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Las Vegas, the pulsating heart of Nevada. Bright lights and wild nights, the city is well known for its sinful indulgences, but what does the destination offer travellers keen for a taste of America’s big kid’s playground?

Here’s my guide to nine Las Vegas attractions you simply must experience.

#1 STROLLING THROUGH THE BELLAGIO CONSERVATORY

Five times a year the Bellagio conservatory puts on a magical show like none other and attracts more than 5 million spectators. With unmatched, state of the art engineers and electricians, the 14,000-foot greenhouse transforms into a wonderland of flowers, plants, and trees that create an awe inspiring display of natural beauty.

#2 WATCHING THE FALL OF ATLANTIS AT CEASERS FORUM SHOPS

A shopping trip to Caesars Forum is nothing short of spectacular. Aside from the wealth of high end retailers offering up their enviable threads, Caesars hosts a live show set in the watery kingdom of Atlantis. The pyrotechnics and vibrant costumes make you feel as if you’re part of the action! This hourly show is a must see and best of all…it’s FREE!

#3 RIDING INSANITY AT THE STRATOSPHERE

For the daredevil traveller nothing will beat the stomach lurching, scream inducing attraction Insanity. Suspended from the roof of the Stratosphere, 64 feet out over the Las Vegas strip, the emerald coloured ride spins participants over 40 miles per hour at a 70-degree angle. This is truly a hair raising! If that ride is just simply too much for you then the X-Scream (a head first plunge over the edge of the tower) is a slightly less traumatic.

#4 EXPLORING THE PLAZZO WATERFALL ATRIUM

Welcoming guests with a 9-foot topiary sculpture of a Venetian Carnival Queen; the manicured scenes of the Palazzo Waterfall Atrium will put any landscape artist to shame. The variety of exotic flowers, multi-story atrium waterfall, and domed skylight make visitors feel as if they’ve come to nirvana. During specific times of the year, like Chinese New Year, horticulturists transform the usual beauty to a spectacular grandeur not to be missed.

#5 WATCHING CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

In my opinion no one should visit Las Vegas without taking in a Cirque du Soleil show. For more then 20 years the acrobatic artistry of the Cirque has been entertaining guests with illusion, acrobatic feats, and a sensual artistic energy. With several venues and shows to choose from there’s something on offer for everyone.

#6 PLACING A BET IN A LAS VEGAS CASINO

Vegas and gambling are synonymous, and taking a chance on Lady Luck is practically mandatory when visiting the city. The vivacious energy and heart stopping excitement of the gambling tables and slots are what Sin City thrives on. Stay, play, and try your luck in the many casinos that line the Vegas strip, and if you should loose it all then walk around and enjoy the eye-popping opulence of the casinos themselves. If you’re planning to play throughout your stay brush up on your poker face and practice at an online casino site like Mansion Casino.

#7 RIDING THE BIG APPLE ROLLER COASTER AT NEW YORK NEW YORK

If you haven’t had enough thrills or you just feel like twisting your stomach into knots, test your limits on the 180 degree twist/dive of the Big Apple roller coaster at the famous hotel casino New York New York. Surrounded by buildings constructed to mimic the famous skyline of New York City, the coaster is hard to miss. Each car of the coaster (designed to look like a NYC taxi) plummets 144 feet before corkscrewing and looping at speeds up to 67 miles per hour. Word to the wise…don’t eat or drink before embarking on this gut wrenching ride!

#8 TAKING A DIP IN THE AQUARIUM AT THE SILVERTON HOTEL

If immersing yourself in a vibrant underwater world is more your style then the Silverton Aquarium is the attraction for you.  A 117,000 gallon reef aquarium, visitors can watch as the marine inhabitants go about their daily lives swimming, eating, and protecting their territories. The exhibit is perfect for families with kids who want to get away from the chaos of the city’s busy streets and loud casinos. The little ones will love the real mermaids that put on underwater shows. If you’re so inclined and are certified you could be married under the sea (okay in the aquarium tank) just like Arial from “The Little Mermaid” making it the perfect Vegas trip!

#9 WATCHING THE FOUNTAINS AT THE BELLAGIO

One of the notable draws of the Las Vegas strip is the magnificent fountains at the Bellagio. Erupting in a mesmerizing aquatic display 1,214 jets hurl water 460 feet in the air, choreographed to a classical soundtrack. The pulsing water is illuminated from within the feature and is programmed to the calls of the crowds that gather to watch. For couples, a package can be crafted so their wedding song can be synced with the water display.

From feats of acrobatics to fear inducing roller coaster rides, Las Vegas boasts a wealth of attractions guaranteed to excite and entertain. Have you spent time in Sin City? Share your recommendations below.

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Featured image by Arne Bornheim

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