My brother asked me to meet him at Silverton Casino’s Bass Pro Shop after we have had time to recuperate from our whirlwind afternoon visits to Red Rock Canyon and Bonnie Springs Ranch.
We arrived at the Las Vegas Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World at 7:00 p.m. to find ourselves marveling at what seemed to be an REI or Dick’s Sporting Goods on steroids. Outdoor gear for everyone, and for every outdoor sport, are sold here. Outdoorsy-themed children’s toys are also sold here. Lots of flannel, tough denim and fleece clothing, along with the random snacks that one packs with the family’s camping gear, are sold here. There was even a North Pole Photo Booth wherein families can pay a mere $20 for a portrait session with Santa Claus. This sitting fee also included a decent set of digital and printed photos for customers to take home and/or give out for the holidays. This is an even better deal than the kids’ annual school photo package!
Did my brother forget that we are beach bums from California? Why in the world would he ask us to meet us here?
It turns out that Bass Pro Shops is just an overall fun place to hang out. The customers and staff members were friendly and extremely helpful in letting us know what new cool product was just restocked in the store. Random visual merchandising displayed with various animal taxidermy somehow added to the adventurous vibe of this establishment.
When my brother finally arrived at the store, he ushered us to the upstairs portion of Bass Pro Shops to give us a tour of the section where customers can find ammunition, firearms and a shooting range. He talked about how he now shoots guns as a sport, that it was very popular in Las Vegas, and that he has joined a bona fide gun club to learn more about the sport. While his wife was not really into shooting guns, she condoned his newfound interest in the sport. Oftentimes, he comes to various shooting ranges around town to find a reprieve from the stresses that come with the all-hands on board care of his ailing wife, or to simply enjoy some alone time away from his day job or his other recreational love of automobile racing and off-road bicycling.
My brother later told us that his wife, McKay, really wanted the kids to see the Silverton Hotel and Casino’s aquarium, so we proceeded to the Silverton Casino entrance (nearby the Bass Pro Shops exit), and found ourselves looking at a giant wall aquarium. Beautiful tropical fish, coral and aquatic plants were a sight to see for us Los Angeleans who have been away from our coastal home for two days now. What we did not expect was that regularly scheduled live mermaid shows are shown here free for casino visitors to simply enjoy.
While we waited for the mermaid to appear, we happened upon pleasant surprises as we explored the area surrounding the aquarium. There was a hallway behind the aquarium that housed the Mermaid Art Gallery, which featured artwork of everything having to do with the sea, sea lovers and mermaids. There was also a mermaid-themed bar and lounge just adjacent to the aquarium, where the wall and ceiling decor simulated an underwater cove, with constantly changing color schemes made for an interesting and mesmerizing light show. There was even a lounge area where visitors can sit while they patiently wait for that magical mermaid to appear.
When the mermaid (and friendly scuba diver who helps “spot” her) finally appeared, it really made for a worthwhile visit. Children and adults alike were mesmerized by the mermaid’s interaction with them. The mermaid we saw that evening waved at us, blew kisses, performed a few underwater twists and turns, and even interacted with the sea life, often encouraging them, as if she mastered the language of the sea, to slow down a bit so that she can wrangle them long enough for all of us to see her play with them.
Why haven’t I heard about this mermaid show before? That’s right, only the locals know. My thoughts meandered during my serene experience with the mermaid. Eventually, my thoughts led to my sister-in-law from two Christmas seasons ago. McKay gifted my daughter an Ariel doll (the main character from the Disney movie, The Little Mermaid) that year. McKay was a natural redhead herself, and I wondered if my daughter would make the correlation between this mermaid show and the Christmas gift her Aunt McKay gave to her years from now, long after this experience. I was saddened that one day when she is older, my daughter would forget about how McKay looked in her prime and would ask me who she was when she happened upon a photo of her. I wondered whether McKay felt the same way, and that was why she specifically asked my brother to have us meet him there before our scheduled family dinner at the nearby Cracker Barrel (another Las Vegas local hangout that deserves a separate post) because she thought our kids would enjoy this experience and would in some way remember her even though she was not physically there. Maybe she wanted my brother to open up about his self-administered therapy/support with this shooting guns business, the relatively new favorite outdoor past time of his.
The reason we were in Las Vegas was because of McKay, because she was dying. Her desire to have us come check out Silverton Casino and Bass Pro Shops while we were in town will certainly solidify our fond memories of many selfless acts and gratitude for how McKay often thought of others and what would bring us joy, despite taking us away from her this last Saturday evening before her eventual death four days later.
Silverton Hotel and Casino
3333 Blue Diamond Road
Las Vegas, NV 89139
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