I adore Vegas. It's one of those only-in-America places. These days you might find similarily ridiculous over-the-top, just-because-we-can, ostentatiousness in places like Macau and Dubai, but they don't come with the history, heart and sense of pure fun that you find in Vegas.
If you google 'kids in Vegas' you'll find all kinds of sites telling you that Vegas is not a family holiday destination. But both the step-sons loved Vegas - in the post trip review that we always do, Vegas was the bit that everyone agreed was completely ace. (FYI, the step-sons are 11 and 13 years old. Also FYI, we don't gamble.)
They were intrigued by the stories of how Vegas was developed, they loved the idea that all this crazy stuff was built just for fun, and they never got tired of making jokes about France being right next door to Egypt which was right next door to New York... They loved all the great meals (especially one at Switch - a super tasty steakhouse in the Wynn where the decor changes every 20 minutes or so), and the view from our amazing room at the Bellagio (see photo above). Vegas was a hit - and that's even though we didn't have time to visit the sharks at Mandalay Bay, ride the roller coaster at New York, New York, or even go for a swim!
Probably the most amazing thing we did in Vegas was a helicopter ride out to the Grand Canyon, via the Hoover Dam and all kinds of amazing desert landscapes. The weather wasn't great - there was a lot of rain and mist about - which meant we couldn't land in the Canyon, but it was still pretty amazing.
Seeing as I have inherited my Mum's dislike of flying, small spaces and heights this part of the trip was somewhat challenging for me. Especially as the pilot decided the front seat was the best place to put me. I was basically in a perspex bubble, vibrating high above the earth. For the first 45 minutes I was
completely kind of freaking out, much to the amusement of my fellow passengers.
If you haven't experienced that kind of panic before, it's like your brain just constantly screams at you 'get out NOW', but you can't, so you're trapped, and it's not very fun, at all. And also clearly not very logical. And a bit embarrassing, especially once the swearing kicks in. I've found ways to calm myself down (counting is good, as is photography - they give me something else to focus on). And once my body/brain got used to the way the chopper moved it was all okay. So for the last 45 minutes I was actually able to stop freaking out and enjoy the views.
*As we helpfully taught the step sons on this trip, you can never ever just say 'Vegas'. It's always always 'Vegas, baby!'.