TRAVEL: Leaving (for) Las Vegas

TRAVEL: Leaving (for) Las Vegas TRAVEL -- June 1996

TRAVEL -- June 1996

Forget the disappearing white Siberian tigers of Siegfried & Roy, the contortions of Cirque de Soleil, the crooning of Debbie Reynolds and all those high-kicking revues. The real show in Las Vegas is Las Vegas itself.

And it's free. Las Vegas provides an endless merry-go-round of activity: a time traveler's voyage through the ages with entertainment at every themed hotel stop.
From Egypt to the heyday of MGM, from Rome to the Knights of the Roundtable, Las Vegas provides a continuous flow of theatrics in the form of costumed staff, skits and free shows.

At Caesar's Palace, with its domed blue skies and open-forum street stops, see a marble statue come alive (see posted schedules for times). Watch as the marble slowly melts away allowing Caesar to speak and laugh. Close by, Treasure Island also offers free entertainment with its 15-minute live sea battle between swashbucklers and sailors in the eighteenth century pirate village of Buccaneer Bay.
Other tiny side shows and skits are performed throughout most of Las Vegas's hotels. In the medieval kingdom of Excalibur (top photo), you'll find contortionists, magicians and madrigals ready to entertain. Under the bigtop of Circus Circus, tightrope walkers and clowns beguile children amid a midway of carnival games.

Nighttime changes the strip, its neon magic brighter than daylight. . . and the entertainment continues. For those shut out of the high-priced shows or on a mid-gambling break, night clubs prevail.
Follow the yellow brick road along the Emerald City at the MGM Grand, and sit at the nearby Monkey Bar lounge to hear live bands play tunes like "Unforgettable." Or visit Caesar's Cleopatra's Barge, a dance club floating on "the Nile" (no cover or minimum). Other themed lounges include The Mirage's Lagoon Saloon with a tropical rain forest, where tropical drinks are the specialty or Treasure Island's Captain Morgan's Lounge with Vegas's version of a piano man. Leaving Las Vegas: Voyage to lands filled with primitives and pirates with American Airlines Fly AAway Vacations. While in Las Vegas, stay in either the 2,900-room Treasure Island or amid the tropical glamour of The Mirage, starting from $56. Your visit to the sin city includes a two-for-one lunch buffet at the Sahara Hotel and Casino, a $500 book of coupons and a complimentary use of an Alamo rental car for 24 hours. Call 1-800-321-2121.

-- By Sandra Mardenfeld