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Things to Do in Las Vegas

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Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
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Inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino is the Shark Reef Aquarium, showcasing more than 2,000 animals displayed in 14 different exhibits and almost 1.6 million gallons of water.

The Shark Reef Aquarium was designed to be a “total sensory experience,” and part of that is achieved by leading visitors through an acrylic tunnel with water nearly surrounding them. This exhibit alone includes 15 different species of sharks along with all the other sea life in the tank.

Other species in the aquarium include golden crocodiles, sea turtles and piranhas, none of which are included in the touching pools where visitors can find out what some of the other sea creatures feel like.

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Cashman Field

Built in 1983, Cashman Field in downtown Las Vegas has been home field for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s (an affiliate of the New York Mets) since it first opened. The 9,334-seat stadium, named after James “Big Jim” Cashman (a Vegas entrepreneur who donated the land), also hosts at least one spring training game each season. The Padres, Mariners, White Sox, Cubs, Athletics and Dodgers have all played in front of crowds at Cashman. During the baseball offseason, the stadium hosts a variety of other events.

Cashman Field is part of the larger Cashman Center, which comprises the stadium, a 1,898-seat theater, meeting rooms and 98,100 square feet of exhibit space.

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VooDoo Zipline

Las Vegas doesn't do entertainment on the small scale, and one of its newest amusement-park-like rides doesn't disappoint. The VooDoo Zip Line is strung between the Masquerade and Ipanema towers at the Rio Hotel and Casino and stretches almost a third of a mile between the two. The ride takes you from the high point at Rio's VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub down to the lower tower and then back again–you ride backwards on the return trip.

The zipline is also about 400 feet above the ground, and because Rio sits just off the main part of the Strip, you'll get panoramic views of the Strip and beyond in all directions. You'll have to look quickly, though, as the zipline can get reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour.

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Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

At the Mirage Hotel and Casino, where Siegfried & Roy started their famous animal show in 1990, the pair also opened the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in the same year. As the name suggests, there are two parts of the exhibit–one devoted to dolphins and the other to Seigfried's and Roy's beloved big cats.

Neither portion involves elaborate shows but they instead give visitors a chance to see the animals in a tropical environment. They sometimes play, but there are no tricks.not make them do tricks. In the Secret Garden, see white lions, panthers, leopards and tigers–both solid white tigers and white tigers with black stripes.

For an even more involved experience, you can sign up to be a “Trainer for a Day” and work with the staff and its dolphins. There are also VIP behind-the-scenes tours available.

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Grand Canyon West Rim
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The Grand Canyon's West Rim, just outside Grand Canyon National Park, is home to the Havasupai and Hualapai tribes. The Hualapai Indian Reservation, created in 1883, covers nearly 1 million acres and includes 108 miles (173 km) of Colorado River and Grand Canyon frontage.

The West Rim area didn't really exist before 1988; that's when the 2,100 members of the Hualapai tribe decided to open their tribal lands to visitors. Since then the tribe has built some amazing features for visitors (notable the Grand Canyon Skywalk) and developed areas such as Guano Point and Eagle Point for their stunning canyon views.

The Grand Canyon West Rim is also home to Havasu Canyon. This mazelike canyon – filled with tall rock walls, cacti, cottonwood trees, and turquoise blue waterfalls – is a mecca for hikers. One of the highlights is the 8-mile (12 km) trek to the Supai Village, a must stop.

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Hidden Valley Nevada
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There's more to do in Las Vegas than hit the slots. Take a short trip to Jean, Nevada, and escape the bright lights and take a ride through the desert in an ATV!

Once you're in Jean, you can cruise through the surrealist scape of the sand dunes of Jean Dry Lake. Set out on an adventure through rugged desert and mountain terrain. Travel through historic Hidden Valley, extinct lava beds, Roach dry lake and then enter the rugged McCullough Mountain Range. With the astonishing views of mountains and canyons around you, you'll feel like you're one with the desert on your ATV exploration. Then, make your way to the Hidden Valley National Monument Overlook for unprecedented vistas of the surrounding desert.

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Grand Canyon South Rim
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Of the two major rims of the Grand Canyon, many visitors choose the South Rim, which boasts easy access, the bulk of services, and the panoramic vistas for which the park is famous. Every summer, visitors throng the park's most popular rim, mainly to ogle its easily accessible dramatic, sweeping canyon views.

But the Grand Canyon South Rim is more then those spectacular canyon views. The first stop for many is Grand Canyon Village, which is filled with many historic buildings. Other historic highlights in the South Rim is Desert View Watchtower, which has one of the few views of the bottom of the Canyon and the Colorado River; Grand Canyon Railway Depot, built in 1909; and Bright Angel Lodge, a rustic lodge built of logs and stones.

For hikers, the Grand Canyon South Rim is where you'll find Bright Angel Trail, Rim Trail, and South Kaibab Trail - all of which offer the most dazzling views of the Grand Canyon.

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More Things to Do in Las Vegas

Colorado River

Colorado River

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The mighty Colorado River runs from northwestern Mexico through California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. The river is a spectacular sight to see, meandering for 1,447 miles (2,330 km) with red rocks and canyons framing it on both sides, leading up to the Hoover Dam. The Colorado River is one of the major water sources for California and Nevada, and not surprisingly it's a major recreational destination: activities on the river include hiking, biking, rafting and boating.

One of the ways that travelers most often come to see the Colorado River is by visiting the Black Canyon, so-called because of the black volcanic rocks found in the area. The canyons are majestic, red land formations that lead from Colorado towards the Hoover Dam in Nevada. Boating and canoeing down the Colorado River are popular activities in the Black Canyon.

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Grand Canyon Skywalk

Grand Canyon Skywalk

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The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a glass, 70-foot long, open-air bridge suspended 4,000 feet above the canyon floor, providing 720-degree views. The Skywalk is operated by the Hualapai Tribe, which owns and protects more than one million acres of land throughout the Grand Canyon’s western rim. Even with its remote location some 120 miles from Las Vegas, you can easily experience the Grand Canyon Skywalk on a day trip or overnight excursion to the West Rim.
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Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

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With its sharp craggy mountains, deep canyons and desert basins, you won't believe that Sin City is only a few hours away from the deserted, dramatic and often surreal scenery of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

There are many activities to do around and on Lake Mead; it's a peaceful and beautiful place to bike, kayak, water ski, camp, fish and hike. You can also scuba dive or go for a swim in one of the surrounding lakes.

Lake Mead and Lake Mojave are the two main destinations in the Lake Mead Recreation Area. Lake Mead is 110 miles (177 km) long and Lake Mojave is 67 miles (107 km) long. Because of their size, both are major destinations for boaters. The surrounding beaches, marinas, and campgrounds make the surrounding area popular for boater and non-boaters.

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Zion National Park

Zion National Park

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The true majesty of Zion National Park is unveiled in spectacular fashion as you explore the land where the Virgin River has sculpted a profound landscape masterpiece. Incredible as it may seem, the river was primarily responsible for slowly paring through layers of ageless rock to sculpt Zion Canyon. High plateaus, striking towers, temples, mesas, and the earth's tallest-known sheer sandstone walls make up this park. Be sure to bring your camera on your day trip to Zion from Las Vegas.
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Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

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Bryce Canyon is the culmination of a series of steplike uplifted rock layers known as the Grand Staircase, stretching north from the Grand Canyon. The park's Pink Cliffs formations are crammed full of wonderful pinnacles, steeples and spires, and weird geological creations called 'hoodoos' sculpted by wind, water and ice.

It may be called a canyon, but Bryce is actually more a series of natural amphitheaters formed by erosion over the millennia. The wind and rain have peeled back the sedimentary layers to reveal stripes of red, orange and white, at heights of around 9,000 feet (2,700 m).

Being more remote than the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park, a visit to this far-flung natural gem rewards you with a true sense of wilderness in its pristine glory.

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Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park

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The Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest state park. Covering over 34,880 acres with red-rock sandstone formations is the ultimate hiking destination.

Highlights of the Valley of Fire include Atlatl Rock and Fir Canyon. At Atlatl Rock, examine ancient petroglyphs, dating back thousands of years and created by the Moapa tribe. Then, take a 3-mile (4.8 km) hike through Fir Canyon, starting at Rainbow Vista, where you’ll see the lighting against the sandstone and understand why the park got its name, Valley of Fire.

Picnicking, hiking, and camping are all popular activities in the Valley of Fire. Not only is the landscape impressive and attract visitors world-wide, but the Valley of Fire houses some of the rarest vegetation and wildlife in the country.

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Black Canyon River

Black Canyon River

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One of the best ways to experience the Black Canyon and the Colorado River is to take a guided rafting tour led by experienced professionals versed in the local geology, flora, fauna, and folklore.

Many tours offer a full day of sightseeing along the calm waters of Lake Mead and the Colorado River, complete with complimentary box lunches and transportation to and from the area.

Another popular way to take in the area is via helicopter tours operating out of Las Vegas. Select tours ferry you to the canyon in helicopters, where you'll embark on a mellow rafting trip from the base of the damn downriver to vans or buses waiting to return you to your hotel. The trip includes beautiful views of the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, and its surroundings.

Travelers can also opt for a helicopter tour that involves a touchdown in the Grand Canyon, where you'll indulge in a champagne breakfast before flying to historic Boulder City and proceeding with the rafting trip.

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Graceland Wedding Chapel

Graceland Wedding Chapel

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For a wedding experience that is anything but prim and proper, the Graceland Wedding Chapel is just the thing. It's one of the oldest wedding chapels in Las Vegas (55 years and counting).

It's also the home of the 'original' Elvis impersonator wedding. Nowadays the Graceland Wedding Chapel hosts celebrity weddings and plenty of Elvis-themed nuptials.

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Extraterrestrial Highway

Extraterrestrial Highway

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State Route 375 is an actual state highway in Nevada, but because of its proximity to Area 51, it's been officially designated by Nevada as the Extraterrestrial Highway. The strip is 98 miles long, connecting State Route 318 to U.S. Route 6, and running through what is basically empty desert. The area became a tourist destination because it's close to Area 51, the highly secret military base about which there are innumerable stories about aliens and UFOs, so in 1996 the state renamed the highway.

To learn more about the area's history, head for the tiny town of Rachel, roughly in the middle of the 98-mile stretch of highway, where everything is about aliens. There are Area 51 tours that include the Extraterrestrial Highway and Rachel.

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Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim

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The Grand Canyon North Rim retains a sense of solitude, a remote wilderness rich with scenic hiking trails and overlooks with spectacular vistas. The North Rim beckons day hikers, who want to traipse through meadows thick with wildflowers and dense clusters of willowy aspen and spruce trees, and breathe crisp, Alpine air – all under vast, blue skies. Keep in mind, it's only about 10 miles (16 km) across the canyon, separating the North and South rims. By car it's another story: from the North Rim the South Rim is a 5-hour, 215-mile (345 km) drive. Visitor facilities at the North Rim are open from mid-May to mid-October. Facilities on the North Rim are closed from mid-October to mid-May, although you can drive into the park and stay at the campground until the first snow closes the road from Jacob Lake. To get to the North Rim, take Highway 89A to Highway 67/North Rim Parkway. A Trans Canyon shuttle runs between the South Rim and the North Rim during the months the North Rim is open.
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Pioneer Saloon

Pioneer Saloon

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The town of Goodsprings—once the largest town in Nevada is a shadow of its former self, but its central watering hole remains little changed. The still-operating century-old Pioneer Saloon sits on a dusty strip near the Goodsprings General Store, another still-functioning relic from the town’s gold rush heyday. The tin exterior and cherry wood interior of the Pioneer Saloon have stood the test of time, and added artifacts detail its storied history. In the billiards/dining room, walls are lined with newspaper clippings of bar patrons – including, famously, Clark Gable who spent two days sidled up to the bar awaiting word of his wife’s fate following a plane crash. Eager patrons regularly drive the 33 miles from Las Vegas to enjoy a beer with a ‘ghost burger,’ or ‘ghost tacos,’ and karaoke. And, for those brave enough, the Saloon offers after-hours lock-ins for encounters with their ghost hunting equipment.
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Lion Habitat Ranch

Lion Habitat Ranch

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You don’t have to travel to Africa to get up close and personal with the King of the Jungle. Lion Habitat Ranch, located just outside Sin City, offers up the unique opportunity for travelers to experience the wonder of one of the world’s biggest cats.

Take a behind the scenes tour of this family-oriented, outdoor destination to learn more about conservation efforts to protect these and other wild animals. For an additional fee, hand-feed giraffes or lions a pound of their favorite foods, or enjoy a picnic lunch in a protected enclosure while these giant cats wander around you. While lions are the big draw of this popular attraction, travelers will also find emus, ostriches, parrots, giraffes and other animals in this protected habitat.

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Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

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Filled with craters, abstract land formations, canyons, mountains and desert, Death Valley isn't considered 'A Land of the Extremes' for nothing. With activities like hiking, biking, camping, or bird watching, you can reconnect with nature like you never have before.

The Furnace Creek Area is one of the highlights of Death Valley National Park. The Furnace Creek Area features the Golden Canyon, the Natural Bridge, a massive rock formation spanning across a desert canyon, and the infamous Bad Water, a series of salt flats making up the lowest point in North America at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. Ironically, Bad Water is only 76 miles (122 km) east of Mt Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States at 14,505 feet (4,421 m).

Other highlights include the Stovepipe Wells Area, Scotty's Castle Area and the Panamint Spring Area.

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Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas

Hard Rock Cafe Las Vegas

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Las Vegas has more than just a Hard Rock Cafe – there's also the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the first one to bore the Hard Rock name, which has its own cafe. The hotel's cafe opened in 1990, and the entire property features a huge casino, a sandy beach and swimming pool, a nightclub, a spa, a few bars, several restaurants, and a music venue. The memorabilia on display includes some items from Las Vegas legends The Rat Pack and Elvis.

A second Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas opened in 2009 right on The Strip. This one is significantly larger – 42,000 square feet – and spans three floors of restaurant seating. It's also home to the biggest Rock Shop in the Hard Rock Cafe universe.

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