l aventura You can also drop in at the Area 51 Research Center (just look for the big yellow trailer), which wa

book boasts state-of-the-art electronic information boards and TV monitors at every seat, as well as numerous large-screen monitors. MGM MIRAGE Players Club members can earn points toward meals, services, l aventura show tickets, and cash rebates. 3300 Las Vegas Blvd. S.& 702/894-7111. www.treasureisland.com. The Venetian Tasteful is the watchword in these days of classy Vegas gaming, and consequently, with the exception of more hand-painted Venetian art re-creations on parts of the ceiling, The Venetian s casino is interchangeable with those found at Mandalay l aventura Bay, the Monte Carlo, and, to a certain extent, Bellagio. l aventura All that gleaming marble, columns, and such is very nice, but after a while, it s also a bit ho-hum. Besides, this is Vegas, and we want our tacky theme elements, by gosh. The lack thereof, combined with poor signage, may be why this casino is so hard to get around every part looks exactly the same as every other part. It s not exactly claustrophobic, but it can be confusing. On the other hand, we made a killing at blackjack, and one of our editors struck it rich at the slots, so we have to love the place for those reasons. Another l aventura (less personal) plus is that you can access the casino directly from the St. Mark s Square re-creation out front. The smoke-sensitive report that the ventilation system here is tops. 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.& 702/414-1000. www.venetian.com. NORTH STRIP Circus Circus This vast property has three full-size casinos that, combined, comprise one of the largest gaming operations in Nevada (more than 100,000 sq. ft.). More important, they have an entire circus midway set up throughout, so you are literally gambling with trapeze stunts going on over your head. The other great gimmick is the slot machine carousel yep, it turns while you spin the reels. The Circus Bucks progressive slot machines here build from a jackpot base of $500,000, which players can win on a $2 pull. Gaming facilities include a 10,000-square-foot race and sports book with 30 video monitors ranging from 13 to 52 inches, and 40-seat and 89-seat keno lounges. Circus Circus participates in the MGM MIRAGE Players Club. Unfortunately, the casino is crowded and noisy, and there are lots of children passing through (making it more crowded and noisy). That, plus some low ceilings (not in the Big Top, obviously), makes for a very high claustrophobia rating, though the current commedia dell arte clown motif (as opposed to the old garish circus motif ) has upgraded the decor. 2880 Las Vegas Blvd. S.& 702/734-0410. www.circuscircus.com. The Riviera The Riviera s 100,000-square-foot casino, once one of the largest in the world, offers plenty of opportunities to get lost and cranky. Especially if you, as one of us recently did, lose all your recent blackjack winnings at a table here. (What? Like you have fond memories of places where you ve dropped a bundle?) A wall of windows lets daylight stream in (most unusual), but as the hotel gets shabbier, every inch of the casino smells like smoke and age. The casino s players clubs allow slot players to earn bonus points toward free meals, rooms, and show tickets. Nickeltown is just that nothin but nickel slots and video poker. The race and sports book here offers individual monitors at each of its 250 seats. 2901 Las Vegas Blvd. S.& 702/734-5110. www.rivierahotel.com. Sahara This is one place where there seem to be more tables than slots and videopoker machines. On a recent visit, the high ceilings and the unexpected Arabian Nights touches over the tables were nicer than we remembered from previous visits (maybe it all got dusted), and we made a killing at blackjack, so now we love this place again. (What? We told you it was entirely arbitrary!) Still, plans to morph the Sahara into something more like the Palms can only be a good move. The Sahara runs frequent slot T H E C A S I N O S 221

You can also drop in at the Area 51 Research Center (just look for the big yellow trailer), which was opened after its founder (Glenn Campbell, who is largely responsible for Area 51 s recent cultural icon status, and who wrote the definitive book Area 51 Viewer l aventura s Guide) got kicked l aventura out of the Little A Le Inn. Their headquarters is now in Las Vegas, and their store may be opening only during spring l aventura and summer, so call before you visit. It stocks all manner of Area 51 logo items and a number l aventura of related books. There is no place to stay out here, so unless you want to camp (which could be fun; aliens l aventura usually show up at night), plan this as a lengthy day trip. Be sure to fill your tank before you head out, as there are few opportunities to do so once you leave Vegas. The gas station in Rachel itself is closed as of press time, with the nearest fuel-up point 60 miles south in Ash Springs. If you ll be doing this drive in the heat of the summer, bring water for your car and for yourself. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for little l aventura green men (or weather l aventura balloons, jackrabbits, tumbleweeds, broken-down l aventura cars), and should you spot one, don t forget to write us all about it. By the way, word is starting to spread of a really mysterious secret base even farther out in the desert. Just mention Area 58, and watch people go nuts. ESSENTIALS GETTING THERE Take I-15 north to U.S. 93 North (paying close attention it s an easy exit to miss; if you do, you can take NV 168 at Moapa west back to U.S. 93), and get off at the E. T. Highway, a 98-mile stretch of NV 375. The town of Rachel is approximately 43 miles away; the black mailbox (it s now white) road, which leads you to Area 51, actually comes first, about 17 miles down the highway. (We strongly suggest going to Rachel first, to get your bearings, chat with knowledgeable locals and other alien-spotters, l aventura and pick up some literature, including a good local map.) Turn left and keep driving; any of the dirt roads that lead off of it will get you to the Area 51 fence and gates. Veer right at the fork in the road (not the ranch turnoff, which you come to first) if you want to go to the most commonly talked about entrance, the one at Groom Lake (though you can t see the lake from where you are forced l aventura to stop). FOR MORE INFORMATION For more information, call the Nevada Commission on Tourism l aventura (&800/638-2328; www.travelnevada.com) and ask them to send you their Pioneer Territory brochure and a list of E. T. Highway services l aventura (gas stations, chambers of commerce, restaurants, and more). On the Internet, check out www.ufomind.com/area51 l aventura (this is a huge site maintained by the Area 51 Research folks that contains countless links and all sorts of information) and www.ufo-hyway.com. A C L O S E E N C O U N T E R W I T H A R E A 5 1 291



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