Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Break Vacation, Day 2 – Star of the Show

We started off Day 2 with breakfast at a nearby McDonald’s. Then we caught the monorail down to the south end of The Strip. We learned that all of the hotels on the strip are humongous, so walking even just a few hotels down takes a while.

Our first destination was Mandalay Bay where we wanted to see the Shark Reef. The Shark Reef turned out to be a nice little aquarium; not particularly large compared to big city-aquariums, but nicely presented. We had a bad experience at an aquarium a couple years ago, so it was nice that Kai enjoyed this one.

We next went to the Egyptian-themed Luxor hotel.

The main attraction there was Bodies, The Exhibition. Bodies features whole-body, partial-body, and organ specimens preserved from actual human bodies. Each section of the exhibition focuses on a different system of human body: skeletal, muscular, respiratory, and circulatory. It was a fascinating look inside human bodies, seeing how all the organs, arteries, veins, and nerves connect together. There were also organs damaged by smoking or unhealthy eating which presented a vivid warning to Kai. With Kai’s love of science, this was a great educational experience that was very interesting for all of us.

Photos were not permitted. Here is a screenshot from their website.

After lunch, we made our way over to Planet Hollywood. We learned that they have a faux “outdoor” mall just like we saw at the Venetian. Perhaps all the casinos do. I marveled at how many malls with very expensive stores there must be there.

This particular mall featured a “thunderstorm “ every half hour. We watched one storem, and the thunder and lightning effects were fun. The rain was limited to a small portion so shoppers did not actually get wet.

Kai seemed to enjoy the storm, though when we were there later and the time for another storm was near, he hurried us away as his fear of storms kicked in again, even though this wasn’t a real one and he did not even get wet when he saw it the first time.

Next it was time for to see our first Vegas show. We wanted to see a couple and I had researched family-friendly shows on TripAdvisor and other websites. One that sounded particularly good for Kai was the Armando Vera Up-Close Magic Experience, which was actually a pre-show to the Nathan Burton Comedy Illusions show.

For Armando Vera, everyone sat close and got a good view as he performed. The magician came out, introduced himself and bantered with the crowd. He was personable and very funny. His sleight-of-hand tricks had you saying, “How did he do that?”

Before we had left home, I had prepared Kai for the possibility that a magician may ask for volunteers. At the rodeo we went to last summer, there was a portion of the event where kids were invited to go on the field. While I did not discourage Kai from participating, I was worried about sending him down by himself and did not encourage him. Weeks later, he was still angry when he saw the photos I took of the other kids on the field. While he did not expressly say so, I think he was disappointed that he did not participate with the other kids. So, this time, I wanted to make sure he knew it was okay if he wanted to volunteer.

When the magician asked for two kids to assist, Kai raised his hand and Armando selected him along with a girl. The magician talked to each of them. I was a bit nervous, but happy when Kai responded to Armando very appropriately.

Armando had fun with the kids and did a number of tricks with each child. Kai’s reactions were priceless. On one trick the magician made foam balls squeak but when he asked Kai to do the same thing, the balls were silent.

The best trick was when the magician put one ball in Kai’s hand and had him close his fist. When Armando said the magic words and Kai opened up his hand, about ten balls appeared.

Kai was the star of the show, and it was great to see him enjoying it all.

The remainder of the show was just as entertaining. Clint Carvalho, appeared on America’s Got Talent, came on with his trained birds and was quite funny. The other magician, the main star, was Nathan Burton. His act was much more showy and fast-paced than Armando’s. He had showgirls, bright lights, and a lot of action.

At one point, Nathan asked a woman to select a brand of cereal, and she picked Special K. Then Kai was selected to name the price of a box of the cereal. Kai said, “Uh, $15.” Then Nathan lowered a box that had been hanging from the ceiling since the show started. He opened it and revealed a box of Special K with a price of $15.

Photos were not allowed during this portion of the show, but I got a picture of Kai afterward with the box of cereal and his price.

All of the participants of the show met the audience and posed for pictures afterward.

We then walked down The Strip and saw M&M World. Even though Kai doesn’t really eat much chocolate candy, he likes the M&M commercials, and he likes NASCAR, so he enjoyed seeing the store.

Our day ended with dinner at a nice Japanese restaurant, Shibuya, in the MGM Grand. We had to wait about 40 minutes for a table, and it was already late, but Kai did well.

The meal was delicious, though I was too starved to remember to take a photo.

So, all in all, Day 2 was a very fun, successful day.


  1. No Kyle Busch in that race car? :)

    Wow..what a very fun and busy day you had. I'm so glad Kai did well. How fun for him to be selected as a participant! You got some cute pictures of him.

    That museum of the body sounds does the aquarium!

    1. We were so amazed that Kai did so well on such a busy day, even with all the walking we did. All of the attractions were great.

  2. Great trip so far. Kai got to enjoy the show from close up! A lot of fun for all, I am sure. I am most amazed, not by the described magic at the show...but by Kai's patience. I know how far you had walked on this day. I get tired just thinking about it. Take lots of photos at the Grand Canyon, and don't forget to go on the glass walkway. Even though it is will be a once in a life time experience!

    1. We were very amazed by Kai's patience and tolerance all day. It was quite a contrast to other vacations.


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