The Winning Continues in Vegas (Part 2 of 2)

Our trip to Vegas continued the next morning.  We took the tram over to the Mandalay Bay.  We went directly to the Shark Reef Aquarium.  It was about $30 for both of us.  And although it was nice, it was small.  If you love fish, do it.  If you don’t, skip it.  As we walked through the Mandalay Bay to check out the Luxor, we noted how great the pool looked and the shopping they offered.  The Luxor is shaped like a pyramid so it’s really neat inside.  We can’t comment on the rooms but all the doors face into the center of the pyramid.  We made our way back to the Mandalay Bay for

our lunch reservation at RM Seafood.  There are so many well-known chefs with restaurants in Las Vegas.  Rick Moonen of RM Seafood has been on Top Chef Masters and a judge on Top Chef.  We had a great lunch!  Get the lobster-potato bisque; my son said, “It tasted like a dream come true.”  Skip the Fat Elvis dessert.  The fried banana, chocolate and bacon together were just too much.

Travel Tip:  Go high end on lunch and low end on dinner.  You’ll still get a great dining experience but for less money!

We took the tram back and then walked over to the MGM Grand.  This place is huge but be sure to see the lion exhibit.  It was our first stop and it’s free.   The two lionesses were sleeping but we also got to see two lion cubs…so cute.  It takes less than fifteen minutes but worth the stop.

Also in MGM is a CSI interactive exhibit but at $30 per person, we skipped that one.  We did visit CBS Studios, where you can preview new shows.  The day we went they were offering paid reviews.  We went into a special room, watched a show while continuously rating the show and then took a survey afterward.  It was so cool and they paid me $15.  Matt was too young to receive payment!  Ssshhh…the show was The Next Great Baker.  Look for it on TLC; it looks like a good show, if you’re into reality TV contest shows.

We checked out a bit more of the MGM.  The pool looked okay but they have the most popular chefs’ restaurants there.  Emeril, Tom Colicchio, Wolfgang Puck, and more including Joel Robuchon.  This James Beard award winner offers a $1000 16-course tasting menu but it’s not open for lunch so we skipped it.

Back to the streets, we walked down to Paris, which is very nice inside but seemed quite a bit smaller than the other hotels.  We stopped at Bally’s only because this is the place my husband comes once a year to watch a little college basketball (maybe you’ve heard of the NCAA tournament).  Matt and I both agree, skip this.

We then toured the Venetian.  This place is beautiful.  You must stop by to visit!  The painted ceilings, gondola rides, shopping, and singing in the piazza make it seem like Italy.  We crossed over the strip and stopped by Treasure Island to see the free show outside, which was awesome!  It is a little risqué for young kids but its fun.  Water splashes, fire shoots out, there’s singing and dancing…a great time!  There are only four shows a night, starting at 7pm so plan accordingly.

We walked to the Mirage next door and stopped at BLT Burger for dinner.  We don’t have a passion for burgers although it does seem that way on this trip.  There was no wait, the service was good, and so was the food.

Our legs were so tired at this point, we were just happy to sit anywhere.  I thought after a good meal, I’d be completely refreshed…not so much.  My legs felt like lead balloons.  Matt pointed out the older woman with a broken leg and arm hobbling past me!  Okay, I stepped it up a bit after that.  We finally got to the Bellagio for the fountain show.  The shows run every 20 minutes and we didn’t have to wait long.  I’d seen one before and had been talking it up to Matt the whole day.  Luckily, it didn’t disappoint.  This is the must-do of any trip to Vegas!  We toughed out the rest of the walk back to the Excalibur and called it a night. 

The next morning, we packed our things and checked out.  We checked out using our TV.  There was a line to check out at the automated machines and at the front desk.

Travel Tip:  Find alternate ways to check out – you shouldn’t have to stand in line unless there is an issue you want to discuss (and even then try calling down first to take care of it).

We stopped by New York New York, which was right across the street (well, up, across, and then down).  This hotel has a roller coaster on the roof with an arcade leading to the entrance.  Matt and I are both babies when it comes to scary rides so we opted out but the arcade was fun.  More arcade games than Excalibur but less carnival prize games.  We grabbed a taxi and made it back to the airport in time for our flight home.

One additional note:  Before leaving the Excalibur, I had to play at least a dollar on the Wheel of Fortune slot machine for my uncle (it’s his favorite).  I picked one at the very edge of the casino floor and Matt waited down the way a bit.  A cleaning lady came up and told me he couldn’t even stand there so I quickly played the dollar for my uncle.  Guess what??  We…didn’t win.  But, our trip was a winner! 

On fun thing we did on the flight home was to rank our favorites!  Here is our ranking of the hotels and attractions we visited.  Let us know what you think! 





1 1
New York New York 2



3 2

MGM Grand

4 4
Paris 5


Mandalay Bay 6



7 7




Bally’s 9




Matt Ronnie

Bellagio Fountain



Treasure Island Show 2


Venetian Gondola

3 2

CBS Studios



Lion Exhibit 5


Shark Tank



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5 thoughts on “The Winning Continues in Vegas (Part 2 of 2)

  1. wow..that is really unique, traveling with your son to Vegas, but I guess you’re right kids need to see the world and its always good when they see it with you! great adventure!

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