9 experiences you can’t have in Las Vegas anymore

By KRISTEN DESILVA
REVIEWJOURNAL.COM

The iconic Riviera hotel-casino ended its 60-year run Monday and closed for good. The “Rs” came off the front doors, the games were turned off and the famous butts were removed. The loss of the Riviera means the loss of some truly Las Vegas experiences.

No longer can you stay in the penthouse where Sinatra once lived.

No longer can you stop in the casino and pose like Robert de Niro in “Casino.”

No longer can you see the Sin City Roller Girls kick butt in the ballroom (but they’ll hopefully find a new home soon).

No longer can you enjoy the 27-year run of topless show “Crazy Girls,” though they’re rumored to have already found a new location.

Major resort closings always brings out the nostalgia in Vegas, leading to calls for a return to “the good ‘ol days,” where “Vegas was really Vegas.” So, along with that nostalgia, here are 9 other things you can no longer experience in Las Vegas:

Wet ‘n’ Wild on the Strip

To anyone who raised a kid through the 90s in Las Vegas, Wet ‘n Wild on the Strip was pivotal to a great childhood.

The 27-acre waterpark across from the (former) Sahara and next to the (former) Fontainebleau project and the (former) Algiers hotel closed in 2004. Another hotel project was supposed to take the area over, but that never went through.

Wet ‘n Wild was, for a while, the Strip’s biggest attraction dedicated to kids, but there’s always the southwest revival.

Actually driving down Fremont Street

Yep, it was an actual, hoppin’ street. The Fremont Street experience as we know it was installed in the mid-90s (after a proposal to install a life-size Starship Enterprise was turned down), but for a while the lights of the western end of Fremont Street were just as iconic as the Las Vegas Strip. The five-block section was closed for good on September 7, 1994.

High Roller (no, not that one)

The Let It Ride High Roller at the top of the Stratosphere that existed from 1996 to 2005 was probably one of the most terrifying rides in the city — especially if you weren’t good with heights. It only went up to 30 mph, but it was positioned on the edge of the building with nothing under the track besides the city hundreds of feet below.

If you’re looking for a similar thrill, plan to visit the 570-foot tall roller coaster being built in Orlando.

99-cent shrimp cocktail

A classic Vegas cliche, the 99-cent shrimp cocktail isn’t an easy find in the city anymore. The location famous for them, the Golden Gate hotel-casino in Downtown Las Vegas, introduced it for 50 cents, but now they’re closer to $3. Like prime rib, you won’t be more than a quarter-mile from one on the Strip, but you won’t be paying 99 cents for it.

Classic dinner shows

“Dinner and a show” used to mean showing up at any casino at any time to see a show with a meal for cheap.

Any book, TV show or film showing “the good ‘ol days” of Vegas is going to have a dinner show, ranging from Sinatra in a cocktail lounge serving steak dinners to an audience-involved theater production over a 3-, 4-, or 5-course meal.

“Marriage can be Murder,” which claims to be the longest-running dinner show in Vegas is also one of the last. The D-located show is an interactive comedy that comes with a meal. The other long-running show in town is “Tournament of Kings” at the Excaliber. Both tickets are around $60.

But something like Elvis? Sinatra? It’s not going to happen.

Speed — the Ride

Another ride of a bygone era (well, the era of the last decade), this roller coaster was located at the Sahara from 2000 until 2011. It was originally built as part of the NASCAR cafe, but the 70-mph ride occasionally shut down without any explanation to guests, and was eventually taken apart and stored.

Bungee jumping at Circus Circus

This was the real deal for fixed-platform bungee jumping in Las Vegas when it opened in 1991 and opened to the public the next year. In 1996, A.J. Hackett bought the 171-foot jump and closed it a little more than a decade later.

Check it out:

T.I. pirate ship show

Treasure Island’s free outdoor attraction “Sirens of T.I.” ended its 10-year run in 2013. The show originally began as Buccaneer Bay in 1993, a family-friendly nightly event. News of the show ending came within a trend of major Strip resorts moving away from themes, as T.I. had already removed pirate logos and other themed elements of the casino.

Seeing lions at the MGM

The Lion Habitat inside MGM Grand was located in the center of the casino, showing six lions daily since 1999. Up to six lions were on display, including a section surrounding a tunnel the lions would lie on top, giving the public a view from underneath. The habitat was cut out of the MGM’s renovation plans in 2012 and the lions went back home to their ranch in Henderson.

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