Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and Stratosphere Tower

This entry has been sitting my drafts folder for over a month now.  It’s long overdue, but here’s day two of our 3-day tour to Vegas and Arizona 😀

(Read about our Day 1 in Vegas HERE)

The second day of our tour started really early.  We woke up around 3:30am because our guide informed us that we needed to be on the road by 5:30 at the latest. (Some people need only a couple of minutes to get ready in the morning but my mom, sister and I are a bit more high maintenance so we need at least two hours.)

Our first stop that day was the Hoover Dam.  Our tour guide gave us a bit of background information about the dam on the way here, but I fell asleep as soon as I got on the bus and didn’t hear most of it.  Thankfully we have the internet:

Hoover Dam, once known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the US states of Arizona and Nevada. It was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Franklin Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers, and cost over one hundred lives. The dam was controversially named in honor of President Herbert Hoover.

-Wikipedia

(“Deaths”? “Controversially named”?  Hmmm…)

Anyway these days the Hoover Dam is mainly used to generate electricity and it’s also a popular tourist attraction.

Paparazzi shot that my dad took of Ezra and me while I was fumbling with the zipper on my jacket.  It was *really* cold that morning.  It took me a couple of tries before I was finally able to get the zipper up because my fingers were frozen.   Some of tourists even decided to stay on the bus because they didn’t want to face the cold or wake up from their naps.  (It was still dark when we got there and most of us were still half asleep, but I really don’t see the point of joining a tour if you’re going not even going to get off the bus.)

Hello Hoover Dam!  (The sun began to rise while we were there.)

Brrr~

To be perfectly honest, I was too bangag to fully appreciate the dam’s beauty back then, but I was still very impressed by how large and majestic it was.

We took a few pictures, admired the dam then headed back on the bus and prepared ourselves for the 4-hour ride to the Grand Canyon.  Again, I fell asleep as soon as I found my seat and only woke up when Ezra excitedly shook me awake and told me to look out the window.  What did I see?  This:

SNOW!  Lots and lots of snow~  It was the first time we saw snow again after two years 😀

Our tour guide told us the night before to bundle up because it would be very cold up in the Grand Canyon, but we didn’t really expect to see snow on the side of the road.

Before heading up the canyon, we made a stop at this National Geographic IMAX theater for lunch:

There was a small cafeteria inside where we had our lunch.  Our tour guide also encouraged us to watch a short film about the Grand Canyon while we were there.  It was only about 20 minutes long but it was very well made and it made me feel like I went on a helicopter ride around the Grand Canyon and went white water rafting on the Colorado River.

After the show we headed outside to take some pictures with the snow:

It was very windy that morning~

Oh Christmas tree~

Care for a snowball?

We only managed to take a few shots before our tour guide announced that it was time for us to get on the bus again.  After a few minutes we arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park.

There we found lots more snow and decided to play with it before heading to the viewing deck:

Ready, set, THROW!

Weeeee~  So much fun!

Wait, is it just me or is everything headed this way?

Ack~  Run!

SPLAT~  Too late … Wai wind?  Waiiii?  My poor camera lens T__T

After I cleaned up my camera (hmph, stupid wind), we headed on down to the viewing deck.  But first I asked Ezra to take my picture next to this plaque with Stephen Tyng Mather because the viewpoint was named after him.

Finally, the Grand Canyon:

So so so so so beautiful!  I felt like I was inside a painting!  It totally didn’t look real at all because of how lovely it was.

We spent our time going around the viewing platform and taking loads of pictures

Fail picture because the fence/railing completely covered up the canyon behind me XD

We found this bigger rock that was much higher and had a great view of the canyon so we took pictures there too:

Much better 😀

I edited this a bit because this was one of my favorite shots that day.  Thanks Ezra!

Ezra, my mom and me.   My dad didn’t want to climb up the rock because he was worried that he would slip on the ice and break his neck, lol.

After this decided to play in the snow again:

Care for some frozen water?

Snowballlzzzzzz~

Weeeeeeee~

SPLAT!

You can see my mom behind me throwing some snowballs.  She was aiming for my dad who was taking pictures of her XD

Ezra wanted to throw some snow around too but she ended up grabbing a piece of ice instead

… which hit her on the head XD

(My dad complained that we took more pictures of the snow than we did of the canyon, but we couldn’t help it – we were just so excited!)

My dad setting up his camera for a family photo

You can see the canyon behind us in the distance

Soon it was time for us to get on our bus again and head back to Vegas.

We passed the time sleeping and munching on these crunchy seaweed snacks, nom nom nom

We arrived at our hotel at around 5:30pm, which gave us just enough time to grab a quick snack before heading to Bally’s to catch the Jubilee! show – the longest running show in Vegas (according to our tour guide).   It’s a burlesque show filled with lots of showgirls and singing.   Most of the girls were topless during the show so our guide had to make sure that Ezra and I were over 18 before he sold us tickets.  I’ve never seen so many boobs in my life!!!   Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures to share from the show because they were very strict about cameras.  Our guide warned us that if they catch us taking pictures or videos during the show they would confiscate our memory card and delete EVERYTHING on it before throwing us out of the theater, eek!

Anyway the show finished at around 9:30pm and our tour guide took us back to our hotel.  We haven’t had dinner yet at this time so we headed over to the Denny’s across the street to grab a bite first.  While heading back to our room, we decided to check out the viewing tower since it was our last night there and hotel guests can go up for free.

Waiting for the elevator to take us to the 108th floor.

We’re here!  (The elevator was really fast – it only took us about 30 seconds to get up there.)

At the top you can choose to admire the view or try some of the extreme rides they offered:

We just had dinner and I’m not a fan of scary rides (especially not ones that are almost 1000 feet up) so we just sat on the couches and admired the view.

When we first got up the tower, none of us had our cameras with us (because our guide asked us to leave them in our rooms for the show), so my mom and I actually had to go back down to get them.  When I returned I found Ezra napping:

I don’t really know how she managed to fall asleep with all the screaming up there (from the people on the rides).  Anyway I woke her up so we could take pictures:

View of Vegas behind me

Telescopes for rent

I was too cheap to rent one so I just posed for a picture next to it

Ezra, Daddy and me

The view was so beautiful.  We wanted to stay longer and stare at it some more but it was already around midnight and we were very sleepy, so we headed back to our room to get some rest.

We stayed on the 14th floor, along with the other member of our tour group.

Colorful hallway leading to our room

Although we spent most of our day snoozing on the bus, we were still extremely tired and fell asleep as soon as our head hit the pillow.  Who knew sitting still for several hours could be so tiring?   Nevertheless we still had an amazing time at the Grand Canyon and we definitely feel that the long trip was worth it.

(And the good thing about going to bed that night was that we didn’t have to worry about waking up too early the following morning because our group wouldn’t be leaving the hotel until 8:30am :D)

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4 thoughts on “Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and Stratosphere Tower

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