The MGM Grand – Las Vegas

MGM has a long and glorious tradition as an entertainment company. Some of the most treasured films of the 20th century were produced by this motion picture enterprise. But in the last decades of the previous century, the company branched out to other forms. The MGM Grand is one magnificent sample.

Originally housed in what is now the Bally’s Las Vegas, that site was sold in 1986 and construction begun on something bigger, better, bolder. Those three words are easily associated with MGM and they fit well as a description of the current MGM Grand.

Completed in 1993 and located on the Strip – a 4 mi boulevard filled with the largest casino, hotel and resort properties in the world – this 30-floor hotel covers almost 7 acres and houses over 5,000 rooms. In addition, the site offers a 380,000 square foot convention center, the CBS Television City in Las Vegas and one of the largest casino’s in town. At over 170,000 square feet you’ll find more games there than anywhere else.

While you’re in the casino you can step not far away and enter the Lion Habitat. Behind glass walls you can observe at close range a half-dozen lions lounging on a faux savanna. They change regularly and find a permanent home at the owner’s ranch about a dozen miles outside Vegas.

Admission is free and you can snap a (non-flash) photo with the lions in the background, then walk on over to the gift shop and buy something to support them. A portion of the proceeds goes to preserve these magnificent creatures.

Las Vegas, and the MGM Grand in particular, has become about much more than just gambling over the past 20 years. Always featuring spectacular entertainment, the whole city has evolved into a family-friendly source of amusement. The MGM Grand carries that theme to its pinnacle.

There’s the elegant La Femme production that celebrates the ‘artistry of the nude’, with 13-ballet trained dancers. The show is in the tradition of the Crazy Horse in Paris and is equally tasteful.

Or, do your own dancing at the MGM recreation of the famed New York Studio 54. Undoubtedly tamer than the original, in which cocaine in the bathrooms was on continual display, it offers plenty of opportunity for getting a ‘high’ in a drug-free way.

Cirque du Soleil offers their dazzling hire wire show KA at the MGM. Combining world-class acrobatics with epic-scale theater, KA tells the tale of Imperial Twins on a journey to fulfill their destinies. Asian-themed, so far as you can pin down a Cirque du Soleil performance to any one source, it offers an array of martial arts moves elegantly combined with the troup’s world-renowned acrobatics.

The hotel itself is a form of high-wire entertainment for guests. Besides the over 4,000 regular rooms, there are 751 suites. But it doesn’t stop there. The Skylofts are 51 luxury rooms within the hotel that offer butlers, catering and every form of pampering imaginable. But there is the small matter of the fee – between $800 to $6,000 per night – to contend with. Better bring some lion-sized plastic.

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