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Showing posts with label Las Vegas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Las Vegas. Show all posts

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Ethel M Chocolate Factory & Cactus Garden

Ethel M Chocolates & Cactus Garden.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Address: 2 Cactus Garden Dr.
Date: March 2020
Website: www.ethelm.com

    Franklin Mars started the Mars Candy Factory in 1911 with his wife Ethel.  Today Mars makes Snickers, Twix, Mars bars and more.  Ethel is the Ethel M from a popular chocolate factory near Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethel M Chocolates Factory.

    While in Vegas you can take a short drive to see Ethel M chocolate being made in the factory.  It is made in small batches with no preservatives.

Ethel M Enrobing Machines.

  The tour starts with a taste of some chocolate.  So far so good.  You then wander past the machines where the chocolate is prepared.  Next it is more machines that fill multiple molds and create patterns on top of the chocolates and then put them into cases and boxes.

Chocolate Wall At Ethel M Factory.

  The end result is something like the giant chocolate wall at the end of the tour.  Thanks to all the different shapes and patterns you can identify which pieces to eat first when sampling from a box.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberreies At Ethem M's In Las Vegas.

  After our tour we enjoyed a chocolate cappucino and some chocolate dipped strawberries. Very nice.

Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  Next it was outside to take a tour of the cactus garden located just behind the factory.  A little desert after dessert.

Purple Pancake Cactus At Ethel M Las Vegas.

  If you still feel like food, there was purple pancake cactus on display.  We don't think they were very edible.

Ethel M Cactus Garden Joshua Tree.

  There was a couple of Joshua Trees.

Mountains From Ethel M Cactus Garden.

As well as a nice view of the mountains.

Costa's Hummingbird Ethel M Cactus Garden.
Costa's Hummingbird Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  There was also wildlife to be found in amongst the cactus.  Above is a male Costa's Hummingbird that is known for its purplish head if caught in the right light.  Its head feathers also sort of flare out on the sides.  It was sitting surprisingly still for a hummingbird.

A Verdin At Ethel M Cactus Garden.

  A small white, grey bird with a yellow head was all over the place.  We managed one good photo of it as it moved from branch to branch faster than we could get it into focus.  These birds are fairly common in Nevada and are known as Verdin.

Ethel M Cactus Garden.

Ethel M Chocolate Fountain.

  We enjoyed our visit to Ethel M.  A great chocolatier knows that chocolate and cactus work well together late in the afternoon.

Map of Our World
Ethel M Cactus Garden
Ethel M Chocolate Factory

Post # 280

Saturday, 10 December 2016


Chihuly At The ROM.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 100 Queens Park
Date: Nov 2016 
Website:  www.chihuly.com

  We attended a Friday Night Live event at the Royal Ontario Museum.  This is where the museum stays open late and there are drinks and food and DJs while you browse the exhibits.  We were lucky enough that a special exhibit called Chihuly was running when we visited.

Absolutely Marble-ous

  The exhibit is named after Dale Chihuly who is known for his colourful glass creations.

Glass Bottom Boat.

  The first two works created by Chihuly and his team featured boats.  The first was full of giant coloured marbles and the second contained what looked like blue and purple flowers.

How Fragile We Are.
 Heart Of Glass.

  The next huge display was like a jungle of swirling and twisted glass.

Floral Ceiling

  Another piece seemed very familiar.  It consisted of glass in the shape of flowers sitting on top of a clear glass ceiling.

Fiori di Como

  The reason the colourful flowers seemed so familiar is that they reminded us of the Bellagio hotel lobby in Las Vegas (pictured above).  The ceiling there is covered with a work of art called "Fiori di Como".  It was created by none other than Dale Chihuly.

Glass on Glass.
 Orange Bowls.

   Chihuly was thrown through the windshield of a car in a 1976 accident which left him injured and blind in one eye.  Since then he has relied on his team to help create these beautiful glass works of art. We paused to think that the very thing Chihuly loved to create with was what took away his vision and caused him harm.

Red Spikes.
Red Burr.  Blue Icicles.

  There were many coloured bowls and pieces created to look like icicles or giant spikes. 

Neon Lights.

  Some neon blue tubes looked like sparks of light.

People in Glass Houses.

  We made our way through a walkway covered by giant curved flowers in fall colours of yellow and orange.

Artists and Their Art.
 Coloured Blankets.

  The last part of the exhibit showed aboriginal art and blankets.  We enjoyed the displays and marvelled at how Chihuly and his team had managed to coax glass into all manner of colours and shapes.  The Chihuly event runs at the Royal Ontario Museum until January 8, 2017.

This location is near Museum subway. Visit other Toronto TTC stations.

Map of Our World
Royal Ontario Museum

Post # 149

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Las Vegas in the Fall

Falling Leaves Inside The Shops at Crystals.

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Address: 3720 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Date: Nov 2012
Website:  www.simon.com/mall/the-shops-at-crystals

  Everything is larger than life in Las Vegas. That includes the leaves falling from the ceiling inside The Shops At Crystals.  The mall was still decorated for the fall season when we visited.

Falling Leaves.

  Giant leaves hung from the ceiling and looked like they were about to land upon us.

Catch My Fall.

  They looked as if you could reach out and grab them while they floated down to the stores below.

The Pumpkin King.
This is Halloween.

  Below the leaves were some pumpkin-headed figures who looked like relatives of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas movie.

Falling Leaves Inside The Bellagio Conservatory.

  Autumn was also the theme inside the Bellagio's Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  The Conservatory changes its displays seasonally throughout the year.


  The Conservatory was filled with bright displays featuring flowers and pumpkins.  There was also a water wheel turning in the middle of the displays

Pumpkin made of Flowers.
 Water Wheel.

  Instead of pumpkin-headed gardeners, the Conservatory has a talking tree that greets visitors as they walk past.

Welcome to Bellagio's world famous conservatory.

  One tree was all sparkles and water and it reminded us that winter would soon be on the way.  When that happens the conservatory would be full of sparkle, representing ice.  The people of Las Vegas may even have to brave temperatures as low as 8 degrees Celsius.

Sparkle and Shine.

Map of Our World
The Shops at Crystals
Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Post # 141

Monday, 20 October 2014

Television City at The MGM Grand

MGM Grand Las Vegas

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA 
Address: 3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Date: March 2003
Website:  tvcityresearch.com

  Deep within the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is Television City.   It is a place where those who are tired of trying their luck on the casino floor can try their luck with the CBS television schedule.  We were walking by when the staff out front asked us if we would like to take part.  It would take less than an hour and we would get some discounts in return.  We did end up redeeming our gift shop discount for a CSI t-shirt and a Late Night with David Letterman hat, so we did not do too badly.
  Basically you sit and watch a TV series pilot episode and fill out survey questions that ask you what you liked or did not like about the show.  They will in turn use this information to ultimately decide whether this show makes it to air or if any changes are required.  Often on TV, a show can change drastically between the pilot and the second epsiode.  Actors get replaced, characters removed, or the overall tone of the show is adjusted.  It was all up to us.

Televison City at the MGM Grand

  The show we watched was called Charlie Lawrence and starred Nathan Lane in the title role.  Nathan has had many roles throughout the years, but is best known for The Producers, The Birdcage and as Timon the meerkat in The Lion King.  Other recognizable actors were Ted McGinley, who has appeared on both Happy Days and Married With Children, and Laurie Metcalf, who starred in Roseanne and plays Sheldon's mother on The Big Bang Theory.
  While the show was not bad, it was not something we would watch again unless we were on vacation and getting some gift shop discounts in exchange for our time.  When the show was over we filled out our surveys and let them know what we thought.  Several months after we returned from Las Vegas, Charlie Lawrence did appear on television.  Only 2 episodes ever aired before the show was abruptly pulled from the schedule due to poor ratings.  Hey, we tried to warn you CBS.

Map of Our World
Television City At the MGM Grand

Post # 25

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Penn & Teller

Penn & Teller at The Rio

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Address: 3700 W Flamingo Rd.
Date: March 2003
Website:  www.riolasvegas.com/shows/penn-and-teller.html

  During our first visit to Las Vegas we purchased tickets to see Penn & Teller at the Rio casino.   Penn & Teller are illusionists who always mix their magic with a little comedy, brains and danger.  Penn is the big, talkative one and Teller is the smaller one who never says a word.  You may have seen them perform together on Saturday Night Live or in one of their various specials throughout the years.  Penn once appeared on an episode of Friends and sells Joey one volume from an encyclopedia set.
  Our evening began when we decided to walk from the Bally's casino to the Rio.  The Rio is off of the main strip but, like everything in Vegas, looks closer because of the sheer size of it.  As we walked along Flamingo Road we left the crowds of Las Vegas Blvd. and soon we were the only pedestrians on the street.  As the sidewalk crosses the Las Vegas Freeway it becomes entirely enclosed by a cage, and fortunately we did not come across anyone else as we felt just a little bit trapped.  Not put in a clear box and then locked into a wooden box trapped, but a bit uneasy.

Looks pretty good to me.

  We did eventually arrive at the show and took our seats.  On stage was a clear box and a wooden box which the audience was welcomed  to come up and inspect.  Later Teller was placed in the clear box and then locked into the wooden box.  Penn gives the audience an option to either close their eyes and be amazed or keep them open and see how it is done.  Anyway Teller's escape is not so much an illusion as it is purposefully constructed boxes.
  Another highlight of the show is when two audience members write something onto bullets.   One bullet is put into a gun and given to Teller, the other handed to Penn.  Pieces of glass are placed in the middle of the stage between them.  The two illusionists line up their shots from opposite sides of the stage and fire.  They both flinch back a little bit, then reveal that they have the opposite bullet between their teeth.  The glass in between has shattered and has holes through it to prove something passed through.  How did they do it?  While Penn & Teller are known to often reveal how they do a trick, this one they kept a secret. 


  After the show there was a meet and greet with the two performers.  One of us had their ticket signed by and picture taken with Penn and the other did the same with Teller.  We are sort of a mix of their stage personas as one of us is tall and quiet and the other is small and talkative.  We paired up based on height.

& Teller
  We really enjoyed the show and now it was time for us to perform one final daring escape act of our own.  We headed back into our sidewalk cage in a darker, later, Las Vegas night.

Map of Our World
Penn & Teller

Post # 18