No Dice: 7 Options for Non-Gamblers in Vegas
Sunday, October 13, 2002
For non-gamblers, there's only one thing worse than the blinding neon glare of nights in Las Vegas. Days in Las Vegas.
For whatever reason -- conventions, trade shows, family reunions, car trouble -- legions of people arrive in Vegas who care absolutely nothing about throwing dice or lining up cherries on a slot machine. Fortunately (and, no doubt, surprisingly to some), the city offers many other daytime diversions, some on the Strip, others in far-flung parts of the city rarely seen by tourists, and all within a reasonable drive of the fabled Strip (with one notable exception).
Here are seven ways to kill an afternoon in Sin City without broiling by the pool, shopping away your gambling money or holding a chip, starting with that notable exception. For most, a car will come in handy, but many tour companies offer day trips by coach.
Start at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to get your bearings and then head for Badwater, the lowest point (282 feet below sea level) in the Western Hemisphere. Snap a picture to prove to your friends that you were there, and then take your pick of diversions: hike, explore the Rhyolite ghost town or the old borax works, go horseback riding at Furnace Creek Ranch, or just drive around and ogle. You'll leave wishing you'd booked a room for the night at the incongruously chichi Furnace Creek Inn.
Open year-round, though the summer heat is unbearable (110 degrees-plus). $10 vehicle entrance fee is good for a week. Rangers offer talks, walks and guided hikes November through April. Details/directions: 760-786-3200, www.nps.gov/deva.
A better deal is the fascinating, and free,
Natural History Museum, 900 Las Vegas Blvd. N., 702-384-DINO, www.lvnhm.org; $6. Liberace Museum, 1775 E. Tropicana Ave., 702-798-5595, www.liberace.com; $12. Nevada Test Site History Center, 2621 Losee Rd., 702-295-1198; free. For other museums, see the info sources listed below.