Gambling-free fun in Vegas

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Enjoying the best of the Las Vegas Valley,without stepping foot in a casino

So what if there are hundreds of thousands of slot machines,21点表、and poker tables inLas Vegas?You don't need to gamble inSin Cityto have a good time.Over the years some of my best visits to the Gambling Capital of the World haven't involved gambling of any kind.Here's a rundown on three of the yabo2019软件destinations andactivitiesI enjoyed most (and therefore recommend most highly).

Las Vegas Springs Preserve

I like to think of theLas Vegas Springs Preserveas a "Magic Kingdom" of Vegas history.The place sits on the site of the first settlement in the Las Vegas Valley,and pays homage to the past in a variety of ways.Specifically,it comprises four main attractions: the Origen Museum,which looks at the geologic history of the Valley;the Nevada State Museum,which covers the pre-history,history,and natural history of the area;the Desert Living Center,a pavilion where visitors can learn about sustainability and conservation;and 110 acres of botanical gardens.All of the attractions are worth a closer look.

My favorite of the bunch is the Origen because of the way it mixes science and reality.One of the exhibits recreates a flash flood to show visitors what it can be like during torrential rain around the Valley.Another spotlights the role of water in the development of Las Vegas.There's even a live animal section;one of the critters here is the relict leopard frog,a species once thought to be extinct.Call me a nerd but that kind of discovery is a real jackpot.

The train at Bonnie Springs Ranch

River Mountains Loop Trail

You don't have to be an avid cyclist to complete the35-mile trail that rings around the River Mountainsin the southeast quadrant of the Las Vegas Valley.Heck,you don't even have to be particularly fast.You do,however,have to start early in the day to take it all in.And drink lots of water.

I recommend renting a bike and starting and ending the journey in Boulder City,then heading counter-clockwise around the loop.This strategy works for two reasons: a) The first five miles are relatively downhill,and b) You can fuel up beforehand at the Coffee Cup Cafe,a greasy spoon that serves omelets the size of a grown man's forearm.

The trail itself is moderately difficult.The 10-mile stretch that runs alongside Lake Mead is almost completely flat.The 10-mile stretch that follows is hilly,with three consecutive peaks (dubbed the "Three Sisters"),presenting the most formidable challenges.

For me,the highpoint of the ride is a 4-mile spur trail inside the Lake Mead National Historical Area;the trail runs through four old railroad tunnels that were hand-carved for the trails that eventually built the Hoover Dam.The ride – and the history you'll see – are worth the extra time in the saddle.

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Far to the west,where the suburbs meet the brick-red Spring Mountains,lies Sin City's biggest and most popular playground: the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.This open space measures nearly 200,000 acres and offers activities for every kind of adventurer,including rock climbing,mountain biking,bouldering,horseback riding,and hiking.

Viewfinder Tip: Extend your trip on the River Mountains Loop Trail to include a detour at the Hoover Dam.

A 13-mile,one-way loop road provides auto access to many of the region's best attractions and has been the basis of most of my trips into the area.There's also a small visitor center run by volunteers.The southern end of Red Rock is home to one of my favorite old-timey yabo2019软件destinations in Vegas:Bonnie Springs Ranch.This attraction incorporates a host of family-friendly activities from a petting zoo and a scenic railroad to a riding stable and a replica of an old western town.Time your trip correctly and you can even stick around at Bonnie Springs for dinner.No,it's not gambling,but the experience is a sure bet for fun.

What are some of your favorite non-gambling activities in Las Vegas?

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Matt Villano

In more than 20 years as a professional journalist,Matt Villano has had articles published in outlets including TIME,The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal,National Geographic Traveler,Sunset,Coastal Living,and Entrepreneur,to name a few.He currently blogs about family travel at,and occasionally covers family travel for Family Fun and Scholastic Parent & Child magazines.Villano also wrote the family travel blog for Parenting magazine,and an adventure travel blog for (a one-time website of Brand USA).In addition to travel,Villano's areas of expertise are business,technology and gambling.When he's not working at his stand-up desk,Villano is chasing after his three daughters,both of whom are future New York Yankees fans.His favorite destination on Earth is his (adopted) hometown of Healdsburg,California.No.2 on the list: Vancouver Island,British Columbia (specifically Tofino).For more about Villano,visit

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