Saturday 7/30 The kids and I arrived in Las Vegas on time, at about 3:30. Dh and Michael were at the airport to pick us up, and we took off for our condo/timeshare, the Cliffs at Peace Canyon. I was a little disappointed when we checked out the room, .both bedrooms had double beds. I am used to exchanging into units with a king in the master bedroom. Oh well, not the worst thing on earth. We hung around the room a little while, and I napped while dh ran to the store for breakfast supplies and water. Then we took off for the strip. I wanted to pick up our Power Passes, which we did at Caesars, at the Planet Hollywood in the Forum Shops. I ordered the Power Passes on line, which gave us a discount on the 3 day pass ($90 instead of $120 for adults and $60 instead of $80 for the kids) Tip #1: If you are in Vegas in the summer, buy water. It's really hot and it's pricey at the casinos. If you're on the strip without a car, there is a Walgreens between MGM and Bally's TIP #2: The Power Pass is a good idea if you want to see alot of different actvities at the casinos. Buy ahead online, because discounts are offered. http://visiticket.com/default.aspx We then headed over to Harrahs, to eat at Toby Keiths, I Love This Bar and Grill. We were there about 7, and had to wait until almost 9 to be seated. It probably wasnt the most appropriate places to be on a Saturday night in Vegas (we really werent thinking), but I really like Toby Keith. My kids werent too thrilled (my dd Emily said shed have liked it better if it had been Tim McGraw). We finally got seated and the kids decided they liked the place, because sodas were served in large mason jars they were so impressed. Dinner isnt cheap, and we kind of blew the budget, but I didnt care ..I really wanted to go here. After diner, we headed back home. (Dinner, about $65 before tax and tip) Sunday 7/31 We woke up after sleeping in until almost 10. In addition to the fact that we only had a double bed, it was very uncomfortable, to the point that I was waking up every couple of hours with back pain. That ended up being what happened all week long. So, we got going late, and headed over to the Dolphin Habitat and Secret Garden at the Mirage. Cost would have been $15 per adult, and $10 per child. It was nice, and the kids loved the shops. Daddy bought dd Emily a necklace, and Thomas walked away with a dolphin stuffed animal. We then headed over to Excalibur, and parked the car. We took the tram to Mandalay Bay, to eat at Border Grill, where we had a restaurant.com gift certificate ($4 for a $25 gift certificate). It was another pricey meal, as Emilys watermelon lemonade was $4 a glass and she had two! Dh had two beers and I had a glass of Sangria. Oh well, our budgeting has been quite poor so far this trip. ($82 before the GC) TIP #3: Valet parking is free at all the casinos, and we tip the same regardless of where we park. So park at a more upscale resort if you can......there are alot more valets, and you won't wait as long (ie, Mandalay Bay instead of Excalibur) After lunch, we went to the Luxor to see the King Tut museum and ride In Search of the Obelisk. I enjoyed the museum (I had been once before) and wanted the kids to see it, especially Emily, who will be studying Ancient Egypt in school this year. In Search of the Obelisk was not as good as I remembered it, but the kids seemed to like it. Dh then really wanted to go to the M&M store, near MGM. The kids were okay with this, but I really didnt want to go; I was hot and tired and thought a dip in the pool sounded good. I gave in, and soon discovered I was lucky dh suggested this. Next to the M& M store is a ticket broker, called Tickets2Nite, which sells discounted tickets to shows. I walked over just to see what they were offering, out of curiosity, when I saw it ..Reba McEntire tickets!!!! I knew Reba was in town the first two night we were there, but the only tickets available online seemed to be $125 and $250 each. I just couldnt justify the price, even though dh was willing to buy them, since I knew he also wanted to do the Tournament of kings show at Excalibur, and I knew that would be pricey. We got 2 tickets for $74!!!! Row S, on the side, but the theatre is so small, they were still great seats. The only problem was we were supposed to pick the tickets up by 7, and it was already 5:30. We had to get back to Excalibur, pick our car up from the valet, drive out to our timeshare (20 minutes or so) and then back to the Las Vegas Hilton, all in 1 ½ hours. We raced to the car, drove back to the condo, and while I dressed, dh ran out and got Wendys for the kids. We made it to the LV Hilton by 7:15 or so, got the tickets and went to the theater. Brian bought two drinks from the bar and we just sat back and relaxed. The show was great, and it was over 1 1/2 hours. Im so glad we went. TIP # 4: If you want to see a show and aren't particular about which show, these brokers are great! Tix4Tonite *south strip. Next to the Harley Davidson Cafe on the corner of Harmon and LV Blvd. *Fashion Show Mall. The entrance is located right off the street near Neiman Marcus *north strip. Across from the Stardust, and next to the Riviera. http://www.tix4tonight.com Tickets2Nite is located on the strip in the Showcase Mall next to the big Coke bottle across from the Monte Carlo Hotel and next to the MGM hotel. http://www.tickets2nite.com Monday 8/1 We slept in again, and today, headed back to the LV Hilton to go to the Star Trek Experience. We again used the Power Pass, which was nice, since adult tickets are $39 and kids, $34. We all liked the rides/shows, especially the Borg 4-D. We ate lunch at Quarks, and had another restaurant.com $25 GC. Gratuity was included, so lunch was $43. Not a bad price, but my sandwich wasnt very good. But the boys loved their chicken nuggets!! We went over to the gift shop, where I spent way too much on a phaser gun for Michael (hes 14, who would have thought he wanted something like that) and two toy ships for Thomas. Tip #5: If you like Star Trek, get there when it opens. You can ride as many times as you want that day. You can get 1/2 price tickets at Tickets2Nite. We then headed over to Circus Circus, which I was kind of curious about. I have never been there before, and thought maybe it might be a good place to stay sometime. We drove up, and valet parking was full, so I wasnt really happy. We drove to the 5th level of the parking garage, and then discovered the elevator was out. Again, I wasnt too happy, but luckily, we only needed to go to the 3rd level to get to the Adventuredome. This was also included in our pass ($22 for each of us for an all day pass since rides were $4-$7 each, its the only way to go). We all rode the roller coaster, and I got totally sick to my stomach. So, Brian and the kids rode the water ride and the roller coasters again, and Thomas found an airplane ride (kind of like Dumbo) which he rode 2 or 3 times. We played a couple of games, won some prizes, and then rode the Bumper cars and left. It wasnt that great Im glad we went, and Im glad we had the passes. If we hadnt, I wouldnt have wanted to pay for the family ($110) and then the kids would have been upset ..it would have been ugly all around. Tip #6: Don't waste your time at the Adventuredome We then left back to the condo, stopping at Albertsons to pick up some Freschetta pizzas for dinner. We swam in the pool, and just had a mellow (and budget) evening Tuesday 8/2 The plan for today was to get up and going a little earlier, which we kind of did. We headed off to the Las Vegas Natural Museum, which was small but nice. Thomas loved going around taking pictures (thank goodness for digital cameras) We then decided to go check out the zoo, but when we got there, didnt go in. It looked like it was in someones back yard. The info says that its 3 acres, and maybe it was, but we decided to move on. We parked over at Aladdin, and the kids decided they were hungry, so we ate at the Spice Market Buffet. The kids had wanted to try a buffet, and I have heard it was a nice one. We enjoyed it, and then Brian left with Michael and Emily to ride the roller coaster at New York New York and I took Thomas to the museum at the Bellagio, which has an exhibit on Ansel Adams. Thomas had pretty much no interest in the exhibit, but did like the tape recorder wand, and listening to it. He was really good, though, so I then took him to the video arcade and let him play a few games. We then headed back to the conservatory, and took pictures; there was a neat exhibit that had small models of the famous buildings in Washington DC. We met up with dh and headed back to the condo for some R & R. We then went back to the LV Hilton, so Brian and the kids could ride the Star Trek rides again. I hung out in the Star Trek casino, where I put $5 in the machines and walked away with $75. So I was happy. The kids were happy, too, as Dad bought another space ship for Thomas and two bears for Emily (a Borg and a Star Trek officer) Wednesday 8/3 Our last full day here in Vegas. We drove out to Red Rock Canyon, and went to the Visitors Center and drove the 13 mile scenic road. It was quite nice, although the kids were bored. We cam back to the condo and swam, and then headed over to Excalibur, for the Tournament of Kings show. We were early, so we killed time in the arcade, which was actually pretty nice (I was pleasantly surprised) The show was pricey, at $61 per person, and didnt include alcohol, but we had a good time. TIP#7: Red Rock Canyon is $5 per car entry.......you can spend a nice morning here. TIP # 8: We found NO discounts for the Tournament of Kings show.....it was over $300 for our family. It's $61 per person, with nio kids discount. Think about this when you price the Hoo Dee Doo Revue.....that's $50 per person, and $25 for kids, and it includes alcohol. The food is WAY better, too! But, the kids really enjoyed it, and sometimes you have to just "hang the expense". Back at the condo we packed, to head out the next day.