What happened in Vegas? (And does it really stay here?)


This is your brain. This is your brain on Vegas.

OK, not quite, but this is my favorite memory of Las Vegas, seen from the upper deck of a Big Bus tour. It’s the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health building designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.

It’s supposed to represent the different hemispheres of the brain, but I think it more aptly describes what’s going on in your head after a week of nonstop partying.

Not that I’d know what that’s like. I’m here for our family travel adventure, and we’ve been keeping it G-Rated, with visits to the museum, the Hoover Dam, and Cirque performances.

We stayed a block off the strip, at the Desert Club Resort, part of the Holiday Inn Club Vacations chain, which was a welcome relief from the noise and smoke of the Las Vegas Strip.

The most impressive thing to me was the intense, triple-digit desert heat. It’s always there, just waiting for you to step outside of your air-conditioned room and be enveloped by it. I live in Central Florida, and I’ve never experienced anything like it. Good think we had a pool a few steps outside our unit at the resort.

If you come here with your family, I’d advise you to get off the Strip and to stay off. There’s so much away from this adult playground that’s also great for kids, and I’m not just talking about the marquee attractions like the dam. Once you get past the glittery part, you might actually Like Vegas. I did.

(OK, some of you have asked about the comment I made on Twitter about almost being “86ed” from a casino with my son. Long story. Let’s just say kids don’t belong in a casino, for any reason. It doesn’t matter how good the Gelato at the Venetian is. I’ll have the full story later.)

We’re on to our next destination, San Diego. I’ll have a full report soon.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • polexia_rogue

    i love vegas, but yes the casino staff is MEAN when it comes to kids.

    i was walking past one of those giant slot machines and a family (mom dad and a kid no older then 5) the dad was going to put in a dollar and the mom was going to take a picture. it would have taken less then a minute to accomplish this.

    this was in the section of Paris that was at the indoor ENTRANCE to the casino (near the food/shops)

    but out of no where a casino nazi demanded the mom move the child away from the casino entrance NOW. the mom explained that they just wanted to take a picture, so the casino nazi said “fine, the child can sit with me while you take the picture then i will release him back to you.”


    and yes they actually took the picture instead of running away as fast as possible.

    i am sorry if anyone gets offended by the use of the term “casino nazi” but i think a child who looks like a child should be allowed to walk with their parents through an area that happens to have a casino in it.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I don’t disagree with the law: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-463.html#NRS463Sec350

    It’s the enforcement of the law that bothers me. It happened to us at the Wynn. We were waiting for Mom, who was buying bottled water, and a woman ordered us to “keep walking — NOW!” I felt like a criminal.

    Seriously, smokers have more rights in the casino than kids.

  • Mark Carolla

    Christopher — The casino personnel are obviously terrified of being accused of permitting a violation of the Nevada Law you cite: that those under 21 should not be allowed to “Loiter, or be permitted to loiter, IN OR ABOUT any room or premises wherein any licensed game, race book, sports pool or pari-mutuel wagering is operated or conducted.” Sort of like airline personnel having to enforce FAA or TSA regulations.

  • Stephen0118

    If you go to Sea World, make sure that you ride the Atlantis ride. It is AWESOME! Be sure to wear a Poncho on that ride.

  • BD

    Oh, please. The triple-digit temps are *nothing* compared to the inescapable oppressive humidity Florida has to offer.

  • Richard

    Boff, the triple digit temperatures you cats have in the States are nothing compared to Mopti or Timbuktu.

    3:30 PM ~ 54°C (129.2°F)

    7:30 PM ~25°C (77°F)

    Humidity << 10%; only time in my life where I've had to humidify a computer room. Other difference from Florida, in Timbuktu no mosquitos, we were 5 km from the Niger.

  • jpp42

    I’ve heard there are slot machines in Las Vegas airport? How does that work, as obviously the airport would be full of kids?

  • Stephen0118

    There are slot machine attendants there, although I don’t know how observant they are.

  • JulieD

    We just flew through the Las Vegas airport with our two girls, who are 13 and 8. One group of slot machines were right in front of the restrooms at our gate. While waiting for her 8 yr old sister to exit the restrooms, our 13 yr old was told that she needed to stand 10 feet away from the slot machines in all directions. This was close to impossible, but the attendant was very serious. The slot machines were put near the restrooms and several concessions where anyone under 21yrs old might have to stand to wait for another member of their group.