From yellowstone, we drove back to Salt Lake City with only one slight interuption...
...and flew to Vegas.
I'd never really been to vegas and I had very low expectations - unlikely to be family friendly, probably really tacky, expensive and generally not my thing!
I was very much mistaken, it was fantastic.
The strip is right by the airport, we were staying at Mandalay bay (to the left of the pyramid/luxor)
Ali managed yet again to befriend the check-in staff and we got bumped to a suit the size of a good sized two bed apartment. Don't know how she does it!
The view from our room.
Biggest selling point of Mandalay Bay is the swimming pools apparently by far the best on the strip. In all there are at least 8, one is a huge wave pool with a sandy beach, the best from our perspective was this one which flows like a river round and round in a big loop.
We got the kids some floats and happily swam here for 3 or so hours of each day.
Vegas does of course have bright lights, over the top glitz and replica historic buildings but it's really well done and the kids loved it. Particular mention goes to the mini Venice in the Venician which is quite something. Otherwise the lobby of our hotel was luxurious for a very reasonable price (compared to the rest of our trip) and there was loads of free stuff to do particularly in the evening since all the casinos put on a free show outside (erupting volcanoes, fountains, etc...)
Having struggled to find decent/varied/spicy food for good chunks of our trip, we found Vegas a haven of quality.
Our reason to come to Vegas was it's proximity to the Grand Canyon.
So we rented a car and another painfully long 5-6hr drive later we arrived.
The area around the Grand Canyon is a high plateau, with scrubby pine trees, it just does not prepare you for the sudden gouge in the earth that is the Canyon.
Even by the Grand Canyon the kids decided climbing a tree was more interesting.
It's all about the changing colours at sunset
On the way back to Vegas we stopped to have a look at the hoover dam from the bypass bridge they recently built. You'll notice the low water level here too.
From Vegas, it was time for our flight back to the UK