Hubby came bursting into the bedroom late one night, I’d probably been asleep for the most part of an hour, and loudly proclaimed that we should go to Vegas. I’m sure at that point, when my head was buried into my pillow, I mumbled something unintelligible and promptly rolled over and went back to sleep. I didn’t remember this conversation until hubby excitedly started telling me that he had booked tickets – Never mind the fact that I hadn’t had leave approved at work, or the other minor fact that he had invited 2 other guys, on what I had wrongly assumed, was a family trip back over o the states – our second trip in 6 months. Hubby had timed it so that he could attend the NAB convention in Vegas, a dream that had been spoken about for probably the last 3 years.
James and I were fortunate enough to spend nearly a week in Vegas, during our extensive honeymoon tour in 2012. While for James that week could’ve kept going on, I, on the other hand, was glad to be moving on and away from Vegas. Although extremely easy to navigate, has a huge range of food choices, the weather is mostly fantastic, numerous tourist sites and shows to see, guns to shoot and the expectation for you to have your gigantic novelty drinking (insert guitar, boot etc etc) vessel filled to the brim with tasty, alcoholic frozen concoctions, it can all become a little too much. Team that with the constant hassle of the guys (and girls) on each corner attempting to push a certain calibre of cards into your hands, and I was ever so slightly worried about taking a 17 month old into this heady mix. But to be fair, Vegas was totally amusing for Jack. He loved the traffic, whether it was the near constant planes flying over (insert an ‘oooo’ sound here), the buses running minutes apart (picture a little boy atop my back, constantly whacking me on the shoulder and over my head EVERY time a bus went past), the monorail from our window in the apartment elicited Jack beating his chest, or the trucks rolling past – complete with nudey pics. Thankfully at Jack’s age, I don’t have to explain the ‘why’.
I think that travelling with a baby or a toddler is exactly what you make of it. Jack’s been on more flights in his life, than I had by the time I was 25. Maybe we are lucky that he can be easily entertained, that he loves cuddles, and just adapts so damn well. Or maybe, because we just go with the flow, and only loosely follow his routine from home, he settles in really well? I think that kids are resilient and pick up and just do things, so much easier than we, as adults, can do. We always try and stretch him on that first day into the USA. I don’t mind if he has an extra nap, but I always try and get his bedtime to as close to a normal time as possible. It seems to have worked both times with Jack.
I found, after our last trip, that using a baby carrier was just so much easier, especially navigating public transport (you can’t leave the kids in the prams on the buses in USA), airports, walkways, especially with stairs and escalators (this is basically every street corner in Vegas). So I packed the trusty Tula, and the Mountain Buggy Nano (in case the weather got way too hot). Needless to say, I didn’t unpack the pram once. Jack is also incredibly used to being worn, and will quite happily have a sleep on my back, or front.
We mostly used the buses to get around Vegas, I don’t think that there is really much need to hire a car. We did have to rely on taxis though, as we did not travel with a car seat, and thankfully Nevada law allows children to be seated on your lap. Unfortunately, there were 4 adults and 1 child, and this, regardless of the fact that Jack can’t have his own seat or seatbelt, counted us as being over the limit for maximum passengers. The other 2 that traveled with us, were able to use Uber for their trips, but Jack isn’t allowed without a car seat. As easy as Vegas is to navigate, and no matter how many times you look for a casino, they are always further away than you originally anticipated. We were, according to fitbit, clocking up 25000 steps for most days we were there.
I’ll give an extremely brief run down of what we did below:
Flew to Brisbane in the evening, stayed close to the airport which saved us getting up exceptionally early the following morning.
Flew to LAX, departing Brisbane at 10:50am, arrived bright and early at 06:50am. We drove to 6 Flags Magic Mountain, went on as many rides as we could fit in and then flew to Las Vegas from LAX later that night.
Breakfast at iHop before the park opened.
We walked through the Bellagio, their gardens and the Miracle Mile shops. We ate at the Cheesecake Factory for lunch in Caesars before walking through the remaining shops in the Caesars precinct.
We went to the Linq promenade and the Yard House for dinner (hello delicious cider). We wandered the strip and watched the Mirage volcano show and the Bellagio Fountains.
We walked down to New York, New York, via M & M world and Coke World. We also walked through the new precinct/ Park at MGM Grand and past the new T-Mobile Arena. Stopped at Shake Shack to sample their frozen custard of the week (which was caramel pretzel). Definitely a favourite with Jack, who quickly decided he needed “Mooorrrreeeee”. We headed back through the Aria casino via the tram, and played with the whirling water funnels, and the frozen ice cores. Later that day we caught a taxi out to the Pinball Hall of Fame where the boys lost themselves for what felt like a few hours, when Jack was truly at his best behaviour (NOT!).
-Lunch was a club sandwich from the New York Deli, served with pickles, of course. I grabbed Maccas for dinner when the boys headed off to an opening night event.
With the boys at the Convention for the full day, I jumped on the bus with Jack and headed to the North Premium Outlets. I’d been before on my honeymoon and grabbed a few good bargains. It’s now slightly larger with the Cheesecake Factory there now. It’s always an interesting bus ride, once you are off the strip, you really do realise that you are!
We all caught back up for dinner when we went to the Carnival World & Seafood Buffet. Definitely not as good as the Wynn, but still a decent selection.
The boys had another full day at the convention so this time I headed to Fashion Show Mall for the morning. Jack and I had a Wendy’s burger for lunch. Later that day I decided to head over to the South Premium Outlet. to see the difference between the 2 outlets. I really didn’t buy all that much to be honest. We headed back and went for dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, the first time the animals roared and moved, Jack startled. But he seemed to love it after that!
On our last day in Vegas, the boys decided we just had to go and get a photo at the ‘Welcome to Last Vegas’ sign. We headed onto Town Square after that. Jack had a ball at the playground, complete with water feature. They even had a kids show on but we didn’t stay, and a little train that rode around the area. We ended up at a local hangout (off the strip) for lunch – a BBQ place called Rollin Smoke BBQ..
We flew out from Vegas to LAX late in the evening, and then hung out in the Air New Zealand lounge waiting for our midnight flight home. The benefit to having a frequent flying husband, is his access to all the lounges as a platinum member. We didn’t stay in the first class lounge too long, and chose to head out to the main lounge part, where it was slightly more acceptable to have a 17 month old wandering the floor, with dummy in mouth and one shoe off, nearing midnight.