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Archive for the ‘Las Vegas Adventures’ Category

Move It Monday: Mesquite’s Adventures, Using the Dog to Motivate the Kids to Hike

April 18th, 2011 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Camping with Kids, Dog-Friendly Travel, Las Vegas Adventures, Las Vegas with Kids, Road Trips, Smith Family Adventures, Spring Adventures, State Park Sundays, Traveling with the Dog, Uncategorized

Mesquite and Justin, Cave Explorers, Valley of Fire State Park, Las Vegas Nevada

Twelve years of parenting has taught me that bringing the dog along is one of the best ways to get kids hiking.  My friends and neighbors thought I was crazy to bring the dog on our last vacation, but Mesquite had an awesome time and provided the kids with motivation to keep moving.

Sniff Stop, Valley of Fire State Park, Las Vegas Nevada

My sweet eight year old puppy scaled rocks and hiked to the petrified forest at Valley of Fire State Park.  She reminded us to stop and rest in the shade from time to time. 

Even back at the swanky Oasis RV park, she motivated us to walk several blocks to get the the Doggy Park which provided an hour of kid friendly entertainment as the kids happily through ball and bones for the Doggy Park visitors while Mequite hung out in the shade and enjoyed being petted.

The great thing about Nevada State Parks is that they let dogs on almost all the trails as long as they are on a leash.  Because of this liberal policy Mesquite was able to join us for most of our adventures.  Something to keep in mind when planning a dog and kid friendly trip.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Move It Monday: Rock Climbing at Valley of Fire State Park, Las Vegas Nevada

April 11th, 2011 by bsmith | 3 Comments | Filed in Camping with Kids, Las Vegas Adventures, Las Vegas with Kids, Move It Monday

Rock Climbing Valley of Fire

 What’s a great way to ensure that your kids  get some exercise on vacation?  Camp next to a big old rock outcropping and let everyone explore.  We spent three days camping at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada.  I’m sure the kids will look back fondly on the petroglyphs and the wild flowers, but their best memories will be of scrambling up the rocks next to our camp site with dog in tow. 

A Glimpse of the Climbers, Valley of Fire

 Everyone enjoyed climbing around until they found their own unique cubbyhole to take a rest.

Justin's Hide Out, Valley of Fire

 More pictures later.  As you can imagine we can hardly wait to go back!

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Bellagio Fountains

October 21st, 2010 by bsmith | 1 Comment | Filed in Las Vegas Adventures, Las Vegas with Kids, Uncategorized

Bellagio Fountains Las Vegas

My absolute favorite Las Vegas attraction is the Bellagio Fountains.   On my first trip to Vegas, I took in this breathtaking watershow next to my sister-in-law who was discretely nursing her baby and with my oldest son, a tired, restless preschooler.  A few years later, my husband and I stayed at the Paris Hotel for a couples getaway.  I stayed up every night looking across the street at the show  from my climate controlled hotel room until the fountains were shut down for the night.  In 2009, my oldest and I made a long  hot summer trek on foot from the MGM Grand to the Bellagio .  Justin in a typical tween way was underwhelmed by the spectacle.

Ken and Justin take in the Bellagio Fountains Las Vegas

My latest visit to the fountains, however, is  the one I will always treasure.  We were able to share the fountain show  with all three kids this summer.  Destiny and Jared danced in the darkness to the beautiful music.  Ken and Justin stood silently taking it all in.  I had a moment to reflect on how much our family has grown and changed  since that first Las Vegas visit over eight years ago. 

People don’t think of Las Vegas as a family travel destination, but it has a lot to offer if you know where to look (and what to avoid). Indeed it is my youngest child’s favorite place to visit due his desire to stay in fancy hotels.  Keep an eye on this blog in the coming months.  I’ll share more of our Smith Family adventures in this affordable, off beat family travel destination.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

P.S. Family Adventure Guidebook participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup.   This week Debbie has a great LEGO photo up.  Check it out!

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Cooling off in Las Vegas

September 30th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Las Vegas Adventures

Flamingo Splashdown, Las Vegas

This is the second summer that our family has been crazy enough to head to Las Vegas in August.  Visiting during this steamy season requires some creativity, but it still can be a fun family vacation.  The secret to is pick a hotel with a great pool and bring plenty of sunscreen.  A trip or two to a museum or a bowling alley are also fun.  Throw in plenty of yummy buffets, some time to hang out in the room and watching plenty of Nick Jr. and you have the recipe for a super affordable summer getaway.

Visiting with the Flamingos, Flamingo Hotel Las Vegas

Since we were spending a whole week, we broke up our stay into two sections.  First we stayed at Mandalay Bay.  We spent our days floating down the lazy river and body surfing in the wave pool. (Although only Justin, age 11 met the height requirement).  We attended the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur on night.  The kids loved shouting “Huzzah! ” for their favorite knight and swigging soda from beer steins.  Destiny and Jared even had a chance to pet the horses.

Later in the week, we headed to the Hilton Grand Vacation Suites at the Flamingo.  I loved this resort.  The two room suite was just what we needed after life in a single room at Mandalay Bay. We could use the smaller, quieter Hilton Grand pool as well the fun but rowdy Flamingo Pool complete with very little kid friendly water slides.  We ate deli food outside around the Hilton Grand pool for most meals.  The last day, after checking out, we were able to take a final swim, and play ping pong  until it was time to head home.

Mommy and Jared Relaxing at the Flamingo Hilton Grand Vacation Resort

Can hardly wait for next summer!

Happy Trails,

Bridget

Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Spotlight Thursday on the Talking Trekaroo.  Stop by to read about fun family adventures.

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Photo Friday: The Dark Side of Family Travel

August 7th, 2009 by bsmith | 5 Comments | Filed in Las Vegas Adventures
Destiny is not a Happy Camper at the Adventurdome

Destiny is not a Happy Camper at the Adventuredome, Las Vegas

Hi All,

This ”dark night of the soul” post was actually written a few months ago on a Spring Break Trip to Las Vegas.  I am happy to report that although we have had some similiar moments since then, in general my outlook towards family travel has much improved.  What a difference a little more maturity makes! 

 My fellow travel bloggers and I spend a lot of time, trying to encourage you all to get out and travel.  We offer tips and tricks to make traveling with kids easier.  When it comes down to it, however, traveling with kids is hard…definitely worthwhile, but on the other hand very very difficult. 

Kids thrive on routine and try as you might to maintain routine while on the road it is not going to be the same.  This trip I found the quirks of my five year old Miss who must have her socks adjusted just right, and has a preferred wardrobe of about three things to be amplified to a point that it almost drove my whole family over the brink! Sleeping schedules are difficult to maintain. Toast, my four year old’s favorite food is hard to come by.  Being in constant close quarters with his younger siblings without some opportunities for escape to pursue his own interests became very difficult for nine year old Justin by the end of the trip.

Hotels are not the most kid friendly spaces for preschoolers whose voices seem physically incapable of whispering, and who long to stomp and run.  It is balance to be considerate of others while at the same time letting the kids have a good time.  Some guests will be patient with your kids idiosyncrasies.  Most smiled tolerantly as mischievous Jared tried to jump every time we got in the elevator.  (Note to other traveling moms…be sure that your kids never watch Elf !)  Most waitresses are understanding about those wiggly kids at the table and seat your family as far away from the other guests as possible…especially those young honeymooners at the corner table.  The short frustrating public tantrums…those are a bit difficult for everyone however.

Roadtrip Tantrum

My perspective may be a bit warped as I was outnumbered for the majority of the trip.  Each day I had time to fill on my own from 8 am-4pm while my husband was at work.  I experimented with keeping them out and busy, and just lazing around the hotel room and pool.  Each strategy had some benefits and some drawbacks.  Keeping the kids quiet in the hotel room got a little frustrating.  The pools were great, but once again the needs of the two age groups were hard to meet.  Justin got short shrift due to my need to keep an eye on Destiny and Jared and keep them safe.  He didn’t want to enjoy the big kid areas on his own.  Like most kids he wanted to share the fun with mom or dad.  Our adventures to the Adventuredome and the Children’s Museum were fun, but once again we were limited by Justin and Jared’s craving for adventure and Destiny’s timidity to the point of hysteria whenever she is confronted by anything remotely loud or exciting.

I think that traveling with an only child would be a very different experience.  I have very fond memories of traveling with my parents.  Even if one was busy, the other was always available to give me the attention I needed.  My parents could choose activities that were appropriate for my age level, or even if we were doing something “adult” my presence as the only child in the room gave me some positive attention.  Ken and I were able to spend some one on one time with Justin this trip.  Ken took him to Fremont Street.  I headed over to New York, New York to ride the giant fast roller coaster.  I love spending one on one time with Justin because he just talks his heart out.  He glows under my undivided attention.  He also complains A LOT, but at least I have the time to listen.  We get to share what we enjoy.  I rode the roller coaster, he grudgingly took in the Bellagio Fountains.

So why do it?  Why didn’t I just sit out this adventure and spend a quiet spring break with the kids swimming in our own familiar and somewhat freezing pool?  Because I love watching my kids rise to the occasion and work together as a team.  I love that Destiny helps me pack.  I love that Justin gives his siblings piggy pack rides on the long walk through the casino.  I love that he and Jared go off and ride some of the more exciting theme park rides.  I love that Jared gets to use the boys bathroom every once in a while under the watchful eye of dad or big brother.  Then there is the adventure…exploring unfamiliar places, swimming next to a shark tank, changing the tires on a pretend car, choosing whatever your heart desires for dinner.  Despite all our misadventures, this trip was worth it.

Destiny Gets Brave, Adventuredome, Las Vegas

Destiny Gets Brave, Adventuredome, Las Vegas

Happy Trails,

Bridget

PS. This blog participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday.  Keep your finger on the pulse of the travel world here.

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Photo Friday: Lego Las Vegas

July 24th, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in Las Vegas Adventures, Legoland, Photo Friday
Lego MGM Grand, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego MGM Grand, Miniland Las Vegas

Just got back from a trip from Vegas.  Since it was 112 degrees during most of our visit, I didn’t have a chance to snap many shots of the famous Strip.  Luckily Legoland has me covered.   Here is the Lego version of our Las Vegas adventures:

Lego Excalibur, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego Excalibur, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego New York New York, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego New York New York, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego Treasure Island, Miniland Las Vegas

Lego Treasure Island, Miniland Las Vegas

 We tried to see the Treasure Island sirens show when we were in Vegas.  The crowds were so huge we could only catch a glimpse.  Probably a good thing since this show is decidedly PG-18.  Those sirens wear some skimpy lingerie!  I think we will be sticking to viewing the Legoland version in the future.

I have a blog post about family friendly Las Vegas pools on Uptake this week.  Check it out.

Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Family Travel Tip Tuesday: Crime Happens

July 21st, 2009 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Las Vegas Adventures, Travel Tips

So sorry I missed State Park Sunday this week.  I’m really sick with a cold!  Sounds like 88% of the funding is restored, but some parks will still be closed at the Governor’s discretion no less.  I don’t think that the park closures are worth preserving the governor’s “No new taxes” philosophy.  A voluntary Park Access Pass fee would have gone a long way to keeping all the parks open and reducing the amount allocated from the general fund.

Anyway, on to Travel Tip Tuesday.  I am writing this post because our family has been victims of crime  on more than one occasion during our travels this year.  Here are three scenarios we have experienced.

Stolen Cell Phone

 On a spring trip to Las Vegas my husband lost his cell phone.  It may have dropped out of his pocket or his pocket was picked.  What scares me is that we were not together, and I continued to broadcast my location until the person who found it turned it off.  We spent an hour on the phone with Sprint, but we were able to block outgoing calls and re-route incoming calls to my cell phone.  When you travel make sure that your cell phone is secure.  As soon as you find out it is lost,  take immediate action.  Don’t expect to rely on some good Samaritan to return to phone.  It did not happen in our case.

Fraud

When we were in Santa Cruz I decided to order take out from my favorite Chinese restaurant.  When I Googled it’s name the first thing that came up was a site called Menu Station.  This site contained the restaurant menu and offered online ordering.  I decided that this sounded like a good alternative to calling the restaurant and placing a phone order.  I place my order, only to discover that Menu Station had not passed on the proceeds from online orders to the restaurant management for many months!  So far, no misuse of my credit card number, but inquiries have gone unanswered and I must now pursue a reverse charge with my credit card company…Bummer.  Kudos to the restaurant for comping me the bill.  I’ll post a review of this delicious venue at another time.

Auto Break-In

It seems that crime happens in Vegas.  My husband left our cheapo GPS in the rental car at a hotel parking lot.  Someone broke the car window and grabbed it.  There was onsite security, but somehow he wasn’t passing by at the right time.  Always take in your electronics…even if you don’t think they are valuable.  According to my discussions with the security guard, even the resale of something inexpensive can fund an addict’s next fix.

Ken paid for the rental with American Express so they are cheerfully covering repairs.  We’ll have to see if there is any further financial fallout from robbery for us.  We are out a GPS though. We purchased it with Master Card a while ago and don’t have the complete receipt.  Ken suggested that we find out where they were selling all those stolen electronics and buy a new to us GPS on our way out of town.  I nixed that idea, and we will be relying on Google Maps for the forseeable future.

Hope you have a summer of crime free vacations.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Ethel M Chocolate Factory, Las Vegas

July 17th, 2009 by bsmith | 4 Comments | Filed in Las Vegas Adventures, Uncategorized
Jared and his Green Friend

Jared and his Green Friend

It has been a hot week here in Las Vegas.  Before you think I was absolutely crazy to plan a trip out here this time of year (and perhaps I was!) my husband had a business trip so we decided to tag along. 

Enjoying Las Vegas in 112+ degree weather has required some creativity.  We spend more time just hanging out in our wonderful hotel room at the Desert Rose Resort in Las Vegas then we usually do on such adventures.  We swim in the evenings and spent a morning bowling in an air conditioned casino.

The first day of our trip I had the crazy idea to drive out to Henderson and take the Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour.  The tour, frankly, was a bust.  Although we arrived at 1:30 the workers must have been home on break or gone for the day.  The factory was almost deserted.  I enjoyed seeing all the machinery and redeemed myself in the eyes of my children by buying overpriced chocolate bars.   They were delectible.

Chocolate Delights

Chocolate Delights

Here are some photos of the cactus garden.  I enjoyed it immensely despite the heat.  The kids were another story:

Lone Cactus

Lone Cactus

 

Happy Trails, Las Vegas

Happy Trails, Las Vegas

Some of my fellow travel bloggers are heading to TBEX and BlogHer in Las Vegas.  Sadly, my travels are mostly over for the summer, and I won’t be joining them.  If you are looking for some virtual travels, check out Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday  .

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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Photo Friday: Shark Tank Pool (Golden Nugget, Las Vegas)

May 15th, 2009 by bsmith | 8 Comments | Filed in Family Travel, Las Vegas Adventures, Road Trips
The Smith Boys Enjoy The Shark Tank Pool, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

The Smith Boys Enjoy The Shark Tank Pool, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

Las Vegas is know for its amazing pools.  I’ve only had a chance to see and/or experience about four of them.  From what I’ve seen so far ,The Golden Nugget should definately be on your must stay list if you value a fun, kid friendly pool. 

 

Destiny Gets Splashing at the Golden Nugget Pool, Las Vegas

Destiny Gets Splashing at the Golden Nugget Pool, Las Vegas

This lovely pool is completely shallow all the away around.  It encircles a giant fish tank filled with large colorful fish and even a few sharks.  A highlight for the adults and older kids is a water slide that passes directly through the tank.  It is transparent in the part that goes through.  I found myself going so fast that it was hard to see.  My ten year old managed to slow down enough to look around and even make funny faces as he went down.  There is a height requirement for the waterslide.  Also, your little one must be a good enough swimmer to exit the pool by his or her self after they splash down.

Ken Reacts to the Golden Nugget Waterslide

Ken Reacts to the Golden Nugget Waterslide

Other great ammenities in the pool area are: pool lounge chairs to cool off on a hot Las Vegas day, lots of comfy cushioned lounge chairs to hang out on, and a hot tub that is shaped like a flower.  Your family can hunker down in one petal while the couple on their honeymoon can hide out in the other. 

One thing to be aware  of  is that this pool can get busy.  During the day it was very crowed and difficult to find a lounge chair for our stuff.   Justin got tired of waiting  in line for the water slide.  When we visited early evening it was almost deserted.   We enjoyed our “private pool”. 

 I purchased life jackets for Jared and Destiny that they wore throughout their Golden Nugget  pool adventure. The jackets gave me piece of mind and gave my preschoolers the freedom to explore  the shallow water.

Jareds Ready For a Swim at The Golden Nugget Pool, Las Vegas

Jared is Ready For a Swim at The Golden Nugget Pool, Las Vegas

Congratulations to my friend Debbie at  Delicious Baby who just had her third baby.  She is so organized that she managed to get her Photo Friday Travel Blog Roundup up the day after she gave birth.  Reward her efforts by checking out great the great travel photos from bloggers around the world.

Happy Trails,

Bridget

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