Category Archives: Attractions

A Walk in The Park

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T-Mobile Arena

T-Mobile Arena at The Park, now open for business

I intended to publish this last weekend, but got sidelined with the flu for the better part of a week, so I’m a little late adding to the conversation about the opening of MGM’s new Park. But hey, better late than never!

Remember two years ago, when my brother (“Vegasbrolo”) scooped me by being in Las Vegas the day the High Roller and Linq promenade opened for business? Damned if he didn’t do it again this month when The Park opened for business. The thing that’s really maddening is that he didn’t know anything about either of these events! He just coincidentally happened to be in town at the right time. How’s that for luck?

But since I couldn’t get away from the office at this time, it worked out well for me that he was there. Once again, I enlisted him to be my intrepid, on-the-ground blogger/photographer. So Vegasbrolo and his wife went down to the Park twice to check it out–once during the day and again later at night–and he sent me his photos for use on the blog. He offered some brief initial impressions of The Park, which are also included below.

I’m not going to throw a lot of facts and figures at you about what’s available in the park. There are plenty of other Vegas websites where you can get that information. These are just the initial photos and impressions of your everyday, average visitor to Las Vegas–just like you and me. His words below, in italics, are pretty much stream-of-consciousness (in other words, he was texting me). Anything not in italics below is my commentary.

The Park

Shady seating outdoors in Vegas? This alone is worth building a Park.

Local press is all over the place.

Very much like the walkway down to High Roller [The Linq Promenade] but more of a “park” atmosphere (as you would expect). There seems to be many different areas where local musicians are setting up. Looks like a big event by the Toshiba T-Mobile area.

Toshiba Plaza

Setting up for an event at Toshiba Plaza

Toshiba Plaza has two acres of space for outdoor events, concerts, etc. This is in addition to the Arena. I could see this being a fun space for the right events.

There are actually 2 large theatres flanking the park. One is built, the second is under construction. The one that is under construction will have much more capacity than the existing ones.

Very much a park feel with bag toss and ladder ball games. Lots of trees. Lots of seating areas. Outside park tables have table games, like Connect 4.

Bag toss game

Haven’t I always said the one thing Vegas was missing was a good bag toss game? Problem solved.

Looks like most of the bars/restaurants are open. . .

Sake Rok

Sake Rok

Sake Rok – The wait staff are also the entertainers; every 20-30 minutes, they sing and dance. Somewhere down the road, the screen above the outside bar will show the waitstaff doing their singing routine inside the bar.

[I can’t wait for that. I probably won’t ever eat there, because I don’t like sushi, but I’d love to see the waitstaff sing and dance.]

Beerhaus – Has games inside like ping pong, pool, etc. plus more table games like checkers. [Glad to see Vegasbrolo had his priorities straight here. Who cares about food and beverages–it has ping pong! LOL, I kid, I kid. He took pictures of the menu here, and the beer menu is quite extensive.]

Beerhaus draft menu

Beerhaus draft menu

I confess, I don’t quite understand the whole ticket system for drinks here. This isn’t the county fair. Anyway, Beerhaus also has beer in bottles and cans, non-alcoholic brews for $4, cocktails for $10, and wines by the glass ranging from $5-12–but not more than 6-7 options in each of those categories. The food menu is similarly small and features more meat than anything, with prices ranging from $4 for a snack to $14 for a 1/2 free range chicken meal. There’s no question that this is primarily a beer hall, which is fine if all you want is a beer. But I probably won’t be eating here.

CPK- nothing to report. [If you’ve been to the California Pizza Kitchen at the Mirage, you pretty much know what to expect.]

Bruxie

This place is definitely on my list to try.

Bruxie (the waffle place) – Same menu all day. You can have dessert for breakfast or breakfast for dinner, LOL. Just “interviewed” one of the chefs from Bruxie (such a rookie, I didn’t get his name but he is from Mass).

The Park at night

Nighttime at The Park

I have to admit, when I first saw Vegasbrolo’s daytime photos, my initial reaction was that The Park looked like it wasn’t quite ready for prime time, if you know what I mean. It just didn’t resemble what I’d pictured it would look like, and I couldn’t see myself wanting to spend a lot of time there. But when he sent me his nighttime photos and impressions, I got more excited about it. Nighttime seems to bring out the best in The Park.

Fountains

Fountains in The Park at night.

Why come here? To get away from the sounds of the slot machines. There are live musicians all throughout and waterfalls–very serene.

Musician

See? Cellist.

Lighting (or lack thereof) is a great tool for creating boundaries. . . .By keeping the perimeter darker and the center lighter it defines the area.

The other nice thing? No pan handling, or people dressed up as cartoon characters. Not sure how long that will last, but it’s nice to get away from that, too.

Bliss

And of course, the Bliss Dance statue looks better at night, too.

The only food and beverage establishment they actually tried out was the Beerhaus. He answered my question before I even asked it:

So why did 2 non-beer drinkers decide to stop at the Beerhaus for a drink? Because it was very inviting. The side of the building opens up, exposing a very large bar.

Beerhaus

The Beerhaus at the Park, nighttime

[He added that there was plenty of seating at the Beerhaus that night. They sampled Tenaya Creek Brewery’s Bonanza Brown Ale with coconut. The Beerhaus was giving out free samples.]

Bonanza Brown Ale

Tenaya Creek Brewery’s Bonanza Brown Ale with Coconut. Made in Las Vegas.

He did manage to snag a photo of the open kitchen at Bruxie, the waffle sandwich place:

Bruxie open kitchen

Commence the waffle-making!

If you look at the bottom of the photo you can see all the waffle makers. There was a worker “trimming” the rough edges of the waffles for better appearance.

Great. Now I’m hungry. And thirsty.

Many thanks to “Vegasbrolo” for the great photos and first thoughts on the Park! What’s the next big thing opening in Las Vegas? I bet whatever it is, he’ll be there then, too. 🙂

Have any of you been to The Park yet? What about the Arena for a concert? What did you think of this new neighborhood on the Strip?

Photo credit: All photos in this post are the property of Vegasbrolo. 

Photo Blog: Under the Sea

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Coral Reef

This year’s summer Conservatory display rocked an underwater theme.

This year’s summer display at the Bellagio Conservatory was by far my favorite yet. The theme was “Under the Sea.” (If you now have the Disney song stuck in your head, you’re not alone.) It was by far the most creative display I’ve ever seen there, and I was like a kid in a candy store taking photos of it. Sadly, I never got over there to see how it was lit at night, but the press photos I’ve seen are lovely.

Of course, by now, they’ve transitioned to the fall display (which is very reminiscent of the one I saw two years ago, with the water mill, the talking tree and the Ent), so this post is a little behind the curve if you were looking for a preview before an upcoming trip, or if you saw this year’s summer display yourself in person. But for those of you who didn’t visit Las Vegas this summer, here’s your chance to live vicariously. In what has become a longstanding post-Vegas trip tradition, here are my photos from this summer’s display. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed taking them. Continue reading

Street Art in Las Vegas

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Welcome to Las Vegas painting

Welcome to Las Vegas painting in the Arts District

One of my favorite activities when I’m visiting a new city is hunting for street art. Believe it or not, there can be as much artistic talent on the side of a building or on a city sidewalk as there is inside an art museum–and best of all, it’s totally free to view! Street art can make for great photo opps and selfies. It can almost be like a treasure hunt to see what you can find in any given city.

What made me start writing this post is that I noticed so much street art on my last visit to Las Vegas that I hadn’t noticed before. I don’t know if it’s that I wasn’t paying attention before or if street art has been proliferating in Vegas over the past year or so. In any case, I like the trend, and I hope it continues.

Here are a small sampling of photos of some of the free art you can find on walls and in public spaces in Downtown Las Vegas:

The Market

This mural adorns the side of the building housing The Market on Fremont Street.

Preying Mantis

This preying mantis sculpture at the Downtown Container Park was originally at Burning Man. It breathes fire periodically.

Fold 'Em

This is one of several works of street art you can spot in the 18b Arts District,

Street art

More street art in 18b.

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The Atomic Testing Museum: It’s a Blast

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Atomic Testing Museum

The Atomic Testing Museum

It only took me 13 trips to Las Vegas to make it to the Atomic Testing Museum. That’s not too bad, considering the cabbie who drove me there, a Vermont transplant from Bennington, told me he had lived there nearly 20 years and had never visited himself.  Besides, a museum dedicated to a weapon of mass destruction wasn’t exactly at the top of my priority list, if you know what I mean.

But it was finally time to check it out this year. My motivation was that I wanted to see their Area 51 exhibit. The theme of my trip was to get my “geek fix,” and I’ve seen every episode of the X-Files. So I had to see this exhibit. Continue reading

Feeding Sea Turtles at Mandalay Bay

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Sea Turtle

“Honu” is sea turtle in Hawaiian

When I was in Hawaii last January, I had booked a circle island tour that was supposed to go to the famous “Turtle Beach” on Oahu, but it didn’t. I was a bit disappointed by this, since I’ve developed something of a sea turtle obsession. I blame this on Crush, the surfer dude sea turtle in Finding Nemo, and on Hawaii itself.

On my first trip to the island, a local tour guide told us that the Hawaiian name for sea turtle is “honu” (pronounced “hoe” + “new”). He told a corny joke about them: “What would happen if you found a world that had nothing but sea turtles? It would be a honu world.” I groaned at the joke, but at the same time, I just loved the word “honu”. It’s so much sweeter than “sea turtle”.

So after my disappointment at not seeing sea turtles in Hawaii, I was very excited to read online that Mandalay Bay had developed some new behind-the-scenes tours at the Shark Reef–including one where you get to feed their sea turtles! I booked it on their website and it was one of the things I was most looking forward to on my trip. On the day of the tour, I went to the Shark Reef box office as instructed in my confirmation email.

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