Playing in Las Vegas’ backyards can be hard since the temperature often surpasses 100 degrees. That’s why Childs' Play Las Vegas created an indoor space away from the dessert sun’s sweltering rays, allowing kids to safely expend their energy on a sprawling, state-of-the-art play structure from Backyard Adventures. Designed for the climbing and sliding needs of kids eight and under, the giant play set includes rock-climbing walls, a spiral slide, several rocket slides, and roomy forts. The space’s other activities range from Apple computers loaded with educational games to a mini-basketball court. Over in the toddler area, building blocks and games entrance children too young to play with the big kids but too old to spent hours wondering if their foot is an actual part of their body.
At Childs’ Play Las Vegas’ southwest location, playtime is a free treat for kids who patiently sit through portraiture sessions at the facility’s photography studio. More treats, such as Hello Kitty dolls, stock either location’s toy boutiques, while optional add-ons, such as visits from Elmo, enliven weekend birthday parties. Along with open-play sessions, weekdays at Childs’ Play include classes in subjects such as tumbling, karate, and music. As kids play and learn, parents can relax with complementary cups of coffee, free Wi-Fi, and a big screen television in an area designed just for grown-ups.
European Formula EK20 karts whiz by on Pole Position Raceway’s quarter-mile track, cruising at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. Spectators crank their heads to keep up. There’s no wind to battle against, no sun blinding the drivers’ eyes, and no birds rigging the race by dropping smoke bombs because all of Pole Position Raceway’s competitions happen inside. This is thanks to a fleet of electric-powered karts, which accelerate more quickly and hug curves more smoothly than gas-powered karts without dumping out clouds of exhaust.
To sate speed cravings, drivers simply arrive and drive—show up and nab one of 13 spots in the next race. Then with a DOT-approved racing helmet, they push the pedal to the floor for roughly 10 minutes, drafting their opponents to fly past them near the finish line. At the end of each race, drivers receive a SpeedSheet that displays their race results, fastest lap time, and the likelihood of getting their own action-movie franchise. For those seeking to dive deep into the world of racing, Pole Position Raceway offers driving clinics and youth racing camps, where younger racers pilot EK10 karts that peak at 20 mph.
The Las Vegas Philharmonic pipes torrents of audience-focused tunefulness into the desert with the help of conductor David Itkin, praised by the Las Vegas Review-Journal for "his ability to guide the orchestra's contribution to the community." This holiday season, the masterful ensemble continues its upbeat Pops series, inflating the grand Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall with a lineup of Christmas and Hanukkah melodies that form a fonder tradition than annual family eggnog-chugging contests. Backed by the orchestra's lush harmonies and the soaring sounds of the Las Vegas Master Singers, singer Kristen Hertzenberg from Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular lends her gold-plated vocal cords to the performance, and Jersey Boys star Travis Cloer channels his time spent on Broadway to charm listeners and hail postshow cabs with dazzling grace.
Between palm trees and casinos sits one long, narrow acre of greenery that could be the town square of the quaintest village west of the Mississippi. At least if you ignore the sign towering almost as high as the little brown church's steeple. That sign reads Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel, and it's a remnant of the days when Las Vegas was known for a kind of kitschy glamor and, of course, whirlwind weddings. Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret said "I do" here in Viva Las Vegas, and celebs from Judy Garland to Richard Gere have made legally binding vows inside.
The interior still looks largely as it did in those days, and pretty much as it did when Little Church of the West was built in 1942. Below stained-glass windows and old wood, couples today unite in ceremonies ranging from ultra-simple to fully accessorized with flowers, limo service, and champagne.
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The Australian Bee Gees pull off a feat of musical mimicry with their uncannily similar sound and comparable appearance to the celebrated musical group. The 75-minute concert offers audience members their favorite classic tunes augmented by contemporary multimedia, rather than disco balls and a poster of Richard Nixon staring in Saturday Night Fever. With seats closer to the stage, VIP ticket holders are treated to premium views of the performance and the gargantuan screens, which light up with video clips, live performance footage, and spectacular graphics to dazzle Bee Gees fans and the lighting aficionados alike. As a souvenir of the show, faux fans choose between a concert program or an Australian Bee Gees CD to relive the experience or send to the IRS in lieu of taxes this year.