Attractions & sightseeing
5.1 Things to do on
the strip ...or close by
say, Las Vegas resorts – and especially
the casinos – need their 150,000 hotel
rooms filled up and gamblers playing at their
slot machines, gaming tables and sports book.
As a result, every hotel has ongoing room
specials and free or low cost attractions to
pull in the public.
You can find the room deals at the
hotel’s web site. Usually the room
promotions offer lower pricing during certain
slower periods ...or combination money-saving
deals involving free food and shows. They
hardly ever apply to people purchasing vacation
packages offered by the airlines or other
Here is a list of the major ongoing attractions
on or near the Strip.
and low cost center strip
Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace
Hotel & Casino. (3535
Las Vegas Blvd.) The over 250 antique,
classic and special-interest automobiles make
up the world’s largest privately owned
collection with more than $100 million worth of
inventory on display and nearly all are for
The Auto Collections and its well-stocked gift
shop is open to the public seven days a week,
from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Located on the
fifth floor of the parking structure of the
Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino, admission is
$8.95 for each adult, $5.00 for seniors and
children 12 and under, with children under
three admitted free with an adult. Hardly
anyone pays the full price.
There are many coupon special offers. Some are
even handed out in front of the hotel.
offers free admission, just
print out the coupon. (Center Strip, Tel.
Pirate Battle in the lagoon in front of
Treasure Island (TI) Hotel - Casino
(3300 S. Las Vegas Blvd.) every hour and a half
Monday to Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
(Fall/winter) and 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
This free show
was recently updated to adult audiences.
In 2003, "Buccaneer Bay" was replaced with
"Sirens' Cove" and the new show,
Sirens of TI" utilizing many of the technical
elements of its predecessor. The live, free
show was intended to appeal more to adults by
including singing, dancing, audio-visual
effects, bare-chested pirates and attractive
women in the large outdoor
Sirens of TI battle a band of renegade pirates
at Siren's Cove. Held four times a night in the
lagoon in front of the casino's main entrance,
the 18-minute romp matches two life-size pirate
ships -- one crewed by males, the other females
-- in a battle of the sexes. The musical
features swordplay, song, dance, pyrotechnics
and high-diving acrobatics.
It ends with
the pirate's ship ("The Bull") actually being
sunk by the Siren's ship ("The Song.") Hint:
The best place to watch it is from
Battle Bar accessible by going through the front
doors and taking an immediate right.
Arrive early for a good viewing spot. (Center
Strip, Tel. (702)
Volcano in the center of a lagoon in
front of the Mirage Hotel & Casino
(3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd.)
erupts every hour
on the hour from 8:00 p.m.
to midnight daily (weather permitting.) It is a
spectacular show of fire balls dancing to drum
beats and lava erupting to the
show was totally redone and updated in 2006.
exploding 54 foot
volcano spews smoke, flames and fireballs
high above the lagoon ...its red and orange
lava cascading down the slopes. Free. (Center
Strip, Tel. (702)
white tiger zoo-like habitat is
located near the Mirage entrance. (3400 S.
Las Vegas Blvd.) In recent visits,
we have only seen
one tiger and little else.
A large 20,000 gallon shark and exotic fish
aquarium can be found behind the Mirage’s
hotel registration desk. And there is an
beautifully landscaped Tropical Rainforest in
the center of the Mirage main floor under a
100-foot high dome. All are free. (Center
Strip, Tel. (702) 739-2222.)
Siegfried & Roy's Secret
Garden & Dolphin
Habitat at the
Mirage Hotel - (3400 S. Las Vegas
Blvd.) - The
sanctuary features royal white tigers, white
lions, panthers, an elephant ...and a family of
bottle-nosed dolphins in a 2-million gallon
22-foot deep tank. Animals are rotated
Includes a narrated guided
tour and you wander around afterwards. Located
in the Pool Area of
Mirage Hotel. Admission to both exhibits is $17 for
adults, $12 for children 4-12 and free for
children under 3. Open Daily 11:00 a.m. to 7:00
p.m. (Center Strip, Tel. (702)
Fountain Show in front of the Bellagio
Hotel is choreographed to music and
lights. Performed over an 8 acre man-made lake,
water jets spanning more than 1,000 feet launch
water as high as 240 feet in the air to music
ranging from Pavarotti to Sinatra.
ballet seems to wave
and dance exactly on beat to the music. Perhaps
the best free
attraction in Las
Showtimes: Every ½ hour
Mon. to Fri. 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.; every 15
minutes 8:00 p.m. to midnight. On Sat. &
Sun and holidays: show every 15 minutes 12 Noon
to 8:00 p.m. and every half hour 8:00 p.m. to
midnight. The shows are subject to cancellation
due to high winds. - (Center Strip, Tel. (702)
The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical
Gardens at the Bellagio Hotel -
(3600 Las Vegas Blvd.) - is a definite must
foot display is changed
with each season and major holiday. The
Conservatory has a 50-foot glass domed ceiling
which provides natural sunlight to row upon row
of beautifully displayed exotic plants, flowers
and trees. It takes a staff of over 100
designers and horticulturalists to prepare and
maintain the gardens. Open 7 days a week, 24
hours. Free admission. (Center Strip, Tel.
And while you are there, look
at the "Fioro di
sculpture on the Bellagio
lobby ceiling by artist Dale Chihuly. It
consists of more than 2,000 individually blown
glass flowers. Both the gardens and the
sculpture are near the Bellagio Hotel
registration area. Free admission. Hint: Be
sure to have your camera with
The Fountain Festival
and the Lost City of Atlantis show at
the Caesars Palace Forum Shops - (3570
Las Vegas Blvd.) - has
statues coming to
life. The show is a
seven minute special effects fantasy
spectacular. It has Bacchus and his
entourage in an animated robotic show. The Lost
City of Atlantis show in the Roman Great Hall
features a fountain, lifelike animatronic
characters, lasers, fire, steam and a
50,000-gallon saltwater aquarium.
Shows run every hour on the
hour Sunday to Thursday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.;
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight. Free
admission. (Center strip, Tel. (702)
Wildlife Habitat at the
Flamingo Las Vegas - (3555 Las
Vegas Blvd.) - Flamingos, penguins, ducks,
swans, pheasants, quail, turtles, Koi and
goldfish in an authentic environment. This is a
large garden area in the Flamingo complex;
in a 15-acre park
area behind the
Flamingo Hilton Resort. You can
wildlife as you dine
at Flamingo's buffet. Open during the daytime.
Free. (Center Strip, Tel. (702)
Gondola Ride at The
Venetian Hotel & Casino. -
(3355 Las Vegas Blvd.) -
Be serenaded by a
tourists up and down the indoor canal. Float
beneath bridges, beside cafes, under balconies
and through Venice. Guests have a choice of
scheduling an indoor or outdoor ride (lasting
about 15-20 minutes). Modeled after authentic
Venetian gondolas, the gondoliers are trained
and most have a fantastic signing voice.
in the St. Mark's
Square portion of the
Grand Canal Shoppes, the gondola ride operates
Sunday to Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.;
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to midnight.
Outdoor gondola: 12 p.m. - 11 p.m.
(Numerous street perfomers can be found in St.
Mark's Square.) The gondolas hold 4 adults,
unless you want a private gondola ride the cost
is $16 per person/$32 per couple. If you
request a private ride for two, it's $32 per
person/$64 per couple. Children - $7.50. Center
strip. (Tel. 702-414-4300.)
Madame Tussaud's Wax
Museum at The Venetian Hotel &
Casino - (3377 Las Vegas Blvd.)
- Take your picture with more than 100
celebrities past and present including Britney
Spears, Muhammad Ali, Cher, Marilyn Monroe,
Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Princess Diana,
Elvis Presley, Madonna, Tom Jones, John Wayne
..even Abraham, Lincoln and George Washington.
on the moving
walkway between The
Venetian and the Strip.
Open every day at 10:00 a.m.
to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; Friday's
& Saturday's closes at 10:30 p.m. Cost:
$25.00 general admission; $18.00 for seniors
(60+); Children 7-12: $15. - 20%
Cheaper if you buy
Strip, Tel. 866-841-3739.)
Experience at the Paris Las
Vegas - (3645 S. Las Vegas Blvd.) - is
a 50-story elevator ride to the observation
deck 460 feet above the ground. The
Eiffel Tower is an
exact reproduction of the famous Paris
Restaurant, located on the
11th floor, offers the most romantic dining
setting in Las Vegas. (Hint: Ask for a table
near the window so you can see the Bellagio
water ballet across the street.) A professional
guide is available to answer questions. Open:
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., weather permitting.
Cost: (Daytime) Adult $10.50; Senior/Children
$7.50. (Evening) Adult $15.50; Senior/Children
$10.50. (Center Strip, Tel.
Free and low cost south strip
The African Lion
Habitat at the MGM Grand Hotel and
lions and cubs in a
($9 million) landscaped setting seen through a
MGM Grand features a glass-sided lion habitat
inside the casino area, in which up to six
lions are shown every day. A see-through tunnel
runs through the habitat for close-up viewing.
The lions are owned by Keith Evans, a trainer
of exotic animals, and do not live at the
habitat, but at his ranch 12 miles outside Las
Vegas. He transports several groups each day to the
MGM from his 8.5 acre ranch.
He cares for 31 cats, including 26 lions, three
tigers and two snow leopards. Evans has
been associated with MGM Grand since the 1980s.
Habitat Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.
Free. (South Strip, Tel.
M&M's World in the Showcase Mall
next to the MGM Hotel &
Casino - (3785
Las Vegas Blvd.) - is a neat 28,000 square-foot
four story interactive shopping complex
featuring all sorts of M&M candies,
clothing and other M&M related merchandise
...also a chocolate tour and a free 3-D movie,
"I Lost My ‘M' in Vegas." It opened in
This monument to chocolate is
the perfect family excursion, featuring
one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs designed
solely for M&M'S World. The third floor is
dedicated entirely to M&M collector's
items. Hours: every day from 9 a.m. until
midnight. (Check out their website.) Well worth a visit and it is free!
(South Strip, Tel. 1-800-651-2437,
The Roller Coaster at New York-New York
Hotel and Casino
- (3790 S. Las Vegas Blvd.) twists, loops,
through a replica of the New York
skyline. The ride begins with a 203-foot
lift and a 76-foot drop, followed by a
hill and a 144-foot drop. The train then
traverses two inversions, a standard vertical
loop and a dive loop (twist and dive element),
where the train performs a 180 degree spiral
and then performs a half-loop maneuver. Reaches
a speed of nearly 70 m.p.h. Coaster cars look
like New York cabs.
Updated in 2006. Previously
called "Manhattan Express." Cost: Pricey ...$14
for a 90 second ride so check the tourist
magazines for discount coupons. Re-rides: $7.
Hours: Daily 10:30 a.m. to midnight. You must
be 54 inches tall to ride. (South Strip, Tel.
866-815-4365 or 888-693-0763)
Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay Resort
& Casino - (3950 S. Las Vegas
Blvd.) - One and a half million gallon see-thru
nearly 100 species of undersea aquatic
life including sharks.
America's only predator-based aquarium and
exhibit. See sharks of all kinds, along with
sawfish, giant rays, endangered green sea
turtles, piranha, jellies and the rare golden
crocodile. In all, there are over 2,000
tunnel lets you walk
under the aquarium! Shark Reef opened in Las
Vegas in 2000. Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m.
to 10:00 p.m. Daily. - Admission: Adults $18.00
Children (ages 5 - 12) $12.00 - Children 4 and
younger admitted free. (South Strip, Tel.
Strip & Downtown attractions
Class Circus Acts at Circus Circus Hotel
& Casino and Theme Park. - (2880
Las Vegas Blvd.) - Aerialists, high-wire
walkers, trapeze artists and clown shows are
featured twice an hour - 11 a.m. to midnight
daily on the
center stage of
the Carnival Midway at
Circus Circus. - Free admission. - (North
Strip, Tel. 702-734-0410,
Adventuredome at Circus-Circus Hotel
& Casino - (2880 Las Vegas
Blvd.) - is a five-acre enclosed, climate
controlled theme park with many midway rides
and carnival-like attractions ...including an
indoor roller coaster. One of the few things
still left for kids. Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00
p.m., Fri. & Sat. until midnight - Rides
cost $5-$8 each. - An all day pass is priced at
$16.95 for children; Adults $26.95.
Check out this
site for more
information. (North Strip, Tel: 702-734-0410,
Deck at the Stratosphere
Hotel & Casino - (2000 Las Vegas Blvd.) is the
tower in the United States
and more than twice as tall as any other
structure in Las Vegas. At 1,149 feet, its also
the tallest building west of the Mississippi.
Four high-speed double-deck elevators whisk you
to the top of the tower at 1,800 feet per
minute. The Stratosphere marks the end of the
Strip and the beginning of Downtown.
Tower admission: $16 for
adults; $4 discount for hotel guests and
seniors 55+. Children 4-12 are $10. Hours: Sun.
to Thurs. 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.; Fri., Sat.
& holidays until 2:00 a.m. (Schedule is
subject to change due to weather.) The
revolving Top of the World Restaurant and
Lounge circle the Strip every 20 minutes. Hint:
Bring your binoculars. (North Strip, Tel.
The Big Shot
on top of the Stratosphere
Tower - (2000
Las Vegas Blvd.) launches you up into space at
45 mph. Sixteen riders (four in a row, around a
160-foot mast) experience 4G's as they reach
the very top, and feel negative G's on the way
down. In a matter of seconds, the
Big Shot thrill
ride catapults 16 riders
from the 921-foot high platform up the Tower's
mast to a height of 1,081 feet and down
again. Ride tickets: Big Shot - $13.00.
Other rides: X-Scream - $12.00; Insanity -
$12.00; SkyJump - $109.99 and up - Plus
admission to the tower. Hours: Same as
observation deck. (North Strip, Tel.
The downtown area is
accessible by taking the "Deuce" strip
bus from anywhere on the strip.
The Fremont Street
Experience in Downtown Las
Vegas is a pedestrian promenade in
downtown Las Vegas. A four block computerized
canopy lights up downtown with more than 2
million lights and half-a-million watts of
sound. Shows from dusk daily to midnight. -
Downtown Las Vegas. (Tel. 702-678-5777.)
Their website is here. More
on this later.
small cost attractions just off the
"Masquerade Show in the Sky" at the Rio
Hotel & Casino - (3700 W Flamingo
Road, just off the strip) features five
Brazilian Carnival and Mardi Gras floats that
parade on tracks around the casino ceiling.
Performers in elaborate costumes throw beads to
gamblers on the floor.
Parade gets under
way in Masquerade
Village hourly from 6 p.m. until 11:00 p.m.
every Thursday through Saturday. Free (unless
you want to ride and throw beads from a float,
$12.95). (West of Strip, Tel.
Tattoo" (2310 Las Vegas
Blvd S, Las Vegas, 89104 - (702) 382-8820) and
Tattoo" located inside
the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. - (4455
Paradise Road) - Tel. (702) 216-5360 are
generally considered the best. But they
are not cheap. There are
shops in Las Vegas.
"Go Karting" is
also available in Las Vegas. Las Vegas Mini Grand
- 1401 N. Rainbow
Road - Telephone: 702-259-7000 - must be 4 foot
6 inches tall. Open year round. Hours:
Sun. to Thurs. 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Fri.
& Sat.: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. - 7
days a week. Pole Position Indoor
located one mile west of the Vegas strip at
4175 S. Arville, Las Vegas, NV 89103 - Cost:
$25 adults; $22.00 Youths - Hours: Sun. to
Thurs. 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.; Fri. &
Sat. 11:00 a.m. to midnight. - Telephone: