|On the way to Red Rock Canyon!|
Then, we picked up our rental car (There's a Hertz rental desk at the Paris, for the most convenient option.) and navigated our way to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. It's about a 30 minute drive from the Strip, but you'll feel like you're in a different world!
We started at the on-site visitors center, where we learned all about the Mojave Desert and the plants and animals that call it home. Then, we picked up a map and had a discussion with one of the friendly rangers about which trails might be best for us. Armed with this information, we set off in the car along the 13-mile scenic loop around the park, pulling over at key trails for short hikes to slot canyons (at Sandstone Quarry), petroglyphs and water falls (near the Willow Springs picnic area).
This was a FUN day! It was great to get out of the city for a bit and see the desert. We admired panoramic views and overlooks, had a really fun time hiking a children's trail out and back (about a mile of fairly easy going, with a waterfall at the end), and just enjoying nature.
|Exploring slot canyons at Red Rock|
We had tickets to The Beatles: Love at the Mirage, and I was stoked! Due to our late (large) lunch, we opted for snacks at the theatre instead of a big dinner, buying drinks and a large popcorn before settling into our seats. The show has been re-worked within the past year, upping the multimedia elements, and we couldn't have been more pleased with the production. Incredibly visual, incredibly emotional. I laughed and cried at times, and I wasn't even sure why. It's just a marvel of light and color and sound. It's hard to describe its impact. Even Clay was transfixed, and he has little idea who the Beatles are. A rich, sensory experience.
The next morning, we took our time getting up. We had a big, lovely brunch at Hexx Kitchen and Bar. I chose the veggie omelet. Delicious, but huge!! Then, hubs wanted to laze around some more, so Clay and I decided to do some sightseeing on the Strip. We hung a left facing the Bellagio and started walking. We poked through New York, rode a tram or two, and ended up at the Luxor. Clay wanted to ride the sideways elevators, so I obliged. Then, curious, we decided to pop into the Bodies exhibit. (We had a coupon, after all.)
|The sun setting on Vegas, from the High Roller|
It was completely fascinating. I was mesmerized. First of all, it's larger that I thought it would be. There are quite a few rooms, and it can take a couple of hours to do it all justice. The exhibit is organized in layers, and you start with the skeleton. Real human bones help tell the story of how our skeletons support our body, grow, and heal.
After that, you move into rooms that detail the human body's muscular structure. You learn (and see) how muscles work together to help our bodies perform complex tasks like throwing a ball. Then, it's on to the circulatory system. We identified (and saw) the four chambers of the human heart and marveled at the delicate, lacy circulatory structure that carries blood and oxygen throughout the body. (These exhibits were truly beautiful.) Then, we had the opportunity to compare healthy organs with sick ones. (Think diseased vs. healthy lungs, a normal human brain vs. one afflicted with Alzheimer's, etc.) This part of the exhibit went a LONG way toward convincing us to take good care of our organs and our bodies.
Note: There's a room here that focuses on fetal development, but I thought that a bit much for an 8-year-old, so we routed around that room. We ended up at the final full body in the exhibit - the one that has various prosthesis. My mother has had two knee replacements and a hip replacement. In this part of the exhibit, I was able to show my son exactly what grandma's knees look like under her skin. Just incredibly eye-opening and interesting. Fascinating, and so educational. I've never seen anything like it, and I will never forget it. Highly, highly recommended.
|We had the High Roller pod completely to ourselves!|
After dinner, I had one last surprise for my little crew - tickets for the High Roller. This giant Ferris wheel hadn't even been built the last time I was in Vegas, so I was eager to give it a try. We boarded just before sunset. Because crowds were light (and, I imagine, because we were riding in the non-alcoholic pod), we had the pod all to ourselves! Over the next half hour, we watched the sun sink as all the lights of Vegas came on. We danced to the music they piped into the pod, took in the sweeping views, and just generally thanked God we were alive and able to experience such a thing. I can see myself doing this every time I'm in Vegas. A breathtaking ride.
Then, it was back to the hotel room to pack up hubs and Clay for the return trip home. My conference started in the morning, so I was spoken for during the daytime from then on. I did, however, meet up with a colleague at the Wynn for a delicious dinner at Sinatra. The dining room is beautifully appointed, and both the food and the company were delightful!
|If you love Old Broadway, you'll love this show!|
I so enjoyed my most recent trip to Vegas. Though I agree that Sin City is geared toward adults, we found so many fun, family-friendly things to do that I wouldn't hesitate to bring my son here again!