I have been in Las Vegas for the past week, and seen a lot of ups and downs – (I am referring to my chip stack, not the roller coaster at New York, New York). This Montana girl has been chewed up and spit out by Sin City, and I am gonna be first in line on that Friday morning flight back to Missoula.
I miss Montana, and I ran out of money, so I came up with a list of non-gambling ways to enjoy Las Vegas Montana style.
1. TAKE A HIKE- Just outside of town is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area with tons of hiking trails. Ice Box Canyon is a good hike for a hot day. The trail takes you through a cool, shady box canyon with seasonal waterfalls in the heart of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The narrow canyon rarely sees sunlight, and the cool water and air pouring down from the mountains keep it significantly cooler than the open desert. Click here for directions.
- above is a sample package of guns you can shoot at Machine Guns Vegas
2. SHOOT GUNS- Las Vegas is home to a handful of indoor shooting ranges that offer the opportunity to shoot the kind of guns you wouldn’t likely have at home, like an M5 assault rifle and Uzi. A Trip Advisor review from Karen C of Australia describes it as, “The best 20 minutes you can have in Vegas with your clothes on.” I don’t know about that, but it sure is a fun way to get your gun fix. More information on Machine Guns Las Vegas can be found here.
- photo courtesy basspro.com
3. BASS PRO SHOP-if you have never been to a Bass Pro Shop, prepare for a sensory overload. It is a superstore filled with acres of anything to do with any kind of recreations that doesn’t involve four walls and a roof. Aisle after aisle of camping gear, fishing equipment, boats, and even a gun and archery range on the premises. The store is attached to Silverton casino. It is a sportsman’s fantasy, and we don’t have one in Montana. Enough said.
- photo of owner’s Griz tatoo!
4.TORREY PINES PUB-This place is known to Vegas locals as “Grizzlyville.” The decor is all Montana Grizzly Football memorabilia, and any Grizzly Football game is played on every TV in the bar. The proprietor, Bob Bonner, plays Cotton Eye Joe, and Lets Get Ready To Rummble, and acts as announcer during games, yelling things like “First Dowwwwwwwn,” with all bar patrons yelling back, “MONTANA!”. He even hands out half-time prize tickets. If you can’t be at Washington Grizzly stadium for a Griz game, this is the next closest to the real deal. For a history of how this all came about read more here.
5. FREEZE YOUR BUNS OFF-Why come to Vegas to be cold you ask? Because there is a whole bar made out of ice, everything from the seats to the glasses they serve you with! It’s called Minus 5 Ice Bar located in Monte Carlo Casino, and after a long day of pounding the pavement under hot sun on the strip, minus 5 degrees can feel pretty refreshing. And besides, you are from Montana, so I know you can handle it.
- photo from richardbealblog.com
6. WATCH A RODEO- The National Finals Rodeo (NFR), known popularly as the “super bowl of rodeo,” is a championship event held annually by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)In 1984, the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, bid for the event. Since 1985 the NFR has been held in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. For current schedule click here.
7. VISIT SPRINGS PRESERVE- Natural hot springs are an attraction in Montana, but the original attraction in Las Vegas was this fresh water spring, now called the Preserve, built around the original water source; Las Vegas Springs.The Springs Preserve includes colorful desert botanical gardens, museum galleries, outdoor concert and event venues, an indoor theater, historic photo gallery and a series of walking trails that meander through a wetland habitat.
So now you know, there is more to Las Vegas than slot machines and cheap buffets. The discount airline Allegiant flies non-stop to Vegas from five major cities in Montana, making it even easier to do Vegas the Montana way.