Most people go to Vegas expecting to lose some money and hoping it lasts long enough to say they had a good time. There are also some amazing shows there that you won’t really have an opportunity to see anywhere else.
But, unless you pay attention to the digital ads at the airport, on all the digital marquees in front of the casinos or on the trucks driving around you, may never realize that there is more to Vegas than casinos on The Strip or Fremont Street. There are many fun and exciting activities to do outside of the casino floor, even outside of the casinos. One can even get discounts for many of these attractions by looking around online or using the Las Vegas Pass.
Walking around Las Vegas you will see many people with their phones out taking videos and pictures and posting to their own social media sites. This word of mouth advertising is perfect for the big casinos. These casinos drive experiences. And more than a gambling experience, but experiences for all ages and interests. The way they get the word out is through re-posting what the consumers are posting as social media posts, pov videos, and images.
The MGM Hotel Group which owns all of the properties in this review have done a great job getting the word out on social media. This has been a focus for them over the past four years with a strategy that was formed by Nick Mattera, who oversees all of Social Media Marketing for the MGM group.
To learn more about Mattera’s strategy, check out this link: Social Media and the MGM Resorts
“The best thing we can do is try to understand what the consumer wants. Whether you come to Las Vegas or not, if we can serve you an ad or content that makes sense to you, that’s a good experience. Creating the positive experience is important for us.” – Nick Mattera
One of the things that the MGM Resorts have understood is that everyone doesn’t want to be in the casino all the time. They have been able to create and sell experiences that gambler and thrill seeker alike will enjoy. Here are the top 5 that we found:
1. The Big Apple Coaster, New York New York
The roller coaster at the New York New York is pretty amazing, and they will let you ride a repeat time for half price as soon as you’re done. It is fast, with twists and turns and loop the loops. This roller coaster is great during the day to look out on the city of Las Vegas as well as the desert surroundings. It is even better at night. The twists and turns are more exciting and the lights of the strip are quite a sight. Now they have even added a Virtual Reality experience to the ride giving you a chance to shoot aliens who have escaped from a nearby research facility as they fly over the Strip.
(This one is pretty loud, maybe turn your volume down)
2. VR Gaming, MGM Grand
If you don’t want to walk through the casino to get to the KidZone area for video games, head on over to the MGM Grand on the ground floor (street level). Walk right in and you’ll run into their VR Gaming area. There you will find the LEVEL UP gaming lounge where you can spend some quality time gaming and imbibing while waiting for your turn. You will want to wait for your spot. Please try this out. For $50, you will get 30 minutes of VR play time with a group of up to 8 players.
There are four different scenarios you can go through and I am sure they are all just as fun:
- “Zombie Survival – The team is trapped in a zombie apocalypse, with the undead lurking around every corner ready to attack. Armed with a comprehensive arsenal of weapons, survivors must band together to take down wave after wave of zombies and rebuild safety barriers before extraction by the rescue team.
- Singularity – Something has gone wrong in a secretive military research space station. While investigating the mystery, teams must battle rogue robots and killer drones through narrow corridors and the zero-gravity environment of space.
- Engineerium – This puzzle adventure is set in a fantastical world with flying whales, giant parrots and colorful creatures. Players of all ages are challenged to solve physics-based problems as a team to advance along floating platforms high above the exotic planet below.
- Outbreak Origins – A deadly virus is wreaking havoc on the human population, creating hordes of zombies that are taking over the cities. Your squad needs to do something quick! The dead are walking and a sinister new order is rising from the ashes. Rescue and Attack helicopters buzz overhead, guns ablaze. Amongst all the chaos is a shadow group that seems to be at the root of the outbreak. Who are they? Arm yourself with a variety of weapons; assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles and take advantage of more powerful weapons on your mission to find a cure. Prepare yourself for epic battles…”
(Video of Zero Latency experience in Singapore, which is the same as the MGM experience)
In each game you will get about 15 minutes of instruction on how to use the VR system and get used to the environment with the goggles and headphones on. Then you walk into a large empty room. 30 minutes of walking around the space, killing zombies, and jeering your friends for having to re-spawn goes quickly. Knowing it is an empty room is no help as the experience really messes with your head. You will still hug walls as you walk “up” ramps on the side of a building or jump over a “gap” as you are getting onto a helicopter. This is an amazing experience and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys gaming and wants to get away while in Vegas.
3. Shark Reef Aquarium, Mandalay Bay
Also on the South end of The Strip is the shark reef aquarium at the Mandalay Bay. This is also an amazing experience. You can interact with the animals in a couple of different ways. There are feeding experiences with stingrays, sea turtles, and sharks as well as an amazing dive with the sharks.
Diving with sharks can get a little spendy. But, Come On! How many people can say that they were in the water with sharks on purpose?! This is a 3-4 hour experience where you get to spend time with the largest concentration of more than 30 different kinds of sharks. Plus you get up to 4 of your friends who are too scared to climb into the tank free admission to watch you be a fool around a bunch of blood thirsty sharks.
4. Adventuredome, Circus Circus
Moving onto the north end of The Strip there are two key casinos to hit up for some action. The first is Circus Circus. While this hotel and casino is more well known as the place you stay with kids in tow, it also has one or two pretty exciting rides for the adult crowd.
One of these is the Canyon Blaster roller coaster. On this ride you will get up to 55 mph on the worlds only indoor roller coaster with a double loop and double corkscrew. This ride takes you through the Adventuredome past all the rest of the people on the Midway. It is quite an experience!
5. Thrill Rides, Stratosphere
Finally, there is the Stratosphere. Here you get to experience Las Vegas’s highest amusement park. There are 3 rides and one not to be missed experience at the Stratosphere.
The first is the Big Shot where you get blasted 160 ft. straight up into the air above the tallest casino in Vegas. If that isn’t a thrill enough for you, you can try out Insanity. On this ride, you sit in a chair that is attached to an arm that rotates out over the strip, 900 ft over the strip. Then it starts to rotate and the chairs swing out, and up, until you are looking straight down, 900 ft, to the little ants of people walking below you. Don’t worry. I only saw this break down once, or twice while I lived there. I’m sure all those kinks have been worked out. Finally, there is the X-Scream. This is another short thrill, but you will catapult headfirst 27 ft over the edge of the tower and dangle weightlessly for a bit before being snapped back for another go.
The last, but definitely not least thing to do at the Stratosphere is the SkyJump Las Vegas. Here you bungee jump off of the top of the Stratosphere and free fall a very long way before you are lowered to the landing pad on street level.
You can book either day or night activities for any of these activities giving a very different outdoor Las Vegas experience.