Monday, March 10, 2014


To celebrate Baz's 11th birthday (coming up later this week), and for a rare "triple-dark", we hit two big destinations - Legoland on Sunday, and Las Vegas on Monday.  Legoland has been on Baz's wish list for years, and I'm glad we finally carved out a time to go.  It's quite a place!  Designed for younger kids, there was nothing in the park that Isa, at 6 years old and 44", was too small for.  But there were still a good number of wild rides, and lots of smaller activities and play places.  My favorite part was Miniland USA, which recreates a whole bunch of American cities in miniatures, with Legos.  A bit reminiscent of Madurodam.  And fun to check out some of the places we've recently been, like New York and San Francisco.

And then today, Las Vegas!!  We packed a lot into our one day here in town.  First we toured the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden.  It was only OK - but at least it was something different, and off the Strip.  After that we headed to Circus Circus for some midway games and circus acts.  Circus Circus never changes - some good talent onstage, garishly tacky surroundings.  Greg says the place depresses him, but I always enjoy watching the performers.

After that it was a quick stop at the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat (which is pretty sparse on wildlife these days) before we hit a big highlight, the Jeff Civillico show!  Jeff is an old friend of Greg's - they knew each other when Jeff was a very young juggler in the Philadelphia area.  Now Jeff is a big star, with his own show at the Quad in Vegas, and various TV specials, etc.  We'd never seen his show and it was a huge treat.  So Funny!!  We were all falling out of our seats laughing for the entire hour.  The kids adored him.

It's one of the things I really enjoy about bringing the kids to Vegas - letting them see more-traditional-style juggling and circus.  They love it - at Circus Circus today we saw BMX tricks and clowning and diabolo and slack wire - and Jeff juggles a bowling ball and eats an apple.  I love seeing their faces, so full of surprise and delight.  The things that Greg and I have come to view as "standard" are still new to them, and it's so helpful to remember that.

Checking into our hotel room at Treasure Island, and going to see Mystere, was our next adventure.  This one was especially sentimental for me, because I remember clearly the last time I saw this show - it was 19 years ago, my first time traveling with Greg.  We came out to a winter juggling convention, and stayed with Pat McGuire, who was performing in Mystere.  I remember him showing us around backstage, and I remember being thrilled when he let me borrow his Cirque jacket to wear one evening.   Life has moved in so many amazing directions since then.  Could I ever have imagined that Greg and I would be in this theater again, 19 years later, with our 3 children, and a few years of Cirque touring behind us?

We wrapped up the night with a viewing of the volcano show outside the Mirage.  And elbowing through the crowds of the Strip to make it back to our hotel room.  Las Vegas is so insane.  I am always torn, between exasperation at the craziness of it all, and the otherworldly thrill of the shows.  It has been a wonderfully worthwhile couple of days.

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