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Five Fun and Legal Things To Do in Las Vegas (That Don't Involve Sex, Gambling or Alcohol)

Vegas can be a great place to live if you don't have any vices, because you don't have to worry about overindulging and getting chewed up by a place that could eat up your heart and spit out your soul. But finding something fun to do in Las Vegas, that doesn't involve sex, gambling or alcohol, can be a daunting prospect. Over the years, the following places have become some of my favorites.


#1 Skymania - Skymania has trampolines all over the floors and on the walls for playing a unique sport called 3-D dodge ball. Sure, the prime demographic are kids between the ages of 8 and 14, but it is great cardiovascular exercise and great fun for everyone.
The movie "Billy Madison" was not one of the great ones, but it has one scene that always cracks me up: the dodge ball scene. Ever wished you could go back to the third grade as an adult and play dodge ball with those cocky bullies back then? If I could, there was this one cocky 12-year-old kid I'd love throwing the ball at as hard as I could, and I'd take my buddies and declare war on that pain.
For grown-up fun anytime or a family day with the kids, Skymania is located at 4915 Steptoe St, Suite 400, (702) 436-6887


#2 FastLap - A chiropractor's dream is thrill seekers who go indoor go-cart racing at speeds up to 50 mph, wearing racing suits, head socks, gloves and helmets. Sure, you're not supposed to bump or hit other carts; that's the rules. Going with friends is what really makes this fun, and I know I will kamikaze any of my friends who try to pass me!
FastLap's track is designed pretty well, with a lot of corners and places to overtake your competitors. The actual goal is to achieve the fastest lap; however, I find it much more fun to try to force friends to careen off into the wall. This fast-paced spot is located at 4288 Polaris Ave. (702) 736-8113


#3 Ice Skating - Natives of Southern Nevada or elsewhere in the Southwest are not the most likely ones to become gold medal winners in the sport of ice skating. But with several indoor rinks around town, ice skating can be fairly easy and quick to learn.
The first time anyone steps onto the ice especially with a partner who's not acclimated to the physics of ice it's bound to be funny to watch. This is always a good type of place to bring a date. And the person who has been there a few practice times can get away with looking like a sports superstar in no time.
Rent skates, take lessons and even join a team. Call or slide over to one of these locations: Sobe Ice Arena at the Fiesta Rancho hotel-casino at 2400 N. Rancho Dr. (702) 638-3785, or slip out to the Las Vegas Ice Center at 9295 W. Flamingo Rd. (702) 320-7777


#4 Zip Lines In many tropical countries, there is usually a zip line tour through the jungle. When you sign up for these tours, the only things you get are a harness, a glove and the instructions typically delivered in broken English: "Only use glove behind line, not in front." Even though this is the USA, and the terrain is not as hardcore, we do have a new zip line experience that is pretty fun and safe.
Just outside of Las Vegas in Boulder City, you'll find Bootleg Canyon, complete with zip lines running across it. Speeds of up to 50 mph can be attained, and zip lines run about half a mile long down the canyon. Automatic brakes that employ at the end of the line give you quite a jolt. Watching your friends' faces as they decelerate from 50 to zero in a matter of a few seconds is always amusing.
Visit the newest Boulder City attraction's action website at
www.bcflightlines.com or call (702) 293-6885


#5 Pinball Hall of Fame - While not as adrenaline pumping as some other activities, this one offers one of the most unique, entertaining and inexpensive experiences in Las Vegas. With 152 pinball machines, dating back as far as the 1950s, this nonprofit entity is bound to provide some nostalgia for all guests.
One thing that does make this place amusing is watching some of the primary clientele: the 25- to 35-year-old males who obviously haven't seen much daylight or had a social life outside of their mothers' basements for quite a long time. They mostly love being the "pinball wizards" and flipping levers, but they'd probably sneak a look at any bodies of the opposite sex bent over flipping levers next to them.
Join them, take a date, or join other game enthusiasts visiting the Pinball Hall of Fame at the current location, 3330 E. Tropicana Ave. Note: The attraction is slated to relocate soon to a large, donated, revamped warehouse closer to the Las Vegas Strip. (702) 434-9746

Free Things To Do in Las Vegas

Unless you've already hit the jackpot at the slots, you might be looking for ways to save money on your next trip to Las Vegas. There are many affordable ways to spend time while saving money, and some of them are even free.


Here are some ideas to get you started:


Fremont Street Experience: Head down to Fremont Street between Main Street and Las Vegas Blvd. South for this evening-time, hourly, light-and-sound show near some of Vegas' oldest casinos. Glitter is everywhere, as millions of neon lights illuminate the heart of downtown Las Vegas. The digital sound-enhanced show looms overhead on the arched canopy, which runs four blocks. Between shows, visit shopping kiosks and historic casinos and stores, as well as enjoy live entertainment on the Fremont Street walkway.


Fountains at the Bellagio: What's not to love about water that dances in time to music? The digitally choreographed display runs every 30 minutes in the afternoon and every 15 minutes in the evening.


Lion Habitat at MGM Grand: See majestic felines at the MGM Grand, where the lions can be found batting around their big red rubber balls or chewing on rawhide bones. The famous lion that roared at the beginning of an MGM film was the first one to live there, and now the pride has grown to around 38. Half a dozen lions are on view from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.


Aquarium at the Mirage: The huge tank measuring 53 feet long, 8 feet from top to bottom, and 6 feet from front to back has undergone recent technological improvements and can now support up to 1,000 coral reef fish. See how many species you can spot! There are at least 60 species from places such as Australia, Hawaii, the Red Sea and the Caribbean at the MGM Mirage.


The Conservatory at the Bellagio: It takes 140 horticulturists to nurture all the plants, flowers and shrubs on display in this five-star hotel's indoor garden. The result is a blooming oasis that gets extra special treatment and a profusion of themed arrangements for holidays.


Ethel M Chocolate Factory: Have you ever wanted to see what a 35,000-gallon tank of chocolate looks like? See for yourself on the self-guided tour of Ethel M's Chocolate Factory in Henderson. Tours run daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Both the tour and the samples along the way are free.


The Sirens of TI: The cove at the entrance of the Treasure Island is the setting for this pseudo-17th-century battle. The sirens are scantily clad, the pirates get lured into a stormy tempest, and drama often in the form of pyrotechnics ensues. The show runs every 90 minutes starting at 7 p.m.


Volcano at the Mirage: This perennially popular attraction in front of the MGM Mirage has been redesigned, set to custom-written music and is open for onlookers' amazement.


Wildlife Habitat: Step into a tropical rain forest at the Flamingo. See lush foliage, waterfalls and hundreds of birds, along with imported plants to help the wildlife feel right at home. It's like a jungle island adventure right on the Las Vegas Strip. Open 24 hours daily.

Top 10 Holiday Fitness Tips that Work!

Write down your goals and be specific. Don't just say, "I want to lose weight." A good example may be "I want to lose ten pounds by Feb 1st." When we write down our goals, they become more realistic and easier to achieve, mainly because they are more than just a random thought. Just like when you need to reach a new destination by car - if you don't have directions, you may never get there. Get a map and you will.

Write down exactly what you are going to do to reach that goal. An example is: "I will lift weights and do cardio four times each week, and eat more protein." Or "I will eat every three hours and include at least 25 grams of protein in each meal." Come up with a plan and follow it like the road map mentioned above. It will make your goal seem more realistic and attainable. Talk to a fitness expert at your gym, or begin reading magazines to learn more about how to reach your goals.

Take a ‘before' photo of yourself today! This way you will be able to see exactly what you look like. Many of us don't want to have our picture taken, but we need to face our physical selves straight on. Keeping the camera hidden is not going to hide the weight; it may only make your situation worse.

Get a body composition test done, so you know your starting point. Every six months, having your body composition done is very helpful. When we are trying to gain or lose weight, the scale is not the best way to track our progress. The results from a composition test tell us what kind of weight we are gaining or losing, and what we are made of today.

Start reading fitness and bodybuilding magazines! Better yet, reward yourself with a subscription. Countless people have educated themselves from magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Oxygen or Muscle Mag on how to eat for a hard, lean body!

Write down what you are eating and when. This is important because you will learn what foods are causing you to gain or lose weight. Plus when you are writing down your foods, it's much harder to record 3 brownies, so you choose not to eat them. You will find yourself more conscious about the food choices you are making and you will begin to eat healthier meals.

Eat 5-6 small meals a day, every three hours. When we eat often, our metabolism speeds up and we burn more calories at rest. We also think better and have less stress and tons more energy. Since our bodies can utilize only so many calories at one time, eating more often and in smaller portions is the healthiest way to eat.

Eat until you are no longer hungry, NOT until you are full. There will always be another meal! Keep busy between meals and find other ways besides food to spend your time.

Work up to drinking at least two liters of water a day. One liter of water can be during your workout. At first you may find this hard, but your body WILL start to crave the water. Drinking water will help you feel refreshed, help relieve headaches, and curb your appetite. To liven it up, add a squeeze of lemon.

Buy a nutritional almanac and read how many calories are in the foods you eat. As children, we were not taught about foods the way we should have been. We were not taught about calories and the affects certain calories have on our bodies, but it's not too late to take charge and educate ourselves. The Nutrition Almanac, Fifth Edition, by Lavon J. Dunne, along with the information found in various bodybuilding and fitness magazines, is your school. The bell is ringing, so let's get to class!

Top Tips: Results from any new diet and training program really start to reveal themselves in the second month so be patient, and enjoy the process. When the inevitable urge to cheat finally strikes, keep it to once a week and don't feel guilty. Let's build your sexy Vegas body for 2010!

Wintertime Wondervegas

If you're like many Las Vegas transplants, you thought about throwing away all the long pants and sweaters, parkas and mukluks before moving here. But, if you're lucky, you couldn't make yourself do it - you saved some winter clothes for those return visits "home." That absolutely does make you lucky because, believe it or not, it gets cold here in the winter. It may take you a year or two to acclimate, but soon enough you too will be complaining about the 30 degree temperatures while remaining mindless of the fact that back home it could approach 0 degrees on cold winter nights. You will need the warm pants and sweater, and maybe even the ski pants and boots. You may be sitting outside on a lawn chair watching your kid's sports games, wearing your winter coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and wrapped in a blanket as shelter against the northern winter winds.

Now, some nearby winter activities don't require warm clothes. A road trip to the beaches of Los Angeles or San Diego comes immediately to mind. To some, this is the ultimate winter activity. Traveling south to Phoenix works for a weekend getaway as well. Temperatures in Phoenix are generally ten degrees warmer than Las Vegas, which is why it's one of the snowbird capitals of the world. Vegas, not so much. Shorts and bathing suits, anyone?

Las Vegas is perfectly located to visit many different terrains and climates in a weekend or even a single day. From water to desert to mountains, take your pick on any day off. You can do snow in the morning, a sunny lake in the afternoon, and desert neon at night. Who's got it better?

Less than an hour northwest of Las Vegas is Mount Charleston, originally named Charleston Peak by famous frontier explorer John C. Fremont for Charleston, South Carolina, his wife's hometown.

Yet, even with the rich and romantic history, the peak is still fondly referred to as Mount Charleston by locals. There are many options for playing in the snow on the slopes of the mountain, including sledding, skiing, winter picnics, horseback riding, and building a snowman. The Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort is located at the end of Lee Canyon on the north side of the peak. With thirteen runs and an average of 120 inches of snow yearly, it's the closest place to get your boarding fix. There are two places to overnight on Mount Charleston (unless you're one of the lucky ones with a cabin on the mountain): Mount Charleston Hotel and Restaurant, located about ¾ of the way up, and Mount Charleston Lodge, located at the end of the Kyle Canyon road on the south side of the mountain. Dress warmly and have snow tires or chains on your car for the trip. Also, be sure to start your trip with a full tank of gas as there are no facilities on the mountain.

Travel about two hours north on the I-15 and you will discover St. George, Utah. Besides the fun the town has to offer, such as Snow Canyon, outlet shopping, and some great golfing, there is Dixie National Forest about twenty minutes out of town. Perfect for a winter trip, the forest is the ultimate locale to enjoy the beauty and scent of fresh snow on the pines. There are plenty of minimally-traveled roads to pull over on and play in the snow. During the holidays, after purchasing a $15 permit, you can even hunt for and cut down your own fresh Christmas tree. What a wonderful family tradition.

Further north on Interstate 15, about two and a half to three hours ahead and up the mountain through the town of Parowan, Utah is Brianhead Ski and Snowboard Resort. The first ski area in Utah to open this winter, the wonderful little winter oasis offers two completely different ski hills that provide a total of 65 runs on 650 acres of snow-covered terrain. Reasonably priced and rarely crowded, it's the gem of Utah for winter activities like tubing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, as well as skiing. Again, make sure you have snow tires and/or chains on your vehicle; surprise snowstorms are not uncommon. There are numerous lodging opportunities on the mountain, in the town of Parowan, or in Cedar City, about 30 minutes away.

Closer to home, hiking is still possible in winter in Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire, both about 45 minutes out of town. Rangers advise dressing warmly, in layers, and still packing plenty of water, regardless of the cooler temperatures. The average high temperature in Red Rock is 57 degrees during the day, 33 degrees at night in December and January. Also remember, it gets dark much earlier so get an early start and bring along a flashlight for emergencies. Lee Kirk, outdoor recreation planner for Red Rock Canyon, says, "Some people really like hiking in the cold; the pleasure one gets out of it depends on your temperature requirements. There may be snow on some of the trails, especially in Red Rock, where the elevation is substantially higher than Las Vegas. Some may even be closed on actual snow days. As with any hiking trip, be sure someone knows where you're going and when you will return." Valley of Fire rarely gets snow, but the cold temperatures can still be a factor. Use the same precautions.

As you can see, Vegas is perfectly located for many types of activities. You can ski the mountain or boat the lake in the morning, come home and sit in your hot tub sipping wine in the afternoon. And that's what life's all about.