American Family Adventures Series — Las Vegas & Dream Racing

I’ll keep this real brief: No child should ever be taken to the city of Las Vegas. I’m as serious about that statement as I am about never hitting on 17 when the Blackjack dealer is showing a 6.

Never. Take. A. Kid. To. Vegas. At least not until they’re 28. And even then, wait a few more years.

Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower and Clouds

In the right angle, in the right light, you might think you’re in Paris. Don’t be fooled.

Why should you never take a kid to Las Vegas? Well, lets see: The parade of open container alcoholism flooding out of hotel casinos and onto the Strip, which is decidedly different and more pathetic than, say, at a sporting event, is reason #1. But you’ll also also encounter…

Porn! Porn! And more Porn!

New York New York Casino Statue of Liberty Las Vegas

Lady Liberty, Vegas Style.

I spent not even 72 hours in Sin City (without seeing a single Elvis, by the way. What a ripoff) and was reminded, in person, approximately 7.2 million times, that I could have a girl delivered to my hotel room in 20 minutes flat. At any time of day. Don’t hookers sleep? They should really speak to their union rep about that.

And lest you think you can escape the barrage of titties during a meant-to-be-pleasant, not-yet-100-degree post-breakfast stroll to see the Eiffel Tower and Bellagio fountain or a pre-dawn 3.8 mile run around town. Hah! No. You’re wrong. The porn business card handouts from the evening prior litter the sidewalk with tits and asses that cannot be unseen. I am FAR from a prude, but it was hella gross.

Paris Las Vegas at Night

La Tour Eiffel in the middle of a cesspool.

Also, gambling and gambling culture kinda sucks. Oh, I’ll admit that it can be fun to dabble at a $10 blackjack table or place a small wager on a soccer match (which I tried to do at The Cosmopolitan where I was staying, but their sportsbook doesn’t open until 8:30am which means betting on European football is pretty much out of the question there. Strange.) but it’s habit forming, and not a good habit either, like, say, getting into the habit of rescuing baby sea turtles. Vegas indoors is also smokey, and filled with abject failure.

And yet…I saw SO MANY FREAKIN’ kids in the hotels, in the casinos (including a crying toddler in a stroller inside the Bellagio casino bathroom at 11:30 PM! Stay classy, dad.) and on the Strip. I’m pretty certain that you can ruin the life of a 12 year old girl by simply walking her down the Vegas Strip after dinner. And yet (you probably know where this is heading…) I saw SO MANY FREAKIN’ tweens with their parents dodging escort service sales pitches, filthy drunks, nude photo handouts, and grown women who seem to think ass-bottom is a fashion accessory. Tip: if you must keep pulling your tiny skin-tight skirt downward, get a longer fucking skirt. Deal?

Vegas is the most electrifyingly depressing place in the country. No child should be made to experience it.

The exception to this rule, for older kids who can drive and dream of driving really really fast, is Dream Racing located at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Las Vegas Dream Racing

Ladies & Gentleman, start your engines. Dream Racing, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jeff Bogle_OWTK_Dream Racing_Ferrari F430 GT

Yours truly with a stunning Ferrari F430 GT at Dream Racing Las Vegas. The Mrs. thinks I look pretty hot in a fire suit.

At Dream Racing you can take a Ferrari F430 GT out and zoom around the road course on the infield of the speedway (no parking lot experience here!) Listen, you could read all about what your money will buy you: classroom time, racing simulator, fire suit, helmet, the works. Do that at your leisure. But put down a drool mat first, ’cause I’d hate to see you mess your iPad screen or laptop keyboard. What you need to know is that short of going into space, you’ll do nothing cooler in your life than take turn 4 hard into, and accelerate through, turn 5 in one of Dream Racing’s cherry red Ferrari F430 GT race cars. Nothing. Nada. So save up your duckets (this kind of speed don’t come cheap!) and make it happen for yourself and for your car-obsessed teenager someday. But please do your best to avoid the rest of Las Vegas. It’s a cesspool.

There are of course other racing experiences to be had across the country but none will offer you the glorious mountain views, the fighter jet roar (as war planes fly into and out of nearby Nellis Air Force Base), and the high level of professional instruction and white glove service of Dream Racing.

Jeff Bogle OWTK Dream Racing Simulator Front

Photo by: Shawn Parkin

Jeff Bogle OWTK Dream Racing Simulator

Photo by: Shawn Parkin

Jeff Bogle_OWTK_Getting In Dream Racing Ferrari F430 GT

Getting into a Ferrari F430 GT at Dream Racing.

Jeff Bogle_OWTK_Dream Racing_Las Vegas

I am ready to drive a Ferrari F430 GT.

Dream Racing Ferrari F430 GT Lineup

The Dream Racing Lineup of Ferrari F430 GT race cars on the track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Dream Racing Inside the Ferrari F430 GT

The cockpit of the Ferrari F430 GT at Dream Racing.

Jeff Bogle OWTK in Ferrari F430 GT Dream Racing

That’s me in there, on the straightaway. Photo by: Shawn Parkin

Jeff Bogle Driving Ferrari F430 GT at Dream Racing

I’m at the wheel, ready for 3 more laps. Photo by: Shawn Parkin

Under the hood of the Ferrari F430 GT at Dream Racing

Toto, I don’t think we’re driving a 4-Cylinder anymore. Photo by: Shawn Parkin

Instead of a “Vegas, Baby” family vacation, consider camping out by Mt. Charleston in the Sierra-Nevadas or staying out of town at the stunning JW Marriott Resort & Spa or the family-friendly Hilton Garden Inn.

Fly in, drive 130mph, see a desert donkey, take a boat out onto Lake Mead, swing past the Hoover Dam and then get the hell out of Vegas, baby.

Sierra Neveda Toyota Sienna

The Toyota Sienna shares top billing here with the beautiful Sierra-Nevada Mountains.

Spring Mountains Toyota Sienna

The Toyota Sienna searches for desert donkey in the beautiful Sierra-Nevada Mountains.

*I was in Las Vegas for the Toyota Sienna AdVANture event. My travel, hotel, and Dream Racing experience were paid for by Toyota. All opinions expressed above are honest and unbiased, as always. The best photos in this post were taken by the great Shawn Parkin. Check him out on Facebook.

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