Thanks to a killer airline deal, we found ourselves on a family vacation to Las Vegas this summer. You know, Sin City. Glitter Gulch. The Strip. The place people go to do things so terrible that they are lured with the slogan, “What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.”
Might be a fun place to take the kids, right?
Swimming outdoors is a luxury our little Alaskans don’t take for granted. From their perspective, our trip would have been perfect if we’d never left the condo complex. We stayed at the Grandview, which had several pools and a putt putt golf course. What more did they need?
The weather was chilly by Vegas standards (highs “only” in the 80’s) so the kids often had the pool to themselves. One night they decided to test a swimming cap drop idea Sam found on YouTube. Lord help us.
It’s been a while since we took the kids anywhere new, so once we finally got them out of the pool it was a hoot to show them a new skyline. You know, one with billboards like this:
Sam noticed these billboards all around town and declared, “I bet they sell really nice jewelry there.”
Thank goodness he didn’t ask to stop and buy me a late Mother’s Day gift!
And of course, no family vacation would be complete without a boring car drive for the kids. We dragged ours to Red Rock Canyon for a geology lesson. Look how much they loved it:
Despite appearances, they did appreciate the unique geology. At first. They’ll thank us someday, right?
Our Red Rock hike was cut short when I asked the kids to pose for a picture, and Sam stepped on a cactus.
Out of respect for my son, I didn’t snap any photos after this point. He now has a healthy respect for these beautifully lethal plants!
Hoover Dam is another great day excursion from Las Vegas. On the drive there Maggie asked, “What’s the big deal about this beaver dam anyway?” We tried (unsuccessfully, I’m afraid) not to laugh as we explained that Hoover Dam is an enormous manmade structure built with concrete, and nothing like the beaver dams she is accustomed to seeing in Alaska.
Travel. It’s the best education you can buy!
The pedestrian bridge between Nevada and Arizona provided pristine views of this national landmark, and a shockingly low Lake Mead.
We did venture to the The Strip for a bit of shock and awe. The kids were shocked by the mobile billboards, flashy lights, male Marilyn Monroe impersonators, and especially the showgirl who paraded around wearing nothing but pasties and a thong. But there was more awe: Cirque Mystere, the Bellagio fountains and flowers, the Eiffel Tower, and the chocolate Statue of Liberty at Hershey’s Chocolate World.
Sam drooled over all the fancy sports cars zipping up and down the streets of Vegas. Much to his chagrin, we rented a Dodge Dart instead of a Lamborghini. Honestly, I think our economy grade car looked mighty fine in that desert backdrop!
It turns out what happens in Vegas doesn’t need to stay there when you travel with kids. And honestly, losing money in smoky casinos isn’t nearly as much fun as hearing your children giggle in the pool. Five days in the desert sun was just what this family Vitamin D deprived family needed to kick off the summer of 2016!