So, what was there to do? A short list:
- Visit to the Museum of Atomic Testing (VERY cool and very well done)
- Visit to World of Coke, where we sampled 16 different beverages Coca Cola sells around the world. They were mostly awful.
- Rock climbing and hiking at Red Rock, which was wonderful. What a great park.
- Field trip to Blackjack's in Pahrump, home of the year-round fireworks store. My son died and went to heaven there, and left with two heaping shopping bags of explosives.
- Buffet meal at a casino.
- An evening magic show billed as "for the family" which was actually PG-13. Run-down hotel; magician who was past his prime; I guess we did find the seedy side of Vegas after all!
- Tour of Hoover Dam (interesting historically, but not much to really "see").
- Visits to various name-brand hotels and casinos to get a look around. We saw the MGM lion, the amazing glass sculptures and dancing waters of Bellagio, and the outdoor evening light show at the older end of the strip.
And for a pioneer-good-time... the air compressor in my car failed, requiring us to drive back to southern CA without any A/C. Now THERE was some fun! In Baker the biggest thermometer in the world registered 99 degrees, which didn't thrill us. We did stop at Peggy Sue's Diner for some ice cream. What a cute place! It's chock-full of movie memorabilia and is absolutely worth the stop. The diner is just north of Barstow, so you can hit it coming and going from Vegas.
We actually did live the pioneer life to a certain extent while in Vegas. We had a condo with a full kitchen, so we ate some meals (including every breakfast) in the room, saving money. My son got a children's pizza one night at the Cheesecake Factory and ended up eating it for two more meals; that was a nice money saver. We brought home leftovers from our meals and ate them for lunch, which I love to do. I already know I like the food and it saves me a few bucks!
Souveniers were few -- I have no need for most of the junk they sell in the shops there, and anything of quality is also available right here at home. All the same chain stores exist. We did bring home the tasting list from World of Coke. One of my least favorite flavors there came from China and was called "Smart Watermelon". It tasted like I was drinking gum. India's mint-flavored soda was another pee-yuuuu flavor. My son called it "sugary mouthwash", LOL!
It was really, really fun to go to a place known for excess and find a way to make it work for the type of lifestyle we like to live. If I were to go again (minus my son) I might try to find a way into the Bette Midler show -- maybe with discount coupons!