Vegas, 2010: Part II – Animals and Light Shows

It is particularly fitting that I’m posting about my trip to Vegas with Brit right now, since tomorrow we are setting off on a cruise! We’re going to have a blast, I’m sure, and it will no doubt involve getting lost at least once.

For now, though, let’s talk about our second day in Vegas!

100_1197

We began our second day bright and early by taking the tram train from Treasure Island to the Mirage.

100_1199

100_1195

100_1200

We were very jealous to discover the pool at the Mirage had a stunning light waterfall. I badly wanted to swim there – doesn’t it seem fun? Since our day did not include trying to sneak our way into the pool area, we continued on to our first stop of the day – Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat!

100_1204

100_1207

100_1212

The dolphin show was first – and I’m sorry, I don’t have any pictures because I filmed a bit of it instead – and they were absolutely adorable. According to the show, the trainers only get the dolphins to do tricks that are natural behaviors. What I liked about this show is that it wasn’t just activity after activity for the dolphins. In fact, they had two trainers in with a dolphin each and it was mostly just their interactions while checking on the dolphins. No hoop jumps here, and I liked that.

100_1213

The Garden aspect was essentially a walk through while looking at big cats in areas that seem frankly too small for them. It’s especially hard for me to praise this or any kind of zoo after seeing animals in their natural habitats on a South African safari. Anything smaller than the wild seems unnatural. The only bright spots are rehabilitation centers, which then usually release the animals back into the wild.

100_1218

100_1221

100_1237

100_1229

The white tiger in the last picture kept staring at me and pacing. At first it just seemed like strange behavior, until I realized I had accidentally dressed in black and white and probably looked like a tasty zebra. Oops.

The definite highlight of the Garden was absolutely the two white tiger cubs. The female stayed in the tree and slept off and on, but the male was in a playful mood. A worker was in the enclosure, too, and they played together. It was sort of adorable to see a tiger cub acting like a domestic cat.

100_1242

100_1247

100_1251

On our way out, we visited the underwater part of the dolphin tank, where I ended up taking two of my favorite pictures of dolphins ever. Maybe it’s just me, but I absolutely love them.

100_1261

100_1264

We crossed the street and headed over to the Venetian, which boasts outdoor and indoor gondola rides. Although Venice wasn’t one of our stops, both Brit and I had mega flashbacks to our Italy trip, and it was just another reminder to return!

100_1269

100_1273

100_1274

100_1275

100_1282

When we had initially done research into our trip, we looked into the different activities offered at each hotel. The gondola rides really appealed to us, but we noticed it was twice as much to have a gondola to yourself than it was to share one with another couple of strangers. When the day came to actually go on to the gondola, we paid the lower cost to share one, but ended up lucking out and having our own anyway! Score.

100_1290

100_1298

100_1301

100_1302

Maritetta was an awesome gondolier, and I left there longing to visit Venice and experience the real thing.

We bussed up the Strip to check out Excalibur, then hopped over to MGM to see the lions. That hotel is massive though, and if you remember from my Florence post, Brit and I are not the best with directions. We actually managed to get lost inside a hotel.

While in MGM, Brit bought a 32oz souvenir drink, which we discovered after was not allowed on the bus. That meant we had another walk down the Strip ahead of us. We met some interesting characters along the way, though!

2010 Vegas7

100_1333

100_1330

2010 Vegas8

Guys, I met Jack Sparrow! Kidding, but this guy was really good. He had the behavior, accent, and movements down perfectly. Like I said before, I’m a lover of all things pirate-related, so this was a definite highlight for me! There is also a funny story to go along with this encounter, but you’ll have to check the recap post for more!

After dinner and a brief relaxation period at the hotel to rest our aching feet, we took a bus down to Old Vegas.

100_1346

2010 Vegas9

100_1349

100_1354

2010 Vegas10

Fremont Street was amazing! We saw the light show, which at that time was set to The Doors, and then we gambled at the 4 Queens. This was my first gambling experience ever, and I was up $10 by the time we left.

The Stratosphere was a must for our trip, and we gladly paid the entrance fee to go up to the observation deck. The view of the lit up Strip was spectacular, and when we glanced up we could see the see-saw ride which has you hanging over the edge. I love adventure and thrill rides, but that is one I was NOT upset to miss out on.

We had a bit of trouble catching a bus back from the Stratosphere afterwards, which resulted in an hour or so wait in a sketchy area. If there’s one place I felt uncomfortable in, it was waiting for the bus. Everything was closed and the area was poorly lit. The feeling of seclusion was never more apparent than at that moment. Eventually a bus arrived which was not full and we made it back to our hotel safely. As an added bonus, we caught the Pirate show!

2010 Vegas11

The pirate show is a nightly event put on at Treasure Island. We had left the Stratosphere with more than enough time to get back and see the show, but in the end we barely made it thanks to the wait. In fact, if we hadn’t been able to stand in the VIP section (for Treasure Island guests), we wouldn’t have bothered seeing it that night at all.

The biggest disappointment of the entire day came directly after I took the picture of the pirate ship (above) – my camera battery died. With that camera, it came with no wall charger option, and at the time I wasn’t smart enough to ensure I had a back up battery (since then, I overdo it and travel with 3… hey, you never know!). It’s particularly disappointing to know that when I write Part III of this Vegas post, any pictures I include will be from the previous days. For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed Part II!

How do you feel about zoos? Have you been to Siegfried & Roy’s in Vegas?

One thought on “Vegas, 2010: Part II – Animals and Light Shows

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s