If you've got money to spend, Las Vegas will direct you where to spend it. With its luxe spas, state-of-the-art shopping centers, world-renowned live acts, and gambling rooms that demand hours of attention and constant-moving cash, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by this city predicated predominantly on trading money. However, even in the bright lights and big money of the Vegas Strip, some of the best things are free. From perfectly manicured botanical gardens, progressive and attention-grabbing art, exotic animals and gourmet chocolate factory tours, there’s always something to discover in Las Vegas, no matter your budget.
Photo by the Silverton Casino via Flickr
The Aquarium at the Silverton Casino occupies a lot of superlatives for the "____ in the world" ranks. With 117, 000 gallons of saltwater behind one of the largest pieces of curved plexiglass in the world (there’s one) housing exotic underwater creatures from all over the world, including various species of sharks, stingrays, and starry puffers (the largest species of puffer in the world), the Aquarium also happens to be consistently ranked one of the best free attraction in Las Vegas. Aside from being simply a pretty sight to see, they also offer interactive feeding shows and mermaid swims.
Las Vegas is known for its dizzying electric colors and wild excess, which is why finding something that shines because of its own natural beauty, is an even more magical experience. The botanists and florists at the Bellagio continue to create new and powerful displays out of simple plants and flowers every three months in their Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The dazzling displays are tailored to each passing season, and the results are always enthralling – in this huge space, visitors will find colors they never knew existed. And it’s free!
Photo by The Cosmopolitan via Flickr
New, fresh and progressive – these are words not typically used to describe hotel art in luxury resorts. However, the Cosmopolitan seeks to push the limits on what is considered art by featuring artists both new and established who are diversifying art and culture. At the P3 studio space, two new artists-in-residence are chosen every few months to set up shop and present their art. From interactive installations by Eloise Fornieles and The Bumbys to a Swarovksy-studded Crystal Punch mixed media exhibit by iconic New York street artist Fab 5 Freddy, there’s always something fresh and eye-opening at the P3 Studio.
It wouldn’t be called the Flamingo Las Vegas without a flamboyance of the signature pink animals in their Wildlife Habitat. This free attraction next to the Flamingo’s pool area features black-necked swans, exotic ducks and turtles, as well as a koi pond in a meticulously manicured habitat. Catch the exotic animals chilling out on islands, in streams, under glittering waterfalls and by the lush palm trees.
What the bloggers have to say:
Not quite Willy Wonka, but Ethel M’s chocolate factory tour is a free and informative way to see how chocolate is made and processed. Learn about the on-site solar garden that helps generate the factory’s power and take a walk through the lush cactus garden in the factory, which boasts over 300 species. Located just eight miles from the Vegas Strip, it’s a family-friendly break from the hectic buzz of the city.