Xscream (which teeters riders over the edge of the tower 900 feet above the ground), the Big Shot - a thrill ride that shoots fun-lovers 50 meters into the air at a force of 4G's before letting them free-fall back to the launching pad - and Insanity, an appropriately named, dizzying spinning ride that dangles passengers over the edge of the tower before whirling them around at speeds approaching 40 miles per hour. Speed - The Ride at the Sahara takes passengers around a roller coaster loop and up a 224- foot climb at speeds topping 70 mph and then retraces the same path...in reverse. The Roller Coaster at New York-New York Hotel & Casino is an exciting roller coaster with twists, loops and dives around the resort. It features the first-ever heart line roll, which provides a sensation similar to that felt by a pilot during a barrel roll in an airplane.
JUST PLAIN ENTERTAINMENT
If you simply want to be entertained, Las Vegas offers a variety of themed mini-productions, occurring throughout the day. Travel back in time into the fascinating world of Roman mythology with two shows, Fall of Atlantis and Festival Fountain Shows, which feature Roman statues that come to life, inside the Forum Shops at Caesars. At The Rio All- Suite Hotel and Casino, the newly reinvented "Show in the Sky" features dancers in costume fashions on floats suspended above the crowd. The Mirage has created an all-new audio/visual spectacle for its volcano attraction. WET forges a primal volcanic environment of sound, light, music and heat with choreographed FireShooters, which send massive fireballs more than 12 feet into the air. Downtown's famous, casino-lined Fremont Street has been converted into a 175,700-square-foot pedestrian area covered by a continuous canopy studded with more than 14 million lights. Called the Fremont Street Experience, this canopy showcases light-and-sound shows hourly during the evenings. The popular CSI: The Experience at MGM Grand gives guests the opportunity to play the role of a crime scene investigator, learning scientific principles and real investigative techniques as they try to solve one of three crime scene mysteries. HITTING THE ROAD Southern Nevada is home to several smaller destinations that also offer world-class casino gaming, entertainment, hotel-casinos and access to amenities and activities such as spas, golf, hiking extreme sports and water recreation.
Boulder City is a clean, green oasis in the desert located approximately 20 miles from Las Vegas. Boulder City offers a quiet, relaxed small town atmosphere. It is the only city in Nevada in which gaming is illegal.
Boulder City was created for the workers who built Hoover Dam. Today, Boulder City takes pride in its recreational facilities such as Boulder City Golf Course, Boulder Creek Golf Club, Bootleg Canyon, Veterans Memorial Park ( complete with a 3.5-acre fishing pond), a year-round swimming pool, skydiving services, tennis courts and hiking trails that provide residents and visitors a wide range of experiences. Boulder City's proximity to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area makes it a gateway to the largest, cleanest reservoir in the United States, offering endless camping, fishing, boating, water skiing, hiking, biking and photography experiences.
Laughlin, located 90 miles southeast of Las Vegas, fronts the majestic Colorado River. Its hotel-casinos feature mainstays such as giant gaming halls, showrooms and restaurants. Located within 30 minutes of the Laughlin hotels are six 18-hole golf courses. The Aquarius Casino Resort offers three tennis courts. The Riverside Resort's 34 state-ofthe- art bowling lanes are open to the public and include glow-in-the-dark "Cosmic Bowling."
The Colorado River creates a natural setting for sports and recreation. Some hotel-casinos and private vendors operate sightseeing boats that cruise the river. Water taxis operate daily, whisking guests between riverfront properties. Here, too, travelers delight in a variety of river activities such as sport fishing, jet boating, water skiing, canoeing and kayaking.
Those who venture further from the heart of the city have the freedom to explore the Lake Mohave/Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Colorado River, Hoover Dam, Lake Havasu and the London Bridge, Katherine Landing, Katherine Mine, Oatman (Ariz.) on Route 66, or Christmas Tree Pass and Grapevine Canyon, which feature sheer cliff walls and well-preserved Indian petroglyphs.
Mesquite, 80 miles north of Las Vegas and near the Utah border, offers indoor and outdoor adventure. Visitors are free to explore the surrounding picturesque desert, tee off at their choice of world-class golf courses, indulge in fine dining or pamper themselves at luxury spas.
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