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The wilder side of wild Las Vegas

Lake Mead's water level reveals new features below
Lake Mead's water level reveals new features below
Photo by Dolev Schreiber

Everybody knows Las Vegas is a “different” place: The games, the drinks, the buildings, the food, everything is artificial. No question there. Sure, it would be great to prove that there is also a natural side to it (and there is!) but where is the fun in that? So here are just a few items that show Las Vegas is even crazier than it is otherwise presented:

1) Rock climbing. Las Vegas is one of the top five most popular places to rock climb in the United States. Okay, not the city itself, but rather Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, a park that literally borders the city (really, it is located between Summerlin and Blue Diamond, two neighborhoods of Las Vegas). Tens of thousands of climbers flock to Las Vegas every year in order to take advantage of the year-round natural playground and hundreds have moved to Las Vegas for this reason alone. With thousands of possibilities to choose from, climbers find sunny routes for the cold winters and shaded crags for the hot summers. They can climb 365 days a year and still not touch everything that Red Rock Canyon has to offer.

2) Buffets. Food possibilities are endless in Las Vegas, with prices ranging from so ridiculously cheap that you wonder what the food is made of to so outrageously expensive that you expect the tables to be edible. There are of course buffets at every famous casino on the Las Vegas Strip and their prices generally correspond to the quality of the rooms. But there are also the off-the-Strip buffets. The Dragon on Nellis Blvd. (you know, across from the famous Walmart where a shooting recently took place), offers an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for only $6.99.

3) The Strip. Yes, of course, there is the infamous Strip and all of its attractions such as: the Linq’s 550ft High Roller, the world’s biggest observation wheel; the 490ft high, 33mph Voodoo Zipline between two of Rio’s towers; and the SkyJump, the Stratosphere’s equivalent to bungee jumping 829ft. It is a shame to Las Vegas that Base Camp, the tallest artificial climbing wall in the world (164ft) is in Reno, NV. At least it is in the same state.

4) It is possible to alpine ski and water ski in the same day. Yes, there is a ski resort and a body of water big enough to boat on near Las Vegas. Once again, it is not in the city, but it is pretty close. The ski resort is not indoors like in Dubai. The resort is actually on the 11,916ft Mt. Charleston and, in winter, has (mostly) natural snow! After skiing, drive back down the mountain, shed the ski layers and change into a wetsuit, cross the city on Lake Mead Blvd and plunge into a boat on the marina. The lake is a deep reservoir filled by the water of the Colorado River following the construction of the Hoover Dam. It actually offers endless outdoor opportunities including boating, swimming, and even scuba diving.

5) The Zombie Apocalypse store. This one has sprung up in many cities, but who knew it would be a necessity in Las Vegas? The not-entirely-incorrect perception one has of Las Vegas is that the city is already overrun by zombies. Those who do not dress like them for fun spend the entire night gambling and then walk to their hotel room or home at 5am like the living dead (rock climbers excluded). On second thought, maybe it is a necessity here. People need to stock up in this city if they plan on locking themselves indoors to take refuge from the heat. MRE’s might come in handy after all.

Intrigued to learn more about Las Vegas? Get a cheap deal on,, or and stay in some of the fanciest and biggest hotels in the world! Walk with open alcoholic containers on the street, collect cards with pictures of naked women and their phone numbers on them, smoke a cigar at the poker tables, visit Italy, Paris and New York, and watch a pirate’s ship sink, a volcano explode, and an amazing show of dancing water fountains.

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