The Secret Garden

You may have noticed the dolphin in my header photo. I bet you wondered what that had to do with January/February . You’re right, its no refection on Valentine’s Day or any other January/February holiday but it is from the Vegas trip.


Ok Next question. We’re in the desert. Where did a dolphin come in?

DSC_0400 copy

Well we had a lot of exploring to do on Monday. It ‘s our last full day in Vegas. We started the day off at the Hash House  A Go Go again. Location and convenience counts for something. I skipped the pancake this time but tried the waffle. Not bad but the waffles at the Sheraton in San Diego were better.

DSC_0399 copy

After eating too much at breakfast we headed to the Mirage. For a desert, there’s sure a lot of water here.

DSC_0402 copy

DSC_0408 copy

In the Mirage was the Secret Garden. The full name is Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. There are 3 interconnected pools and the dolphins can be found in any of the pools. You can also do “downstairs” and watch through viewing windows. There’s no show per se but the dolphins are trained to perform some behaviors so the biologists can observe them.

DSC_0438 copy

I spend quite a bit of time watching the dolphins while JR went on to explore the rest of the Gardens. He found the Big Cats. He led me through the gateway to huge cages where retired cats from Siegfried  and Roy’s shows now reside in leisure.

DSC_0451 copy

DSC_0449 copy

DSC_0439 copy

They appeared to be well taken care of but they looked sad to us. Still if they were free in the wild they’d be dead by now. Wild Big Cats just don’t live to be 20 years old. 🙁 We took most of the morning among the animals and then it was time to move along.


Las Vegas the Show

Even if it isn’t a Headliner this is a great show. We really lucked out for seating too. Apparently they forgot to advertise the 9:30 show so they weren’t even close to selling out. This worked in our favor when they moved everyone up in seating. We ended up with great seats facing center stage.

Las vegas

The show opens in the Neon Graveyard, a collection of the most iconic signs of old Las Vegas. This was on our list of things to do right along with a visit to the Gold and Silver Pawn shop where Pawn Stars is filmed. It turns out that the props for the show was as close as we came to the real Neon Boneyard.

Anyway, Ernie, the protector of Las Vegas past , emerges from the shadows to lead the audience on a tour through the years.

The journey begins with the dawn of the “Nightclub Acts” of the ’40’s and ’50’s. Extravagant costumes characterized an era of beauty and romance. This was time of the feathered showgirls in scandalous skimpy costumes and rhinestones.

JR fremont

The term “Lounge Lizard” was born while young people flocked the little casino town in the desert. Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton, started in one of the little lounges. By the time I made my first visit in the ’70’s Wayne Newton was a headliner but the little lounges still surrounded the casino floor and offered excellent entertainment for the cost of a drink.

The show was a series of celebrity impersonators from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy David Jr (the Rat Pack) to Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, Sonny and Cher and soul sensation Gladys Knight and the Pips.

can can

Can Can girls and a Wedding Chapel medley captured the essence of the Old Las Vegas.

As the show reached its conclusion we watched the implosion of the famous landmarks that marked the original strip; the Landmark, the Sands, the Aladdin, the Stardust and the  Frontier.


The impersonations were great, the music outstanding and the costumes breathtaking. Watching the demolition of Old Las Vegas was sad but the show isn’t intended to let you feel down. It is a tribute to the true spirit of Las Vegas. The talents and personalities who built this mile stretch of desert into the “entertainment capital of the world” are showcased and immortalized in “Las Vegas the Show”!

Dinner on the Miracle Mile

The show we reserved for this evening, “Las Vegas the Show” didn’t start until 9:30 so we had time to find a place for dinner.

Las vegas

The show was inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.  The first thing you notice is the sky or roof or…well, it’s a beautifully painted ceiling that looks like blue sky. It’s easy to forget that you are inside.


The first thing I spotted were glittery lighted columns.


They bordered the escalator which was topped by a huge disco ball that changed colors. Pretty impressive.




As we entered the Miracle Mile Shops it was like entering Disney. Do you notice a trend here? I think I said that before but really, the sky, the buildings, right out of a Disney set.


We had a free dinner at one of 3 restaurants. I picked the Italian restaurant. We were seated “outside”  but since it was play-off season flat screen TV’s were conveniently located so everyone could watch the game. Go Pats!


We had Pats fans sitting next to us but we were mindful of the “Atmosphere” and kept our cheers and fist pumps to a conservative level.


Back to the free dinner, the meal was free if you chose from a limited menu. I had the chicken Marsala and Joe had fettuccine Alfredo. (I forgot to take a picture before we ate…oops)  It was very good. But we’re sitting in a lovely restaurant in Las Vegas so of course we had a drink   and since we didn’t have to pay for dinner we could indulge in desert, well bottom line our dinner bill was bigger than if we’d paid for dinner and skipped the drinks and desert. But it was worth it.


Then it was time to wander back to wait for the show.


Sunday in Vegas

Sunday morning rolled around. We decided to try the Hash House a Go Go for breakfast. It was right there in the hotel so easy to get to. The menu was well rounded. You could add a huge pancake to one of their breakfasts so we had to try. I made mine cinnamon apple.


It was huge all right. No way was I going to be able to make much of a dent and between you and me, my apple pancakes are better anyway. Then it was back to the room to await my call for the sales presentation.

You may wonder why I bother with it but there were some really good perks to make it worthwhile. After a little back and forth the cab ride was arranged. The presentation was for a Vacation Club which was a little bit different from the time share and less expensive annually. It was very intriguing. I hadn’t heard of them before so I said no to the offer even though they offered me a $6000 credit for my time share. I wanted to do some checking.  The club is “World Wide Vacation” and the comments online were a mixed bag. Any of you had any experience with them?

Anyway I left with a handful of vouchers for dinners and shows and the promise of a week long vacation at an RCI resort of my choice. (that voucher to be emailed separately).

Back at the room I hooked up with JR and we looked over the promotions.

Las vegas

We picked Vegas the Show for tonight and Divas for Monday night.


We’d be gone on Tuesday. There were so many shows in town (as always). Elton John was playing, Olivia Newton John, Donny and Marie to name just a few. They weren’t part of the promotion (of course) There were several Beatles themed offerings. We needed more time and more money! 🙂

Once that big decision was made it was off to the monorail.

DSC_0385 copy

We decided to ride it to the end and then explore stop by stop back up the line. At the SLS station we walked past a huge souvenir shop, the kind that sells tacky T-shirts 3 for $10.00. We didn’t stop as I was finding that the walking/ standing was still difficult from my never going away shingles. Instead we made our way to the Stratosphere. 



The Stratosphere reminded me of the Space Needle in Seattle.

Space Needle copy

One big difference was that you could bungee jump or take a thrill ride here in Vegas but not in Seattle.


While I’m thinking of similar structures we can’t forget that even Gatlinburg, TN has a space needle.


We spent a lot more time here than either of us expected. The views were awesome.

DSC_0366 copy

By the time we were finished with all the sights it was time for lunch.

DSC_0364 copy

We had a coupon for a slice of Pizza and a beer at the Stratosphere so that was our lunch.

DSC_0378 copy

We had wanted to get to the Freemont Street experience which was a bus ride away from this stop on the mono rail but time was passing and we needed to get back to the hotel to change for the show. Joe did eventually find his was to Freemont Street which is the old Las Vegas. He said he wanted to see Feathers!

JR fremont

It was near the bus station so he got to go there on Tuesday after I left for the airport.


Saturday Night in Vegas

When you think about it, JR and I  did an amazing job of coordinating our arrival  and finding each other amid the lights, bells , whistles and people in the hotel and casino.  As you can imagine after spending 3 days and nights on a greyhound bus, JR’s first priority was a shower and change of clothes. I was in better shape as I’d had a shower and fresh clothes before I left San Diego.


The Hotel we are staying in is the LINQ, a part of the Caesar’s Palace empire. The Hotel was billed as one of the newest jewels in the Caesar Crown and I fell for it. I paid the upgrade because I wanted JR to have a great time as it was his birthday gift. It was a rip off. The hotel room was very basic. It didn’t even have a dresser or a coffee pot. The closet door was a curtain. The bathroom door was a sliding “pocket door” and it was shower only, no tub. Our cruise ship cabin was almost as big!


About all I can say for it is that it was clean. The room was on the 18th floor but no balcony and security was tight. We had to show our room keys to a security guard whenever we went up in the elevator. At least that made me feel safe.

View  From Our Window , 18th floor of the LINQ

View From Our Window , 18th floor of the LINQ

We decided not to lug the cameras the first night and just roam around until dinner time. Anything interesting could be captured on the cell phone cameras and there was a lot of interest. One of my favorite things were the characters. It was almost like being in Disney.


There was Olaf, Mickey and Minnie but there was also Elvis and Darth Vader, Marilyn Monroe and on and on.


We enjoyed a very loud dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and wandered over to the Bellagio for the fountain show. Along the way we passed the Eiffel Tower and Paris and The Flamingo Hotel. For neon lovers, Vegas at night does not disappoint!






Yummy Pina Colada


On our return we stopped at the Linq Promenade for more colorful fountains and our first look at the High Roller, the biggest Ferris Wheel in the World! The pods make me think of Star Wars!




LINQ Promenade and High Roller

Back in the hotel it didn’t take long to hit the hay.  I was  asleep before JR turned off the TV. Tomorrow I have the  obligatory presentation ( a 60 minute sales pitch) and then we’ll check out the mono rail and decide what we want to spend the day exploring.