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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Viva Las Vega

Stepping into Las Vegas, it is easy to forget you are in the middle of a desert. That is, until your hair starts to stick to everything because of the dryness. Despite this, the abundance of fountains, bodies of water and water features will still try to convince a visitor to the city that they are not, in fact, playing on a pile of sand.

And they do exactly that. Hoards of people descend on Las Vegas, or lovingly known as Sin City, each day to play; there is a great excess of things that will entertain, whether it is the trademark casinos or dancing girls or bright lights or cabaret shows or theme shows or theme parks or rides. You name it. They will have it.

While it is hard to list one of the top entertainment options in Las Vegas, a must-do experience that must be done by visitors is Fremont Street. Now some may wonder, ‘how do you do a street?’ Well Las Vegas makes it possible with Fremont. It is a five-block-long cavalcade of bright lights that totally captivate visitors with their cheesy light-and-sound shows lit on a huge arched steel canopy. Go wave at the happy cowboy who cocks his hat at you and get neck problems from staring at the amazingly captivating lightshow that is shown each hour off the street’s canopy. It is tacky, but so are outlet stores and do we ever stop going to them?

Of course, the other (many) must-see attractions in the city are the casino shows. It is most likely that visitors to the city will be staying at one of the numerous casino-slash-hotels sitting along the strip, so all visitors will have to do it head to the front of their casino and get a show. There is much to offer – Treasure Island has a Pirate Show, a lava-filled volcano erupts each hour at the Mirage, water jets are choreographed to the sound of Beethoven at the Bellagio. Everywhere you go, there is something to see.

But do not be fooled into thinking that Las Vegas is all over-the-top hustle, big hair, gold credit cards and neon cowboys. Look beneath the shiny surface and visitors will see much more than meets the eye. In the city, there is the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum. Paying homage to the world-famous art gallery, the Rem Koolhaas designed museum houses works from the impressionist, post-impressionist and early-modernist era. Because of a partnership with the State Hermitage Museum of St Petersburg, the collection is guaranteed to grow.

For nature lovers, there is also the MGM Grand Lion Habitat. As the home of several African lions and cubs, the Lion Habitat is not a cruel display of animal control – these animals reside on a 8.5-acre ranch 12 miles away from the MGM Grand to ensure that they are close enough for Vegas visitors to visit and far enough to ensure that they have enough peace and space to grow and flourish.

There are also a range of zoos and botanical parks that will give visitors a sense of the natural beauty that co-exists with the artificial neon beauty of Las Vegas.

No matter what you want, Las Vegas will have it. While it is a commonly heard phrase that does not always deliver, it is not the case with Las Vegas. It has all the fun, excitement and debauchery that everyone occasionally itches for, but then it doesn’t trap visitors in this loop. There is an offering of culture and nature that completes Las Vegas as the perfect heaven and hell on earth.

For more information, visit the Las Vegas Tourism website at www.visitlasvegas.com.
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