Happiness Highlights: Vegas with the Babies

Every Monday, I start my week by highlighting what makes me happy from the previous week. Why? Because I believe we multiply what we focus on, and that gratitude is the first step in learning how to be happier.

I’ve visited Vegas multiple times and have had incredible, triumphant experiences there, but I thought it was a horrible idea to take my kids to a place proudly known as Sin City. What, I thought, would we do with two kids in Vegas?

As it turns out, Las Vegas and the surrounding area can be an incredibly fun place to visit as a family.

We took the kids down the Strip to see the larger than life hotels and neon lights. They were, naturally, awed, and seeing it all again through their eyes added a freshness and excitement that so often fades when you revisit somewhere. But the casinos and hotels were a tiny part of what we experienced.

We rode in helicopters and landed on the floor of the Grand Canyon.

We sailed on zip lines over Fremont Street.

We snowboarded.

We discovered the hidden gem of Lake Mead, which is itself a worthy and largely undiscovered vacation destination. (Hint: check. it. out.)

We rafted to the base of the Hoover Dam and then down the Colorado River, stopping for lunch on a beach inside Black Canyon.

We had adventures this week, over and over again, and I’m once again sad to be leaving a place behind. Who knew the desert could be so fun?

Where did you find happiness this week?

(Updated: At reader request, I’ve added links to where you can find out more about doing these things. In most cases, these vendors provided free or discounted services so that I could write about these experiences on other travel websites.)

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  1. I really hate Las Vegas as a city, too neon-colored and noisy for me! Not to mention that I'm a bit afraid to go out for walks at night, which I usually love doing in small towns. But there are lots of natural attractions in the area, like you pointed out! There is something really romantic about that desert landscape.

  2. Amanda says:

    Who knew Vegas could be so much fun with kids? :)I found happiness in an impromptu date with a friend, among other things: http://ajigreer.blogspot.com/2012/02/happy-friday_10.html

  3. Vicky says:

    Where did you zip live over Freemont Street? And who did you use to raft in Hoover dam? We are going in June and looking for fun things to do with a 9 year old.

  4. the muskrat says:

    Hooray for Vegas vacations!

  5. Lisa says:

    We have all that (well our casinos are shabby and old) plus world class skiing AND Lake Tahoe. Except this year we have no snow, so skiing sucks. The desert can be awesome. We're not like Vegas, though. It's too cold to raft or zip line now and I don't think even Polar Bears would get in Lake Tahoe right now considering you can turn into an ice cube in the middle of summer. My happiness came from a surprise windfall, a new TV and food. I cooked for the first time in 5 weeks and it was awesome. I think J was happier than me, though, because the poor guy has been eating frozen dinners all this time.

  6. holy! shit! so excited for all yinz were able to do!happiness highlights for me: surprise babysitting night for cousin's son who is six, ribs dinner at aunt and uncle's house that included games and so much laughter, birthday party for an aunt and cousin that introduced me to a new foster baby of my cousin's (instant love!), great date night with the new guy in the country, lunch with a dear friend at a new restaurant, laundry accomplished!, an ex and i managed to meet with his son for a bit so i could tell him goodbye (that is happy because i thought it was seriously possible that he wouldn't know things i needed to tell him), finally SNOW here in pittsburgh, taking ludo to a park in 15 degree weather so there was no one there except us, not getting sick when i thought i might, delivering eggs to my aunt so that she could make the world's best deviled eggs, a happy hour with a coworker where a guy tried to buy me a drink and all i wanted was ginger ale which TOTALLY confused him and made me giggle, and i am sure a zillion other things that i can't think of right now. although none of this is a damn helicopter ride…seriously thrilled for you!

  7. Megan says:

    We never got beyond the strip when we were in Vegas. Looking back, we should have made an effort to spend more time AWAY from the strip. Fortunately we drove in from Arizona, so we got to experience a lot before we hit Sin City.I had kind of a rough week last week, but there is always something to be happy about: nothing got cut off of me at my bi-annual skin check, I finally got something accomplished that I had been trying to do for a month, and my mom and I had our monthly pedi appointment (and dinner with parents on Friday night too).

  8. Miss Britt says:

    Vicky – I hope you see this comment (you didn't leave an email with yours!)I updated the post with a link to the Fremont zip line company. It's $20 per person after 6pm and $15 per person before 6pm. My son is afraid of heights, but has wanted to zip line forEVER. This was the first time he actually went through with it. You do have to be 60 lbs to do it, however, so a little one (like my daughter) won't be able to do it. I recommend checking before you go to avoid a Fremont Street meltdown like we had!

  9. Nancy says:

    Thanks again for dinner. It was great to see you guys. I'm so glad you got to experience so much of our unique city and explored our amazing desert. You picked a great time of year to be here. Come back again soon!

  10. janey says:

    I had no idea there was so much to do there besides the strip. Thanks!

  11. Where did you zip live over Freemont Street? And who did you use to raft in Hoover dam? We are going in June and looking for fun things to do with a 9 year old.thanks for the information..

  12. martymankins says:

    Those are some awesome and incredible experiences.Still looking for happiness this week. I will find it. Eventually.

  13. Vicky says:

    BrittI found the updated post. Thanks a lot! I am going to check them out. Last time I checked my son was about 73lbs, so the weight won't be an issue. We are thinking of taking him to the Ziplining at the Central Florida Zoo beforehand so he gets an idea and feel for it, as he too would be a bit scared.

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