Las Vegas is home to pulsating neon, clubs, showgirls, drinking and, of course, gambling. Thousands of slot and video poker machines line Vegas casinos, not to mention all the varieties of table games awaiting gamblers. But what if you simply do not want to play a hand of Texas Hold ‘Em or throw another quarter in a slot? Amazingly, there is a plethora of non-casino attractions, offering everything from skydiving to machine guns to tranquil hiking, scattered around Las Vegas and the famous Strip.
Instead of getting plastered gambling at the casino bar, many tourists and locals choose to get plastered by opponents firing paint balls in their general direction. Outfitted with goggles, paintball participants at Las Vegas Premier Paintball don clothes suitable for tossing afterward, arm their guns with paint pellets and hunt their quarry. Premier Paintball offers three fields, complete with inflatable bunkers, water towers and plywood houses, for participants to display their pistol prowess.
Las Vegas Premier Paintball
1400 N. Rampart Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89128
OK, maybe firing off a few rounds of paintball pellets sounds a bit wimpy. Especially when your body can shudder from the recoil of shooting an M-16 machine gun, an Israeli Uzi or a .50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol. And if that is not enough, the Las Vegas Gun Range and Firearms Center also offers its customers the chance to fire an M-79 grenade launcher. Before the bachelor or birthday party participants start packing heat (the range offers group packages in addition to individuals), customers go through a training session. Ammunition used at the range must be lead free. And for those looking to carry a concealed weapon, the range offers an 8-hour class for individuals to receive their license.
Las Vegas Gun Range and Firearms Center
4610 Blue Diamond Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89139
Balloon Rides above the Strip
Sitting directly across from the Mandalay Bay on the south end of the Strip is a gigantic 11-story helium balloon operated by Cloud Nine Experience. Tethered to the ground by steel cables, which means the ship cannot float away a la “The Wizard of Oz,” this balloon can carry up to 30 passengers at a time in its gondola. Floating 500 feet above the Strip, passengers are able to walk around the gondola while snapping pictures or videoing the sights below them as well as the distant Nevada desert. On the weekends, Cloud Nine also offers a barbecue dinner and drinks along with jazz after the flight.
Cloud Nine Balloon
3951 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Hiking and Driving Red Rock Canyon
If you are a bit frazzled from firing paint balls, lobbing grenades or hovering 500 feet above the Strip, perhaps a bit of physical and mental relaxation is due. Head to the nearby Red Rock Canyon area. Featuring more than 30 miles of scenic hiking and horseback trails, rock climbing and bighorn sheep roaming nearby, Red Rock offers a getaway from Vegas. And if you choose not to walk, there is a 13-mile automobile tour. Standing atop its deep-red 3,000-foot-high sandstone cliffs, you can still look down on the Strip glistening less than 20 miles away.
Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center
1000 Scenic Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89124