We’ve all heard the adage, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Well, if you plan on going to Vegas with children, be forewarned that nothing that happens in Vegas is going to stay there. And I mean nothing.
Earlier this month David’s cousin Csaba and his wife Erika came to visit and several of us decided to make the trek to Vegas for a long weekend. The drive from LA to Vegas is about four and a half hours, give or take, so it is a totally manageable road trip for the kids, especially when you allow them to bring along their iPads. What did parents do with their kids on road trips before iPads? Actually, the boys are pretty good on road trips even without electronic entertainment. I have been blessed with children that love to be in the car. Of course that didn’t stop the younger one from asking, “Are we there yet?” fifteen minutes after being on the road. We took the tried and true Pearblossom Highway which has the added bonus of being the home to the Valley Hungarian Sausage & Meat Co. We made a quick pit stop and stocked up on Hungarian travel necessities like pogacsa.
Our next stop was in Baker at the Mad Greek, which serves one of my all-time favorite junk foods – fried zucchini (Little Man calls it fried bikinis). The Mad Greek has been around forever and we tend to stop there because of the zucchini (obviously) and because it tends to have pretty clean bathrooms. The decor is also pretty entertaining.
After a quick bite, we were off to Vegas. We were meeting the rest of our party at the hotel, but as we were pulling off of the freeway, we spotted the rest of our group in the next lane. If only checking into our room had gone as smoothly. When we arrived at the hotel, we were informed by the concierge that our reservation had been cancelled even though we had already been charged for the rooms (three of them, to be exact). Without boring you to death with the details, we eventually managed to get the problem fixed and were even upgraded. Now, onto the fun.
When we first walked through the casino, little man’s eyes widened in wonder and exclaimed, “Look at all of those video games!” I hadn’t really thought of it before then, but Vegas is like a giant arcade for grown ups and all of those machines really do look like video games. We had to explain that, unfortunately he wasn’t allowed to play any of those video games, but he happily replied, “That’s okay. I have my own iPad.” Once in the rooms, the boys kicked off their shoes and would have been perfectly content to settle down and get to work at their own Minecraft tournament except we told them that we didn’t bring them along all that way to just sit in the room and play video games all day. They could do that at home. For free. Instead, they enjoyed going on ice runs and jumping on the beds.
The boys were also awed by the view from our rooms and excited about the promise of making a trip down to the pools later.
Of course, they did still manage to sneak in a Minecraft tournament or two while the adults were all unpacking and getting ready to go out.
Some of the most fun we had on this trip was when we were in the rooms getting ready to go out to dinner at night. David’s cousin, Ákos and his wife, Valerie, brought along their Beats by Dr. Dre Beatbox and we blasted music and danced around the room while ironing button down shirts (the guys) and reapplying lip gloss (the girls).
We have found that whenever we stay in Vegas, we rarely leave the resort in which we are staying unless to go to one of the hotels directly on either side of it. Caesars is a great all-inclusive resort because it is loaded with great amenities and restaurants. Seriously, my only grievance is that they only sell gross bottled water (Aquafina) and we had to go next door to the Mirage to buy decent water (they had Smartwater – our favorite). Our first night we all ate out at a restaurant called Trevi in the forum shops. The food was great and they were totally kid friendly. We even took turns posing as though we were in the film Roman Holiday on the restaurant’s scooter.
Little Man was exhausted and not only wanted to be carried to dinner, but he fell asleep at the table.
After dinner, the boys and I retreated to our room while the big boys all went down to the casino floor. They ended up playing Black Jack and they got a great dealer who was teaching them the ins and outs of the game so they ended up playing until four in the morning. Of course, Little Man went to bed relatively early and was awake by six o’clock! Fortunately I was able to entertain him so that David (and Big Guy) could get some much needed sleep. By the time David did wake up, close to 9, we were dressed and ready to head down to Starbucks (which Caesar’s has right next to the Forum Food Court) for some much needed espresso. We were met at the elevators by the rest of the guys in our party who explained that the ladies had gone out to check out the pool situation. Big Guy decided to stay and wait with them while we went to get coffee and we agreed to meet up in a few minutes and find a breakfast buffet.
After Starbucks we made our way out to the Strip. Initially someone had suggested that we have breakfast at the Flamingo Hilton, but it was way too crowded and we made our way instead to the Paris for Le Village Buffet instead (of course, we didn’t leave until we had visited the flamingos). I personally think that Le Village Buffet is one of the best in Vegas. . . I’m not a big buffet person, but this one has omelet, meat carving and crepe stations where you don’t have to worry about people having touched or sneezed on your food.
After the buffet, we made our way back to our hotel for some much needed relaxation around the pool.
As I’m sure you can imagine. The boys loved the pool, but after a while they got bored and wanted to go back to the room for another Minecraft tournament. David told them that we would take them to do something, but that we weren’t going to sit around in the room while they played video games. Eventually, they agreed to our terms and we set out on an adventure while the rest of our party enjoyed some much needed relaxation around the pool.
The Mirage is right next door to Caesars Palace and we had heard good things about Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat so we made our way there. Of course, having three young boys in tow, just getting to our destination was an adventure and we made several stops along the way.
Once inside of the hotel, I was surprised to find that the little guys were all impressed with the atrium and took their time walking through. They were also excited to find the British phone booth and made sure that I snapped a few pictures with them in front of it before making our way to the secret garden and dolphin habitat.
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat was a huge success with the boys who loved seeing the dolphins up close and personal and who were relieved that the lions and tigers were all securely behind fences.
We were at the Secret Garden for a couple of hours and when we were finished we took the boys out for frozen yogurt and then made our way back to the hotel via the Forum shops. Of course the boys had to stop and throw coins in the fountain.
While in the Forum shops both of my guys became overjoyed when they saw the Zoltar machine. We just recently watched the movie Big and they wanted to make a wish just like in the movie. Just like in the movie, they wished to be big, but much to their dismay, they did not morph into Tom Hanks.
That night I was once again in bed early, but this time, David was back before midnight. The next morning we were up early again to check out and to meet David’s parents for breakfast. We were also joined by another of David’s cousins, Zoli, and his wife, Barbara who were in town from Hungary for the week and staying at the Bellagio. We all met up at Serendipity 3, which is Big Guy and Little Man’s favorite spot in all of Las Vegas and the one place that they wouldn’t dream of leaving to go home without popping in for a quick bite and a frozen hot chocolate. We enjoyed our meal and catching up with Zoli and Barbara but after a long weekend in Vegas, we were ready to go home.
Au revoir Las Vegas. Until next time.