Vegas Satisfies Fans of Liberace, Chocolate

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LAS VEGAS -- There is plenty more to Las Vegas than just casinos and flashy shows.

This city offers a wealth of attractions to those clients looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. Vegas chocolates

Here is a list of interesting uncommon sites in and around town:

  • One of Nevada's most popular tourist attractions was founded by one of America's most cherished and flamboyant entertainers. At the Liberace Museum, visitors can view Liberace's showiest possessions, including a rhinestone-covered Baldwin piano, a mirror-tiled Rolls-Royce Phantom V Landau, a black diamond mink coat covered with 40,000 rhinestones and the red, white and blue hot pants and feathered cape he wore during Radio City Music Hall performances.
  • Also here are many of the other costumes, jewels and furnishings owned by Liberace.

    On display are 18 of his 39 pianos, extravagant cars, rare Moser crystal and re-creations of his bedroom from his Spanish-style Palm Springs mansion. A museum gift shop offers Liberace souvenirs, audiocassettes, compact discs, videotapes, crystal, statues, porcelain and jewelry.

    Founded by Liberace in 1979, the museum is open seven days. Part of the admission charge goes to the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts, a scholarship fund for students. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Suggested donations to the museum are $6.95 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and $2 for children under 12. The museum offers group rates to parties of 25 or more.

    Liberace Museum, Phone: (702) 798-5595

  • Chocolate lovers can drool at the sight of candy being made at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, 12 miles east of Las Vegas in Henderson. Named for the mother of Forrest Mars, who launched the Mars candy empire, the factory is open daily -- except on Christmas -- for self-guided tours. And yes, free samples are provided.
  • Next door is one of the largest cactus collections in the world, according to Ethel M. officials. Some three acres of land are filled with more than 300 plant species. The factory is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    Ethel M. Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden, Phone: (702) 433-2500

  • The cranberry, one of the only truly American fruits, is the star of the show at Cranberry World West, a free attraction located next to Ocean Spray's juice processing plant in Henderson. The tour begins at a 100-seat theater, where a brief orientation film highlighting the history of the cranberry is shown.
  • Visitors then will be able to explore a series of multimedia exhibits that explain how the fruit is grown and harvested. A special exhibit provides a retrospective of past Ocean Spray advertising campaigns and features a Guess the Year of the Ocean Spray Advertisement game.

    The tour also includes a visit to the juice processing plant, where guests will see the combining of juice concentrates, the filling and sealing of bottles and product packaging. Again, no visit would be complete without sampling the product. Visitors can taste the many varieties of Ocean Spray juice and try a number of tasty dishes created with cranberries at the demonstration kitchen and juice bar. The facility includes a gift shop with more than 600 gift items. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Cranberry World West, Phone: (800) 289-0917 or (702) 566-7160

  • Everyone knows it melts in your mouth, not in your hand. But how many are aware that the venerable M&M candy now has its own attraction? The newly opened M&M's World, located in the Showcase Mall just north of the MGM Grand Hotel, features four floors of everything M&M and chocolate, including an Ethel M Chocolates flagship store; a retail outlet, selling more than 3,000 logo items and candy, and an ice cream and dessert bar.
  • One of the highlights is Colorworks, a kaleidoscope of M&Ms from which visitors can select their favorite color candies and fill special containers with their choices. A third-floor interactive entertainment complex, being developed by the Landmark Entertainment Group, is scheduled to open this fall to showcase all of the "M" characters. (For the uninitiated, they include Red, Yellow, Green and Blue.) Open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

    M&M's World, Phone: (702) 597-3122

  • From the 100-foot-tall Coke bottle -- the world's largest -- to the Everything Coca-Coca store, this new attraction at the Showcase Mall practically submerges visitors in the popular soft drink. The history of Coke is told through numerous displays, which feature assorted memorabilia. Samples of the drink in its many incarnations are offered at the sampling fountain.
  • Visitors can view a collection of Coke television commercials at a screening room and purchase Coca-Cola gifts at the two-story shop. The store is open 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $2.

    World of Coca-Cola, Phone: (800) 810-COKE

  • What do Jack Benny, Elvis Presley, John F. Kennedy and Adolf Hitler have in common? Their automobiles are part of the Imperial Palace Auto Collection, featuring some of the rarest and most exotic cars in the world. The collection, located at the Imperial Palace Hotel, has more than 800 antique, classic and specialty automobiles; about 200 are on display at any one time. Because the cars are rotated, visitors are encouraged to make repeat visits.
  • Some of the "stars" of the collection include the King of Thailand's 1928 Delage, John F. Kennedy's 1962 Lincoln Continental "Bubble Top," Elvis Presley's 1976 Cadillac Eldorado, Jack Benny's 1910 Maxwell and Hitler's 1939 Alfa Romeo.

    Besides automobiles, the collection includes motorcycles, trucks, tractors, fire engines and taxis. One of the highlights of the museum is the Duesenberg Room, featuring what is touted as the largest collection of Model J Duesenbergs in the world, including those owned by actor James Cagney and boxing champion Max Baer.

    Visitors are welcome to take photos of the cars. The display is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Admission is $6.95, but free passes are available from the Imperial Palace Auto Collection's Web site at www.autocollection.com. The pass can be printed out and redeemed at the Imperial Palace Redemption Center through Dec. 31.

    Imperial Palace Auto Collection, Phone: (800) 634-6441

  • Visitors can ogle all the green stuff at the Million Dollar Display, located at the Fremont Street entrance to Binion's Horseshoe Club. Visitors can have their photo taken, for free, next to the exhibit. Some 150,000 people visit the attraction annually.
  • If your client cannot get to Egypt, send him to Las Vegas instead to explore King Tutankhamen's Tomb & Museum at Luxor Las Vegas. Visitors can take a 15- minute, self-guided audio tour of what the Luxor calls "an authentic reproduction" of the tomb discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. The replica of King Tut's final resting place is sized to the exact measurements of the real thing and features reproductions of the treasures found inside, including the guardian statues, sarcophagus and pottery. Open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and to 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $4.
  • King Tutankhamen's Tomb & Museum, Phone: (800) 288-1000 or (702) 262-4000

  • Home to Kidd's Marshmallow Factory as well as Ethel M's, Henderson is surely a haven for sugar addicts. The 100-year-old, family-run marshmallow plant offers free, self-guided tours that show how the confection is made. Each visitor gets a free bag of marshmallows, too. Open daily 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Kidd's Marshmallow Factory, Phone: (800) 234-2383

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