The iconic MGM Grand sign and Leo the lion are just a few ways you know you have arrived in Las Vegas. Do you know about Leo the lion? The statue weighs 50 tons, is 45 feet tall, and resides on a 25-foot pedestal. Leo is the largest bronze statue in the U.S. and replaced the original lion entrance for the MGM Grand in 1998. Apparently, you would have to walk through the mouth of the lion to enter the resort, which apparently is bad feng shui, which can bring bad luck so many guests were entering through the back door. A little Vegas cosmetic surgery and we have the new and better Leo with better feng shui. Here we were on one of the many escalators on the Strip that takes you over the main strip and in and out of the various resorts. We had gone over to the MGM Grand to look at the lion habitat only to learn that it closed last month. We pressed on because let’s face it, we’re in Vegas and if you can’t find something in one resort, you most likely will be able to find it somewhere else.
We purchased tickets for the Penn & Teller show for Saturday evening and it required that we pick the tickets up from the ticket booth inside the Rio resort. If you park in the garage at the Rio, you have to walk all the way through the casino to get to the front lobby. We got to check out some of the shopping and restaurants there from the second floor overlooking the casino floor including a McDonald’s, a tattoo shop, and a few others. Unlike the other casinos, this place was quiet and not mobbed at all. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but since we weren’t staying that, it didn’t matter much. Ladies if you’re looking for your own brand of entertainment, the guys from Thunder from Down Under appear at the Rio. Enough said.
After walking all over Vegas, we made our way over to the Luxor on our way to Mandalay Bay. Although you can take the tram over, keep in mind it starts at the Excalibur and stops at the Luxor on the way to Mandalay Bay. The amount of time that you will wait to catch the tram is probably better spent walking unless, of course, maybe you can’t. Inside the Luxor there are currently a few exhibits including the Titanic and the Bodies exhibit. Although the latter might seem interesting, I still have problems with it considering the ongoing controversy about the bodies themselves.
We were unable to take pictures while on the roller coaster at New York, New York. At only $14 per person, this is a great ride. It was far scarier than it looked and I am so glad I didn’t eat or drink before I went on it! Afterwards, we walked over to the Nine Fine Irishmen pub inside New York, New York. From their website: “Anyone who would build a pub in Ireland, ship it to America, and install it in the heart of the Las Vegas strip, must be either a fool or a bleedin’ genius.” I’m going with the latter as this place was truly fantastic! Having been to my share of Irish pubs in the U.S., but better yet in Ireland, this pub had a true authentic feel and you felt far removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Las Vegas. We ordered a few drinks (I had a Shandy) and an appetizer of a potato basket with two kinds of curry dipping sauces. Normally when you order something fried it comes out all greasy and disgusting, but these were so crisp and not in the slightest bit greasy. The curry sauces were awesome with the red one being somewhat spicy, but delicious. We relaxed after walking around and our roller coaster ride and just sat back and enjoyed our time there. I would definitely recommend stopping in the Nine Fine Irishmen pub if you happen to be in the area.
My husband put his request in early into our trip to visit the Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas. On our last trip, we made it over there but not inside and clearly he has not forgotten about this. Be prepared to have lots of fun, eat great German food, and drink mondo sized steins of beer. From their web site: “The famous Beer Hall (Schwemme) is the “historical heart” and main attraction of Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas. With its traditional beer hall design and nightly live music it is sure to be one of your favorite attractions in Las Vegas.” My usually subdued husband even took part in the beer guzzling contest, which he didn’t realize entailed several minutes of dancing to a German song led by Johan who kept the party going. Luckily, I have several minutes of this on video so thank you very much! In between the drinking and dancing, there were several plates of food that crossed our table including this giant pretzel with two types of mustard and Obatzda, a Bavarian cheese delicacy.
Recognize my little friend here? That’s Vegas Vic, the Fremont Street cowboy that is probably one of the most recognizable Las Vegas signs. Before there was the Vegas Strip, there was Fremont Street. The street itself dates back to 1901 and was the first street to be paved in Las Vegas in 1925. Because of the abundance of neon signs, Fremont Street was nicknamed “Glitter Gulch.” It was closed to traffic in 1994 for the Fremont Street Experience. There’s a different feel over here as compared to the Strip with casinos like Binion’s Horseshoe and the Golden Nugget. I suppose those who have spent time here like it and can’t imagine going to the Strip and vice versa. We went over to check out the Fremont Street Flightlinez, but the lines were so long and the zipline itself was well, underwhelming. Pretty much a straight line, you don’t go very fast and it’s a short distance. I guess if you’ve never done a zipline before you might like it. At $15 per person before 6 pm and $20 per person after 6 pm, it wasn’t exciting enough to want to do it. Instead we walked around, checked out the stores that all had the same items in them and quickly returned to our car. We did pass the Heart Attack Grill, which was insanely packed as people sat eating their single, double, triple, and quadruple bypass burgers. The servers are dressed like nurses and the patrons wear hospital gowns while they eat. Now if this doesn’t make you think: If you weigh over 350 lbs., you get to eat for free! Yay for you! Seriously? Why do people do this stuff?
That’s just a sample of the fun I had in Las Vegas. If you’ve never been and are looking to go, there truly is something for everyone and it’s not all about gambling. You can catch a great concert, sporting event, fabulous food from world renowned chefs, and more. I can’t tell you everything that I did in Las Vegas because you know — what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.