Vegas-Family Style

When you think of Las Vegas, you rarely think of family. But that’s exactly where we chose to spend my daughter’s 7th birthday. And it was by far one of the best vacations we have had as a family.


First stop after the airport was lunch. While this place is a little bit off the strip, it was well worth learning about, Cafe Zupas. To those of us out west this place will remind you of Panera Bread, but this knocks it out of the park while Panera is a nice bunt to first base.

So what makes Zupas stand out? Instead of ordering and your food coming out of the kitchen, Zupas is more cafeteria style. You can watch the employees make your salad and pour your soup in a bowl. The portions on the soup and salad are pretty large. The kid’s meal is okay for an average eater. My kid ended up picking off our plates at our leftovers. But each meal is served with a white roll and a chocolate covered strawberry. I mean, come on, does it get better than that? If it does, sign me up! Zupa’s has made my must return list.

I am thankful for my niece who is a UNLV student and familiar with the area. When we told her my daughter wanted to see red rocks, she took us to Red Rock Canyon near Summerlin.

Red Rock Canyon is nothing less than spectacular. The rock formations vary from spectacular hues of red and orange to sandstone white. We started the canyon drenched in sunlight and clear skies and ended in an ice storms near the foothills of the canyon. If there hadn’t been so bitterly cold, I would have enjoyed the hiking trails. Hikes include a waterfall while another offers petroglyphs. I can’t wait to go back at a better time of year.


The next day, it was time to celebrate the munchkins birthday. We started with mommy’s favorite activity to drag her daughter along on, shopping. We always stop into the outlets. Las Vegas Premium Outlets South is located a few miles south of the Mandalay Bay. It’s jam packed with children’s stores like Carter’s, The Disney Outlet and Nike plus plenty for the parents to browse as well. The prices are much better for me coming from California. I have always found a gem on clearance at this shopping center.

After lunch, we headed back to our room to wait out our afternoon for dinner and late night adventures. Our dinner reservations at Ohjah Japanese Steakhouse. The show and dinner were great. Although, our chef could have spoken a little louder. He told a few jokes, but it seemed he was more interested in getting done. I had no problem with this because I went in hungry.

And can you believe that that is a picture of a child’s plate? It was as much as the adults and half the price. Do you think I could pass for 12? I particularly enjoyed the cold apple saki. It was delicious. Over all, for the price and experience. It was well worth it. With three adult meals, saki and a kids meal, our meal totaled just over $100. That’s a bargain for those of us who enjoy hibachi.

We topped off the evening at Circus Circus’ Adventuredome. I was so excited that there was no theme for this time of year. Adventuredome reminds me of Santa Cruz. A few rides and midway, but sure to be a crowd pleaser with the under 16 set. There are two roller coasters which look like they have the right amount and are a feat of modern engineering since they aren’t on the ground floor of the hotel. There are kiddie favorites like the carousel and flying airplanes. My daughter managed to talk me out of $7 for her to do the flying jumping thingy on bungee cords, but she had the time of her life. If you plan to go to Adventuredome, know that rides are priced individually if you do not buy the wristband and the cheapest ride is $6.

And if your child likes midways, this one is pretty good. There are skill games like basketball, hurling bean bags at balloons and knocking over milk bottles. And the crowd faves like the horserace game. My take on Adventuredome, unless you’re only going on one ride, buy the wrist band. There are enough attractions to make it work the price of admission and definitely hit the midway.

No night would be complete with a late night visit to the Sprinkles cupcake vending machine at the Linq promenade. So even if you’re out late night, the vending machine is open 24 hours. The promenade is a cute little town square. And there is a 24 hour Starbucks! I mean it’s just begging to be a 2-for.


Our final day in Vegas was also our laziest. We didn’t get going until 4:00. We headed over to Planet Hollywood, which I can’t stop calling the Aladdin, to pick up show tickets and eat dinner.

Unfortunately by the time we arrived at the Box Office, we couldn’t get tickets to the show we wanted to see. So we settled on

We had dinner at Lombardi’s. The food was remarkable unremarkable. The pizza dough with basil thing they serve as an appetizer is tasteless and dry. I had Chicken Marsala which was a little more flavorful, but I have had better food at my local restaurants. And the chicken breasts were a bit overcooked. The cheesecake and chocolate lava cake shared by the table was better. The cheesecake came with fresh berries which elevated a low level cheesecake. If you like dark chocolate, this lava cake is for you.

Let’s talk about “Vegas, the show” We scored tickets at the Saxe Theater. The show runs about 1 hour and 15 minutes. It was truly entertaining. Taking a trip through Vegas history. It was fun tripping back musically through Vegas history. There was plenty of opportunity to sing along. It was full of music, great sets and lavish costumes, but I will say there is no nudity, but if you are offended by showgirl outfits, this is not your show.

After the show, we witnessed the first measurable show on the strip since forever. It was a magical ending to my princess’ 7th birthday.

This review contains no sponsored ads and the opinion expressed here are my own. 
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