Las Vegas editor Amy Baratta recently sampled a few of the
city's nongaming attractions. Her report follows:
LAS VEGAS -- Travelers who look beyond the casinos and movie-set
facades of the hotel properties here on the Strip will find a range
of activities and attractions with which to amuse themselves.
From the special
effects shows at Caesars and the Hilton to the circus acts at
Circus Circus, visitors will find that there's never a dull moment
around here.Billed as the world's first giant-screen Imax 3-D
motion-simulator ride, the Race for Atlantis attraction in the
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace takes visitors on a chariot race
through the legendary kingdom of Atlantis.
The attraction is a must for those who enjoy futuristic space
and 3-D effects, which are achieved by electronic headsets worn by
passengers that contain the Imax sound system as well as liquid
crystal shutters that coordinate with signals emitted by the Imax
3-D projector. (The bottom line is passengers will find themselves
ducking to get out of the way of objects that seem to be flying
right at them.)
The attraction is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission prices
are $9.50 for adults and $6.75 for children age 12 and younger.
Forum Shops at Caesars, Phone: (702) 893-4800I admit that I am not a Trekkie, but even so, I thoroughly
enjoyed Star Trek: The Experience, another high-tech,
futuristic-themed attraction located at the Las Vegas Hilton.
The $70 million extravaganza begins with the History of the
Future, a self-guided museum tour that features displays of more
than 200 Star Trek costumes, weapons -- even I can recognize a
phaser when I see one -- make-up special effects and props used in
the television series and motion pictures. (I must admit that I was
a little disappointed not to see a tribble in the exhibit.)
Once their tour is finished, groups of participants are beamed
to the transporter room aboard the USS Enterprise. They receive
their mission briefing on the bridge and then take a turbolift to
the grand corridor.
The group then boards a shuttlecraft, which transports them to
the 24th century and their futuristic adventure, complete with a
motion simulator ride. The special effects are good in this
attraction, which is not surprising since the ride is a
collaboration between the Hilton and Paramount Parks.
Visitors finish their voyage at the Deep Space Nine promenade,
which features all sorts of futuristic shopping and dining venues,
such as Quark's Bar and the Starfleet Surplus Shop.
Admission to Star Trek: The Experience, which is open from 11
a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, is $14.95.
Star Trek: The Experience, Phone: (888) GO-BOLDLYModeled after the Cyclone of Coney Island fame, the Manhattan
Express roller coaster at New York-New York Hotel & Casino
features as many sharp turns, twists and heartstopping moments as a
cab ride in the real Big Apple.
Las Vegas Hilton, Phone: (702) 732-5111
Much of the ride takes place outside, atop the property's funky
facade and amid such New York landmarks as the Brooklyn Bridge, the
Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.
The ride, which lasts about four minutes, reaches a maximum
height of 203 feet and a maximum speed of 67 mph. The fun doesn't
stop when the ride ends, though.
On the way out, riders can stop by the souvenir photo counter,
see what they looked like during their wild ride and even purchase
Tickets are $7 per person, and the ride operates from 10 a.m. to
10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Fridays and Saturdays.
Would-be thrill-seekers are advised to call ahead the day they
plan to ride the Manhattan Express because weather factors such as
high winds can close the attraction.
New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Phone: (702) 740-6969Gamblers aren't the only ones taking their chances at the
Circus Circus Hotel and Casino. Above them on the second floor,
daredevils perform circus stunts every half hour from 11 a.m. to
midnight, free of charge, on the grand carnival midway.
Strolling entertainers making balloon animals, juggling or
performing mime and magic also help to perpetuate the property's
Besides the circus acts, the 120,000-square-foot area --
recognized by the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the world's
largest permanent circus -- also offers midway-type games that
involve such skills as tossing rings or shooting basketballs.
Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, Phone: (702) 734-0410Visitors yearning for a more natural type of attraction can
wander through the Secret Garden of Siegfried & Roy and the
Dolphin Environment, both of which are tucked in the acreage behind
the lush Mirage resort.
The former features several natural habitats populated by the
very animals that Siegfried & Roy are known for -- white tigers
-- as well as lions, leopards and an elephant.
The Dolphin Environment is just that -- a couple of pools in
which several dolphins can cavort and generally delight
Admission is $10 per person; children under 10 are admitted free
when accompanied by an adult.
The Secret Garden is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and
from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends and major holidays.
The Mirage, Phone: (702) 791-7111Animal lovers who want to pay a little less to enjoy nature can
find penguins, turtles and, of course, pink flamingos at the
Located in an open courtyard, the animal habitat is perfect for
taking pictures of the wildlife or just soaking it all up from the
seat of one of the benches that surround the property's pink
Flamingo Hilton, Phone: (702) 733-3111A six-minute light show that rivals the neon of the Strip plays
hourly after dark in the city's downtown area.
The $70 million Fremont Street Experience features a
90-foot-high canopy covering four acres of the casino-lined street,
which has been turned into a traffic-free pedestrian mall lined by
such world-famous casinos as Four Queens, Binion's Horseshoe and
the Golden Nugget.
When the show begins, the canopy comes to life with music and
moving images created by 2.1 million lights. The attraction is
unlike anything I have ever seen, and I highly recommend it to all
I must admit to initially balking at paying cab fare to go
downtown just to see the area until I found a free shuttle bus that
would take me from the Strip to the Golden Nugget.