The 70s saw a slump in Las Vegas tourism industry thereby affecting its economy. So far, only two casino-hotels opened in The Strip – Bally and Harras in 1973.
In the late 80s The Strip was reborn with the construction of Polynesian-themed The Mirage (1989), followed by the imaginative medieval castle The Excalibur in 1990, a 4,000-room colossus, then Caribbean-themed Treasure Island, also Philippine boxer Manny Pacquiao’s sport venue MGM Grand and Egyptian-themed Luxor in 1993.
Other casino-hotels and resorts continue to spring up including Stratosphere (1996), New York, New York (1997), Mandalay Bay (1999), The Venetian (1999), Planet Hollywood (2000), The Palms (2001), Wynn (2005), and Trump Hotel Las Vegas (2007).
Located at the very end of The – the iconic Stratosphere Tower – is not to be missed. With 2 observation decks and a revolving restaurant known as “Top of the World”, the Tower is the tallest free-standing observation tower in the United States at 1,149 feet. Zoom to its top in its double-decker elevator travelling at speeds of 1,800 feet per minute and pop your ears along the way to reach the deck that offers unparalleled view of Las Vegas and the valley beyond. At the top of the tower are 4 thrilling adrenalin-inducing activities for the truly brave and adventurous or the fearless young. They can have a choice for the highest thrill ride in the world known as “Big Shot”, or be suspended in the mid-air on the X-Scream roller coaster, or experience “Sky Jump” Las Vegas by leaping 855 feet from the peak of the tower, or the “Insanity Coaster” with mechanical arm that spins and dips over the tower’s edge.
Bellagio’s 3.2 ha. (8-acre) artificial lake inspired by the Lake Como Resort of Bellagio in Italy encompasses thousands of dancing fountains gracefully choreographed to lights and music. My wife and I stayed here in a beautiful comfortable room (with a twice-a-day maid service) overlooking the world-famous fountains. The Bellagio is home to Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic production “O’.
Mandalay Bay, opened in 1999 with its tropical theme, offers three heated swimming pools, a huge wave pool with connecting pool for small children, a quarter-mile long lazy river that features a small waterfall, a 11-acre beach of real sand, and a salt-wate shark reef aquarium with 15 species of sharks and other creatures of the deep such as saw fish, giant stingrays, eels, green sea turtles, piranhas, jellyfish, and rare golden crocodile.
While in Vegas drive southeast for about 40 miles (48 kms.) toward Boulder City to visit an engineering wonder, Hoover Dam, one of the largest and best-known dams in the world that produces hydroelectric power enough to meet the domestic water needs of more than 20 million people in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tuczon, and other southwestern cities, towns and Indian communities in the states of Arizona, Nevada and California.
Head out also to the Red Rock Canyon – less than an hour drive 17 miles west of Las Vegas to enjoy the desert landscape and the canyon’s unique geologic feature, a 3,000-foot high red rock formations known as “Keystone Thrust Fault”.
TRIVIA: Gambling was legalised in Nevada on 19 March 1931 to lift the state out of the hard times brought by the Great Depression.