MGM Resorts in Las Vegas has begun the process of phasing out plastic straws at it’s resorts. The company has dubbed the campaign “The Straw Reduction Initiative”. The initiative began earlier this week at The Aria and Mandalay Bay Resorts. The company estimated that it was using 250,000 per day, and about 100 million per year. Plastic straws are bad for the environment as they take a couple of hundred years to breakdown. MGM has stated that this is a green initiative and not a cost cutting measure as many on social media are stating.
Visitors can still get a plastic straw if they ask for one. They are no longer going to be just given out as they have in the past. So no worries, if you require a straw in Las Vegas you can still get one. They will still be handing them out with frozen drinks and to go cups. Restaurants and stores such as Starbucks within the resorts are still handing out straws as well.
Reusable Plastic Straws
The phasing out of plastic straws in something that is not localized to Vegas. There will be more and more companies ditching plastic straws over the next few years. As stated it’s good for the environment and it saves them money. Like many people that bring their reusable coffee mug in for a fill up we will be using reusable straws in the future. You can already buy a number of different options on Amazon. You can purchase inexpensive plastic straws, steel straws and a number of different types of collapsible reusable straws for easy carrying.
The Shark Reef Aquarium is a public aquarium located at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The aquarium is home to a number of species such as sharks, turtles, rays and a komodo dragon. The main tank is 1,300,000 US gallons and features a shipwreck. Guests can walk around the entire tank and enjoy a real 360 degree view. One of the other more noteworthy features is the shark tunnel. There is also a touch pool where visitors can get up and close with a number of species.
There are also a number of other special tours that can be taken at the Shark Reef Aquarium. This includes a shark drive, sea turtle feed, stingray feed and shark feed, For those interested you can also get married at the Shark Reef.
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
Address: 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Hours: Sun – Thur 10:00 am – 8:00 pm & Fri – Sat 10:00 am – 10:00 pm (last admission an hour before close)
The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay is true family gem on the Las Vegas strip. It is a real family friendly attraction in Las Vegas that will keep both kids and adults entertained. If you are looking for a unique experience in Vegas to get away from the casino and glitz this aquarium is perfect. Mandalay Bay is a very big resort and this attraction is a decent walk from the front doors. You can also take the Free Tram System down to Mandalay Bay,
The Life is Beautiful daily line-up has been announced. Single day tickets are also going on sale later this week. The annual music festival takes over Downtown Las Vegas from Sept. 21st to Sept 23rd. Visit the official Life is Beautiful website for more information on tickets and pricing.
It doesn’t have to be Halloween to get a good scare in Las Vegas. There are a number of attractions in Las Vegas that will be of interest to fans of horror and the macabre. They will be a little tougher to get to as they are scattered around Las Vegas. With a car rental it is fairly easy to visit the best horror attractions in Las Vegas.
Best Horror Attractions in Las Vegas
Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum
The Haunted Museum is a 11,000-square foot property built in 1938 on northern Las Vegas. The property has a long history of spiritual activity and locals claim dark rituals took place on the property in the 70’s. The tour takes about an hour and a half and leads your through winding hallways and 30 rooms each with an eerie theme.
Location: 600 E. Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89104
Times: Monday, Wednesday – Saturday, 1pm – 9pm and Sunday, noon – 8pm (closed Tuesday)
Website: Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum
Fear The Walking Dead
Fear The Walking Dead is a relatively new horror attraction located on Fremont St. It’s part thrill ride, part escape room, part maze, part haunted house and part interactive video game and motion ride. Reviewers have given the attraction positive reviews and state that the event lasts roughly 20 minutes.
Location: 425 Fremont St Ste. 150, Las Vegas, NV 89101 Times: Sun. through Thu., 1:00 p.m. to midnight; Fri. and Sat., 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Website: Fear the Walking Dead
The SAW Escape Room
Fans of the SAW movie franchise will be familiar with what The SAW Escape Room entails. It is a multi-room escape game where you must work as a team to solve each room and move onto the next. The game lasts for an hour and you can have a team of up to 10 people. Enter the historic Egan & Co. Meat Packing plan and find yourself immersed in a diabolical plan set out by the Jigsaw Killer.
Currently there is a walking ghost and mob related tour that leaves from The Heart Attack Grill on Fremont St. The tour takes place every Friday night at 7:00 pm and lasts just over an hour. The tour visits haunted Fremont Street hotels, the Mob Museum, and Vegas’ “Motel of Death”. There are mixed reviews about the tour being more mob related than ghost related. Visit this Groupon link for more information.
Looking for more of a unique experience our your next Vegas vacation? You will find that The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas is perfect. Located a short distance off the main strip the Pinball Hall of Fame is a perfect get away. They offer a family friendly experience that will surely keep you entertained and amused.
Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
Located on E Tropicana Ave roughly a 10 minute car ride from the strip. The facility is 10,000 sq ft of nothing but pinball machines. Pinball machines are from the 1950’s up to the 1990’s. Another great feature is the price. The older generation machines are .25 cents to play and the new models are .50 cents. There is also a collection of classic arcade games.
Website: Pinball Hall of Fame
Address: 1610 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89119 Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11 am – 11 pm & Friday – Saturday 11 am –12 am
Regrettably we did not take many photos at the time of our visit. We spent more time playing. Bally’s Capt. Fantastic featuring Elton John as The Pinball Wizard was our favorite. I spent many an hour as a kid in the back of our local store playing it. It was so nice to see it fully restored and in mint condition. All of the machines are in perfect working order and fully restored to their original beauty, If you had a fav pinball game from way back odds are you are going to find it here.
Having a good collection of Apps on your smartphone can be important when visiting Las Vegas. There are so many options when it comes to entertainment, shows, dining and attractions. Having the right Apps on your iPhone, Android or tablet can save you time maneuvering between properties and find you unique places to visit.
Best Apps to Use When Visiting Las Vegas
Vegas is enormous and there are a zillion food, drink and entertainment options. Admitted it’s easy to get directions from hotel staff, visitors and there is lots of signage. Having a decent map app can help you figure out fast where you need to go and Google Maps will even give you directions to get there. What we like best is that you can pre-download the entire Vegas region to your phone so that you can use it if you find yourself with no cell coverage.
Uber and Lyft
Both Uber and Lyft are solid options for travel in Las Vegas. They have their own pick up and drop off spots and there are plenty of drivers so getting a ride never takes long. Rideshare is pretty smooth in Las Vegas. Read our ride share Location post for pick up and drop off spots at Current Uber and Lyft Pick Up and Drop off Locations in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas has amazing and unique dining options. Restaurants can be busy as well and we love to make reservations through Open Table. It saves time and effort when making dining reservations. We also love to look up places that we might want to visit, read the reviews and browse the photos.
Groupon and Travel Zoo
The two powerhouses of group buying in Las Vegas. We rarely head to Las Vegas without a handful of purchases on these two apps. You can get amazing deals on attractions and activities, food and drink and show tickets. We are fans of the deals for The High Roller and discounts at restaurants such as $50 for $30. One of the great deals that comes and goes are discounted shopping cards at Miracle Miles Shopping Malls. They will basically sell 1/2 price cards for use at all shops. We stocked up on drinks at ABC and Vegas Knights gear at Lids.
Players Clubs Apps
We always have the main players clubs apps loaded on our phones when we head to Vegas. Especially the for the hotel that we are staying at. Mainly we have Mlife, Total Rewards and B Connected as those are the hotels that we frequent. They are great apps for checking on property maps, entertainment schedules, dining options and for checking your Players Clubs standing and points.
This was the one Vegas specific app that we like to download for out trip. It has a number of guides, maps and attraction listings. What we like about it is that it takes all of the Groupon, Travel Zoo and other deals websites and lists them in one handy place. It also allows you to bring up a map and it shows all of the deals in your proximity.
MyVegas is a game played on Facebook Android and iPhone. You play the games with chips to earn loyalty points which you can trade for freebies at Las Vegas hotels, restaurants and attractions. On Facebook you can play MyVegas and My Konami. On your smartphone or tablet you play MyVegas, My Konami, Pop Slots and Blackjack. You sync all of the games with your Facebook id so that your loyalty points all go to the same pot.
If you have not heard of the game before and think it’s a scam it is most certainly not. We have personally cashed in free tickets to KA, Beatles Love, 2-1 Terry Factor tickets, numerous buffets, attractions such as the Secret Garden as well as free nights at The Mirage.
We are going to do a big MyVegas post soon which will give you tips and tricks to get the most out of the game.
If you are looking for a unique Las Vegas experience consider one of the many dueling piano bars. Dueling piano bars in Las Vegas are a great way to spend an evening out. The experience is lively, entertaining and a great place to mingle with other Vegas tourists. Which dueling piano bar in Vegas is the best? There are several great piano bars on the strip and Fremont St to choose from.
Dueling Piano Bars in Las Vegas
The Bar at Times Square at New York-New York
The Bar at Times Square is the most popular of all the piano bars in Vegas. The pianos sit in the middle of the bar allowing the crowd to enjoy the show from any seat. The bar can be quite crowded but their website does state that they take reservations.
The Piano Bar at Harrah’s is located steps away from the famous Carnival Court. The show is led by identical twins Kim and Tamara Pinegar. They battle away on dueling pianos for your applause. It is not a large bar and we suggest getting there early to get a seat. It is the same spot that Big Elvis plays at.
Napoleon’s Lounge at Paris is a more upscale choice over the previous two piano bars. The bar gives you that old school Vegas feel you are encouraged to let loose, sing along and make requests. They pride themselves on playing all requested songs. A nice choice if you are looking for an early experience.
The Volcano at The Mirage is one of the most popular free attractions located on the Vegas Strip. The current schedule of The Volcano at The Mirage can be found here as well a photos, videos and fun facts. The volcano opened in 1989 and has undergone a number of changes since then. Most notably a 25 million renovation in 1989. The Mirage Volcano was designed by WET who also designed the Bellagio Fountains.
The Volcano at The Mirage Schedule
The schedule of The Mirage Volcano has changed effective April, 2018. It no longer goes off at 10:00 pm on weekends. The following schedule has been taken from The Mirage website. It should also be noted that the show may be cancelled due to high winds and times are approximate.
The current schedule is as follows: Daily 7:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM
Best Places to View the Volcano at The Mirage
The Volcano is one of the more busy attractions on the strip. Since the number of times the volcano erupts has been scaled back the crowds can be quite busy. There are a number of different places to view the Volcano show at The Mirage.
If you have a Strip View room on the 14th floor or higher at The Mirage. We recently had a 24th floor with a perfect view of the Volcano but there is something about the experience up close that is much better.
The Sidewalk right on the Strip itself. This is the busiest spot and you can expect large crowds.
A hidden gem is right across from The Valet at the front doors of The Mirage. There seems to be more and more people picking up on this place so it too may be busier than expected. From the photo below you can see how close to the Volcano you can can get from Valet Parking area.
The view of the Mirage Volcano from the Valet Parking at the Mirage.
Random Facts About The Mirage Volcano
The show last about four and a half minutes.
The music is by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, and Zakir Hussain created specifically for the eruption.
The Mirage fills the air with a Pina Colada scent to mask the smell of natural gas from the explosions.
There are 120 fire shooters which are capable of sending fire 60 feet into the air.
An incredible photo of a night view of the Las Vegas strip. According to NASA Las Vegas is the brightest city when viewed from space. There is an estimated 9,900,000 light tubes in Vegas. Sources state there is nearly 15.000 miles of neon lights in Vegas. It costs nearly $127 million a year to illuminate the strip.
The amazing part about flying into Las Vegas at night is witnessing the lights. You go from total darkness to the amazing display of bright lights that you see in the photo above. Not only is it bright, it is much bigger than what most people believe. When you think about Las Vegas you think about The Strip and Fremont St. You can see from the photo that Vegas is quite large with many neighborhoods and houses. The population in 2016 as estimated at 632,912.
If you have taken a taxi cab in Las Vegas you no doubt have heard the phrase long haul taxi scam. Or maybe you have heard people mention getting long hauled. The scam may also be referred to as being “tunneled”. The long haul taxi scam in Las Vegas entails a cab driver taking you from the airport or to the airport on a longer route than normal in order to charge you more for your ride. If you have prepaid for a limo or shuttle service the long haul does not apply to you.
The Long Haul Route
There are two routes out of McCarran International Airport. Swenson St which turns in Paradise runs somewhat parallel to the strip. You can cross over to the strip via streets like Tropicana. The Tunnels which go under the runways to the south connect to Highway 215. This is why being scammed is sometimes referred to as being tunneled. This route is often twice as long resulting in a larger fare. Take the route below to the Bellagio from Google Maps. The route up Swenson is 3.2 miles while the tunnel route is 7.7 miles.
If you go through the tunnel or end up on a highway south of the airport you are no doubt being long hauled. A recent taxi fair estimator website figures the above ride just over $20. If your ride ends up being much more and traffic is normal you could be a victim of long hauling.
When the tunnel route is justified
It is important to note that the “tunnel ” can possibly be a legitimate route depending on where you are staying. If you are staying at any of the southern hotels such as the Silverton then the route is preferred. This does not hold true for Mandalay Bay or the Luxor. The same can be said about staying downtown in the Fremont St area. If you are driving downtown you would likely want to take the highway and avoid the strip at all costs.
Depending on the time of day and traffic congestion you may want the tunnel. For example, if you are staying on the north part of the strip like The Mirage or Treasure Island. We have been caught in a couple of traffic snarls heading to Treasure Island / The Mirage. These could have been avoided going the highway route.
How to not get tunnelled
Act like you are a season veteran. Use Google Maps like we did above and plot your route out. Familiarize yourself with street names and the possible routes to the hotel. When you get in your taxi at the airport tell them that you want to take Swenson to Tropicana etc. If you tell the cab driver the route you want to go they must follow it.
What to do if you are a long haul victim
If you feel you have been long hauled you have options. Some travelers report that they have confronted the cab driver and told them flat out that they are not paying. Calling their bluff. I witnessed this at The Mirage one morning as we were heading back to the airport. A couple was long hauled first thing in the morning and had the bell employees help them confront the driver.
You can take a less confrontation route by filing an official complaint. You would do this by contacting the Nevada Taxi Authority at 702.888.4888. or by filing out an online form at “Long Hauling Suspicion Form”,