Billie Hakansson and her father Mark continue their road trip across the south-western United States.
In part one we saw what they got up to in Los Angeles, while they here head out for tourism Mecca, Las Vegas.
The second part of our trip began with a five hour drive through the desert to Las Vegas.
After a quick stop at Denny’s, we arrived at Bally’s on the infamous Las Vegas Strip.
Formerly the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Bally’s Las Vegas stands proudly, surrounded by the Paris and Flamingo hotels, as well as the famous fountains at the Bellagio.
We kicked off in true Las Vegas style with a Cirque Du Soleil show: The Beatles’ ‘Love’ at the Mirage Hotel.
I have never seen anything quite like it in all my life.
The show is described as a rock ‘n’ roll poem, a magical mystery tour into the heart and soul of The Beatles music through the aesthetic, political and spiritual trends of the 1960s.
With tickets starting at $79 it is worth every penny, not only for the award winning soundtrack but also the incredible aerial acrobatics, costumes and spectacular scene changes.
We left with our hearts a little happier and our feet a little lighter after being amazed by the fantastic 70 strong cast as they bounced, sang, danced, flew, jumped and soared - all to the magical music of The Beatles.
It really was the psychedelic adventure we needed to begin our Vegas trip.
After a long night, we had to be up at 04:30 for our sunrise trip over the Grand Canyon.
Although the wakeup call was painful, it was well worth it as we soared up and over the canyon in a helicopter, an experience never to be forgotten.
Papillon Helicopters takes flight from Boulder City and with dad and I in the front, kitted out and ready, we set off.
The view was breath-taking, with the early morning clouds in the canyon taking on a dusty pink hue we were all speechless as we flew at around 4,000 feet.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and we had to make our way back to Boulder City, but we would be back!.
Next on our list for the day was Vegas Indoor Skydiving.
We have skydived before, and as I’m a little bit of an adrenaline junkie this was perfect.
After being kitted out in some very (not very) fashionable garb we headed into the flying zone.
It was fantastic, and with the steady help of our instructor we got three full minutes of flying time each.
What is brilliant about Vegas Indoor Skydiving is that practically anyone can do it; we had a six year old boy in our session for his birthday present!
We followed Indoor Skydiving with a trip to Dig This, America’s first ever heavy equipment playground.
Dig This is essentially a “super-sized sandbox” complete with life-sized, fully functioning diggers that each person is taught how to operate and manoeuvre.
This hour long session was brilliant fun!
Not only did we get flashbacks to the joys of playing with dirt as a kid, but how often do you get to operate a colossal hydraulic excavator?
We got the hang of the machines by digging in the dirt before learning how to scoop it all back, spinning around, honking at the passers-by and even playing a modified version of basketball.
Our time flew by and before we knew it we were clambering down and back into our little car which seemed very dull in comparison.
We had no time to waste as we were quickly coming up to our last stop of the day: Axe Monkeys.
Before visiting Axe Monkeys I could proudly say I have never thrown a bladed object before, but now I can equally proudly say that not only have I thrown an axe but I threw it well.
Axe Monkeys in Las Vegas not only hosts tournaments but also parties for any occasion and with anyone over the age of seven able to have a go - so it’s no surprise it has 23 lanes for axe throwing fun, it’s huge!
We were given four different techniques on how to throw our axes by our instructor.
Once we had learnt the moves we were left to our own devices and it wasn’t long before I was landing them every time.
I absolutely loved it, and I could have carried on all evening, I like to describe it as a combination of bowling but with giant darts.
The next day we had another early start with a pick up from Detours to take us back to the Grand Canyon.
Although we had flown over it I was really looking forward to standing on the edge of the canyon and it didn’t disappoint.
We were taken by our wonderful driver Tony via the Hoover Dam (which was fantastic in itself), before arriving at the Grand Canyon West Rim.
The West Rim of the Grand Canyon is owned and operated by the Hualapai Indian Tribe who allow guests to connect with nature and explore the Grand Canyon from top to bottom.
With the impressive Skywalk at Eagle Point, the Hualapai Ranch and lunch at Guano Point the day races by.
It really is something that everyone should experience once in their lives.
After arrived back in Vegas we headed off to Luxor to see the infamous Blue Man Group.
With shows not only selling out around the US, the Blue Man Group’s shows have also been so well received around the world they also have a continuous world tour, a training centre, recording studios and a 6,000 square foot research lab.
This infectiously silly show is an auditory and visual playground.
With a live band dressed in neon paint, audience interaction and wonderfully inventive digital tricks, it is hard to walk out of the theatre without a smile on your face.
The Blue Man Show has the added bonus that it can be part of your Go Las Vegas Card.
This is when you buy your Las Vegas All Inclusive Pass.
The card provide admission to multiple attractions for one low price and you save up to fifty five per cent off he combined admission to your choice of three or five attractions from over 20 top Las Vegas options.
We walk back to Bally’s wrapped in neon streamers and we placed our first Las Vegas bet; $2 in the slots machine.
Dad’s came back with nothing but somehow I managed to win a whopping £12.30 - so technically I left Vegas a winner!
We woke up the next morning and, with our bagels and coffee in hand, headed back towards the coast and the final leg of our road trip.
The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority is charged with marketing southern Nevada as a tourism and convention destination worldwide.
With nearly 150,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas alone and more than 11 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space citywide, the LVCVA’s mission centres on attracting ever increasing numbers of leisure and business visitors to the area.
Words: Billie Hakansson. Images: Mark Hakansson.