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Vegas Highlights Part I

Posted on December 21, 2011 by Holly Hayes
Part of: California and Vegas Road Trip

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Well, our two days in Vegas have been very fun, and very busy as usual. Although I didn't have too much "work" to do here (though I did manage some), I personally found it all very interesting and wanted to see as much as I could. So both days I walked and walked, criss-crossing up and down the Strip, in and out of one casino after another. Oy, my feet hurt every night! The Strip itself isn't all that long, but each casino is absolutely huge, and wandering through each one really adds up. David joined me for some of them, especially the new ones that have been built since his last visit.

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View from our room at dawn

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View from our room at dusk

The weather has been good here - nice and sunny every day, but not all that warm. In in the midday sun it's warm enough to wear just a light jacket or even short sleeves, but it's chilly in the shade, chilly in the wind, and quite cold at night. I went down to watch the fountain show one last time tonight (I'm totally addicted - I stayed for three) and it was FREEZING. But worth it.

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This morning was my main work time - we made a little field trip to nearby Henderson to visit the Clark County Museum (an open-air deal with historic houses, trains, and mining equipment), which was fairly interesting and a nice change of pace from the Vegas crowds.

And on the way back, we stopped for photos at the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign (shown above) and the Little Church of the West. Both are at the south end of the Strip, and both are on the National Register of Historic Places.

And now some photo highlights! There are too many to post them all tonight, but since we aren't doing much but driving tomorrow, I should be able to catch up from Reno tomorrow night. Fingers crossed the internet will be as good there as it is here.

**Dolphins at the Mirage**

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One of my favorite things here is the dolphin exhibit at the Mirage, which we both visited yesterday morning. Its full title is "Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat" and it has lions and tigers too. There is a $19.95 admission to enter, which is quite overpriced, but so is pretty much everything else in Vegas. And I'm glad we did it - it was really fun.

There are three interconnected pools for the dolphins to play in, and you can view them from an aquarium below as well. They don't have any scheduled shows, but the trainers come out quite regularly to feed them and have them do some tricks. But it was really fun just to watch them swim - they seem so intelligent, happy and playful, and they can really go fast when they decide to hit the gas! And there are two dolphin calves right now! The moms seemed to be giving them swimming lessons, which was super cute. The calves swam right alongside their moms, and did a great job of keeping up.

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One of the calves, doing a speed-skimming thing that looks like a lot of fun.

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Greeting the fans (not prompted by a trainer)

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Got fish?

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Got fish now?

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Views from below

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Nice trick! He held this pose for quite some time. A trainer with a microphone explained that not only does this allow for posing with humans, it also allows for easy weighing of the dolphins - the trainers don't have to drag them onto a scale, but just ask them to hop up on it.

The lions and tigers were really beautiful as well:

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Part of the pool for humans, which looks pretty great.

**The Venetian**

The Venetian was interesting to check out, especially since I was in Venice fairly recently. Not surprisingly, the Vegas version pales pretty badly in comparison. But as with all the major theme casinos, you have to admire the effort and chutzpah that went into creating such an extensive replica. It has just about all the major landmarks of Venice: canals, campanile, Doge's Palace, St. Mark's, Rialto Bridge, columns topped with statues, and even the clock-tower gateway by St. Mark's Square.

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**Various Other Stuff**

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Breakfast buffet at the Bellagio, which we did today and yesterday. It's delicious, but two times is enough; tomorrow morning we'll have something lighter before heading out.

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Pretty trees in the Wynn hotel

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The historic Flamingo hotel

So tomorrow morning we embark on the 8-hour drive through the desert to Reno. We intend to do the drive all in one day, but we might stop overnight if it gets to be too long. It's nice to be heading in the direction of home. It's been a wonderful trip but we're tired and a little homesick! However, I will be really bummed not to have a fountain show outside my window when I get home.