Las Vegas Correspondence – July 2018

Moray eel at SeaQuest

Diamond Jack is in the middle of the desert, and sometimes he needs to see the sea. Welcome to SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium at the Boulevard Mall on Maryland Park and its many exhibits, ranging from rainforests and deserts to exotic marine life. These exhibits go through five continents, and visitors are encouraged to connect with animals and learn about their ecosystems through hands-on activities. These activities include feeding sharks, stingrays, birds, and tropical animals. Anyone seeking a more daring experience can enjoy walk-in aviaries or snorkel in the 45,000-gallon exhibit filled with reef sharks, stingrays and hundreds of tropical fish. And maybe even a mermaid. The most recent additions to the aquarium are two Asian small-clawed otter pups, two coatimundi and two capybaras. For more information, visit

We all need heroes, be they fictional or real life. Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at Treasure Island is an immersive and educational experience that brings visitors into the fictional superhero world of The Avengers. All ages are welcome and granted access to the official S.T.A.T.I.O.N. headquarters, where visitors are taken deep into the Marvel Cinematic Universe to train and become an agent of S.T.A.T.I.O.N. There is access to an array of intelligence files, classified studies and experiments that explore the history and scientific origins of The Avengers. On display is an extensive range of Avengers operational equipment, such as Captain America’s uniform and shield, Bruce Banner’s laboratory, Hawkeye and Black Widow uniforms and weapons, Vision’s birth cradle, Ant-Man’s helmet, a preserved Chitauri from the Battle of New York, Iron Man’s MK 45 suit and the Hulkbuster suit. For more information, visit

Puns for the Educated Mind

Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says “Are you sure?” The first replies, “Yes, I’m positive.

If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you would be in Seine.

Then there was the person who sent 10 puns to friends with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

— Diamond Jack Bulavsky


Cool off in the pools and on the lake this summer in Vegas!

There are always tons of things to do in the Las Vegas area and summertime is no exception! The fun begins with the 4th of July. Since the 4th falls on a Wednesday this year, there will be thousands of people extending their holiday through the weekends and who will be hitting the water whenever possible.

All of the hotels have pools, some more than one, and I am sure you will find your favorite, depending on where you are staying. Some of the best hotel pools to visit on The Strip are located at Mandalay Bay, Caesars Palace and The Mirage.


                                                                               The Wave Pool at Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay has trucked in 2,700 tons of real sand and includes a wave pool with 1.6 million gallons of water. The waves come to “the beach” every 90 seconds to give you the feeling of being on the ocean. They also have a lazy river and a couple of lagoon pools so you can enjoy all the experiences of the water at this resort. They have concerts on the beach, but be prepared for a crowd, standing, lines, and expensive drinks.

They offer a day pass for non-guests of the hotel Mondays through Thursdays. The charge is $20 for adults, $10 ages 4-16 and free for those 3 and under. If you want to use an inner tube (donut) for floating you are better off bringing your own. They charge between $18 and $25 at their shop, but they will fill it with air for you!

Note: Because of the large amount of hotel guests they are expecting for the 4th of July holiday, they have scheduled black-out dates. Non-guests are not allowed in from July 2nd through 8th.

Caesar’s Palace has the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis. Do you see enough pools in the photo? There are 5 acres of pools! There are 7 pools — Apollo, Bacchus, Jupiter, Fortuna, Neptune, Temple, and Venus. Be aware, The Venus pool has topless sunbathing. Look at this site for a map of the pool area:

Non-hotel guests have a $20 cover charge per day. Guests of Caesar’s Palace and Nobu Hotel have free access.

Believe it or not, the food is actually good in the pool area. With that being said, do not expect cheap prices for food or drinks. Drinks are $18 for 16 oz. (margarita, mai tai) and $8 water (small). Try to order pitchers of drinks to save some cash! And keep remembering that you are on vacation and enjoy the experience in a beautiful location.

                                                           The Mirage pool

I am sorry to say that The Mirage pool and Private Oasis are for hotel guests only. The whole pool area, including the bar and restaurant, can only be accessed by guests of the hotel. You must show your room key to enter. If you are a guest the hours are 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., with the Private Oasis open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The resort promotes their area as 2 pools; however, they are connected so, to me, it looks like 1 huge pool area with pretty waterfalls on either end.

The Private Oasis is another smaller pool on the premises. It is not connected to the larger pool, is for adults 21 and over and requires a fee for entry. Lounge chairs are $55 for the day during the week (more $ on the weekends) and there are only 60 chairs. They also rent out cabanas in this area.

This whole resort area has plenty of lounge chairs, with a lot of them in the shade under the palm trees. It seems like there is a lounge chair stuck wherever they had an open space! One thing to keep in mind on the chairs is they can be reserved for yourself by placing a towel on them. However, other patrons (and pool employees) can remove the towel if you haven’t showed back up after an hour of placing it on the chair, thus losing your spot. You will lose the argument about your chair since signs are posted advising you of this fact. With all the chairs, it makes it a lot easier to stay all day at the pool to truly relax.

                                                                        Paradise Cafe at the Mirage pool area

The Dolphin Bar is an open air bar, as is the Paradise Café. Again, prices at the Café are normal Vegas, with Burgers for $16, Chicken Tenders for $14 and a hot dog for $10. They are open for breakfast between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. and for lunch from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Alcoholic drinks are around $23 in a souvenir 32 oz. cup and are free-poured with a few shots of liquor, so not your normal weak drink! You can also purchase soft drinks in a souvenir cup for around $10. You can charge your purchases to your room, which helps you leave your personal wallets/purses/fanny packs/backpacks in a more secure place, like the hotel safe.

Lake Mead

If you want to get away from the major crowds at the hotel pools you can always take a trip to Lake Mead and enjoy a cruise. Lake Mead Cruises offers cruises during the day and evenings. They have brunch, mid-day and dinner cruises available during the year.

Note: Lake Mead Cruises is located inside the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, so there is a daily or annual pass that you will have to purchase before getting to your cruise dock. It is $25 per vehicle for all passengers, which is valid for 7 consecutive days, or $45 for their annual pass, which begins the month of purchase for a full year.

                                                                                The Desert Princess at Paint Pots

Their Desert Princess holds 285 passengers and is a 3-story paddle wheel boat with air-conditioned decks and an open-air promenade deck.

During July, there are two 90-minute daily mid-day cruises at noon and 2 p.m. The price is $26 for those 12 and up and $13 for ages 2 through 11. You can obtain a senior discount of 10% off. They recommend making your reservation by calling (866) 292-9191 in advance to make sure you do not drive out there and find you cannot board.

The dinner cruises are 2 hours at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Prices are $61.50 (ages 12+) and $25.00 (ages 2-11). You will have your choice of salmon, chicken, pasta or prime rib, which includes breads, salad and dessert. Coffee, tea or water are also included with the meal.

The Sunday 90-minute brunch cruise at 10 a.m. includes champagne, orange juice, coffee, tea (hot and cold) with scrambled eggs, French toast, crepes, fresh fruits and salads, pastries, and a yogurt bar. The price is $45 (ages 12+) and $19.50 (ages 2-11).

They do have rules for the cruise, including wearing appropriate clothing. Bathing suits must be covered since you will not be swimming from the boat. Also, they do not allow pets, food or beverages brought onboard.

For cruises not specified as brunch or dinner, they have onboard dining at their Paddlewheel Grill and Snack Bar providing sandwiches, burgers, salads, nachos, cookies, and a full service bar.

The cruises are a great way to see the Hoover Dam up close from the high-water side. On the other side of that “wall” the water you are on drops dramatically! You will also see Black Canyon, clear blue water and enjoy the other sights and sounds of the recreation area. You can see the gorgeous scenery while moving along slowly, especially for the dinner cruise, if you get the sunset view.

— Pauline Cimoch


New Spago Opens at Bellagio

Wolfgang Puck’s new Spago restaurant has made its debut at Bellagio as a lakeside dining destination. The new home for Spago is inspired by California living with casual elegance and farm-to-table spirit. Spago is open daily for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and dinner at 5 p.m.

The eatery’s design has created a space where every seat captures the perspective of the venue’s outstanding location with the fountains. Water is a key feature and floor-to-ceiling glass windows highlight the grandeur while distinct dining spaces meld classic architecture with modern art. Spago commissioned Las Vegas artist Katie Lewis to create a series of 20 topographical map images inspired by the Nevada desert landscape. A piece crafted by Jacob Hashimoto, known for his three-dimensional wall hangings inspired by his Japanese heritage, covers one wall.

Other highlights include: the circular and covered al fresco patio; main dining room with two impressive chandeliers; bar and lounge with a classic bar and wine cellar focal point; and two private dining room seating up to 20 guests each.

Travis Pastrana Attempts Three Evel Knievel Feats

History, Nitro Circus and Caesars Palace are partnering for “Evel Live,” a three-hour live event airing on Sunday, July 8 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on the History channel.

The program will feature motorsports superstar Travis Pastrana, an 11-time X Games gold medalist, paying tribute to Evel Knievel, the founding father of motorcycle stunts, while also aiming to the push daredevil limits even farther. Pastrana will attempt to surpass three of Knievel’s most famous jumps over the course of three hours, including jumping the length of 52+ crushed cars and 16 Greyhound buses directly behind Planet Hollywood, Paris and Bally’s. The final jump will take place at Caesars Place over the resort’s iconic fountains.

The non-ticket events are free and open to the public. The public can access the jumps behind Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood beginning at 3:30 p.m. and at Caesars Palace beginning at 6 p.m. If successful, Pastrana will break Knievel’s records and will be the first person to complete three of Knievel’s greatest jumps consecutively.

Cottonwood Station Eatery Is New in Blue Diamond

Married couple Steve Enger and Jody Lyman have opened the new Cottonwood Station Eatery in the quaint, historic mining village of Blue Diamond, about 40 minutes from Downtown Las Vegas. Their restaurant with seating for 30 inside and 50 outside with a fire pit and pet-friendly patio is the first new commercial construction there in decades offering a dining destination for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The modern 3,250-square-foot Cottonwood Station Eatery was created in respect of the village’s aesthetics, and the goal of creating a social gathering spot. Cottonwood Station derives its name from the original name of the community, Cottonwood Springs, which was an important station stop as a watering hole on the old Spanish Trail. The small piece of land housed the village’s workshop since 1942, and the building had not been used for decades.

A 1949 Ford flatbed truck aging in a backyard is now a de facto sign, and the truck bed features seating for eight on the outdoor patio. Wood from the original workshop and garage is a prominent part of the interior with its reclaimed wood walls created from the original blue garages that previously stood on this corner of Cottonwood Drive and Village Boulevard. A history wall showcases black and white photos and information about the area. There’s a photo tribute to Tippy, the dog that helped save two miners.

Breakfast costing $4-$7.50 begins daily at 6 a.m. Lunch and dinner are served until 8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and Friday-Saturday until 10 p.m. The 290 residents of Blue Diamond have the option to order golf cart pizza delivery.

Having designed the logo, Lyman’s art talent is showcased, and her own burro-inspired art and coffee mugs are available for sale.

For more information, including the menu, go to

Hockey Is Transforming Las Vegas

In so many ways, the Entertainment Capital of the World is now the center of the hockey universe. The excitement in the city with the Vegas Golden Knights (VGK), the National Hockey League’s (NHL) 31st club and Las Vegas’ first professional league, making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in its inaugural season is off the Richter scale. The VGKs are the talk of the sports world!

Everywhere you look, you’ll see VGK jerseys even on the Statue of Liberty at New York-New York and the giant lion at the MGM Grand. An outside statue of Julius Caesar holds a jumbo hockey stick and VGK’s flag.

Shows and entertainers have been getting in on the act. Super fan Celine Dion, who returned to her residency at Caesars Palace after her surgery, did so wearing a GVK jersey on stage. Wayne Newton has been wearing his jersey at games, and at the Westgate Barry Manilow, after opening his new residency at the hotel, received a VGK jersey from Jay Kornegay, VP of Race & Sports SuperBook, and Westgate president Geno Iafrate.

— Jackie Brett