Since about the 1990s, Vegas hotels have been adding increasingly extravagant permanent attractions. Because any Vegas traveler can visit these spectacles, choosing where to spend your time can be a real challenge. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the best. Plus, you don’t have to break the bank to be entertained in Vegas: Plenty of permanent attractions are under $30, and some — like the Bellagio fountain show and the Treasure Island pirate extravaganza — are free.
The Mirage's man-made volcano, voted Vegas' "Best Manmade Wonder" by the Las Vegas Weekly, erupts nightly from 8 p.m. to midnight at the top of every hour. Best of all, it's free. In addition, the Mirage has Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, which is home to white lions, white tigers, panthers, leopards, and bottlenose dolphins.
Tourists flock nightly to Bellagio's 8.5-acre lake and its 1,200-plus dancing water fountains, musically timed to shoot water as high as 460 feet in the air to the tune of over 25 songs. Every 15 to 30 minutes throughout the day, the Fountains of Bellagio can be seen dancing along to anything from an Elton John hit to Handel's "Hallelujah" chorus.
St. Mark's Square in the Venetian is a great place to catch a free show. The Ariste del Arte performances take place at the top of the hour from noon to 6 p.m. (with a break at 3 p.m.), featuring classic Italian song, elaborate costumes, and stilt walking; the Venetian Trio musical performances take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. In addition, you can take a gondola ride for a fee. For a taste of celebrity worship, visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum at the Venetian.
The Mandalay Bay's 1.6 million gallon Shark Reef Aquarium features all kinds of sharks, endangered green sea turtles, piranhas, rare golden crocodiles, moon jellies, sawfish, and giant rays. If looking at sharks through the glass isn't enough for you, the hotel's Dive With Sharks program allows for a closer encounter.