The trapeze artist swung gracefully through the air, then let his trapeze go, executing a perfect double somersault with pike, or something to that effect, before grasping the hands of his companion, who was hanging upside down. All this, and we hadn’t even left our hotel!!
This is the scene at Circus Circus on The Strip in Las Vegas. Circus acts perform every half an hour from mid-morning until midnight on the Midway Stage under a large big top. We saw a juggling clown, two amazing strongmen strutting their stuff, a superb Czech juggling troupe, a Bulgarian acrobatic troupe and a supple couple from Russia presenting a lovely balancing routine. All were excellent, it doesn’t cost a razoo and we didn’t have to venture out into the desert heat to see them.
Circus Circus is just one of the themed hotels along the Strip, and apart from the circus, also boasts the largest indoor theme park in America. The Adventuredome is massive with 21 rides and attractions with the highlight being the Canyon Blaster roller coaster, which turns the stomach inside out and upside down. It’s the world’s only indoor double loop double corkscrew rollercoaster. It makes me feel sick just thinking about it. Other stomach-churners include Chaos, the Rim Runner boat ride (includes a drop over a 60 foot waterfall) and the Inverter. There are plenty of rides for younger kids as well.
These attractions make Circus Circus the ideal place for families to stay; especially those with young children who are into rides that make Mum turn green. The hotel has 3,770 rooms including 130 suites and an RV park. Our room was in the West Tower, which was added on to the hotel in 1997. It was perfectly adequate with a fresh décor, decent-sized bathroom and the view out the window to the Bungee Tower up the road kept the kids entertained.
Circus Circus was the first hotel owned by Circus Circus Enterprises – who are now known as the Mandalay Resort Group, which also owns Mandalay Bay, Excalibur and Luxor, just to name a few.
These hotels are all huge, but that’s not a surprise as Las Vegas has some of the biggest hotels in the world and 14 of the 15 biggest hotels in the USA. The biggest is Mandalay Bay, with 5,005 rooms.
There are seven restaurants in Circus Circus – favourites for us were the Pink Pony and Stivali - three casinos, a wedding chapel and 20 shops. A tip – book ahead for the restaurant of your choice as they are busy.
There is so much to do in Las Vegas. Many people have the idea that you only go there to gamble. My husband was one of them but now he can’t wait to go back. The choice of entertainment available on any given night is staggering. We were lucky to secure tickets to see Cirque du Soleil’s “Mystere” at Treasure Island – a spectacle that can’t be described by mere words. It was sensational. For a real treat, see their sister show “O” at Bellagio – more theatrical wonders with water thrown in.
We’d also recommend families visit the amazing Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay; see the 3D show and pig out on every colour of M & M imaginable at M & M’s World; watch the lion cubs play at MGM; visit the dolphins and the incredible white lions and tigers at the Mirage; and see the show at the Elvis-A-Rama Museum. Our kids had never heard of Elvis and we weren’t Elvis fans, but we all loved the Museum, which has rooms full of memorabilia – including those famous Blue Suede shoes, one of Elvis’s cars and several outfits. We also watched “Elvis” live on stage with the kids now firm Elvis fans – we even have one of those dancing Elvis’s in the car. Really!
Perhaps the highlight for us was the night helicopter flight over Las Vegas with Papillon. The Vegas Neon Lights tour was excellent, with the amazing array of neon passing underneath. Las Vegas is literally the brightest city on earth and the light that shoots out the top of Luxor is the world’s brightest beam of light. It was the children’s first helicopter ride and they were mesmerised by the experience from take off to touch down. Papillon also offers a range of tours to the Grand Canyon, with some touching down on the bottom of the Canyon, beside the legendary Colorado River. The Canyon flights also fly you over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.
While a helicopter is a great way to get around, driving is fairly easy in Las Vegas as every hotel offers free parking. Driving is certainly better than walking as it can take you half an hour to walk from one hotel to the next – not much fun when it’s stinking hot. You can catch the trolley or the bus up the Strip, and some hotels are linked by a monorail system.