Whinnies of anticipation can often be heard from the stables of Mount Charleston Trail Rides, where well-mannered horses and ponies wait to ferry riders down trails flanked by whistling ponderosa pines, junipers, and aspens. Led by cowboy guides, small groups hop into saddles and embark on scenic explorations of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and its surrounding areas. With crisp air that normally averages 30 degrees cooler than the Las Vegas Valley, the foothills and canyons offer a welcome respite from the heat of the desert. When the temperatures dip too low for horseback rides, the ranch keeps its trusty steeds busy with carriage rides, sleigh rides, and a Sadie Hawkins dance with unicorns from the neighboring forest.
The Summerlin outpost of BJ’s Restaurant is one of three locations throughout Las Vegas. Located directly across from the Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa, the casual eatery always seems to attract a crowd. Well known for brewing their own beer and an eclectic menu that ranges from deep dish pizzas and hamburgers to gluten-free meals, BJ’s loves catering to their guests. New flat-screen TVs throughout the restaurant and a relaxed, if slightly boisterous vibe, make the Summerlin location a welcome destination for all. Around the holidays, guests are treated to a slew of new menu options, from steak and lobster entrées to seared mahi mahi, with souvenir glasses to take home at the end of the night.
Performers feed off the energy of their audience, and when there is no audience, there is no energy. To stop this problem before it starts, venues turn to Fill A Seat Phoenix, a business that supplies its members with tickets to events that still have seats to fill. Members enjoy a year of entry to popular shows, sporting events, and concerts, bulking up the audience more suitably than a litter of chihuahuas dressed in tuxedoes. Upon joining Fill A Seat Phoenix, members receive access to a list of upcoming events, which range from large-scale productions to local restaurants, golf courses, and coffee houses.
Strap on your unthinking cap and let loose on Primm Valley Casino Resorts' family-friendly attractions, ranging from thrilling coasters to the gentle, youngster-bouncing Frog Hopper. Riders taller than 4 feet can take the plunge on the Turbo Drop, which boasts a 170-foot vertical free fall at 45 mph, or The Desperado, a twisting coaster with more banks than a financial district and more giggle-induced glee than insider trading. The Adventure Canyon Log Flume refreshes riders with water while stimulating their trigger fingers with laser-light target shooting in splashy surroundings. If brick-and-mortar amusement doesn't crank your cerebral cortex, take a ride in the Maxflight Cyber Coaster, which virtually simulates an authentic rollercoaster down to the last detail.
The Franklin Institute brings hands-on science fun at Pennsylvania's most visited museum. Spanning three floors, the Institute gives a voice to human ingenuity—past and future—with hundreds of interactive exhibits such as The Giant Heart, Changing Earth, and Sports Challenge, as well as explosive live science shows, an indoor SkyBike ride, and the city's tallest IMAX theater,which is 5 stories high. Though now filled with a range of space-age attractions, the Institute began with single purpose.
Samuel Vaughan Merrick and William H. Keating established The Franklin Institute in 1824, to honor the life and achievements of Benjamin Franklin. In the following decades, the Institute hosted forward thinkers such as Nikola Tesla, who gave a demonstration on wireless telegraphy in 1893. In 1930, the board decided to expand the space into a new science museum—and raised the funds in 12 days. The museum opened to the public in 1934—and in the same year hosted the first public demonstration of an all-electronic TV system.
A visit to The Franklin Institute’s includes access to three floors of permanent interactive exhibits including the iconic, two story tall Giant Heart. Other exhibits include Space Command, which invites visitors to recover an unmanned space probe and examine real astronaut equipment. At Changing Earth, visitors create their own weather patterns, play with steams of water, and build structures that can stand up to earthquakes or all-elephant 5Ks.
At various daily showtimes, the Franklin Theater’s high-contrast screen displays 3D films on animals, earth ecosystems, and human history. In the recently renovated Fels Planetarium, the second oldest in the nation complete with a rooftop observatory, audiences witness projections of weather and space spread across a 60-foot seamless aluminum dome. Daily live science shows draw an enthusiastic crowd, and interactive science carts invite visitors to observe a live heart dissection or try their hand at paper-making.