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vegas 2Ben Piper recently travelled to Las Vegas and checked out all that’s new and exciting in this ever-changing destination.

When it was suggested to me that I should head to Las Vegas for a boys trip, I was shocked. “As in Las Vegas, Nevada? But I’m not a gambler!”

I would soon discover that over the last decade, much of Las Vegas has fundamentally changed. Whilst the idea that “what happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas” still very much exists, the city has now become a popular tourist destination not for gambling or drinking, but for the countless exciting and family friendly activities as well as high quality dining and entertainment. These were some of my discoveries.

SpeedVegas

SpeedVegas is the newest and most thrilling driving experience in Las Vegas, boasting a 3km 12 turn track, a half mile straight and twelve different types of exotic cars, including Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Porsches. SpeedVegas gives you the chance to drive your fantasy ride around an actual racetrack. Located a short ten minutes from the iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas Nevada” sign, it’s the closest and most convenient way to bring daydreams to life and drive amazing cars. With experienced instructors provided, as well as being situated in brand new, customdesigned state of the art facilities, there’s no need to be an expert. Just show up and enjoy the drive.

Fremont Street

Located 10 minutes walk from the strip in downtown Las Vegas; Fremont Street is a hub of activity and history. Taking you back to where it all started in Vegas, Fremont Street mixes the old and the new, with the world’s largest screen directly overhead Las Vegas’ first street. You can even take a short flight high above the street on ‘Slotzilla’ a twelve storey high zip line experience that shoots you down the avenue. If that’s not your style, the ‘Mob Museum’ is just down the street, and takes a fascinating in depth look into Las Vegas’ shady history, and the gangsters that used to run the town. There’s even an authentic electric chair on display.

Richard Petty Driving

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, or just want to know what its like to be behind the wheel of an actual race car, then look no further than the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Located at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, only twenty minutes from the strip, Drive Petty lets you drive or ride along in a genuine NASCAR stock car, on the same track that the professionals race. Reaching speeds of more than 220km/h, your experienced instructor will guide you along the fastest lines, so you’ll feel the rush of the walls and the bank of the track – just like the drivers in the NASCAR series.

vegasDig This

Truly a once in a lifetime experience, ‘Dig This’ allows you to get behind the joysticks of ten tonne Caterpillar excavators and bulldozers and muck around in a giant sandbox. Locateda short drive from the strip, Dig This offers a unique and oddly satisfying opportunity to let loose with powerful demolition machinery in a safe, fun environment. Digging a huge hole, attempting to move giant tyres with the claws of a digger and then trying to delicately pick up basketballs with a bulldozer is not something that I had ever expected to do – but it’s certainly something that I want to do again.

The Linq

The Linq Hotel and Casino, located in the heart of Las Vegas Boulevarde, offers a stunning outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment promenade. The pinnacle is the appropriately named ‘High Roller’ observation wheel, where you can enjoy the electric beauty of Las Vegas from over 150 metres up. After you take the ride, the nearby Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar boasts the biggest and boldest meals in all of Vegas. Celebrity chef Fieri takes classic American dishes and puts a unique twist on them, creating a distinctive and satisfying dining experience.

Flightlinez

Located in Bootleg Canyon, a short shuttle drive from a number of locations around Vegas, Flightlinez allows you to zip line over the Mojave Desert at speeds of more than 100 km/h. A short hike takes you to the top of the mountain where the first Zipline leaves, but before you strap yourself in, make sure to appreciate the stunning 360-degree views, where you can see Las Vegas in one direction, and in the other the iconic Hoover Dam. Perfect for any adrenaline rush seeker, Flightlinez offers a once in a lifetime chance to fly over the desert with funny, friendly and safety conscious guides, and an absolutely magnificent view all around.

Sunbuggy

If you’ve ever wanted to race and chase dune buggies out in the desert then Sunbuggy is the experience that you’re looking for. Choose from a variety of different buggies or ATVs and then follow your friendly guide for a thrilling trip up, down and around the winding dunes of the Mojave desert. Located near Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a short shuttle bus from Las Vegas Boulevarde, what better way to experience the beauty of the deserts sand dunes than from behind the wheel of a roaring powerful and agile ATV.

Machine Guns Vegas

Machine Guns Vegas presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to shoot a variety of firearms. ‘Only in America’ would you be able to get your hands on these powerful weapons, such as the fabled AK47, a double barrelled shotgun or the Glock handgun, and then shoot them at targets downrange. The shooting range ensures safe handling, with friendly and experienced staff to keep you entertained and guide you through every step in the process. By the end of the session you’ll be hitting bullseyes and striking a ‘cool guy pose’ with all the guns available.

Shows

While in Las Vegas, you should definitely go and see a show or two. Check out dumbfounding magic of ‘Penn and Teller’ in the Rio Hotel and Casino, where your mind will be blown when the comedic magic pair make the seemingly impossible happen, but keep a down to earth and funny vibe throughout. If magic isn’t quite your style, why not have a look at one of the countless ‘Cirque du Soleil’ performances, such as ‘Michael Jackson ONE’ in the Mandalay Bay, where acrobats fly, jump and dance to MJ’s greatest hits in a mesmerizing visual masterpiece on stage.

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