There is quite possibly nothing like the thrill of your parents taking you on a spontaneous trip to a land you’ve never been before. Or so I like to think. When I sit my growing kids down and prepare to share with them the exciting news about another adventure we’re about to embark on, I know this is what they’re thinking. Or so I like to think.
The truth is I don’t sit them down to tell them. I text them. They might be at school or at work. They might be upstairs in their rooms and I’m too tired to walk up there. Or don’t possess an extra ounce of energy to holler “Hey, I’ve got something to say. Come down here.” And let’s face it, even if I had the energy to do those things, why would I? I can text them. It’s so much easier.
The other truth is, when I tell them we’re going on another grand adventure, they’re more like “okay” or “k” if they’re texting back their reply. Their eyes don’t light up. They don’t squeal in delight. There is not much hugging and jumping up and down with glee. Perhaps this is because they’re used to these kinds of announcements. Or because they’re very chill and low key people. But probably because they’re busy texting their friends and I’ve just interrupted them.
So when I informed them we were going to Vegas it shouldn’t have surprised me when our youngest asked: “What are we going to do there? It sounds boring.”
Mind you, I did not go on an all out manhunt (woman hunt?) for exciting and fun things to do with teenagers in Vegas. I mean, I glanced at a couple websites and threw out the idea that there’s an aquarium there, but that was as far as I took it. Not because I didn’t care or didn’t want to do anything fun there, but because I knew she wasn’t so bothered by this that she was going to opt to stay home instead.
No, she’d muster up some energy to do something, anything in Vegas. And besides, I was too busy searching for a rental home for the long weekend we had in store. Did you know that March Madness weekend is not the best time to be looking for a cheap hotel in the Las Vegas area? It’s not. It’s like they know people are going to travel there, so they jack up the prices everywhere. All the VRBO homes were being snatched up quicker than I could investigate them and we were down to the wire. If I didn’t spend all my free time searching for something at a minimum of 3.5 stars and within a reasonable budget for a few days in the area, our daughter wasn’t just going to be bored in Vegas, she wouldn’t be going.
With a lot of searching and a lot more luck, we came in contact with a guy who had a house in a neighborhood not too far from the strip. It was in our budget and while not the Rio or some other glitzy hotel, it was doable. I signed on the electronic dotted line, made a payment, and the weekend was secure. We were going to Vegas, baby.
As the boredom conversation crept up from time to time, my husband and I took the best course of action we could. We lied. Instead of searching for family friendly activities, other than the aquarium, we just said our plans for the weekend were to: win big. I did win a solid $45 at the slot machine and hubby won “11 times the amount of money he played.” For an easy $58. But we were nowhere near the big leagues at the casino.
We tried to remind our daughter that when she got there, she’d have fun. We told her there were plenty of things to do. To which she smartly reminded us there weren’t “because I’m not old enough to gamble.” And when we got there, we found something for her to do.
It was not the roller coaster that rose up into the sky higher than the skyscrapers. Um, no. It hasn’t even been a year since the trip no one wanted to take so that was totally off limits for her. The aquarium never did pan out. It’s quite possible I was the only one who wanted to go to that and my husband omitted getting us tickets because even he would have been bored had we ventured over that way.
No, we let her and her brothers go zip lining instead. Over Fremont Street of all places.
For those of you who have never been to the Las Vegas area, the “old Fremont Street” is an interesting place to go. It has this carport type covering over most of it and houses all sorts of…interesting sights. Like the woman who is covered in what appears to be body paint that has her looking like some kind of wild cat. And a thong. Or the two elderly gentlemen who are only wearing thongs that have these suspender like straps over their shoulders and make it very clear what they’re covering up between their legs. Because those outfits leave almost nothing to the imagination.
Let’s just say it was less shocking to see the folks dressed as superheroes posing for pictures with folks who walked by. Or to see how long this one guy could sit stone still waiting for someone to drop a quarter in his bucket so that he could “come to life” in a strange seated dance while screeching –I mean singing- some weird song.
Did I mention the whole experience was family friendly? Because I think it was supposed to be. There were people as young as babies in strollers and people as old as the guys in those suspender thong things wandering around. And while no one was freaking out at the wide range of quirky folks, there were some of us who had the thought “what were they thinking” etched clearly on our faces.
So, what do you do when you have three teens in tow who don’t want to be bored in Vegas? You give them each twenty bucks and usher them to the zip lining stand.
I know what they saw when they were on the ground. Because we were with them, gawking like the rest of the Fremont Street newbies. What they saw while flying overhead, I have no idea. Because somebody would have to pay me more than $20 to climb up several flights of stairs, strap me into a seated position, and send me flying across the street on a cable. And because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.