In Vegas, anything is possible -- including a lush forest in the middle of the desert.
Located about 20 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip, Mystic Falls Park inside Sam's Town is like walking through the woods -- except the wolf and bears here are completely harmless. In addition to the state-of-the-art, 10-minute Sunset Stampede laser light and fountain show, the 25,000-square-foot atrium includes plenty of greenery, babbling brooks and animatronic animals. While it may not be the great outdoors, the ambiance certainly fits the criteria.
Mystic Falls Park showcases a wolf, bears, an eagle, a deer and even a beaver chewing on some wood. If you're looking for a place to rest before or after the show, Mystic Falls Park offers plenty of wooden seats and benches, including a gazebo area. Planning on sticking around for a while? There is a center bar for guests 21 and older who can catch all of the action while enjoying a cocktail. The Mystic Falls Park also offers of plenty of photo opportunities. Take a picture on the bridge or by the serene water fixture. Your friends back home will think that you're on a nature hike.
Located in front of the park's waterfall, the free Sunset Stampede production reminds you of something you'd see at Disneyland. And it's no wonder -- the Florida-based Laser Show Design Company behind the show also works with Disney, Six Flags and other amusement parks. In addition to bright and exciting neon lights, the dancing fountains move dramatically to the enchanting music. The fountains not only dance, but shoot up an astounding eight stories high.
The Sunset Stampede show debuted in 1994 and has recently undergone major renovation. This includes new laser technology with clearer projections, improved theatrical lighting with more sophisticated effects and LED fountain lights featuring a larger range of colors. It plays daily at 2 p.m., 6 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., with a wolf howl marking the beginning of the show.
During the holiday season, Mystic Falls transforms into a winter wonderland with festive garland streams, snow-covered lampposts and more than 50 glimmering trees adorned in lights. Watch snow float from above as light images and shooting water dance to traditional holiday music.
For a true desert getaway, Mystic Falls Park is the place. Hiking gear is not necessary, but make sure to bring your outdoorsy spirit! And just because this isn't on the Strip, it shouldn't be a reason not to visit. Free shuttle service is available to and from the Strip eight times a day, seven days a week. Call hotel for schedule and details.
-- Review by Jeannie Garcia