The pool area erupted with squeals and cries and kids running past my lounge chair. I’m a nice lady and like kids and all but what is going on? This is Las Vegas, not Disneyworld, right?
My visit to Las Vegas was amazing. So much fun and such a diversity of entertainment.
Initially I went to Las Vegas, this time, for the SDE (staff development for educators) conference. I was honestly excited to attend several workshops on play in early education and early literacy. The conference was impressive. I had lunch and dinner with teachers from across the country. We laughed over shared stories and challenges that face us no matter where we live.
As a widow it can be awkward to introduce yourself to new groups of people. I recognize it is uncomfortable for new acquaintances too. If the subject comes up about my husband, I have learned to state the fact and then redirect the conversation to others in the group. Sometimes I’d love to say more, but it’s not always the right time for all about me stories when you meet someone for the first time. It’s important to keep the conversation going. Some people I think fear it may be contagious or maybe they just don’t know what to say. They will usually follow my lead so I change the subject and do my best to enjoy new people that I meet. Click here to find ways I am learning to not be a stay at home, lonely widow.
So, this was my 4th trip to Vegas!
After driving across the country and finding jobs Mike and I settled in San Diego. About a year later we drove to Las Vegas to meet my mom and dad. We were engaged and wanted to share an adventure with my parents.
My memories from that trip are that it actually snowed in Vegas. We shared a room at the Riviera, which is no longer there. In those days they still had the topless dance shows and inexpensive buffet meals. This was the kind of trip on most men’s bucket list so I’m glad that my dad got to experience it. We all enjoyed our stay and even slept in the same room which makes me giggle a bit now.
As young parents, when we could finally leave our kids with my parents for the weekend, Mike and I escaped for a fun getaway. Leaving kids was key to a wild long weekend in Vegas. The pool area at Treasure Island was swarming with college aged students holding beer bottles. We tried not to think about what could be lurking in that pool as we dipped ourselves in to cool off. Without our kids we enjoyed walking along the strip at night, a Cirque du Soleil show, an adult hypnotist show, some romantic dinners and a few mornings to lay around in bed, uninterrupted!
A few years later my college aged son spent a weekend in Vegas with friends for an EDC 3 day music festival. It’s a thing. Several stages are set up along the race track and the concerts go on all night. This is not the town for the old, smoking gamblers anymore. Young people are going to Vegas and they are coming back!
So, when the opportunity to go to Vegas this summer fell literally in my lap, I said YES!
Travelling solo is a bit of a challenge. I write a list of what I’ll need and try my best to pack it all. This time I actually bought a new suitcase that worked out well. It rolls and stands up nicely. The very spacious design allowed me to bring way more than I really needed but it was not really that heavy.
I stayed at the Venetian Resort which has 7000 rooms. After finding a bite to eat, I was a bit confused on how to get back to my room. It took a while, and I was lost for days. I’m not sure but I think that if you put that resort in Montauk, it would be the entire size of the town.
As I was wandering around the first night looking for my room, I walked through the casino. The first thing that surprised me was how many little kids were running around at 11:00 pm in the casino! People were drinking and smoking and gambling, and here were all these little kids, racing around or being pushed in strollers. Really?
The next morning I got up early to go on a “field trip” with some colleagues on the conference to the nearby Red Rocks Canyon Conservation Center. We had a tour guide that spoke to us on the bus. One of the first things he pointed out was that Steve Wynn, who built the Wynn and Encore luxury resorts, was now breaking ground for a state of the art Water Park. Our tour guide couldn’t understand why Vegas would need a water park, but I guess he hadn’t been visiting the pool and casino areas and seeing all the kids looking to help their parents spend money.
My boyfriend flew out mid week so my trip got better when we could do a few fun things together. We went to the show Absinthe which was really good, raunchy and funny and completely inappropriate for kids.
We also took the helicopter ride over the Hoover Dam, past Lake Meade and had brunch in the Grand Canyon. There may have been some teenagers going on that trip with their parents but I did not see any little ones.
This was an amazing experience and so very impressive to see the landscape and the Grand Canyon. I will not soon forget that ride.
We ate in the food court at the Venetian and in some nice restaurants. Again no shortage of little kids and crying babies in those places. Late at night there were some club like places that catered more to adults. We ate in Tao which had a line of people waiting to get into the club so if that is your thing, that is probably a kid free zone.
Of course if you are looking for fun stuff to do with kids, the High Roller Observation Wheel is a 30 minute Ferris wheel with a scenic view of the strip. It costs more to go at night and there is a bar in each cabin.
Wet and Wild Las Vegas is a waterpark which can bring relief to those 107 degree days, even though it is dry heat. Most hotels have their own pool areas as well but it can be very hot in the sun so most people stand or even sit in the pools.
For an air-conditioned reprieve, you can take the kids or yourselves, to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. There is generally no wait and while it may seem silly, it is fun to pose for pictures with the pretend characters. I’m sure I fooled lots of people with these shots.
At the end of the tour, there is a 10 minute 4D show with all your favorite superheroes so that is fun, if you like superheroes.
If you happen to not have kids with you, and you don’t really do the night club thing, you can take a romantic gondola ride. It’s cheaper if you share the gondola so maybe you do that too, since you are really inside the Venetian hotel and everyone is standing around taking pictures. Your gondolier will be happy to sing a brief song in his or her operatic voice.
Finally, don’t forget to spend some money on the slot machines. I have no idea how they work, but if you push the buttons or the handles enough times, you will probably get a win. The bells will ring and you will be so happy. Then you will continue to push buttons, deplete your winnings and hopefully call it a night. They may even offer you a free drink. It’s all in good fun. Everything in moderation.
Considering the temperature in the summer is usually in the 3 digits, Las Vegas is doing something right. They are filling the hotels and welcoming people from all over the world. The conferences bring lots of people to the city but many more are coming with friends for that long weekend getaway and believe it or not, kids are welcome and having fun too.
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