Neon Museum, Las Vegas
Las Vegas boasts a plethora of unusual, overlooked attractionsBoasting fabulous hotels, dazzling shows, dozens of world-class restaurants and every type of gaming imaginable, it’s easy to see why Las Vegas is often referred to as the Entertainment Capital of the World. Some of the top attractions, such as the Cirque du Soleil shows and unique building facades, are famous worldwide. Las Vegas also features many lesser-known but fascinating options, including unusual and engaging activities. “If you can dream it, you can do it in Las Vegas,” says Chris Meyer, vice president of business sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “With the presence and proliferation of social media, business visitors want to experience something new and different, and it’s a bonus if they can share with their colleagues and friends through the various social media channels.” Most of the attractions are located along Las Vegas Boulevard, better known as The Strip, which is divided into north, mid and south sections. Captivating experiences are available throughout the city, however. By taking a look at under-the-radar attractions along and beyond The Strip, groups will be able to easily access those closest to where they are meeting and staying.
Canyon Blaster, Circus Circus Las VegasNot for the faint of heart, Sky Jump Las Vegas at Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel & Casino offers participants the opportunity to plummet 855 feet at a scream-inducing 40 mph while enjoying breathtaking views of The Strip. The jump, which is similar to sky diving and base jumping, is a free fall from the hotel’s 108th floor and is available day and night. Participants in Sky Jump Las Vegas are given a short safety lesson and then don custom jump suits. Guide wires keep them from straying off course during the dive. A group rate is available for parties of eight or more. The Adventuredome at Circus Circus Las Vegas features Canyon Blaster, the world’s only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster. It reaches speeds of 55 mph as it zooms through sharp twists and turns. Group discounts are offered at The Adventuredome, which includes several other rides, and customized special events can be arranged for up to 5,000.
Vdara Hotel & Spa at Aria Las VegasCaesars Palace Las Vegas features animatronic, 9-foot-tall Roman statues that suddenly come to life. They’re located at the Festival Fountain, and move and talk during a seven-minute, free mini-play that includes special lighting effects, heat, sound waves and smoke. The costumes and props, which feature a 20-foot winged dragon, were created by the same special effects experts who worked on the movies Thor and Pirates of the Caribbean. The show takes place every hour on the hour, starting at 11 a.m. Groups interested in dining in an unusual, elevated environment head straight for Mastro’s Ocean Club Las Vegas, where the main dining room is situated in the 80-foot-tall sculptural Tree House. Mastro’s, which serves up top steak and seafood options, also boasts three elegant private dining rooms overlooking the architecturally stunning Tree House. The rooms each seat 12 to 30 and are equipped with audio and video options. Mastro’s Ocean Club is also available for exclusive buyouts seating up to 300 guests. Vdara Hotel & Spa at Aria Las Vegas doesn’t feature any strange attractions or activities—or many of the standard Sin City offerings—but that’s what makes it such an unusual property. It’s a nongaming, smoke-free, eco-friendly, all-suite boutique hotel situated between Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas and Bellagio Hotel and Casino. The AAA Four Diamond, Forbes Four Star property simply offers outstanding services and a host of attractive amenities, including an 18,000 square-foot, two-level spa and healthy but sumptuous dining options.
Dive with Sharks, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las VegasShark Reef aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas is home to more than 2,000 animals including saw fish, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, jellyfish and rare golden crocodiles. Its main tank holds 1.3 million gallons, making it among the largest in North America. If that isn’t enough, the aquarium offers plenty of activity options, including Dive with Sharks, in which participants dive with a higher concentration of exotic sharks than could ever be found in the wild. All divers must be certified and at least 18 years old. The activity is available to Mandalay Bay guests, M Life Gold and above reward program members, and annual-pass guests who are open-water certified divers. After the dive, head to Aureole at Mandalay Bay restaurant, which features fine dining and a four-story wine tower with its very own flying Wine Angel Stewards, who gracefully ascend the tower to retrieve bottles for guests.
CSI, The Experience, MGM Grand Hotel & CasinoMGM Grand Hotel & Casino features CSI: The Experience, which allows participants to play the roles of crime scene investigators in a hands-on activity that includes two state-of-the-art forensic crime labs and dazzling special effects. Based on the hit TV show and guided by videos of cast members and real-life forensic scientists, participants perform realistic CSI tests such as matching DNA, examining bullet casings and identifying single strands of hair.
Blue Man Group, Luxor Las VegasGroups seeking an unusual show often opt for Blue Man Group at Luxor Las Vegas. Performed by a blue-painted cast, it’s a comedy, theater, rock concert and dance party all rolled into one. The current show features new music, design, technology and a finale that brings the entire audience together for a euphoric celebration. Discounts are given to groups of 10 or more. Customized performances can be arranged for groups and a 75-minute behind-the-scenes tour is available prior to the first performance of the night. Another Luxor attraction, Bodies…the Exhibition, showcases actual full-bodies and organs, providing a detailed, three-dimensional vision of the human form rarely seen outside of anatomy labs. The exhibition showcases 13 actual human bodies that have been dissected and preserved. More than 260 organs and partial body specimens can be viewed. Group discounts can be arranged.
DowntownNeon Museum consists of nearly 150 pieces that colorfully depict changes and trends in sign design from the 1930s to present. The museum provides the unique story of each sign, including who created it, what inspired it, where and when it was made, and the role it played in Las Vegas’ history. The museum’s campus includes Neon Boneyard, an outdoor exhibition space; a visitor’s center located inside the former La Concha Motel lobby; and Neon Boneyard North Gallery, which houses additional rescued signs. The Neon Boneyard can be accessed only through an hour-long guided tour. Neon Museum offers 6,600 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space. Just a block away from The Strip, El Cortez Hotel & Casino is ideal for groups that want to take a step back in time. This is very appropriate, since it’s the longest continuously running hotel in Las Vegas. Siegel’s 1941 restaurant and The Parlour Bar & Lounge capture the atmosphere and intimacy of old Vegas with a modern sensibility. And it’s one of the few places left that has coin-operated penny and nickel gaming machines.
More Vegas OptionsIdeal for team building, Countdown Las Vegas Westwood—located west of The Strip, off Interstate 15—offers Countdown Live Escape Games, interactive entertainment experiences in which a team is locked in a room and given the task to escape before time runs out. Participants must use their intellect and intuition to solve puzzles and decipher clues in order to find the key to unlock the door. Teams can choose from three games, varying in difficulty and each lasting one hour. The games accommodate eight to 10 people. The retro-chic Palms Casino Resort, located just west of the Center Strip area, is known for its unusual suites. The 4,500-square-foot Kingpin Suite features two fully functional bowling lanes, a spacious lounge and a theater-sized television. The Real World Suite was the actual setting for MTV’s Real World Las Vegas, from the bedrooms to the communal bathroom. Basketball fans love the 10,000-square-foot Hardwood Suite, featuring an indoor basketball court, professional locker room and NBA-sized fold-out beds that allow guests to sleep right on the court.
Dinner in the Sky Las VegasBilled as the most unique aerial dining experience in the United States, Dinner in the Sky Las Vegas is now under construction and is expected to open this spring at an undisclosed location on The Strip. It will feature a 200-foot-high permanent steel tower outfitted with two lifts capable of raising two 22-seat dinner tables 180 feet up in the air, suspending diners high above the famous Las Vegas skyline. Guests will be served by a maitre d’, offered gourmet cuisine by a professional team of chefs and treated to fine spirits by a master mixologist. The tables will offer stunning views of the famous Las Vegas Strip, majestic Red Rock Canyon and surrounding areas. Customized group events will be offered. Dinners can include a wide variety of additional options, from roses to champagne and chocolates.
Henderson & Summerlin
Lion Habitat Ranch, HendersonLion Habitat Ranch, which has cared for exotic animals since 1989, opened to the general public in 2012. The ranch, located in Henderson, is home to lions that were previously at MGM Lion Habitat. Visitors are welcome Friday through Monday, and are given the unique opportunity to feed a lion and a giraffe. Behind the scenes tours are available that show the feeding, cleaning, watering and bathing of the animals. Customized group tours and events can be arranged. Sky Combat Ace in Henderson is an extreme adventurer’s paradise. Participants can choose between Aerobatics, in which they can flip, turn, tumble and cartwheel their plane; Air Combat, in which they learn the art of aerial dogfighting; Extreme Sightseeing, which enables them to fly over scenic areas; and Combination, offering a blend of the three other options. Sky Combat Ace flies every day and has amassed a perfect safety record since opening in 2011. All of the pilots that accompany participants are chosen for their maturity, experience and unique qualifications.