Monday, July 13, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 19

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on March 19th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 3 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 21, Issue 3

Sin City offers ample fun of the more wholesome variety

Vegas, babies


My daughter’s gymnastics teammates, my family, and I were blown away by the incredible Bellagio water show on March 6 as fountains sprayed water almost 500 feet into the air to songs like “Hey, Big Spender” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Las Vegas isn’t high on our list of favorite family vacation spots, but here we are. We’ve come to support my older daughter in her gymnastics competition, and we plan to have a good time.

It’s March 5, and we don’t know it yet, but we’re fortunate to be able to attend an event of more than 250 people. Such events have since been canceled in California—including another gymnastics meet in San Jose that had been scheduled for March 8—to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus,

We came to Las Vegas last year for another competition, but our 10-year-old got a nasty stomach bug, so we didn’t do any sightseeing. This year is already different—we’re staying right on the Strip, in Bally’s, which is connected to Paris.

Paris is like an indoor Disneyland. On our way to the crepes cafe, I don’t care that I look like an idiot tourist taking photos every two steps—this place is fun! We’re walking down a manufactured cobblestone street, complete with ornate lamps, fake trees, and detailed storefronts with curtains in second-story windows.

We meet my daughter’s teammates for the aforementioned desserts, which send us into a contented food coma. We wake the next morning with ample time before my daughter has to join her team at 10:45 in the Bally’s convention center. By 2 p.m. we’ve seen her successfully complete her very first round-off back handspring in her floor routine and earn a personal best score on bars. But there was some seriously stiff competition from as far away as Pennsylvania, and our girl is going home with no medals this time. That’s not getting any of us down, though. She, her coaches, and teammates have a great attitude, which makes me just as proud as if she’d done 10 back handsprings!

To celebrate their hard work, we join some of the team and their families to walk to the Linq Promenade, a relatively new outdoor shopping-dining-entertainment space that extends off the middle of the Strip. On the far end is the ginormous High Roller Ferris wheel, and zip-liners glide overhead a la Superman. On our way to the Yard House for dinner, we pass a huge In-N-Out, a sock store, a virtual reality shop—where my younger daughter rides a roller coaster—Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club, and my older daughter’s favorite: I Love Sugar, a two-story candy store.

Despite not placing in any of her four events—beam, floor, vault, bars—at the March 6 Las Vegas gymnastics meet, my daughter was proud of her scores and her skills. Here, she begins her balance beam routine.

After dinner, we wander through the Bellagio’s indoor gardens and marvel at the ornately and enormously decorated organic sculptures, all themed for Chinese New Year. Eventually we make our way outside where we catch the end of the 460-foot-tall fountains dancing to “All That Jazz” and wait for a spot along the rail. The water show is tremendously impressive, eliciting in me the wonder of being made small, innocent in the face of something magnificent.

We sway to the music of “Hey, Big Spender” and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” and we would have stayed for more, but it’s already almost 11 o’clock. We have a long drive tomorrow.

As we leave Las Vegas, my 10-year-old says she wants to come back. I smile and turn to my husband in the passenger seat. “I’m glad we can make great memories no matter where we are.”

Associate Editor Andrea Rooks is glad nothing happened in Vegas that needed to stay there. Send poker chips to

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What'd you make of the county's decision to close beaches for the Fourth of July weekend?

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