So what do you do when you're in Vegas for a whole week and you don't gamble and you're too poor to go see a show?
Well here's what I did:
As I mentioned in my previous post, we stayed at Circus Circus which was- as promised by reviews- at the shady end of the strip.
The room was perfectly nice, but the public areas (shops, lobby and casino) were pretty run down. The worst bit was how far away from the rest of the action it was- you had to walk through about a half mile of construction before you hit Fashion Show mall or the Wynn, which were the nearest places on the Strip.
Though on the way there you did pass some entertaining places like this coffee shop:
You catch the name in red there? When I worked up the courage to wander past and actually peek in though, it didn't seem to actually have anything to do with fornication, except that there was a cutout of a lady in a bikini right by the door...
But anyway... since Wynn was closest to our hotel I usually had lunch there in a cute little cafe called Sugar & Ice. It had the dual draw of a nice view:
and being one of the few places in town where you can get a great sandwich and a (bottomless!) coffee for under $15. Seriously, if it's been a few years since you've been to Vegas, prepare yourself for the price increase on food! One evening my hubby was late coming to meet me for dinner at the Bellagio (about 2.5 hours late) and I decided to grab a snack. I paid almost 20 bucks for a crepe and and iced mocha!! But I digress...
The Wynn was very pretty with lots of natural light, and the vegas-ness was very tastefully done. I particularly like the decorations at the bars Parasol Up and Parasol Down (there was one upstairs and one downstairs.)
This is the upstairs bar:
And this is the decoration over the downstairs bar:
Ginormous fantasy parasols! So pretty...
The casinos were all decked out for the Chinese New Year (which was Monday.) Apparently that's big business for them.
The Wynn had a dragon in the lobby:
As well as a display in the conservatory:
That was a tough picture to get without crowds of people in the middle of it! Everyone was crowding in to get shots of the giant emperor guy.
Who had quite impressive detailing when you got up close. But the topiary pandas were pretty darn cute, too:
So after lunch if the weather was nice I would hit the strip and wander around the outdoor entertainments and check out the hotel facades.
Personally I liked Paris the best (from the outside at least!)
I liked that it had all its big showy stuff right out front in the sidewalk where you didn't have to wade through 10 minutes of smokey casino to see it! I also appreciated its lack of moving, scrolling and flashing parts- that all got a little dizzying after awhile! And it was just as cool after dark:
The Flamingo had a little zoo with flamingos (surprise!) and other water fowl:
As well as a nice little series of water falls:
Over at the Mirage they had a habitat with a few dolphins and the white lions and tigers from Penn and Teller's show. That one wasn't free (the other was) but I figured with all the free entertainment I was getting, I'd splurge on the $15 for this. (I'm not entirely sure it was worth it, the place was REALLY small...)
You could see the dolphins from the top of the tank, or under water. There was a guy trying to do some maintenance on the tank while I was there and one of the dolphins seemed determined to eat his flipper, which was pretty cute.
And over in the large cat area there were some tiger cubs having an awful lot of fun:
And some random llamas and alpacas that weren't.
And when the weather was bad I worked my way from one hotel to another via the connected malls and shops and bridge walkways. Inside I enjoyed things like the singing gondoliers at the Venetian.
And the abundance of fountains that frequently came to life to fight with each other or play music. This particular fountain didn't actually do anything, which made it one of the nicer ones!
And as you can see, the sky ceiling that changed over the course of the day was pretty cool.
Way toward the back of the Shops at the Venetian (or was this all in the Forum shops? They're getting all mixed in my head already!) is FAO Schwartz with its signature giant toy out front, this one a robotic Trojan horse that lit up and nodded scarily every once in awhile.
Across the street at the Forum shops at Ceasar's Palace there were very few stores I could afford anything in, but there was an incredible home furnishing place that was like a museum.
I would have LOVED to take just about everything in that store home with me, but since that table alone was "on sale" for about $3,000, that certainly wasn't going to happen!
On the front of the mall there was a sign that I loved:
How perfect!! Ha ha!
So after about 8 hours of wandering up and down the Strip and in and out of stores, I met my Hubby and his colleagues for dinner. (One of my duties during the day was scouting out reasonably priced restaurant options.) The only bad meal we had the whole time there was our first night when we got in late and ate in Circus Circus. (Though Origins India slightly off the strip wasn't exactly impressive.) But Planet Hollywood (Forum Shops), Olives (Bellagio), Okada (Wynn), and PF Changs (Planet Hollywood) while mostly chains, all had quite good quality food.
After dinner I would try to get Hubby out to see a bit of the strip.
And while he was mostly overworked and exhausted (can you tell?), he did see the big sights as far south as New York New York!
My favorite entertainment on the Strip was by far the fountains at the Bellagio. I watched them 9 times! And each time the show was different! I got a nice video clip of them doing their thing to "Singing in the Rain", but my internet connection keeps cutting out before it can load. I'll try again in the morning and see if it's more solid... check back later!
The real highlight of the week,though, came Sunday evening when Hubby called an early quit to the day (4:30ish) so we could all jump in the car and drive out to see the Hoover Dam.
And while the dam itself (for me at least) was kind of like "oh look, a big dam," the landscape on the drive down and the reverse view from the dam was BEAUTIFUL!