You know the phrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” That was a clever marketing campaign to get people to come to Vegas, party, gamble and have guilt free fun. Well, I just had a birthday and do not intend to stand by the marketing campaign. I want everyone to know the guilt free fun I had with my celebration in Las Vegas.
As many of you are fully aware, we, Nomads, like to do things that are off the beaten path as well as enjoy some of the more common tourist type attractions. My celebration in Las Vegas was no different. We got into Las Vegas in the early afternoon and we headed straight for the casino. Joking. We headed straight for the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame (1610 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89119), which was founded in 2006. It has no entrance fee and has a whole building full of playable pinball and some retro video games. There are no tokens. The entire place is quarter driven. Some of the older pinball machines (which we played one from the 1940’s) are one quarter. Some of the pinball machines up to around the 1980’s were 50 cents. And the newer ones were $1 per play.
It reminded me of the arcades when I was a kid. You know, when Mrs. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Tron were popular. I know. Dating myself there. Don’t care. They are classics. Fun then and fun now. I even played Mrs. Pac-Man and got the high score! With $10 in quarters each, we were there for hours. It was a lot of fun having my Nomad Boys play on games that I did when I was a kid and it was even more fun to see that they were enjoying themselves. Mama Nomad did her fair share of flipping, bumping and tilting pinball machines. To those who are nostalgic about old video games and pinball machines, this place needs to be on your list.
After we left the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame, we continued my Celebration in Las Vegas by going to our hotel to drop all of our stuff off. the night before we headed out, I actually did some research, identified where we were going to stay and put my negotiation hat on. The price for a suite, with resort tax and an additional fee for a roll away bed, was over $215 on their website. So I called and by the end of the conversation, we landed a 2 room suite with all of the amenities for $165.78. Not too bad. Not too bad at all. Which hotel? Check out the pix. You’ll easily recognize it by its shape.
One tip, it is part of the MGM Properties. And they will give you a parking card. This allows you to park at any MGM property on the strip. This is a huge savings. Also, MGM has a club called M Life. Sign up for it. You will get discounts on purchases at retail and other places. It basically gives you credit for your room, gambling, food purchases, etc. And it is free.
After we dropped our stuff off, it was time for dinner. And I had just the spot. When we lived in Connecticut and visited New York, there was a deli there that I had eaten at before. But the rest of the Nomads hadn’t because my visit was on a previous business trip. However, when we went there, it was closed. Lucky for me, they have a location in Las Vegas. What am I referring to? Why the Famous Carnegie Deli of course. The original Carnegie Deli was opened in 1937 across from Carnegie Hall. And they became famous for their corned beef and their pastrami sandwiches. This was for good reason. They are huge and out of this world delicious. The original one had wall to wall signed pictures from various celebrities that had eaten there.
In Las Vegas, the Carnegie Deli is located in the Mirage Hotel and Casino (3400 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109). It is an MGM Property so we were able to park with our parking card. The deli was not crowded because we went early. Mama Nomad got the Reuben. Two of The Nomad Boys each got a turkey club (over 1 pound of turkey), one of the Nomad Boys got a salami sandwich and I got the famous pastrami. I was in sandwich heaven. Since the first day I ate there, it was my bar for great pastrami. Now, many years later, it still remains the king in my book. What a wonderful dinner to remember.
After dinner, since the Mirage was at the other end of the strip from our hotel, we decided to walk around and see the lights and buildings. Mandy of the hotels had elaborate themes, like the Venetian. It is a Venice themed hotel with gondola rides and the ceilings painted like it was the Sistine Chapel.
Just down the road was Caesar’s Palace. This was decorated with buildings, statues and water works like Ancient Rome. We continued on down until we got to the Bellagio. They have a water fountain show, in front of the hotel, every 15 minutes in the evening. They have lights, the water dances and some smoke effects, all to music. It was quite a show to see in person. Then we went into the Bellagio where they had an indoor Japanese Themed flower garden.
Afterwards, we walked back to get Ebony and headed towards the Fremont District. This is an up and coming attractive area north of the strip and the row of wedding chapels. Lots of other attractions, hotels, casinos and more. We saw a statue of a praying mantis shoot fire out of its antennae and a restaurant that advertised all who are over 350 pounds eat free! Bizarre yet entertaining all at the same time.
We left there and went back to our hotel. The rest of the crew was tired. But I still had a little juice left so I went downstairs to play a few slot machines and some craps. I basically broke even and after a couple hours, my juice was gone and retired to the room.
We woke up the next morning and Mama Nomad and I went down to the casino to play a game we both like called Jackpot Party. She broke even and cashed out. The birthday luck must have been with me because I started with $20 and within a few minutes, I had $50! I cashed out and we left. We went back to the room and I opened the presents they got for me and read the cards they handmade. That effort is very special to me. Afterwards, we grabbed our stuff, checked out and loaded up the car. We did not leave yet.
At the casino next door, they had a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. We all went over there because that is what I wanted for my birthday cake. After some singing and devouring 2 dozen doughnuts, we visited the gift shop and headed back to Ebony.
We left and went to the airport because Mama Nomad’s Parents were flying in to spend a few days with us. We picked them up and visited the Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas Sign (5100 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89104). When we got there, there was a Raiders Van and Raiders Fans all around the sign. That morning they announced that the Oakland Raiders were moving to Las Vegas. We waited in line, grabbed our pix and got out of there. It wasn’t too hard because there is a parking lot right at the sign.
From here we headed out of town towards Lake Mead. That is where the Hoover Dam is located. We drove until we reached the parking of the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. This is a bridge that stretches across the Black Canyon Area of the Colorado River and connects Nevada to Arizona. It is also the best place to get a birdseye view of The Hoover Dam. It is about a 1/4 mile or so up the steps and ramps from the parking lot to the center of the bridge, where the seal is that says it is the border where Nevada and Arizona join.
After marveling at the dam, we walked back to Ebony and continued onward to the dam itself. We decided to drive across it and get an “up close and personal” view of the dam. It is beautifully constructed with a copper building on top of it and a couple of clock towers for Nevada and Arizona times. Another fun fact, there are actually Hoover Dam Police. They are not police from a neighboring city. They are actually called Hoover Dam Police.
After driving across the dam one way, making a u-turn and coming back across, we decided to grab a bite to eat. I was craving a steak so Mama Nomad found a neat little place called the Little City Grill. So we headed there and Mama Nomad’s parents treated us to dinner. Happy Birthday to me! Had a great steak dinner, free cake for my birthday from them and very cordial service. The atmosphere was pretty cool too.
I was full, content and very satisfied with my weekend of celebration in Las Vegas. It was getting late so I decided to call the celebration a success and head back to home base. I proved that you can go to Las Vegas without losing all of your money or doing anything that requires you to repeat the marketing phrase “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Fantastic celebration in Las Vegas. I owe the success all to my lovely wife and wonderful sons with a little splash of in-law fun infused. Thank you. Safe Travels.