Dive into the action in Vegas

People who want to scuba dive and swim with ocean creatures on their vacation probably don’t put the desert city of Las Vegas high on their list of places to visit, but they should.

 Several attractions in Vegas are letting you get in the water and get up close and personal with dolphins, sharks and even aquatic entertainers.

 The Dive with Sharks program for hotel guests of Mandalay Bay and THEhotel allows people to dive in the hotel’s 1.3-million-gallon Shark Reef aquarium (with a guide) amongst more than 30 sharks.

 Certified divers 18 and older can participate in the four-hour experience, learning about shark health and behavior as well as Shark Reef Aquarium research projects. To ensure that the experience is truly special, the program is limited to two participants and one dive per day. LARRY ROWLETT LISA GARCIA SAMANTHA KENDRICK

 Hotel guests can book the tour for $650 for a single diver or $1,000 for two divers booked together.

 The program includes a guided tour of Shark Reef Aquarium, the supervised 45-minute dive and a post-dive snack.

 Don’t worry about lugging all of your dive equipment to Las Vegas – the Shark Reef provides a wetsuit, protective stainless steel chain maille as well as a mask, fins, tank, buoyancy-control device, regulator, weights and booties. 

 To commemorate the experience, divers get a certificate and a video of their dive. If you’re traveling with friends who don’t dive, you can let up to four observers view your experience from outside the exhibit and they get to join the behind-the-scenes tour. Dive with Sharks is available Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (702) 632-4555.

Scuba enthusiasts have another unique opportunity to use their skills with Wynn Las Vegas’ Diver’s Dream Package.

With the package, participants can dive during a live performance of the hotel’s water-based show “Le Rêve,” which takes place in, around and above a round, 1.1- million-gallon tank of water that serves as the stage. Below the surface of the water are platforms that rise and descend for the various scenes.Le Rêve at Wynn Las Vegas_Tango_1

Divers will get to see the amazing things that go on behind the scenes at “Le Rêve.” Sixteen scuba divers are required for each performance, using 32 air tanks and 3,500 cubic feet of compressed air. The performers are well taken care of by a system of divers, cameras, breathing systems and lights that ensure their safety. Each member of the cast is scuba certified and now you can watch all of the action that goes on underwater during the show if you’re dive certified.

The Diver’s Dream Package includes a two-night stay in a Resort Room at Wynn or Encore, VIP Indulgence tickets to “Le Rêve,” a private backstage tour, SDI Certified SCUBA training session with the “Le Rêve” diving team and the opportunity to dive during the live show. Packages are priced from $2,000 for one diver and from $3,000 for two divers. For more information call 702-770-SWIM (7946).

If you’re not a diver but still want to get a first-hand look at marine life, try Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat dolphin trainer for a day program.

Guests 13 years and older can swim with dolphins and experience in-water play and training sessions with the animals.dolphintrainerforaday

 From 9:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m. participants will play with and feed the dolphins while accompanied by habitat staff. Photos will be taken at various locations in the habitat and put on a CD for you to take home as a souvenir.

 Fees are $550 per person with a four person maximum. The price for an observer is $150. Call (702) 792-7889 for more information or to make reservations.


It’s not that warm in Minnesota. I know this from spending half my life freezing in the northern part of the state. So 20 years ago, I decided to thaw out and traded in scarves and mittens for tank tops and flip-flops (Take that, polar vortex!). I swapped snow for 300 days of sun a year. I may not have been born here, but there are hotels that haven’t lasted in Vegas as long as I have. The Sands, Hacienda, Aladdin, Desert Inn and the Stardust too. I've been to my fair share of implosion parties. (Yeah, that’s a thing.) As a writer for Vegas.com, I've applauded hundreds of shows, explored every major hotel in town and raised a few glasses at most of the city's bars and clubs. Now I'm the resident foodie here. I write about all things dining — from $3.99 shrimp cocktail at the Golden Gate to the finest sushi at Nobu, and everything in between.