Chapter 14
The Lion Sleeps Tonight

ONE of my family's favorite vacation spots has been Las Vegas, Nevada. We visited there in July 1994 and July 1995. Both times we stayed at the MGM Grand Resort & Casino. That place was awesome! The MGM has been considered the world's largest resort hotel with 5,005 rooms. The entrance to the casino was shaped as a giant lion with green eyes that lit up at night. Inside the MGM were lots of restaurants, stores and theaters. There was also a replica of the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz complete with a changing sky. We enjoyed the restaurants at the food court especially Nathan's where we got refillable Coca Cola canteens. We also had the best pizza ever at Mama Ilardo's. There was a 24 hour a day midway where I won lots of coupons that I traded in for some neat gifts. The outdoor pool was huge and it had two waterfalls. It also had a super double decker whirlpool with a waterfalls. When we went out the back door of the hotel we entered the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park. There we went on lots of rides and saw many shows. My favorite ride was the bumper cars and my mom and I went on several times. The show I liked the best was a live Three Stooges stage show. On our last night in Las Vegas in 1995 my parents surprised me with tickets for the three of us to see the live stage show entitled "EFX" and starring Michael Crawford. The tickets cost $70 per person. Instead of a theater with auditorium seats, this theater had tables and chairs. My parents and I sat at our own table and we were served free drinks. The show was fantastic. It had lots of special effects, beautiful music and interesting comedy routines.

Everyday of our Las Vegas vacations we visited other casinos or took sight seeing tours. We took a tour of the Hoover Dam and we got to actually go inside the dam itself. Hoover Dam is split between Nevada and Arizona. One tour that was fun was going to Laughlin, Nevada which is a gambling town built on the Colorado River. We traveled between the casinos via a river taxi. My parents collect casino tokens and chips so they stopped at as many casinos as possible to buy these coins. Usually while my parents went into the casinos to get the coins, I would stay in the designated children's areas where I got to play games or go on rides. What I loved most about Las Vegas were all the lights and special effects. Each night we would go for walks on the Las Vegas Strip where we got to see fantastic laser and hologram light shows. At the Excalibur Hotel we watched Merlin fight a dragon. I really liked the Luxor Hotel. It was a pyramid shaped building with a giant Egyptian Sphinx at the entrance. Inside we went on a cruise of the Nile River. The lights of downtown Fremont Street were indescribable. All of the casinos were lit up with the brightest lights possible.

There was so much to see and do in Las Vegas that we could not see everything we wanted to, but that's okay as it will give us a reason to go back again. The only thing that I didn't like about Las Vegas was that I wasn't allowed to get close enough to see the slot machines. I could hear all the money going in. I could hear the slot machine displays spinning around and I could hear the money clanging against the metal trays when someone won. Hopefully when I am twenty one years old my parents and I will go back to Las Vegas so I can try my hand at the machines.

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