There’s probably a debate on whether or not Las Vegas is a good idea as family vacation. The reactions to us going with our kiddo were either extremely lukewarm or people would excitedly tell us how much fun they had on their family vacation. And I get it — it’s called Sin City for a reason. Well, we went and here’s how we tried to keep it classy.
Probably one of best decisions in keeping it family-friendly, was to stay at the Vdara Hotel and Spa. It’s a non-smoking, all-suite, non-gaming hotel, so we skipped the long, smoky walks through casino rooms and the 24/7 noise. It’s a quiet, wonderful retreat from the Strip, equipped with its own Starbucks, spa, market & cafe, outdoor pool and bar. Our room was well-appointed, with a luxurious 5-piece bathroom, kitchen and sitting room. And so quiet. I never heard another guest on our floor, even though the hotel was at 90% capacity.
About 3 minutes after arriving to the Vdara, our daughter asked how soon we were going swimming. While my husband was on a business call, I scrambled into my suit, and grabbed our tiny, TSA-approved tube of new sunscreen. If you’re thinking of buying the new CeraVe SPF 30 Invisible Mineral sunscreen — DON’T. It was so horrible. Invisible, my eye! We arrived at the pool with a ghostly, white cast of impossible to blend lotion. I’m sure everyone was so impressed.
After swimming and a quick shower to regain normal skin color again, we took the free tram over to the Monte Carlo for dinner and the all new Blue Man Group show. Pretty good show and we were glad we brought ear plugs for our kid (and me too). She loved it, especially the end, which I won’t give away. On our way home we swung by the Bellagio fountain display and also the Conservatory Garden for the new flower display. Definitely see this if you’re near the Bellagio hotel, it’s an artistic marvel and smells wonderful.
We made the joke that today we woke up in Vegas, had breakfast in Paris and lunch in New York. There’s a cute sidewalk cafe at the Paris hotel called Mon Ami Gabi, where you can get an espresso, eat crepes and watch people go by. It’s a good idea to reserve a table in advance, because it’s popular. Then, we went up the 1/2 scale Eiffel Tour at the hotel and got a bird’s eye view of town — which probably would have been very pretty at night. After that, we walked down to the New York, New York hotel, went to the arcade, had lunch, loaded up at M&M World and bought new sunscreen.
That night, we had tickets for David Copperfield and I was pretty excited about it. I know he’s been around for a long time, but there’s a reason that he’s still selling-out shows and has an estimated fortune of $800 million dollars (and owns 11 private islands in the Bahamas). He’s simply great at illusions. His show was fantastic AND my husband got called up on stage to assist. To cut to the chase, the illusion ended with a real-deal, vintage turquoise car appearing on top of Daniel, who was on his hands and knees (made sense at the time). He didn’t hear it, see it or feel it, until he crawled out from under it. Amazing. Smoke and mirrors, baby!
Enough of the Strip already, this was the day we headed out of town for some nature. An hour northeast of Las Vegas is the remarkable Valley of Fire National Park. It’s a visual feast and photographer’s dream, filled with red rock sculptures, windswept sandstone and ancient petroglyphs left by the Anasazi Indians.
Lake Mead is only 5 miles away from this National Park, so you could easily combine the two for sightseeing. A random fact about the Valley of Fire, is that the Mars scenes from the movie Total Recall, with Arnold Scwarzenegger, was filmed almost entirely here.
After emptying the sand out of our shoes (bring Teva’s for hiking around) and heading back to Vegas, we re-calibrated for a stop at the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay and a gourmet dinner at Lupo by Wolfgang Puck. The aquarium packed a lot of exhibits into the space and yet it only took 30-45 minutes to get through (which I liked). After our amazing dinner at Lupo, which included the best caprese salad of my life, we called it a night.
Hope you liked the kid-friendly version of 3 days in Las Vegas!
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