Your guide to downtime activities in Las Vegas

Got some spare time next week? Then check out one of Vickie O’Malley’s recommendations.

After years of attending Licensing Expo, do you think you’ve seen everything Las Vegas has to offer? Well, we beg to differ. Here, Vickie O’Malley, md of Rockpool Licensing and Vegas aficionado, shares her recommendations for some offbeat downtime activities.

Last year, I headed to Vegas early to celebrate my friend Rich’s 50th. He and his wife Lisa are Vegas veterans and regular subscribers have heard tell of our adventures.

This time however, we were joined by friends, Simon and Peter, both Vegas Virgins. We had to do the obvious sights but these chaps are far from conventional. Thanks to their adventurous spirit, I give you my Vegas 2018 downtime recommendations.


Pipe Me Aboard Captain!

Head to Lake Mead for a day of boating and the opportunity to wear a Captain’s hat. There’s a little bit of prep required because it’s not possible to reserve boats ahead of time. You’ll need to be up and at ‘em to get down to the marina before they’ve all been rented out. For this, you will need the assistance of an Uber driver who is not mad. My advice is, if you meet a sane one, make friends. We auditioned a few and eventually did. Our lovely chap did the round trip, including a stop off at the Hoover Dam on the way home, for $200. Split between the five of us, a ruddy bargain.

At the marina, there’s paperwork to fill in and a video to watch for whoever is going to be ‘in charge’. Fill this time with buying essentials – water and a Captain’s hat. There’s lots of boats to pick from. We went for a pontoon in order to sunbathe and throw ourselves in and out of the water at regular intervals. Next time, we’re going for a speedboat and a full day of pretending to be Crockett and/or Tubbs.

It’s a ridiculously fun day away from the Strip; natural beauty, chilly water, deciding where to drop anchor, saying ‘pipe me aboard Captain’ at every conceivable opportunity and, above all, getting to wear that Captain’s hat.


Find me a Mermaid

Considering it was Simon’s first trip to Vegas, his must-do list was pleasingly eccentric and no item more so than his non-negotiable #1, “I want to see mermaids.”

This necessitated a trip to the Silverton Casino. No, me either. It’s about six miles south so we livened up the trip with a champagne-fuelled limo ride down the strip and a stop off at the WTFLV sign. By the time we got the Silverton we were very much Mermaid-ready. The resort itself is a bit inexplicable. It’s nicer than you’re imagining – mid-market, very straight, the John Lewis of casinos. I can imagine this might be a difficult sell for a Las Vegas hotel and, I assume, 100% of the reason that the mermaids came to be.

You can’t miss the tank, it’s a whopper, built by the chaps from aquarium-building reality TV show Tanked (how is that a thing?). We set ourselves up in the adjacent bar and waited for the pretty fish ladies. The thrill of the seeing the first mermaid appear (I think Simon might actually have run) faded quite quickly. She was a mermaid in training and was using a regulator on a long hose to breathe. What a swizz. I feared someone’s dreams were about to be shattered but, thank goodness, Mermaid #2 was the real deal; free diving, waving at the children, back flipping and blowing kisses to the boys… dreams really can come true!


Elvis Lives!

The Dealtainers were the magnificent lookey-likey croupiers at the Imperial Palace. They tore the place down in 2012 and replaced it with the Linq. Travesty. Anyway, they were my favourites and I have tried, and failed, to track them down ever since. I heard rumours of sightings at Ellis Island and dragged everyone there. There was no sign of them but we didn’t mind; mermaid magic was still flowing, everyone was winning (apart from me) and they comp your drinks with gay abandon. Suddenly “Look – there’s Elvis!”

I spun around and sure enough, there he was. Not just any old Elvis, it was OUR Elvis. To explain, we also came to Vegas for Rich’s 40th and ended up spending half the night with this very Elvis at the IP. He even remembered me when I took some chums down to the IP the year that the show moved to Vegas. Well, there were hugs and pictures and he came and took over as our croupier and all was right with the world. I still didn’t win, but felt like the luckiest gal on earth.

You can find the Dealtainers at Ellis Island, sort of. They seem to appear individually these days and I have to admit some of the magic is lost; like seeing a solitary sardine as opposed to the Sardine Run.


Oxygen in a Can

Jet lag and over excitement on your first night can take a toll. As we wandered Downtown, I spotted a lady selling ‘Oxygen-in-a-can’. In the spirit of ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’, I bought some. Who knows if it really has oxygen in it. Maybe it’s just placebo or maybe it’s the inevitable laughter as you chug on it.

Whatever the reason, it definitely wakes you up. I swear it wasn’t a fluke; Rob Goodchild and I combatted last night fatigue with it and it worked again! You can buy it from a cart on Fremont St for around $25 a can. I seem to remember they did a 2 for $40 multibuy deal on the last night so get down there early and stock up for the week!


I-Spy Street ‘Artists’

First in a new series of cut-out-and-keep I-Spy Vegas challenges
Put extra zing into your trip Downtown with this handy, cut out and keep I-Spy challenge.

  • The Chippendales
  • Homeless Santa
  • Kiss
  • Naked bloke with a gold hat
  • Naked bloke with a sock
  • ‘Kick me in the nuts for $20’ bloke

This feature originally appeared in the summer 2018 edition of Licensing Source Book. Click here to read the full publication.

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