After having traveled to Las Vegas a half a dozen times in the past couple years, on this current trip I was looking for something more than sparkling lights, feathered girls and dancing water fountains. Plus, it was my birthday, which absolutely warranted a unique adventure. And that was exactly what I found. The complete bonus was that the chosen celebratory venture would also knock two items off my bucket list, seeing the Grand Canyon and taking a helicopter ride. Plus, it would be a great addition to my list of the top things to do before you die.
A bucket list twofer was about to happen.
After a very late pre-birthday evening experiencing the Rose. Rabbit. Lie. show in Sin City, my husband, our good friend and myself woke up early to prepare ourselves for the main event of the day.
Preparation included mimosas, truffle fries and a few games of Three Card Poker.
In the early afternoon Sundance Helicopters was scheduled to pick the three of us up at our hotel, The Cosmopolitan. In a sea of black limousines, they showed up with a shiny grey stretch limo to whisk us away to the helicopter airport.
Limousines should be a requirement for all birthday ground transportation.
We arrived and were assigned to a helicopter and pilot. There were five passengers inside of our helicopter who would be taking the 45 minute ride to the Grand Canyon.
We strapped ourselves in, put on our headphones and started the journey to what is known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The ride produced a constant vibration, like getting a chair massage. Bonus.
We moved at what seemed like a snails pace though we were going well over a hundred miles per hour. Somehow, I felt more comfortable and safer in this helicopter than I did in any plane. Ever. This was most likely because I was seated next to the pilot and could witness her every move. Maybe this could be an option on my next commercial Airbus flight?
We traveled over Hoover dam and Lake Mead along the way to the grand finale. All the while, commentary explaining the sites below was communicated in our headphones.
Upon approaching the canyon, I was taken aback by its unique combinations of geologic color, erosional forms and massiveness. At up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep this was a natural wonder.
The helicopter proceeded to land 3200 feet below the canyons rim.
We only had a half hour on the ground to explore, which was way too short to take it all in.
There was also a picnic lunch waiting for us, complete with champagne and a chocolate birthday cake. My favorite.
Time to leave…
We were leaving the Grand Canyon in the early evening which meant the sun would be setting as we made our way back to Vegas.
The red-orange filled the sky in combination with the shimmering lights of the city, made the perfect ending to one of the most memorable birthdays.
There are several choices of Grand Canyon tours with Sundance Helicopters
, starting in the mid $300s. I was more than content choosing the sunset option since it included the champagne picnic too. It is a pricier Las Vegas experience, but worth the unique memory.
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