To Ensure That Your Holiday Runs Smoothly, Contact a Johannesburg Car Rental and Venture Into Joburg

Shimmer in the midst of Joburg glam and experience a holiday cast in gold.

Johannesburg the city of gold is glam in every sense of the word. It’s a commercial and industrial city with an array of interesting people from all walks of life. Business people as well as elaborate artists have made Johannesburg their home. Feisty business people enjoy sundowners at trendy restaurants in the city centre, Sandton, whilst the artistic types venture in laid-back areas such as Melville.

If you’re keen to make it as a celebrity, head over to this town. It is fast-paced, non-stop excitement and living large is the ultimate goal. Johannesburg is where people make things happen. The city is known for its stringent work ethic but there is a lighter more jovial side to Johannesburg – a side that holidaymakers should explore. As Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, there’s enough land to fill with wonderful tourist attractions. Of course, a Johannesburg car rental will allow you the opportunity to explore all nooks and crannies in this city.

Johannesburg has a number of heritage sites such as historical battlefields, museums, galleries, entertainment facilities, traditional shebeens and elaborate shopping malls found in all suburbs. More than half of the city’s population reside in suburbs such as Diepkloof, Soweto, Benoni, Rosebank and Sandton.

As a holiday destination, Johannesburg offers a world of Hollywood meets South African urban chic experiences. After all, the city thrives economically on its gold and diamond industry. The city is certainly meant for the stylish and ambitious.

Although, the beach may by miles away, Johannesburg’s popular man-made beach should suffice.

Johannesburg Attractions

The Atmosphere

Your first point of reference to Johannesburg will be the OR Tambo International Airport. You’ll be welcomed by a buzzing metropolis and an army of traffic. Despite the urban chaos, Johannesburg’s attractions are vast. If you’re in need of cultural and historical information about the city and South Africa you can venture into the Apartheid Museum. If you’re keen for a wildlife adventure and wonderful landscapes, Cradle of Humankind is the perfect location to explore as it is a strip of a dozen dolomitic caves which contains fossilised remains of animals which are amidst coral reefs. Safari Lodges are frequented by locals and tourists alike.

Soweto

Various areas are known for specific entertainment attractions such as Soweto a township which is set in the south of Johannesburg. Soweto developed under the apartheid regime. Soweto is vibrant and alive with musicians creating a jubilant atmosphere. The latest attraction is the new Mayopani Shopping Mall which has caused great interest. Contact a Johannesburg car rental for easy access to Soweto.

Historical Sites

The Hector Peterson Memorial is located in Soweto not far from the area where Hector was shot on 16 June 1976 during the Soweto uprising. Peterson’s memorial symbolises the resistance against the injustice of the apartheid government. The Apartheid Museum is another popular attraction as it documents the history of South Africa since 1984 and gives insight into a world of segregation as well as how democracy came about. The Constitution Hill is the national heritage site which documents South Africa’s past and commemorates those who fought against injustice.

The Nelson Mandela Bridge, built in honour of Nelson Mandela is the largest cable-stayed bridge as it is 284 metres long and starts at the end of Jan Smuts Avenue, links to the Constitutional Hill precinct in Braamfontein into Newtown which is the city’s renewal project. Another construction worth a visit is the Union Buildings completed in 1913 designed by Sir Herbert Baker. The Union Buildings was the setting for the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Relax and Recuperate

The Gold Reef City offers a combination of great entertainment facilities. The casino is open 24 hours a day and has an energetic ambiance. If you’re in the mood for a picturesque view, the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort is a vast landscape of 300 hectares of natural veld and home to birds and makes for the perfect picnic spot. Hiking Trails and 4×4 trails can be explored as game, majestic mountains amidst great waterfalls and indigenous vegetation showcases the country’s beautiful landscape. If you’re not opting for a Johannesburg car rental, you may consider the luxurious Blue Train which offers a relaxing and stylish train trip along entrancing landscapes.

Johannesburg Nightlife

Soweto is a popular choice as the township offers great nightlife live gigs and entertainment. In Soweto you’ll find traditional shebeens or taverns. The atmosphere is very welcoming and suitable for a casual night out. It is advised that you visit Soweto in a group or arrange a guided shebeen tour. A suitable alternative is, Sandton also referred to as ‘Africa’s richest mile’, offer entertainment amongst skyscrapers. If you’re in search of a classy cocktail party, Sandton is the way to go. Mellville also offers entertainment spots such as Seventh Street and little bars which are ideal for pub crawls. Note that there are particularly long distances between various areas. For this reason, AJohannesburg car rental will ensure you travel with ease.

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8 Summer Events, Fairs and Concerts You Don’t Want To Miss in New Jersey

Summer months are always brisk, sometimes brusque, positively entertaining, incredibly lively and most certainly memorable! You’ll be genuinely spoiled for choice with a calendar that is choked with events throughout the sunny months in Garden State. It’s hard to complain about free live entertainment in scenic parks throughout NJ, food and wine tasting events, cultural festivals, new exhibits that local museums, fairs, a hot-air balloon festival and July 4th fireworks. You’ll regret missing the fanfare if you’re in town.

It’s also the time of the year that parents and teachers organize field trips for their kids or students, taking their pick from a long list of top American tourist temptations like Adventure & Safari, Casino Pier & Breakwater Beach Waterpark, Crystal Springs Family Waterpark, Fantasy Island Amusement Park, Field Station: Dinosaur, The Funplex and many more! If it hits your fancy, you’re encouraged to tour NJ’s top breweries, lofty lighthouses, magnetic arboretums, and gardens, or you can take a trip to Adventure Aquarium, Jenkinson Aquarium, American Labor Museum, Liberty Science Center, or the Doo Wop Experience Museum. Poke around small neighborhoods and communities and they might spring a few pleasant surprises at you. You’ll just never know what’s around the corner, so, be adventurous.

1. The Princeton Festival

McCarter Theater Center, Matthew Acting Studio, the Princeton Theological Seminary’s Miller Chapel, the Princeton Abbey and The Lawrence School’s Clark Music Center

91 University Pl, Princeton, NJ 08540

(609) 258-2787 / (609) 759-0379

Prized as one of the local’s highest operatic achievements, The Princeton Festival is a 4-day event that has won over the hearts of the Jersey Arts Organization and The New York Times. Its highly-rated endeavors are always rave-worthy and easily bagged the People’s Choice Award for past notable productions like Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Handel’s Ariodante, The Rake’s Progress, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The premier performing arts festival offers eight different types of performing styles, having evolved from its more meager and conservative lineup of the past, and it boldly features both nationally renowned and aspiring artists in its productions today.

The summer event is anchored by A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Madama Butterfly, as well as a raconteur show backed by The Metropolitan Opera. Although the main event of the festival will take place at McCarter Theater Center, the stages at Peter and Will Anderson Quintet will be taken up by the likes of Concordia Chamber Players, Baroque Choral, piano recitals, instrumental concerts, competitions, 15 free lectures, master classes, previews and workshops creating a splash in the music scene throughout the pristine town of Princeton.

During its early years, it was a small program launched by its founder, Richard Tang Yuk; today, it has a longer tentacle-reach effect.

2. Rock, Ribs & Ridges Festival

Sussex County Fairgrounds

37 Plains Rd, Augusta, NJ 07822

(973) 948-5500

If badass barbecue was to meet with funk music, it would be right there at Rock, Ribs & Ridges Festival. It’s worth 2 days of mouthwatering BBQ served up by the best chefs from all across the country while the atmosphere if ramped up by a boisterous grilling session and an outdoor concert.

Held on the Sussex County Fairgrounds and presented by Franklin Sussex Auto Mall, we’re anticipating a jam-packed event featuring Southern cuisine and music from the likes of Grand Funk Railroad, George Thorogood and the Destroyers at the heart of Northern New Jersey. The renowned country musicians will be accompanied by hand-picked, fresh-faced, up-and-coming artists too. The titles that the chefs and greasy, hard-working pitmasters will covet for include the ‘Best Ribs’, ‘Best Sauce’ and ‘People’s Choice’ award.

Camping, if you’ve not gotten the memo, is the best way to enjoy the exciting event, turning the weekend party into a week-long one. The bonus in its location is that the campgrounds are only a 3-minute walk from the venue; when you’re done with the epicurean riff-raff, the campsite is, thankfully, only a crawl away.

3. New Jersey State Fair

State Fair Meadowlands

1 MetLife Stadium Drive, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

(201) 355-5911

When the sun is out and the kids are itching to get out of the house, grab the bottle of sunscreen, pop something simple into the microwave for dinner, then head out to the State Fair Meadowlands for fun rides, free entertainment, and shopping galore. The biggest, value-for-money 18-day New Jersey event features over 150 rides by the largest Kiddieland in New Jersey, which includes the back-by-popular-demand racing pigs.

The fair opens its doors on June 21st and will feature a dazzling display of fireworks for July 4th. Before and after the celebration, rides that induce white-knuckled grips and neurotic fantasies (think Sky Ride and Batcopter) will be on site to keep everyone entertained. For the curious, there are daring acrobats, suspicious magicians, kid-friendly games, live animal shows, a sinful array of fine food and drinks and comfort stations throughout the 35-acre fairgrounds.

Because the schedule will almost always be different every day, visit their website for dates and time. The by-the-minute weather forecast will help you decide if you should head out or crawl under your duvet while sponsors will alert you about promotions and great deals.

4. Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning

Solberg Airport

39 Thor Solberg Rd., Readington, NJ 08889

Ballooning is a big, traditional thing for local New Jersey folks. Ever since the first flight was taken by Jean-Pierre Blanchard over Delaware River from PA to NJ (where he was reportedly greeted menacingly with pitchforks), taking to the skies of New Jersey has become a tradition and pride. The hydrogen-fueled flight dates over 200 years ago and yet, it has only grown in size and popularity through the years.

The 36th Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, together with PNC Bank, is one of the most expected events in a family’s itinerary. It is set to wow over 170,000 patrons during the event, with a twice-a-day hot-air balloon ride. Its accolades include being the recipient of the governor’s award for ‘Best Special Events’ and included into the list of ‘Top 100 Festivals in North America’.

The awe-inspiring spectacle, apart from featuring balloon rides, will also have family-friendly games, a human cannonball act, aerial performances, fun with Dr. Planet, juggling acts, amusement rides, a firework extravaganza, yoga sessions, a Running with the Balloons 5K run, kids’ concerts, contests, a live radio broadcast, mobile learning adventures, magic shows, knee-slapping comedic acts and much, much more.

5. North Wildwood Italian-American

North Wildwood

Olde New Jersey Avenue, North Wildwood, NJ 08260

(609) 536-0176

If you prefer something more close-knit and traditional, the Italian-American festival will be the perfect fit. The 3-day event celebrates the tradition, cuisine, culture, and entertainment befitting of Italian-Americans and it attracts more or less 75,000 people from across all walks of life.

After the welcome party, the grand procession in honor of Saint Anthony follows. Bands will perform, a live broadcast will be held, and then people are free to roam and enjoy everything from live entertainment, children’s activities, a grape-stomping event, and a messy and hilarious meatball relay race.

Serving as an impetus for those with Italian origins to learn and explore more about their culture, people are also attracted to the olive tree signings, raffles, and the Little Miss Italy contest. Nobody says no to free entertainment from local talents like the Bitter Sweet Duo, The Corner Boys, Johnny Taco, 99 Reasons, Goody Blue Shoes, The Aquanets, Philly Cruz and Just in Time.

6. Free Summer Concerts all around New Jersey

The sun is out, the entertainment is free, and the food nothing short of gastronomical. It’s specifically what nature ordered for summer. Whether you wish to take the money shot with your favorite local band or just pop the clutch and let life yank you by the shoulders, Garden State boasts of a wide range of concerts all around its parks. And here’s just a taste of it.

Rotary Park Bandstand

400-498 Lafayette St, Cape May, NJ 08204

The charming local green space has a bandstand used for such events. Grab a blanket or a beach chair, reserve a spot and you’re ready to let your hair down. No fanfare, no extravagance. You’re allowed to simply be outdoors with your favorite people and enjoy free entertainment all summer long. Featured performers include Doctors of Rhythm, Golden Eagle Bank, Mainliners Chorus, Marrington Band, Old School, Odessa Klezmer, The Capers, and many more

Sinatra Park

Sinatra Dr, Hoboken, NJ 07030

(201) 239-6631

If they’re not pushing their physical limits with a run, they’re playing soccer with their friends, kayaking or languidly lying around while enjoying the awesome views of Manhattan over picnic food. This is the scene you can expect when you hit Sinatra Park in Hoboken, NJ. The waterfront park is also popular because it is clean, not too crowded (thanks to the spacious setting), has free outdoor performances all summer through and is bicycle- and pet-friendly. Summer sees the rolling out of the Sinatra Idol Contest, Hoboken Summer Bash, and performances by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, The Paul Simon Engagement, The Hoboken Mile Square Allstars, The Singadelic Big Band, etc. Visit their website for more information as scheduled performances are subject to change.

Echo Lake Park

Springfield Avenue, Mountainside, NJ 07092

(908) 527-4900

An evergreen spot for the locals of Mountainside, NJ, the 16th best place to live in in New Jersey (according to New Jersey Monthly Magazine), Echo Lake Park, along Springfield Avenue, is a premier location for lakeside picnics, softball, running, ice-skating, paddle-boating, sledding and has amenities like fishing spots, playgrounds, water wheel facilities and lots of wide open space for family-friendly activities like kite-flying, frisbee and jogging.

Surrounded by small hills on its fringes, the New York skyline rounds up the experience. If you have a four-legged friend, bring them along to this pet-friendly park. This year, the park will host its normal calendar of summer events.

The Mountainside Summer Music Series is presenting a lineup featuring Pat Foley Band (June 30), Al Shafner and the Revtones (July 7), The Ross Livermore Band(July 14), The Gavel Project (July 21), The Riley Parkhurst Project (July 28), Crush: A Dave Matthews Tribute Band (Aug 4), The Jonathan Sarty Band (Aug 11), Shark Martin (Aug 18), Late Night Selfie (Aug 25), Studio Two – The Beatles Before America (Sep 1).

Village Green

Hot Summer Nights Concert Series

356 Broad Street, Summit, NJ 07901

(908) 277-2932

Ranked highly as a top summer event in downtown Summit, NJ, the Hot Summer Nights Concert Series brings in a smorgasbord of activities, food, drinks and live entertainment to the thousands who attend.

Hosted by Investors Bank, food trucks converge to serve not just delicious local food but also to hand out free ice-cream. You don’t have to be a kid to grab one. The Village Green venue is nestled amid rows of busy shops and restaurants around the city’s bustling city center. The quintessential setting welcomes people from all walks of life and age groups to join hands to enjoy the Screen on the Green movie series and celebrate life, laughter, great food, and revel in the awesome moment of community togetherness.

All concerts begin at 7pm sharp while the Community Night introduces locals to non-profit foundations to their missions.

7. Voices and Colors: Vietnamese Dong Ho

Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center

1501 Glasstown Rd., Millville, NJ 08332

(856) 825-6800

A picture paints a thousand words… and in this case, a painting depicts a million other words. At Wheaton Arts & Cultural Center, folks are treated to an inside look into life along the southern bank of Red River, a river that snakes its way from Hanoi, Vietnam.

Creating highly descriptive wood carving and Poonah paper painting is a norm for the people of Dong Ho village (also known as Mai Village) and they’re right here in Millville. The folk paintings are famous both inside and outside Vietnam, showcasing the bucolic beauty of the village in their full and complete customary and festive glory. Each of the painting is painstakingly hand-made from woodcut printing papers.

The 80-year-old Vietnamese artisan, Nguyen Huu Sam, has been displaying thousands of such masterpieces in his house. Nguyen Huu Sam is a ‘living human treasure’; together with his collection of folk paintings portraying his home country, the exhibit sheds light into the ephemeral transformation of not just the country and its people, but also the world at large.

8. Are We There Yet?

Museum of Early Trades & Crafts

9 Main St., Madison, NJ 07940

(973) 377-2982

The internet may have made the world smaller in the 21st century; back then, travel did. The current exhibit at the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts is ‘New Exhibit: Are We There Yet?’ and it features personal accounts of early 19th century travelers who had nothing but the shirts of their back when they made their way to New Jersey.

It offers an insider look into local transportation networks that helped build New Jersey’s economy, made easier by tools like a railroader’s equipment and a surveyor’s compass. As simple as they sound now, they were the backbone of an early traveler’s life and work. Things that we take for granted today: cars, trains, bicycles, planes, each of them mobilizing us in ways that would have made our ancestors green with envy. And yet, it allowed stagecoaches to pave paths and routes.

Apart from educating patrons about the early stages of traveling, the museum maintains a vast collection of tools of the trade, handcrafted items from early New Jersey settlers in their permanent exhibits, especially the local farming communities in the 1800s. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how such simple tools and methods contributed towards the modern developments of our current community.

The above events should be taking you around to some of the best places to experience Boston to the fullest. And you know the old saying about how ‘the more is merrier’? It’s true! Grab your family members or friends and come enjoy the beautiful city of Boston soon.

Review: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas From Galveston

I had planned this cruise for seven months. A friend and I who had previously cruised with Carnival and Celebrity were eager to try Royal Caribbean after hearing so many positive things about the beauty of the ship, quality of food and service, etc. For the second time, I surprised my retired parents by taking them with us (the previous year I had surprised them with an Alaskan cruise which I will review later), and they were absolutely giddy with excitement when they found out that they would once again be traveling aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, which they claimed was their favorite ship of 13 other cruises they had taken. With the ship fresh out of dry dock for upgrades, were set to go to some brand-new destinations none of us had ever visited: Roatan Island, Honduras and Belize City. Expectations were high.

Then cruise time came. While I am not prepared to say that we had a BAD time on this cruise, I think it is fair to say that our expectations were a bit deflated, pretty much from the minute we arrived at the Port of Galveston. Allow me to take you through the high and low lights of life on the high seas aboard Navigator of the Seas.

The Highs

Our dining experience– Most definitely the best service we received on the ship was in the main Sapphire Dining Room, which is without a doubt the most gorgeous dining room I have seen on a cruise ship. Walking into the dining room is like entering a regal opera house complete with grand stair case and three levels of dining with windows on each side. Our two servers were extremely attentive, noting my step-mother’s preference of making her own ice tea with two glasses of ice, 2 tea bags and some hot water, which was waiting for her every night after night one. I could fault her for being a “tea snob,” but then I’d have to look at myself in the mirror with my Starbucks in hand turning my nose up at Folgers. All of us enjoyed the variety of meal choices and thought the food was of very high quality, with service running like clock work. It was truly a pleasure to dine each evening.

Here we are at dinner. I am the goof-ball in blue.

The Cabin– Inside cabin 7667 (Aft Port) was home sweet home for our week at sea. My parents were right next door in 7669. For an inside cabin, there was plenty of room to stow all of our stuff and have a completely clear space to move in. I would say the bed was a bit hard, but it’s all about your preference as my friend and traveling partner Jay (the guy in purple) said his was just right. Ample closet and drawer space allowed us to each have sufficient space to unpack. Our steward service was also top-notch, re-stocking and tidying up twice daily.

The ship– Navigator is definitely a beautiful ship. Of note is the Royal Promenade, a series of shops, restaurants and bars running aft to forward giving cruisers the feel of strolling down a cobblestone street while at sea. I recommend the Two Poets Pub for some nice ambiance and people-watching. The main atrium is gorgeous, and the various lounges and bars are designed with a very classy yet comfortable feel. The pool deck is also impressive, featuring two main pools flanked by several hot tubs, some of which are shaded. For the most part there are plenty of chairs both in and out of the shade, but if your cruise is full you had better get there early to snag one. We also thought the nightclub overlooking the pool deck with its floor-to-ceiling windows added a nice touch to the ship’s offerings. The ship’s casino is also pretty decent, but since smoking is allowed in there, you may come out smelling like an ash tray.

Overlooking the Royal Promenade

The Grand Atrium

Beverage Package–Three of us on this cruise had the premium package for $55 per day, but since my dad only drinks beer, we got him the basic package. At first glance, this package might seem a bit pricey (Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages are some of the most expensive at sea), but overall we got our money’s worth. What I especially liked was that basically nothing on the drink menu was off limits short of the super premium stuff. You could even opt for Grey Goose vodka at no extra charge. The flip side here is the bar service (see below).

Theatre Entertainment–If you ever find yourself on Navigator of the Seas, don’t miss the ice-skating show. It is fantastic and was much better than I thought it was going to be. We also enjoyed the Elton John impersonator, the bar flair show and the adult game show.

The Lows

Embarkation/Debarkation–The words fiasco, nightmare, eternity and disorganization come to mind for both. This was hands-down the WORST embarkation/debarkation process I have ever experienced, and my parents who had been on 13 previous cruises agreed. We should have expected this when Royal Caribbean sent us out an e-mail prior to the cruise instructing us to arrive at certain times based on the deck on which our cabin was located. As it happened, we had flown into Houston, and our transfer dropped us off right at the time we were supposed to be there, which was 12:30 p.m. We did not step foot on the ship until almost 2 p.m, as we were stuck two different lines, both of which were extremely slow-moving. This is definitely not the way you want to start your vacation, and very few smiles were to be found in the security and check-in lines. Mind you, I totally expect a bit of a wait checking in, but this was just ridiculous. I think the longest wait I have ever experienced prior to this was 30 minutes tops. I definitely expressed my dissatisfaction to the check-in lady.

Debarkation was practically just as bad. Since we had a driver waiting for us, we opted for the self check-out and were given a specific time and place to meet. We have done this on other cruises with minimal waiting, with customs officers boarding the ship to collect forms. In the past, we have basically just walked off the ship. Not this time. When we arrived at the appointed spot we then waited another good 45 minutes just to be allowed to disembark. Once off the ship, guess what? Another line, another 45 minutes to pass through customs. I ended up being a charged an additional wait fee by my driver, thanks to Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston.

Bottom line–I will never cruise from Galveston, Texas again as they clearly do not have the ability to handle the volume of people that cruise ships have. Basically, Royal Caribbean left a negative first impression and a negative last impression.

Service–Aside from our servers at dinner, service in the bars and lounges on this ship was average at best and certainly not what I am accustomed to on a cruise. While some bartenders were standouts, it generally took forever to get a drink and often you felt as if you were a bother to the bartender or server. The worst service was probably at the pool bar. Some might say that I am too demanding, but when I spend my hard-earned money on vacation I want decent service. Period. I didn’t really get it on this cruise. My parents also commented that “things just weren’t the same on this cruise” as their previous experience on Navigator of the Seas.

Kids, kids, kids– OK, I am probably going to get some eye-rolls for this, and maybe for some it wouldn’t be a negative, but there were just too many kids taking over the main pool area on this ship. As with anyplace else, parents are partially to blame here, allowing their little monsters to run amuck and splash others in the main pool, but I fault Royal Caribbean for not enforcing pool rules. On past cruises, kids weren’t even allowed in hot tubs, but they were in this one. Granted, there is an adults-only pool and hot tub, but the problem is that there isn’t any entertainment there (not that the entertainment at the main pool was anything to write home about).

We did not participate in any excursions on this cruise, so I can’t speak to their quality. We did hear various comments that the excursions were over-priced and not worth the money. One excursion was even over an hour late and had to be delivered to the ship by boat as it was departing Honduras.

The verdict–If I had to choose between Royal Caribbean and Carnival, I would probably go with Carnival based on past experiences. I am not totally closed to giving Royal Caribbean another chance, but they would have to completely WOW me to keep me coming back.

Las Vegas Golf at Its Best

Playing a PGA Tour golf course is on every golfer’s checklist of things to do. Golfers will be hard pressed to find a better course to fill that spot than the TPC The Canyons in Las Vegas, one of the two courses that host the Las Vegas Invitational (now Frys.com Open). The pot is made even sweeter when combined with a stay at the fabulous JW Marriot Las Vegas Resort & Spa.

TPC The Canyons. It is hard to imagine a more beautiful desert golf venue. The lush fairways and greens stand in attractive contrast to the desert landscape and nearby mountainous terrain. The course, designed by architect Bobby Reed with Ray Floyd as consultant, opened in 1996. From the Championship tees, the course measures 7,063 yards with a slope rating of 131 and a USGA handicap rating of 73.

According to Floyd, “I am very proud of what we accomplished…By disturbing as little of the native desert as possible, and incorporating it’s barrancas, arroyos and other natural features, I believe we have created an enduring design.” (Source: TPC.com) He is certainly correct. Also, TPC The Canyons is certified in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, a rare certification for golf courses.

Regarding playability, although Floyd says the fairways and landing areas are generous, prevailing winds and a number of elevation changes require golfers to test their game-management and shot-making skills. There are plenty of risk-reward opportunities, so much is left to the golfer as to how low, or how high, they want to score.

Greens fees at the TPC range from weekday rates of $90 to $125 weekend rates during the off-season, to between $225 and $275 during peak season (Jan. 1-May 31, Sept. 1-Dec. 31). Special rates at substantial savings are also available year-round for juniors, seniors and Nevada residents. Cart rental is included in the greens fees (Source: TPC.com). Players can also book lessons and instruction at The Canyons Golf Academy during their stay.

As good as the Vegas golf experience may be, it is only one part of a great getaway.

The JW Marriot Las Vegas Resort & Spa, which is adjacent to TPC The Canyons, is one of the most spectacular Vegas resort hotels. Located only 18 minutes from the Las Vegas’ McCarron International Airport, the resort offers too many activities and amenities to list. In addition to fantastic golf, the resort has seven restaurants and lounges, an on-site casino, a fabulous spa, pools (which are particularly beautiful at sunset), over 500 elegant guest rooms and suites, and many nearby activities for everyone in the family.

The exceedingly well-appointed guest rooms offer many standard amenities. Wired internet connectivity is provided in each room, with wireless connections available in all common areas and conference meeting rooms. Most guests of the resort state they would return again and they would recommend the resort to friends and family (Source: Tripadvisor.com). Golf packages booked through the resort result in substantial savings.

A Las Vegas golf vacation to TPC The Canyons and the JW Mariott Las Vegas Spa & Resort almost can’t be called merely a “golf vacation.” Every person in the family will enjoy their stay and the memories they make.

Discover South Africa’s Northernmost Province With a Limpopo Hire Car

With a variety of experiences ranging from historical and cultural heritage sites, skydiving and winding rivers to unrivalled wilderness experiences, championship golf courses and incredible natural beauty, the Limpopo Province is considered by many as a South African outdoor and adventure capital.

Rent a car from First Car Rental and explore South Africa’s northernmost province, an area of great contrasts; ranging from bushveld to majestic mountains and unspoiled wilderness, the Limpopo Province is rich in historical treasures, wildlife, and beautiful scenery and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Baobab Country

Known as the upside down tree and the tree of life, baobabs hold a special place in Africa. Baobabs are among the most useful plants to both animals and humans; elephants, monkeys and baboons depend on its fruit food and moisture, in the drought season they store water which is vital to the rural population. The largest baobab in the world, the Sunland Baobab in Modjajiskloof, is thousands of years old and has a diameter of 47m.

Bela Bela

Looking to enjoy a fun-filled family holiday? Relax and rejuvenate in the extensive Hydro, indulge in a game of golf at one of the Internationally Acclaimed Signature Golf Courses, take a Hot Air Balloon ride or make the most of the many activities on offer including pools, river rides, a wave pool, and cable skiing all enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Crocodiles

With outstanding scenery, contrasting landscapes and renowned African wildlife, the Mopani District is the eco-tourism hub of the Limpopo Province. Experience one of Africa’s most fierce predators, the Nile crocodile, at Agatha Crocodile Ranch in Tzaneen. See crocodiles at close range, enjoy daily feeding shows and tours, and even touch a baby croc.

Game Reserves

The Limpopo province is home to some 3 million hectares of national parks, game farms and nature reserves, including Kruger National Park. The Waterberg Biosphere, home to hundreds of bird and mammal species, is one of 400 UNESCO-registered biosphere reserves and is an important San Rock Art area in South Africa.

Golf

Legend Golf & Safari resort offers a signature championship golf course designed by eighteen of the world’s top golfers; providing all golfers, irrespective of their handicap, a true African challenge. With undulating greens, strategic bunkers and a majestic mountainous backdrop, Legend Golf & Safari Resort makes for a unique golfing experience.

Horseback Safaris

Enjoy a unique safari experience; explore the breathtaking African wilderness on horseback. At Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill, situated on a private game reserve, riders of all ages and riding abilities can enjoy an unforgettable experience.

Mapungubwe

Set against the northern border of South Africa, expansive Mapungubwe landscape developed into a prosperous Iron Age kingdom until it was abandoned in the 14th century. Today, this World Heritage site reveals the history of the Mapungubwe civilisation and their extraordinary artefacts such as glass beads, pottery, gold ornaments, and crafted ivory.

Meropa Casino and Entertainment World

Situated in the Limpopo Province only 5km from the capital city Polokwane, Meropa Casino and Entertainment World offers visitors the opportunity to interact with the locals, test their poker face in an upmarket casino with state of the art technology, enjoy traditional African delicacies, shop for souvenirs, or be pampered from head to toe at Mangwanani Spa.

Moholoholo Rehab Centre

Situated in the Lowveld of Limpopo, Moholoholo Rehab Centre is renowned for its rehabilitation and care of abandoned and injured wildlife. Once healthy enough, the animals are reintroduced in to their natural environments. Moholoholo provides educational and awareness tours to involve and educate visitors in environmental protection.

Skydiving

Take in the wonders of the South African landscape from a vantage point experienced by many adrenaline addicts. Experience the thrill of skydiving in a tandem jump with Skydive Xtreme, the only drop zone in Limpopo.

Enjoy Las Vegas on Next to Nothing – Eat and Drink For Less

Las Vegas is famous for its food specials. There was a time you could get a complete steak dinner for $2. Those days may be gone, but overall, the cost of dining in Las Vegas is still better than in many parts of the country. How long has it been since you’ve really had a blast? Is Las Vegas on your list of fun places to go? Learn what the locals know about having a good time on a budget. Their Staycation just may be your dream! Since there is a major difference between catching a bite to eat and fine dining, or finding a drink and clubbing, we will be looking at these subtitles: Breakfast Lunch and Snacks, All You Can Eat Buffets, Restaurant Dining, Where to Get Cheap Drinks, andNightclubs and Lounges With No Cover Charge.

Eat and Drink For Less

Free Comps are anything but free. The casino management will be glad to give you a meal, pay for your room, or get you some show tickets. All you have to do is win or lose a lot of money. They rate you by how long you gamble, and how much you gamble. You have to sign up for their slot club or their table games club, insert your Player’s Card into the machine or ask to be rated at the tables. Then after four hours you will likely qualify for some kind of Comp. After four hours of gambling, you will also have likely spent more than the Comps were worth!

Just the same, many of the specials require a Player’s Club Card. It’s not required that you use the card, only that you have one. And naturally, every casino has its own club. Fortunately, several of the clubs share an owner, and will honor cards from their affiliates. Club Cards are free, but for those of you who consider the Club Card thing just a little too much of a hassle, I will point out which specials require a card, and which ones don’t.

Locals also tend to frequent their neighborhood casinos rather than the touristy ones; and the neighborhood prices are lower across the board. But when you come to Las Vegas on vacation you’re not expected to spend an hour crossing town to find an obscure place to eat, so this list will focus on places within a mile of The Strip, and on Freemont Street (downtown.) If you were to do an exhaustive internet search you could find many of the same deals listed here, they do all advertise, but this will simplify matters for you. There is no way for me to cover all of the choices, as there are hundreds; and the establishments are not under my control, so they may change their specials; but this is where I’d go for specials on a regular basis. I hope you enjoy the variety and the prices.

Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks

Starting out the day, there are breakfast buffets in most casinos, some pricier than others. The Station Casinos tend to have better breakfast food at lower prices when compared to the big name casinos. Assuming you’d rather save the buffet for later in the day, here are a couple of alternatives that won’t wreck your wallet.

Early Breakfast is also known as the Graveyard Special, and there are quite a few choices for this one. As long as you’re done partying before 6 a.m. here are a few of the best places to catch a bite.

At The Burger Joint inside the Flamingo, between midnight and 6 a.m. they serve a Ribeye steak and eggs for $5.99, or a Burger and fries for $2.00. No matter what time you go, expect a 20 minute wait. They always cook the steak to a medium temperature without asking, and they throw in some hashbrowns and toast. If you go for the burger, the fries are fabulous if you like them steak cut and crispy. (In the center of The Strip by Flamingo Road.)

About a mile off The Strip to the west on Tropicana Avenue, the Orleans serves Steak and eggs with toast and hash browns for $3.99 at the Courtyard Café, between midnight and 6 a.m. Service is a little faster than at The Burger Joint above, and the steak is cheaper – but not a Ribeye. If you’re not in a steak mood, the Courtyard Café is one of the few remaining places to have a lot of graveyard breakfast choices for fabulous prices between $1.99 and $2.99. The Courtyard Café also has Asian and Pacific food on their menu at very reasonable prices.

SPOTLIGHT: Ellis Island Casino & Brewery

Don’t be put off by the outside appearance. This place is almost always busy because it draws both tourists and locals. Also plan to wait for a table, and service can be slow if you want to eat at traditional times. Fortunately, you can get a deal here at any time, 24 hours a day. And like the sign says, this is also a brewery, so you have the opportunity to try one of their several microbrews, or even their own root beer if you prefer. Next to the restaurant you’ll find the bar, which is a local’s favorite for karaoke. Ellis Island is located behind Bally’s on Koval Lane, by Flamingo Road.

For an early traditional breakfast (Two scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy and bacon or sausage,) Ellis Island only charges $1.95 between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. for the special.

Later in the morning, or at night before crashing, you might consider New Yorksteak and eggs for $3.45 at Ellis Island. They serve breakfast between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m.

In the 24 Hour Restaurant, [yes, that is what they actually call it,] you can also get a 10-ounce Steak Dinner for $6.99. The steak comes with green beans, potato, bread, and a Beer. Overall the meal is very tasty and may be the best value meal in town. This special is not always in the menu, but if you ask for it, it is always available.

Inside Tip:Down town every casino has specials on the marquis. These specials are sometimes for specific time frames, and are not always up to date – but usually good deals – so verify the price when ordering!

Lunch timemay require a sandwich special. One of the best deals is the $1.25 Hotdog, at the Gold Coast. It is available between 10 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. at the Sports Book – look for a vender’s cart. Expect a Chicago Style Beef Hotdog with the works. You don’t have to place any bets to take advantage of the Hotdog Vender, and there are usually plenty of seats with monitors everywhere for viewing the races or the games while enjoying your dog. (On Flamingo road, about a mile west of The Strip.)

If you’d rather not leave The Strip, O’sheas Casino in the middle of The Strip between the Imperial Palace and the Flamingo serves a Hot dog with a Beer for $3.00, 24 hours a day. For more information on Q’sheas Casino, read further down under Where to Get Cheap Drinks.

Downtown for lunch with a big appetite, Uncle Joes’s Pizza has one of the better deals. $3 will get you two oversized slices of Pizza and a Soda. Uncle Joe’s is a small authentic NY style pizza house; so expect a traditional crunchy crust, good sauce, plenty of cheese, and laid back friendly but not too fast service. (On Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard.)

Another choice would be to pick up a Hot dog and a Coke for $2.95 in the Fremont Club at the Lanai Express. Lanai Express is known for its reasonably priced Chinese dishes served cafeteria style, so you don’t have to wait for your meal. American food like Hamburgers, Hotdogs, and Shrimp Cocktail will give you more choices than you’d usually find at a Chinese place; so there’s something for everybody, even those who don’t want the Hotdog deal. (The Fremont Club is in the center of the Fremont Street Experience.)

SPOTLIGHT: Mermaids Casino and Lounge

Famous for vintage slots rather than glitz, this place is a funhouse for those who are not looking for quiet, high-end class. The brassy waitresses cater to the drinkers, slot players, drinkers, socializers, drinkers, eaters and drinkers. If you end up spending much time here, the waitresses will even remember what you like to drink; you’ll notice a personal touch. The strings of welcome beads you discover around your neck tend to be financed by the nickel slots, and the treats here are unique. Mermaids is between the Golden Gate and the Golden Nugget on Freemont Street, downtown.

Snacksat Mermaids Casino and Lounge include the 99 cent Fried Twinky. They also have Fried Oreos and a Chocolate Covered Banana on a stick. If that’s too radical, you can also get a Nathan’s hot dog for 99 cents at the Snack Bar.

Snacks in Las Vegas have traditionally included a Shrimp Cocktail Special. I believe that tradition started at the Golden Gate downtown on Fremont Street over forty years ago. Sometime their menu changes faster than their Marquis, so remember to verify the price. Nowadays just about everyone has some form of Shrimp Cocktail Special priced between 99 cents and $2.99, so look around for it, both downtown, and in many of the smaller casinos on The Strip.

All You Can Eat Buffets

If anywhere is famous for their buffets, it’s Las Vegas! Almost every casino has one, so we’ll only focus on a few of my favorites that have personality. There was a day when buffets represented the best deal in town. They are still a great deal for what you get; but with the Las Vegas transition into a family destination, the cost of food has gone up across the board to reflect the lack of gambling by minors.

In general, the lower priced buffets will charge an extra $5 for all you can eat crab legs and shrimp on Seafood Night (usually Friday), whereas the higher priced buffets will serve seafood every night. Another thing to note is that buffets generally charge the same price for Sunday Brunch as for their regular evening Dinner. Most buffets also present an assortment of Asian food in addition to any other international cuisine.

Breakfast buffets will run from $4 to as much as $10 less than the regular Dinner price. And Lunch buffets will usually cost between $3 and $7 less than Dinner. The listed price for the following buffets will be the regular Dinner amount unless noted otherwise.

Garden CourtBuffet

Located at Main Street Station, this international buffet is likely the best choice in the downtown area. The selection of Asian dishes is respectable here. Garden Court Buffet only charges $10.99 on most nights, and a Buy1 Get 1 coupon is usually available online. Their Friday Seafood Buffet runs $5 more, on Thursday they have a Filet Mignon & Scampi Buffet for only $3 more, and a T-Bone Buffet on Tuesday for $3 more. Dinner starts at 4 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. This has been one of my favorite places to eat downtown, for years. I also have to remember to save room for the deserts here. (Just one block north of the Fremont Street Experience on Main Street, and connected to the California Hotel by an over-the-street walkway.)

Le Village Buffet

I’m a sucker for French cuisine, and this buffet is probably my very favorite, anywhere in town. At Paris, Le Village Buffet only serves food from the different regions of France; it is not a world buffet. If the $24.99 price is too steep, you might consider going in for late lunch, which is served until 3:30 p.m. By arriving around 3 p.m. and casually enjoying a two hour meal with someone special, you will just be finishing around 5 p.m., and you will only have paid $17.99 a piece for a fabulous meal that would run north of $49 in any other city. Le Village Buffet serves the same selections for lunch as they do for dinner, except for the choices in shellfish, and they don’t close down between Lunch and Dinner. Be sure to find the made-to-order crapes for desert! The line at Le Village is always long, so plan for that too. (On The Strip across from the Bellagio, near Flamingo Road.)

French Market Buffet

If you are looking for more of a bargain, while still in The Strip area, the French Market Buffet is inside the Orleans. Don’t let the name fool you; for $13.99 you can enjoy this multi-national all you can eat treat between 4 and 9 p.m. Lunch is about half the price; but they clear the dining room between meals here, so you can’t stay through into dinner. They also offer Friday Seafood for $5 more, and Wednesday Steak for $2 more. This is another locals hang out, so the lines can get long; but they usually move pretty quickly, except on Senior Tuesdays when the lines seem to grow beyond expectation. (About a mile west of The Strip on Tropicana Avenue.)

Restaurant Dining

Most casinos also offer specials of some sort in their 24 hour cafés. Some specials are always available, and other specials are not on the menu, but are available by specific request! Here are a few of the many specials, starting with the Downtown area.

SPOTLIGHT: The California Hotel

The California Hotel seems like it could be renamed the Hawaiian Hotel, as they specialize in Pacific Island specialties. For example, this is one of the few places to find Spam on a menu. And their best lunch is in a place called Aloha Specialties. For cheap drinks The California offers Heineken and Corona for $2 in all of their casino bars, 24 hours a day. Located at Ogden and Main Street, it is one block north of Fremont St, and behind the Las Vegas Club. The California Hotel is also connected to Main Street Station by an over-the-street walkway.

Located inside the California, Aloha Specialties has an assortment of cash specials available between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Chicken Super Bowl for $2.85 is served over rice with either gravy or teriyaki sauce. You can enjoy a Hamburger with macaroni salad for $2.85, a Chicken Tofu Saimin Noodles or a Loco Moco for $4.75. Loco Moco is a bowl of rice with fried egg and a hamburger patty drenched in gravy. Or a Large Saimin Noodles dish for $5. The Market Street Café offers a Prime Rib Special for $7.95. The Prime Rib is served between 4 and 11 p.m. and comes with soup or salad, potato, vegetable, and a desert! Reservations are recommended at Pasta Pirate which is more than just a pasta house. They are offering what is likely the classiest dinner deal in town! Steak and Lobster Tail with a choice of pasta, potato or rice, plus a saladand a glass of Wine for only $16.

Magnolia’s Veranda

Four Queens is part of the Fremont Street Experience. Inside Four Queens, Magnolia’s Veranda offers a Prime Rib Dinner between 4 p.m. and midnight for $9.95. The special comes with soup or salad, choice of potato, vegetable of the day, and a roll.

Player’s Card holders get a $2 discount on the special. Magnolia’s also runs a Buy 1 Get 1 offer on line as part of the Fremont Street Experience. This 24 hour café is upstairs and overlooks the casino, so if you’d rather more of a restaurant feel, ask to be seated in the back room. (Located between Fitzgerald’s and the Golden Nugget.)

In The Strip area, most of the deals are a few blocks away. This is their bribe to get you off The Strip.

Bougainvillea Café

Bougainvillea Café, at Terrible’s Casino & Hotel offers two specials that are not on the menu; you have to ask your server for them specifically. The Half-Chicken Dinner is $5.99 and the T-bone Steak Dinner is $9.99. You can also find many other selections priced between $4.99 and $6.99. Located upstairs in the Mezzanine level, this 24 hour café has Mexican, Chinese and American selections. The Chinese food is better than you get in most casino buffets, and there is nothing terrible about these values! And for an even better deal, look for their Buy 1 Get 1 offers. Bougainvillea is also famous for their very large portions, so come hungry; you’ll find the food is better than it needs to be for the price. So if you’ve been down on your luck and want some good food for less, this is the spot. (On Paradise Road, about a mile east of The Strip, by Flamingo Road. Only a block away, the Hard Rock Hotel is within walking distance.)

Mr Lucky’s 24/7

The café at the Hard Rock Hotel offers a Gambler’s Special for $7.77 that is not on the menu. This is a Steak with three grilled Shrimp, salad, and a choice of broccoli or potato. The Gambler’s Special is available 24 hours a day, but you do have to remember to ask for it specifically. Mr Lucky’s 24/7 has large comfortable tables, generous portions, good service, reasonably short lines, and a nice selection of beer. (On Paradise Road, about a mile east of The Strip, by Harmon Avenue.)

Where to Get Cheap Drinks

First a little note of caution; the “free drinks” in the casinos for gamblers are not all that free. If you can stay on your budget while alcohol happy, go for it. But the casinos have found that alcohol happy gamblers spend much more than sober ones!

Many of the restaurants in Las Vegas offer Happy Hour Specials; often a two drinks for the price of one type of thing.

On The Strip, O’sheas Casino offers Domestic Draft Brews for $2. I’ve seen Beer Pong played here, and this is the only place I’ve ever seen Casino Backgammon. The crowd tends to be under thirty, and everything here is on the cheap. Try to imagine a Frat House Party with the Sorority Girls in attendance. O’sheas Casino is tucked in between the Imperial Palace and the Flamingo.

Benny’s Bullpen in Binion’s Horseshoe serves Miller Lite, Jack Daniels or Southern Comfort for $2. Next to the Sports Book, Benny’s Bullpen is a more comfortable place to kick back with a few drinks while watching your game. Benny’s Bullpen also runs a $10 Pizza and Pitcher special… best with friends. (Downtown in the middle of the Fremont Street Experience.)

If you prefer cheap mixed drinks, The Plaza serves Well Drinks for $2.50 all the time. The Plaza was once a fabulous new casino, but that was eons ago. Nowadays they tend to attract the cheapskates and low-life’s. To make this work for you just remember to generously tip your waitress and smile; she won’t be expecting it, so you’re likely to get better service than anyone else. If you’re looking for glitz, this is the wrong place; if not, the Sports Book may be the best place to hang out. The Plaza is on the Main Street side of The Fremont Street Experience.

Nightclubs and Lounges With No Cover Charge

Locals have free access almost everywhere, and most of the time. Seeing that sign can really irritate you if you happen to be from out of town. Ladies also get treated special at many of the Las Vegas clubs; on Ladies’ Night the drinks are often free until 11 p.m. – for ladies only.

Although the drinks may not be free for most of us, here are some of the clubs that usually have no cover charge – so you can regulate your expenses according to what you drink while dancing and having a blast.

Caramel Bar & Loungeat the Bellagio is a hybrid high energy dance club and smooth intimate ultra lounge combination. Chocolate oversized leather furniture under warm caramel lighting, accented by a marble topped center island, creates a warm and inviting ambience that delivers both comfort and sophistication. The dance floor is animated by local DJs turning Hip-hop and Top 40 hits. And a light appetizer menu is available between 5 and 9 p.m. to compliment the full service bar. Since proper club attire is required, bling is not out of place here. You’ll find that this is the perfect place to kick back with friends, or spend some intimate time with someone special.

Cleopatra’s Barge Nightclub atCaesar’s Palace has reinvented itself to attract a younger crowd than in the past. Cleopatra’s Barge has a floating dance floor with DJs turning R&B and Classic Rock hits through the night. This Egyptian themed dance club is served by a full bar, with tables scattered across the “dry land” and a few more tables “on deck” that are usually reserved. If you’re looking for a quiet romantic spot, this may not be it; but if you just want to have fun, this is the place for you.

Mist Bar & Loungeat Treasure Island is a fusion of two ideas. On the one hand Mist is very similar to the Caramel Bar & Lounge, just a little darker and bit more intimate. With Persian rugs, dark leather lounge style couches, warm ambient overhead panels, candle lit coffee tables, and potted plants, against dark burgundy walls, Mist is the perfect hotspot to mingle with close friends or unwind with a little romance in mind. DJs spin a tasteful blend of Hip-hop, Rock, and the popular current hits at a volume that allows a comfortable mixture of conversational privacy, intimacy, and people watching. On the other hand, Mist also sports an oversized plasma TV for game night and a few beers with the guys. This is like partying in a larger version of your own truly cool living room!

Level 107 Lounge, (formerly the Romance Lounge,) at the Stratosphere, located on the north end of the fabulous Las Vegas Strip, features the most spectacular views in town. Level 107 Lounge sits on a circular balcony high up in the Stratosphere Tower. Low lights and a deep red décor combined with great cocktails and incredible breathtaking views, make this a great place to unwind or to create a most memorable experience. Level 107 also overlooks the restaurant which makes appetizers available. Live music by Afterglow between 9 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. is a plus on Wednesday through Saturday nights. Afterglow has a unique sound that combines Jazz, Pop, and Contemporary music.

SPOTLIGHT: The Silverton Hotel

The Silverton Hotel is worth a mention here. It is no where near anything on the Las Vegas Strip, but if you just happen to have some extra time on the way in or out of Las Vegas from the Los Angeles direction, or if you simply want to get out of the traffic if your timing allows, there are several deals here. They have no choice but to bribe you since they are so out of the way from Las Vegas proper. Although, they do have easy freeway access at Highway 15 and Blue Diamond Road!

The Silverton Hotel has an aquarium as their major attraction. This is no ordinary aquarium as you can expect to see mermaids in addition to 4,000 tropical fish (including three species of stingray and three species of shark.) The room sized curved acrylic tank is located by the bar, and the mermaids put on a 15 minute show every half hour throughout the afternoon and evenings on Thursday through Sunday. During the day, everyday, you can also watch the sharks and stingrays being fed in the afternoon at 1:30 and 4:30 or in the evening at 7:30 p.m. There are also a few creatively lit small jellyfish aquariums in the bar.

At the bar they serve Miller Genuine Draft for $1, and the show is free. While you’re there, the Sundance Grill serves a sirloin steak, golden fried shrimp, soup or salad, and your choice of baked potato, rice, or fries for only $12.99.

Have a Lot of Fun for Less

With these tips it is possible to eat for under $20 a day, and still get as much as you want.

A few things to remember though: Most of the Las Vegas employees get paid next to nothing, and actually live off of their tips. Typical tips start at $1 to $2. If you happen to be a winner, you might tip a little more; you’ll be surprised at the increased quality of service when you do. So please remember to appreciate the service, especially when it is excellent.

For further savings and to avoid tipping situations, here are a few suggestions:

Avoid Room Service! Room Service always includes additional charges and requires a tip for your server. Most all of the hotels have a 24 hour Café that will cost you much less. Also refer to the deals mentioned above.

Watch Your Beverages! Soft Drink and Bottled Water prices are designed to make up for the food deals in Las Vegas. Beverage prices tend to run $4 and $5 a piece. So if you want water, just ask for a glass of water, (it’s free and it taste good here.) Wine is more affordable by the bottle than for a few glasses. And brewed Coffee or Tea tends to be priced more normally.

Looking for the Perfect Home Based Business? Start a Bounce House Business

You can see bounce houses everywhere in the warmer months.

You might have even rented one in the past. And there’s a

good chance that you’ve thought about starting a bounce

house business yourself.

Bounce houses rent for anywhere from $65.00/day on the west

coast to $250.00 & up in other parts of the country. Here in

Indianapolis, we rent ours for around $225.00 for four to

six hours. So if you charge $150.00 for your rental, you can

make an extra $300.00 per week in income.

Like any business, you’re going to have some expenses. A

bounce delivery requires a truck or a small trailer. An suv will work too.

You’ll need extension cords, business cards, insurance, dollys and

other small business supplies. Most rental company owners

start by doing deliveries and bookings themselves so they

won’t have a lot of additional labor costs. The real joy of

this business is that you work when you want to work, and if

you feel like taking time off….just don’t take any

bookings for that day. But, the downside is that if you

want to make a great deal of income, you’re going to have to

be available when people want to rent. And that’s generally

on the weekend.

Insurance is the biggest cost. Although it seems to get

cheaper when more units are added, start up costs are tough.

Bounce House purchase prices average around $1500.00 but

insurance will be around $750.00. That means your first

year start up is going to cost around $2500.00. If you rent

your unit for $150.00, you’ll still have paid for your costs

in less than 20 rentals. And, of course, the more you

charge, the quicker your investment will pay for itself.

You might be surprised to find that there is a lot more to

rentals than bounce houses. Our initial start up five years

ago was two bounces but within just a short time we have

grown to over 50 inflatable and interactive games. You can

find giant slides, obstacle courses, casino tables, Bungee

Runs, Toddler Games and fun foods. The business actually

will grow as large as you want it to. As long as you get

the equipment out in front of people, you’ll be booking

rentals. The units themselves are their own advertisements.

To get going on your new business you just need to follow

these simple steps.

-Find out from your state and local board what you need to

start a bounce rental business. There might be restrictions

on what you can do.

-Check on suppliers. You can look on the web for “bounce

house” or “inflatable games”.

-Ask the suppliers to give you insurance info. Do NOT make a

purchase until you’ve secured insurance.

-Order your bounce(s) just as soon as you have your

insurance in place.

-You have plenty to do while waiting for equipment. Design

fliers and business cards. Get your phone number and Domain

name. Start on a website. Tell ALL your friends about your

new business.

-Although you’re starting to advertise, it’s not recommended

to book your units before they arrive. That’s just asking

for trouble.

-The day your equipment arrives is so exciting. Make sure

though that you fully inspect your equipment for damages

before your delivery driver leaves. And also check to make

sure you’ve received everything.

-Now for the fun part. Inflate your new unit and get

familar with it. Let the neighborhood kids play. You want

your unit seen so people will want to rent it.

Pretty simple, isn’t it? Of course I just touched on the

steps but it’s not much more complicated than that. If you

join the Party Rental Industry you’ll be sharing fun with

everyone. And that’s a great way to make an income.

How Selecting the Right Entertainment and Games Makes a Special Event Memorable

Selecting the appropriate games, rides, outdoor activities or indoor fun is equally as important as selecting the right party food and music. The more fun your guests have, the more they will talk about their positive experience with others and the more likely they are to participate again in the future. When thinking about your event, a determination of number of attendees, age groups and family status (i.e. Will this be a child friendly event or adults only event. Will there be singles as well as married couples) will help to decide what types of entertainment activities are needed for your event. Knowing the number of people planning to attend is extremely important as you don’t want to be caught off guard by not including enough entertainment to please your crowd. If people have to endure extremely long lines on a hot day, their positive experience can quickly turn negative. A full service planner will have the knowledge in helping you to determine what is enough or not enough entertainment for your event. Crafts and keepsakes as well as inflatable fun carnival rides, fun food machines, midway games, costume characters, clowns and carnival games are appropriate for guests 18 and under. Because the styles and types of inflatables differ greatly from moonwalks, tot towns, mini slides and wind tunnels to giant slides, bungee runs, obstacle courses, slip and slides and climbing mountains, age assessment is important.

Many times adult aged guests enjoy video games, sports games, water fun, casino equipment and racing games as well as inflatables, magicians and famous impersonators. When considering event entertainment it may be a wise decision to conduct a survey and give participants the opportunity to help select the items featured at your special event. That way you are sure to provide a fun filled event for every person in attendance. A determination will need to be made about the tone of the activities as well. For instance, if your event is going to be held in a hotel, restaurant or country club, you may want to offer activities such as story telling, a magic show, balloon twisting, photo booths, green screen technology, caricaturists, handwriting analysis or other constructive activities rather than more energized options requiring running, loud voices or constant movement.

Alternately, if you are able to utilize wide open outdoor space, you may want to include a climbing mountain, giant slide, bumper cars, trackless train or other high energy activities. If your event entails a specific theme, the entertainment equipment you choose can enhance your theme. For instance, a Hawaiian themed event can include cooler racers, human beach balls, dunk tank, water slide, or surf rider. If you are interested in keeping the same color scheme throughout the event you will want to choose items, decorations or props that display your preferred colors. Ways to do this is by providing Mylar balloons, center pieces for tables or an inflatable arch. If your business caters to a certain sector of the population such as the airline industry, a great piece to include would be an airplane wind tunnel or fly guys. Perhaps you are aware that several of your guests are sports fans, this would be a good opportunity to include sports equipment, baseball toss, quarterback attack, soccer kick, grand slam batting, golf distance caddy or other sports related activities. Whatever the case may be, there are several hundred options for making your event unique to your guests needs and preferences. There is no need to have a “canned” experience at your event. No two picnics or parties should be alike because not all goals and objectives are the same.

If you are hosting an outdoor event, and your event venue does not provide tents, tables or chairs, or other forms of shelter, you will want to make sure that your rental company or event staff provides them. If a full picnic meal is being served, it is important to have enough tables and chairs, and table coverings for all of your participants. The only exception to this rule is if the food will be served over a long period of time in a casual buffet style. In that case, you can limit the amount of tables and chairs as your guests may be off enjoying other event activities. Tents are important for an outdoor event in case of in climate weather. There is nothing worse than having your guests caught in a rainstorm with not shelter to run too! A tent is also vital if you are to have a live band, specialty performer or Disc Jockey at the event. Even a small 10×10 tent will help to protect the disc jockeys equipment or the live bands instruments from sun exposure. If your event is indoors, you will want to know how many tables and chairs are available and plan accordingly. You may event want to consider providing additional event rental items such as a stage, portable toilets, event decorations/props, sound system, megaphone, raffle drum, freezer, carnival fronts, etc. Directing the flow of traffic at an event is also directly affected by the placement of tents, tables, chairs and rental items so be aware to the layout of the site you are utilizing as well as the items you are placing there. A quality rental company or event planning service will supply enough knowledgeable staff to make sure that all areas of set up, execution and take down are tended too.

Once all four of these areas of fun are prepared you are ready to host an exciting and fun filled event for your guests!

Round Up the Guys for a "Mancation"

Need a break, time away from the office or an excuse to get away for a few days? Whether it’s time bonding with your son(s), college buddies, or office mates, a great guys’ “mancation” is just a short drive northwest from Los Angeles to VenturaCountyWest.

With miles of VenturaCountyWest coastline, water activities are a natural draw. Kayaking is big here. Beginners can rent kayaks for a leisurely outing in Ventura Harbor, or the adventurous can sign up for a kayak cave tour around Santa Cruz Island through Channel Island Outfitters and Channel Islands Kayak Center.

More experienced kayakers or those who want to experience the ocean on a wave runner can launch from Ventura Harbor and Channel Islands Harbor. Contact Channel Island Kayak Center for kayak rentals and Ventura Boat Rentals for wave runners.

Guys can also plan to spend a half day sports fishing with Hook’s Sportsfishing and Channel Islands Sports Fishing out of Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard or Ventura Sports Fishing leaving from Ventura Harbor. Fishing boats depart before dawn.

Depending on the season, even novice anglers can snag catches like white sea bass, lingcod, yellowtail and red snapper. Deck hands are happy to clean and fillet fish that are caught (for tips).

VenturaCountyWest land activities can be just as exhilarating. Jim Hall Kart Racing is where students suit up and learn to drive ultra-condensed, 160-pound formula karts. You’ll quickly find out why Motor Trend magazine chose Jim Hall Kart Racing as one of the “49 coolest car things to do before you die.”

If that doesn’t get the adrenaline pumping, have your crew take turns as co-pilot in a vintage World War II P-51 Mustang. Veteran pilots from the Commemorative Air Force Museum in Camarillo take guests on breathtaking rides they’ll never forget.

For golf lovers, VenturaCountyWest offers some of the best public golf courses in the country all with ocean or mountain views. In Ventura, take in a morning round of golf at Olivas Links,an 18-hole championship golf facility designed by Forrest Richardson or play at the adjoining course, Buenaventura. In Oxnard, tee up at one of two courses at River Ridge, while in Camarillo, Sterling Hills and Camarillo Springs offer challenging play in natural settings.

When the sun goes down, the night heats up. Downtown Ventura is the place to be. Make stops at the Ventura Improv Company for comedy, the Majestic Ventura Theater for a mix of music or nightclub and restaurant hop along Main Street. If your group feels lucky, head over to Players Casino for lively games and tournaments of Texas Holdem, Big-O and Panguingue or hang out at traditional poker tables or the casino’s blackjack lounge.

By the end of your mancation, they’ll be lots of memories and plenty of opportunity for bragging rights.

Hosting a Charity Event With a "Casino Theme" in Michigan

In Michigan, there are several ways for nonprofit / charitable organizations to host a “Casino Night / Las Vegas Party”, a fundraising event with a “casino theme”. They can do a State licensed, “Millionaire’s Party”, work with a local Charity Poker Room or produce their own Casino themed fundraiser / gala event

1. Host your own event

If your group is a registered charity (i.e.; 501(c) 3 or with a similar charitable designation), then you can apply to the State to obtain a license to host a Millionaire’s Party (this license will allows you to host a Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament as well), similar to what you might see being done at summer festivals and events held at many churches throughout the State. These events are like walking into a “real casino”, where your guests purchased their chips, play the various games and then at the end either “cash out” their chips for money, redeem them for prizes, etc.

There is a registration fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) per day for this license and you can get a license good for up to four consecutive days. Your group you can obtain up to four (4) of these licenses per calendar year. To obtain this license, there is extensive paperwork that needs to be completed and then more post-event paperwork to be submitted to the State as well. You should start your licensing application process as early as possible, since the State is currently telling people, that you should allow at least six (6) to eight (8) weeks for the processing of their application. And since you’re required to have your license number on all flyers and other promotional materials, you’re not supposed to advertise your event until you have your license. Also, you will need to follow all of the State’s rules and regulations pertaining to the operation of this event.

The key to this being a successful fundraising event, is that you need to have your group’s members and supporters, show up, participate in the games, and lose money at the games. The more money they lose, the more money your group will make.

You can visit the State’s website (see website address in Section 2 below) for more information on how to run your event, to obtain your licensing application and a list of licensed equipment suppliers.

2. Work with a local, Charity Poker Room

Due to the current popularity of playing Texas Hold ‘Em Poker on television, within the last couple of years many Charity Poker Rooms, have opened throughout the State. Many of these Rooms have become so popular, and have such a large following, that they’re now open seven nights a week.

If such a Charity Poker Rooms exists in your area, you might want to check them out. If your group qualifies for a State license, you might want to consider working with them rather than hosting your own event. You’ll still need to follow all of these State’s rules and regulations pertaining to the operation of your event, but the Room will be able to assist you through this process.

The key reason to work with these Charity Poker Rooms is that you really don’t have to worry about your group’s members and supporters showing up for this type of an event, for it to be successful.

Now here comes a paradigm shift… your members and supporters don’t really have to show up at this fundraiser for it to be successful! If the Charity Poker Rooms is a well established charity poker room, they will have a group of loyal poker players that will show up and play, no matter who the charity is. Groups working with these established Charity Poker Rooms can typically expect to earn between $1,000 to $4,000 per four (4) day run, which isn’t too bad of a return for your $200 investment for your license.

Again you can visit the State’s website ( http://www.michigan.gov/cg/0,4547,7-111-35016—,00.html) for more information on how to run your event and to obtain your license application.

3. Host a Casino Night / Las Vegas themed party / gala event

Similar to having a traditional “dinner / dance, fundraiser”, instead of having dancing as the featured entertainment for your fundraiser / gala, you would have “just for fun” gaming.

Your guests would pay an admission price to attend your event / gala, and for this, they would receive some sort of refreshments, one (1) door price ticket, a predetermined amount of chips or “funny money” and the chance to participate in the “just of fun” gaming entertainment.

Then at the end of the event, your guests would convert all of their “winnings” into additional door prize tickets, and you would have drawings for various door prizes (and hopefully all of these prizes would have been donated to your group).

The key to remember here is that since the chips have no monetary value, and you cannot “buy” additional chips, this is not “real gambling” (remember it is only “just for fun” gaming), and therefore a State license is not required.

Also with this type of event you want to keep the focus on having fun, and not on who has won the most. Remember that with everyone’s admission to your event, they received one (1) door price ticket, so a person could come to your event, not participate in any of the gaming, but could still walk away with a door prize at the end.

And like any traditional fundraiser that your organization might conduct, you’re able to determine the amount of profit that this event will generate, since you already know all of your fixed costs (i.e.; refreshments / food, gaming equipment rentals, profit required per person, etc.), you just set your admission price appropriately. Also you will be able capitalize on several additional fundraising opportunities at your event, such as selling of gaming table sponsorships, selling of specialty drinks at the event, etc.