Tag Archives: #indoorfun

NY, NY Year-Round!

How do you find family fun when it appears to be hidden inside this enormous city!  

Here’s just a glimpse at what is going on at any given time of the year:

January – March:

If snow is not your thing… hit up a museum or a musical!  There are countless options, but the Children’s Museum is in “our backyard” and it’s my son’s favorite!  Aladdin the Broadway Musical, and Lion King tend to be family favorites… we also enjoyed School of Rock!

Ice skate!  …there’s a few spots around town, but of course, most popular is “The Rink”! Clink the link for more information about Rockefeller Center ice skating!

If it’s snowy… sled!  …families walk to various areas of Manhattan parks to slip, slide and sled!

No snow?  No problem… we hit up one of the many playgrounds in Central Park, (they have even been renovated since this photo below)!  Then warm up with some yummy NYC pizza!

Where’s the BEST pizza?  Ray’s used to be THE most talked about pizza, and for good reason!  However we have found that today various Ray’s locations do not live up to the hype.  We love pizza from Patsy’s, Pappardella, and Little Italy Pizza.  There’s also Sabas!  (just a few of my picks on the UWS)!

A brisk winter’s walk across the Brooklyn Bridge on a clear day or a visit to the Freedom Tower (with its incredible views) with take your breath away!

Spectacular!      

 …and every March 17th there is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

…still slushy outside?  Let’s head to Frames Bowling (near Times Square)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring & Summer!

How about a trip on the Staten Island Ferry or a visit to Lady Liberty?

Explore Central Park…. (near the UWS) there’s Turtle Pond, and the Belvedere Castle…. and OH so much more!  Can you see the little turtle swimming below?

We like to go to playgrounds… Adventure Playground (in Central Park at W. 67th Street) is wonderful!  Another favorite is “Elephant” Playground in Riverside Park (at W. 76th and Riverside Dr.)!

Below: A Spring play date on a chilly morning in Adventure Playground, and splashing around in Elephant Playground in June!


My son loves to turn the scorching hot slide (at Elephant Playground) into a thrilling water slide!  …the only way to go down on sizzling days!

Memorial Day & the 4th of July are very crowded in NYC (lots of tourists) so besides visiting friends, or getting a glimpse of the fireworks from our rooftop we didn’t do too much!  My good friend had a GOOD idea for the 4th of July:  #1.  Find out where the fireworks will be set off (locations vary).  #2  Rent a hotel room facing the view and #3 Enjoy!  Her six-year-old and entire family had a BLAST!  I wish I would have thought of that!

Lots of city people head out to The Hampton’s & surrounding beaches.  (but travel to and from can be difficult and pricey).  We have visited Coney Island & Rockaway Beach.  On my last Coney Island trip, I was baffled by the amount of litter in the ocean (and even found myself cleaning up).  Sigh.  Not very relaxing… but I usually fall into the “good samaritan” category!

After a long day at the beach – a hot dog and fries from Nathan’s is always a good idea!  Lines are long, no matter how many employees are working!  It’s definitely a popular attraction!

Ready for a change up?  Then you’re Brooklyn bound!  (below):

We take the subway to the nearest stop, then walk to Pier 6!  Henry loves it, and there are interactive gears, and water sprays and such!  I find it to be a bit loud at times (when you are surrounded by a bounty of screaming kids and screaming parents sometimes screaming at their kids).  One day towards the end of summer I saw two moms drinking Brooklyn Brewery beers… Hells yeah, I walked a few paces and grabbed one myself.  There’s also food, treats, seating, nearby bathrooms, and more!

September – December

There’s all the back-to-school excitement and even meets-ups with friends at the school…. September is quite busy!

Fall Festivals are all around in October (we even have one right at our kiddo’s school).  Some head out to farms to partake in traditional pumpkin & apple picking experiences.  I have never gone to a farm — but I have gone to Sleepy Hollow for Halloween thrills at it’s best!

Find out if the Legend of the Headless Horseman is true!  The NYC metro system can get you there, and for more info — just click here!

Trick-or-treating has its “hot spots” for sure!  In the UWS, it’s on 69th Street!  It is incredibly crowded and can be overstimulating so proceed with caution!

Cute friends: October 31, and early November at our favorite playground (Metal Park)!

Another advantage of living on the UWS is — it’s the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  On the Wednesday evening before there’s an organized “walk through the floats” event (and it’s free)!

Talk about being unclose and personal with a lot of hot air!  This November— I am bringing the wide angled camera lens!  Of course some of our friends attend the parade Thursday morning — but we prefer to watch on TV!

     

Make sure to treat your little girl (or boy) to tea at the Alice In Wonderland themed cafe Alice’s Tea Cup any time of the year.  The food is truly amazing, and it’s touted as “New York’s most whimsical tea house”!  My kids love it!

If your kiddo loves dinosaurs, and space and sea life… I have got a place for you!  Oh –  the long awaited Butterfly Conservatory is now open too… I have to go back!  My super lucky son gets to visit this museum on school field trips!  (and in the summer we hit up their splash pad fountains)… really cool.  Have you guessed the place yet?

The Museum of Natural History on the UWS… it’s DYNO-MITE!

You are going to need an entire day for this museum — and at the end of your visit — fatigue may set in!  Many head to SHAKE SHACK (across the street) for dinner– then collapse!

December in NYC — there’s just too much to mention, a link here will give you all the ideas!

Remember this was only a glimpse of family fun!  Whew! 

 

 

Catch This!

My friend needed help – fast!  Her son’s 10/31 birthday was quickly approaching, and she needed to pull of a Yankees themed birthday party the weekend before.

Cue the party assistant (me)!  I helped make this BOYS & GIRLS party (full of second graders) a HIT, and everyone left with a pretty cool “thank you gift”!
I created a special banner (with photos of the birthday boy), fun framed decor and party bags filled with themed necklaces or keychains …

  …the girls loved the necklaces!    

I used this same idea to create boys’ high quality keychains.  I used blue or steel colored beads along with baseball beads to make a cool yet different design for the boys.  They love to hook the keychains to their school backpack zippers!

Here’s a look at the BASEBALL party…

…his “Bronx grandma” brought an amazing cake, and the kids played at the Baseball Center on the UWS!

      There were at least 25 kiddos, and a few younger siblings tagged along.  Everyone received a party bag — however I didn’t fill it with Cracker Jacks, peanuts, Big League chewing gum and such.  I know NY kids LOVE Air Heads!  Plus I added some Halloween stickers and red, white, and blue pompoms for a little whimsy.    

(my son above right): He would rather juggle than play baseball.  He’s a circus kid, what can I tell ya?

One of the coolest things about this party (besides watching “Manhattan Grandma” cheer on her grandson) was seeing our friends from (ex.) Sweden and Columbia join in, and learn the sport of baseball!  They were not ashamed to admit they never played, didn’t know how, didn’t know the rules, etc., It made me appreciate diverse friendships, supporting and teaching others, and cheering on your fellow teammate!  There is unity in our little world in the UWS.

Above: juggling Henry and “TuTu” (grandma); Enjoying yummy pizza on this super stormy rainy Sunday — what a great day to be inside!

 

 

Bee Yourself

I’ve had bees on my mind for a while now… Henry’s “B-10” first grade helped inspire the name for the class market project — the Bee Happy Bee 10 Market (and I used a bee as their trademark)!

…then we sometimes watch Aladdin (the original Disney animated movie).  As most people know — Robin Williams is genius as the Genie!  There’s a part in the film where he turns himself into a bee, and tells a very nervous Aladdin, “bee yourself” while he is trying to impress the princess…  I love that message!

Now I am a busy bee — making bees out of vinyl and Swarovski gems that I find on the floor at Broadway’s Aladdin!  So far I have turned them into magnets… but I don’t know what I am going to do with all of these bees!

I started out with buying some glittery vinyl, and I was going to try to make fun little bags (like clutches), but I don’t have a sewing machine (and I’d need special needles or something really good to sew vinyl)!  With bees on my mind (and having bought these particular colors) I just started making my own bee body patterns and cutting out bee  heads, and wings too…. I glued them together and added the gems. Also — I find subway Metro cards all over (free materials); they seem fun… so now I also have a hybrid of NYC bees.

With the ending of this school year drawing near — I made bees for Henry’s teachers & staff to go along with their gifts and cards.

The bees with bows went for the ladies, I gave teacher – Nick –  a bee with a bow tie, and one paraprofessional always has stylish glasses… so I made special bee glasses for Ebony!

I tried arranging them on a blue canvas, but that didn’t look right.  Since they have magnets on the back– they are hanging on my refrigerator, and my front door (it’s made of metal).

I happened to think all bugs are pretty cool.  When I lived in WNY — I remember seeing all kids of interesting insects, I was out in nature every chance I could get: camping, hiking…going to nature preserves…. I also took “Outdoor Science” at Buffalo State College — one of our projects was to create a bug collection.  I had to label them scientifically (and have a specific amount)!  I was pretty desperate toward the end and started scooping them out of light fixtures and a friend’s pool filter (I hated to kill and pin these beautiful little guys).

So often humans see bugs as pests; and we kill them if they get in our way.  Un-bee-lievable!  But about seven years ago — bee colonies starting disappearing.  Are pesticides to blame?  What about our crops?  Do we need to plant more wild flowers?  We need pollination for our fruit crops, and other crops, right?

Get the BUZZ, and some real answers by clicking this  Ted Talk here!  Don’t forget to share with your children too!  The short answer is YES, we need bees!

The BEE Movie (with Jerry Seinfeld) only got a 3/5 star rating… but Henry and some of his friends think bees are pretty cool now!  You’re the bees knees,  Jerry!  (and since Jerry lives right around the corner maybe I’ll just drop off all of these bees at his building)!

Oh — by the way my bees are all different — because BEEing yourself is BEE-u-tiful!  Let’s BEE friends… Get the BUZZ… BEE mine…. You’re cute as can BEE… Are you a Queen BEE? …having a baby?  You’re a Mama to BEE….or a Daddy to BEE… now BEE sweet, and enjoy some nature today!

     

*Metro cards were cleaned and disinfected with a plant-based non-toxic yet powerful cleaner.

 

Math Game With Dice!

I totally love this new game for Henry!  He’s in first grade but has always been a little advanced in math (it’s logical)!  So I would say it’s on a first to second grade level.

You need:

  • 3 dice.
  • You need the worksheet!  I grabbed one from a teacher friend — I’ll have to upload it to my site so you can have it too!
  • 2 different colored hi-lighters.
  • Go!

Roll all three dice, add up the numbers and then color the box on the sheet with that number (using your choice of colored hi-lighter).  The next player goes and does the same using a different colored hi-lighter.  Once the numbers run out on the sheet you can’t color anything so the next person rolls the dice and so on.

Henry didn’t want to play so I told him that I would play against the cat.  I put my name and m2Louie’s name on the top.  After a few rolls, I asked Henry to roll for Louie and then Henry “played for Louie” for the rest of the game.  Louie won too!  Wow!

Henry was adding his dice (Louie’s dice) and adding my dice as well because he wanted to see how well I would do.  He starts to get competitive!  I LOVE it because he is using his brain non-stop!  Learning and reinforcing all that is going on in math class at school!

Yay!

At the end you count up how many boxes each of you colored and who ever has the most wins.

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Henry adds up 6 then colors the “6” box

You can play against yourself too.  You can also add some imagination and maybe if your kiddo is a sports fan — for example — he or she can assign one color (purple) for The Ravens, and another color (blue) for The NY Giants.  Or if your kiddo wants to pretend each color is a Disney character then Anna and Elsa can play each other with your child rolling the dice for both.  Don’t stop there — it can be a pet agains another pet, a stuffed animal, favorite characters in a book… 

Modify:

Play with only 2 dice and use a different number sheet!

 

 

In TRAINING

Aren’t NYC subways the coolest?

When we first moved here — Henry was a little reluctant to ride.  Then after experiencing the thrill — he would beg me to take him on the subway everyday!  He has always loved trains!  So we rode the train to nowhere  over, and over, and over.  UGGGGGGGGGG.  I kept thinking if he had his own NY Subway train at home to play with that would be really exciting!

Seth found one!  And it is one cool toy… it lights up, the doors open, it makes noise if you want it to (but doesn’t sound as annoying as most other toys).  Henry will just make it go using his own noise and language (which is great for his imagination and speech); Henry was hooked!  …and was playing with this subway toy so much that he doesn’t beg me to take him outside to the real subway (very time consuming)!  However — our neighbors downstairs complained!  We hit a “bump” in the railway.  Apartment problems!

So we are in training to play more quiet.  Getting the train to run on the carpet is NO FUN though.  Real subways make noise and even have sparks underneath!

rubber

But …according to our newly-weds downstairs (they are almost retired) our wood floors make the train sound quite irritating on their ceiling.  And she can’t take the repetitive rolling sound over and over.  Autism problems!

So the next day I went to the hardware store, bought some rubber, cut it to be about the size of a track.  I thoroughly explained the problem of the noise to Henry,  and put Henry in training to keep the train on the rubber.  We hope this is helping.  Seth also ordered strips of corrugated cardboard to put under the rubber (they haven’t arrived yet).  I can’t wait to start glueing cardboard to rubber (sarcasm)  ….or maybe I’ll just get those Command Strips that are double sided (and super strong) to seal the deal.

Oh…. I also sent my well mannered, polite,  gentleman of a husband downstairs (with Henry) with a beautifully crafted cupcake to apologize.  The cupcake is sweet — but the husband is sweeter.  With all of our moves, and meeting new neighbors (from all walks of life), and living on tour in close quarters ….Kindness and sugar work wonders.  Thank goodness she wasn’t gluten free or on a diet though.  Sometimes you have to be careful.

In the meantime Henry has been using a different train that is very quiet on the floor.

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This train (sometimes full or empty) has very quiet wheels and goes under tunnels (step ladders) ….and stops at 79th Street, 72nd Street, and so on!

dash

Now just wait two more weeks until Henry’s birthday — Seth was thinking of getting this DASH robot for the BIRTHDAY BOY.  Looks like he rides all over the floor on wheels though!  Hmmmmmmm.

Some, Some, Summer Time !

Just a look back on our first LAS VEGAS SUMMER!

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At the start of SUMMER BREAK — I took Henry to a week camp at SPORTS SOCIAL!  Then we continued our weekly Saturday lessons there!

With 110 to 114 degrees out — indoor fun is essential!  (Above) we are at Gravady Extreme Sports, and The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. 

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Mom went to Home Depot and Lowes for wood, (all shapes and sizes), pipes, tubes, safety goggles, nails, tools, etc., All of this kept him busy outside for about 20 minutes.  (kidding)

 

FullSizeRender lunch date… and…  FullSizeRender

What could be better than catching up with a good friend?

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We used the Summerlin Community Pool a lot!  It was a great place to chill out!

FullSizeRender  …we got it made in the shade at Red Rock!

 

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The Summerlin 4th of July parade was really impressive!  Click on the link for more pictures submitted by the community.  (scroll down to Photo Contest Entries).

 

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Making new friends and new discoveries…

 

  IMG_2662  Staying busy inside the air-conditioned house!   I set up a SCIENCE TEA PARTY FOR HENRY!  This is easy, just use some tea cups, vinegar, baking soda, food coloring….  We recorded our findings afterwards– just to be extra-scientific!

 

 

 

 

DSC_9516  Road trip to Ojai, CA!!!

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Ojai, CA has hiking, biking, swimming holes, water falls…..

 

Then Henry and I took an impromptu drive on the P.C.H. to Malibu!  Gorgeous ride up, and a cool down on the beach.

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IMG_3423        DSC_9701 Malibu coastline (on the left) and a little camp out in Mt. Charleston (to the right).

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Nothing BUTT fun!

  We enjoyed special friends, books, movies, ice-cream, popcorn, parks and playgrounds!  Mom is wiped out

 

 

We Be Buggin’!

It’s family day at Garehime Elementary School and the teachers (once again) provided us with an incredible Friday morning!  The theme was nature (rainbows and their colors) and LADY BUGS in all of their magnificent glory!

We started the day off with some wonderful books and song!  We learned a lot about lady bugs too!

eat4   Snacks!   eat3

Next the teachers and staff showed us how to make yummy lady bug treats using Nilla Wafers, red frosting, brown M&M’s (for the spots) and licorice for the legs!  Each bug needs (2) Nilla Wafers stacked on top (and the legs are in-between)… Henry’s friend gobbled his bug down in no time!

eat2 Froot loops!  eat

 

Henry made a rainbow snack using one graham cracker… then we added some marshmallow spread on the graham cracker.  Next he topped the cracker with the froot loops.  It was hard to fit all of the colors on, but it turned out pretty cute!  Henry doesn’t have much of a sweet-tooth so he didn’t eat his snacks; Maybe his parents munched on these cute treats?

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Getting’ the bugs out…

Henry watches the lady bug activity in the classroom!

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Henry and his friend Matthew listen and watch…  Fun facts we learned today: Lady bugs are small insects.  They have six legs.  They have small spots on their wing covers.  They have a head with antennae.  The antennae help lady bugs sense touch, vibrations (sound), smell and taste.  Lady bugs eat aphids.

We had a great time today — what a great way to bring families into the learning environment!

 

Family Day at School

Henry’s school here in Las Vegas is wonderful!  Once a month they provide parents the opportunity to come into the classroom for “Family Day”.  We drive Henry in for the 10 AM start, participate in a number of thoughtfully planned out activities, then take Henry home around 11:00 AM.

It is a great way to mingle with the other parents, talk to the teachers and aides, and have involvement in Henry’s school life!  Henry still doesn’t tell us every detail as to what is going on in school — so this is great for us!

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We can talk more about activities, his friends, and expand on our conversations with Henry thanks to “Family Day”!  It works both ways because the teachers and aides get the connection and communication as well.  Connecting = Success!

 

Here is a look at Science Day!

ice2 ice3 ice

 

There were many neat stations to visit!  We made a rainbow with a huge coffee filter, markers and ice to show how the ice melts and the colors blend.  Colors blend to make new colors, and ice goes from solid to liquid!  It’s magic!

 

3     Truly fascinating!     2

There were scales to see how much various items weighed.  The balance scale showed which item was heavier or lighter.  Of course we made predictions before we measured!

scienceYet another station was all about the fabulous world of fossils and rocks, another station WAS ALL ABOUT HEALTH!  (I used to be a middle school health teacher in WNY)!  This station above was set up to show which items float and sink!  Let’s make a prediction– then try it out!

Stay tuned for the next post on Family Day!  We had some “creepy and colorful” stories and snacks!  Excellent job to the staff of Garehime Elementary School’s Pre-K program!

 

Aliens Have Landed!

Parties are FUN!  But they used to be very tricky, and sometimes completely upsetting for Henry.

Social situations can always be hard for kiddos with ASD; But I continued to help his development in this area — always trying to get him through the “tough spots”.  We would go to every single party and celebration we were ever invited to – even if Henry could only tolerate 10 minutes.  Noise, “strangers”, and singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY would always spark a tantrum.  One time I couldn’t even get Henry in to the door of a party for his good friend (Caitlin).  We just sat on the sidewalk outside and he cried and cried and cried.  Once in — we would participate in intervals;  Sitting and looking for 10 minutes, then taking a break, walking out and about for 10 minutes, then returning in, and so on.

Fast forward to 2015…at about 40 social gatherings later, he has worked his way up to participating fully — with no fear and no tears.  There is a little exception though — he has to HIDE when the crowd sings HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  Actually… a lot of parents have told me this has happened to their child with or without ASD!

After a couple of parties we just went to… I could tell Henry wanted a very special party of his own.  His birthday was approaching, and Henry would drop hints and even talk about it with me.  I got the feeling that a special party would be better than any toy we could buy him.  Henry chose the alien theme; I loved it!  Green aliens for the green month of March!  I wondered if he would let us sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY?

Let’s get started!

invite

invitations

I put an extra spark into the invites.  I used silver glitter glue to accent the party info, and also glued an alien to the front.

Preparation:

I gave more green aliens and “alien gems” to Seth — as he found a brand new (yummy) cupcake bakery near by.  They made our order with my toppers!

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alien cupcakes

Seth pre-ordered the dinner and I bought the party supplies…

…including extra candles.  It’s a good thing I did.  I handed Seth the red sparkly “5” candle to put in the cake, and he broke it while taking it out of the wrapper.  Too much muscle!  Whoops!

I booked some talent!

Our sweet friend Hannah (who is 10 years old) has been teaching herself how to make balloon animals.  We asked her parents if we could ‘hire’ her to come and help with the party, make balloon creations for the kiddies, and also just have fun.

hannah

Hannah made awesome balloon creations!

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What to wear?  I made custom Alien shirts for a few of us!

 

Set Up:

Our backyard is small — so I had to make good use of our SPACE!

alienbackdrop

alien photo backdrop

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 Hey, it’s the month of “March Madness” — we need some alien b-ball!

More fun….

Activities to do with the kiddies:  

1)  Make an Alien “snow” Globe.  We used jars, glitter and some other “stuff”.  The kids loved it!  They looked something like this, only we used plastic jars to be safe!

globe

 

2)  Crack open geodes (but we called them MOON rocks or ALIEN rocks just to be silly).

DSC_9039  Daddy helped a lot!      ryan2

3)  Take some pictures outside in front of a SPACE themed backdrop.  Kids can use the props and take goofy photos!

(props)  DSC_8991     nikhil

 

4) Create some EERIE sounds and music (with Seth’s equipment) at our theremin station!

theremin

at first this scared Henry — good thing we warmed up earlier in the day!

Have some cake, sing, and blow out the candles!

DSC_9043        aliencake hugs  Henry gave Seth the biggest HUG after his HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG!  THIS WAS HIS FIRST time EVER he participated in it.  He was amazing!  We were so proud!

 

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There were several times when the kids retreated to the bedroom and kind of got crazy as if they were in a mosh pit!  Expect the unexpected with boys parties!  Hannah was great — she made sure no one got hurt.

 

 

 

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Drinks and (green) watergate salad had a special “out of this world” touch…just because.

I also had this “COLOR AN ALIEN” activity just in case — it was a so cute!  Henry’s friend brought her little sister and all of the girls really likes this!

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color an alien

DSC_9046  DSC_9027  leo

 

Super fun — it WAS OUT OF THIS WORLD!

 

Have You “Sin” This?

Las Vegas is as an adult HOT SPOT — with plenty of grown up attractions as we all know.  But if you are looking for even more to do — rather than the traditional Sin City stuff — here are some pretty cool “family friendly” activities (even some that we have experienced first hand)!

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-Downtown Container Park

conpark

Above: night picture….the praying mantis shoots fire!  However — we went during the day and Henry LOVED it!  Really cute shops, restaurants and “watering holes” surround this unique KIDS play structure.  Great fun!  Great area in Las Vegas!

-Hash House A Go Go

hash  Serving up more than you can handle…this place is all about presentation!  (Plus they play some awesome 80’s ROCK) …and the food is delish!

 

-Red Rock Canyon (you can drive through areas and just look, or do a gentle walk or more aggressive hike).  We love it here!  Henry thinks it is super fun!

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-Regal Red Rock Stadium 16 and IMAX Movie Theater:  Time to relax after all that climbing and hiking…. Let’s go to the MOVIES!

 

-Red Rock Lanes BOWLING!bowl

 

 

 

-Secret (tiger) Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage  Really NICE!

 

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay  — Excellent!  Well done!

 

Zarkana by Cirque Du Soleil

IMG_0310    So many shows!   IMG_0331 IMG_0334

We love Zarkana, at Aria Resort.  We even know a cute musician who works there and gives us special backstage privileges.  Fun for all — beautiful show  — great music!

 

 

The Neon Museum looks amazing!neon

-The High Roller   (you can do this with a BAR Cart and make it a day or night out with just the adults too)!  What?!

hr5   hr4   hr2

 

550 feet up! views     hr3

Henry loved it!  He wanted to do it again!  Luckily — kids are free!

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-Sprinkles Cupcakes  “Sinfully sweet treats” ….A very yummy experience!  (it’s near the High Roller); Sprinkles was first opened in Beverly Hills, CA and is an L.A. favorite!

cupcakes Fun fountain next door!  fountain

picvegas  Cute shopping and restaurants all in this area — even a Kitson!

Then there is the biggest Bass Pro Shop I have ever seen…

bass pro  

(with free aquarium)!  Henry and Seth are watching the fish in the center of the store; And you can walk right next door to…

 

 

 

The Mermaid Bar & Lounge!  Yes, LIVE mermaids!

 

…drive safe, walk safe, explore, and enjoy!