A few years ago, the Las Vegas tourism board launched a campaign to promote Sin City as a family destination. I think it was before the whole “What happens in Vegas…” concept became a regrettably overused part of the vernacular, along the lines of “Got milk?” I’m not sure how successful the family branding was, but I might consider bringing the kids there if I found enough for them to do. Have you been there with kids? If so, I would love to hear your comments below. I put the question out there on Twitter, and @dgcampagna told me she likes bringing her kids to the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum and the Ethel M Chocolates factory tour, among other places.
Vegas is on my bucket list. I’m not much of a gambler, but Matt likes a poker game. His dream is to enter a tournament and become the next World Poker Tour champion. Sorry, we don’t have an extra $10K lying around for the buy-in. Regardless, we hope to get there someday.
This month’s guest post was written by someone who did get there recently. I met Lexy at the 2010 BlogHer conference. She’s a super-friendly, travel-savvy blogger over at KissMyCountry.com. During a girlfriends’ weekend, she discovered Bonanza Gifts, the World’s Largest Gift Shop. I can only imagine the delightful, large-scale cheesiness of this Vegas souvenir store, but she experienced it firsthand! Lucky.
Where we went, and who was coerced into going:
During our recent Girl’s Weekend in Las Vegas, my friend Ursula and I visited Bonanza Gifts, located on The Strip across the street from The Sahara hotel and casino. Ursula actually volunteered to come along to buy gifts for her children– no coercing. I was glad for the company. We took a cab and arrived pretty quickly – the Strip was empty on the Saturday morning we’d earmarked for our visit.
Why did you go there, exactly?
I know Traci from BlogHer ’10, love her blog, and since I was headed to Vegas I asked if there was any “largest whatever” in Vegas that I could visit on her behalf. Traci came up with the gift shop and the World’s Largest Gold Nugget at the Golden Nugget Casino. I chose the gift shop because I’m a gift shop fanatic, leaving the Nugget for another fan.
Okay, what was so cool about it?
This is a very large gift shop filled with every Las Vegas souvenir you can imagine – magnets, t-shirts, pens, pencils, cards, key rings, pillows, mugs, ash trays – you name it. Ursula quickly found gifts for her children, all under age seven. For anyone with children who’s been to Vegas it’s not easy to find appropriate gifts there for young children. Somehow the slot machine pencil sharpener doesn’t seem so adorable when it’s presented at Show and Tell in elementary school. I collect pencils and refrigerator magnets when I travel and easily found great ones to add to my collections.
The staff is friendly, the store is well stocked, the prices are great, and there are lots of gag gifts as well, not just Vegas souvenirs. For those looking for inappropriate gifts, you will be completely satisfied as there is a large selection of those as well – no need for details on those here!
How does it rate on a scale of 1-10?
Rating this place is tricky, and depends on 1) how much you like souvenir shops and 2) how put off you are by going someplace where a cab driver warns you to be careful at 10am on a Saturday morning. If you really like gift and souvenir shops, and relish tacky gifts this is a solid 9 or 10. I mean, it’s a gift shop in Vegas filled with every souvenir under the sun. If you hate this kind of thing, this is a 0 – don’t bother.
And, if being a little cautious is a problem – we think our cabbie was warning us about the winos that hang around the liquor store next door – then this is a 0 again. Don’t venture there, and certainly not at night. But if a little mild drama is nothing, and you’re a little excited by the possibility, then this is a 10! Definitely include it on your Vegas Bucket List.
How did we do among the tackiness, tastelessness and the potential danger? Just fine. It takes a lot to derail us from a good deal on gifts. Ursula and I shopped and when we left we crossed the street and caught a cab at The Sahara just like our cabbie told us to do. The wino at the stop light was chatting up another woman, so we were able to bypass him easily. Will we return? Probably, although we also found great souvenirs at the CVS near The Venetian, so that might be easier logistically. However, we’re glad we went and had a great time.
A little background info about the place
Bonanza Gifts opened in 1980 on the site of the former Big Wheel Casino, at the corner of The Strip and Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas. The 40,000-square foot super store is open 7 days a week from 8am to midnight PST.
Hey YOU! Go BIG!
702-385-7359, Extension #2.