I’ve been wanting to go to Las Vegas for years and for some reason or another, my plans ALWAYS fall through. When I moved to California, one of the first things I did was see how far Vegas was from my new home. Six hours…first thought was that’s manageable and definitely better than 34 hours with a cross country flight!
Original plans was to have a weekend in Vegas with my mom and/or my sisters, but once again, plans fell through. That’s a pattern I’m hoping to break sooner rather than later!
Even though I was bummed, I was bound and determined to make it to Vegas. So, two weeks ago, I worked a Sunday so I could have a long weekend and went in early on a Thursday to get off a few hours early. After my early day at work, I got in my car and started my 6 hour journey to Sin City.
I thought about flying but did you know, a flight from Fresno to Vegas is OVER $600?! I didn’t even pay that much to fly to Orlando a little over 6 weeks ago. But, it turned out for the better anyways. I’m one of the rare people who actually likes driving in places I’ve never been to before. I love the new scenery and environment…and all things considering, it was a pretty easy drive through the mountains/desert.
When I was doing my research, I couldn’t figure out where I wanted to stay, so I decided to stay in a different place each night to get a new point of view and experience different parts of the strips. I decided I would stay one night on the southern part of the strip, one night in the center part and the last night on the northern part of the strip.
First night, I decided on New York New York – for two main reasons. 1. I’m obsessed with all things NYC and have been since my first trip when I was 15 and 2. It was free! You can’t beat free, especially in a city notorious for taking your money. 😂
I didn’t get into town until around 10:30 that night and after working a full day & driving 6 hours, I was exhausted. But, before I crashed, I started my exploration of a new city that I’d never been to.
As I’ve started to travel more, I like to do research on the city/place I’m going to but rarely do I set a definitive schedule. I have things written down that I’m interested in and unless there are reservations required, I like to go with the flow.
First full day in Vegas, I had a lot that I wanted to see/do and didn’t have any definitive plans until that night, so my day was wide open.
Little quick fact about me, I’m strangely intrigued (and slightly obsessed) with the mob and everything associated with it (yes, that mob). Another thing I’m slightly obsessed with is predator animals/aquariums (I’m all about some Shark Week😂) So, when I found out there was both a Mob Museum in Vegas and an aquarium focused on “predatory animals”, I knew those two things would be on my list for the day!
The Mob Museum had nothing but good reviews online and when I saw it was included on my Vegas Go Pass, I knew I was going.
I’m telling you, I could literally be sucked in by all things Mob. Capone, Gotti, bribery, manipulation, blackmail, how the FBI is connected and even the theories that JFK’s assassination was connected to the mob. It’s all interesting to me and I knew this Museum would be right up my alley.
Honestly, there was so much stuff that there was no way to take pictures of everything (without staying for hours and hours on end). They even had a section dedicated to the theory of JFK’s assassination and mob connections.
After seeing all of the stuff I saw, I’m going to keep my interest confined to books and movies. I guess there’s just something interesting about that lifestyle because it seems so far from reality.
Well, after the Mob Museum, I made my way to Mandalay Bay to check out the Shark Reef aquarium. This particular aquarium focuses on “predatory animals” – think crocodiles, sharks, piranhas, etc. but there was also a good bit of other animals as well. I took a lot of pictures but I won’t bore you with all of them. Here’s some of my favorites…
The aquarium was really good and probably one of only a handful of places acceptable to take children on the Vegas strip. 😂😒
After leaving the aquarium, I stopped by the casino since I had a little bit of time and ended up winning a couple hundred! Not too bad for a few mins away:)
The second night, I stayed at Treasure Island. I had several hours before my reservation for a show so I decided to spend some time actually on the strip and since TI is so centrally located, it was perfect to just walk down to where my show was. I was able to get a good view of the strip while walking to Plantet Hollywood.
I’ve always loved architecture and design…even more so when I’m in a new city. Especially a city like Las Vegas! I also stopped and saw the Bellagio Fountains in action. I always think of George Clooney and Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11 when I think of the Bellagio…haha.😂
The Bellagio Fountains were definitely one of my favorites…day AND night! It’s one of those things you must see once in your life!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go up into the Eiffel Tower but it sure was something to look at. I’m sure the real thing is even better…one day soon!
Second night, out for a walk on the Strip before going to see Vegas! The Show…highly recommend!! I was told about this show from a good friend and it DID NOT disappoint.
At one point, I literally had tears down my face because I was laughing so much. The show basically tells the story of how Vegas became Vegas and it’s broken down by decade…very entertaining. I will being seeing it again when I go back! (BTW…excuse those bags under the eyes. At that point, my sleep was still far and few between…it took my body a long time to get used to the new time zone😒😒)
After the show, I went to the High Roller at The Linq. This is the world’s largest observation wheel – it takes 30 mins to make one 360 degree cycle! The highest point is around 800 feet I believe (I’m not 100% though). AMAZING city views at night and I’m sure the views during the day are just as awe-worthy. I’m becoming obsessed with the desert, mountain and red rock environment out here – it’s really calming to me.
I also saw the Mirage Volcano show while out on the strip. It was pretty good too and I have a video, but it just doesn’t do it justice.
Pretty busy first day but the entire reason I went to Vegas was going to happen that Saturday (2nd day) while I was in town. Or so I thought.
The reason I went to Vegas was to go on a Death Valley tour. I mean, when else would you ever go to (the real) Death Valley?! So, when I called to confirm my reservation, I was told “Oh, you were signed up for it for yesterday but you didn’t show up.” You could imagine my shock when I heard that…of course I wasn’t there, I was in California working!!
Long story short, the tour was completely sold out for the day I was supposed to do it so I had to figure out what to do. After a major breakdown (this was like the 10th thing that had gone wrong in the 2-3 weeks leading up to this trip…I told you, my plans always fall through for some reason!) and a call to my momma, I knew things would wind up ok.