In 2008, a 25-year old software engineer from Los Angeles set the record for the largest slot payout in Nevada history when he won an unfathomable $38.7 million. The man, whose name was not released at his request, won after putting three $1 coins in a Megabucks machine at the Excalibur Hotel-Casino.
The progressive Megabucks Jackpot generally is paid in equal amounts over 25 years and winners are allowed to negotiate other types of payoffs. The Megabucks system works by linking dollar slot machines in approximately 157 casinos throughout Nevada. Fortunately for the man, the jackpot had been building for seven months after a woman at Bally's Hotel-Casino won a measly $22.6 million.
This payout in 2007 set the record for the largest jackpot ever paid out of a penny slot in Nevada, turning one Nevada resident into a multi-millionarie after playing ... none other than Megabucks.
"On my way over to the casino this morning," said the anonymous 66-year-old man, "I actually thought about playing Penny Megabucks. I don't know why because I normally play video poker. So after rolling several practice games, I went to have lunch and on the way back to the lanes, I stopped to play Penny Megabucks. I put in $100 and after playing $44, I saw five eagles line up and thought I had won about $3,000," he added. "Then I looked up, and the large jackpot on top of the machine had switched from $18 million to $10 million. Then I knew I had won something big."
A penny earned is a penny gained?
It's no surprise that Vegas would claim the most expensive eatery in the state. How rich is your palate? A meal at Joel Robushon will cost you a measly $279 a plate. And, that's not counting drinks, appetizers, or dessert. I know what you're thinking, because it's exactly what we're thinking: Why?
Joel Robuchon is the signature, flagship French gourmet restaurant of French chef and restaurateur Joel Robuchon, located at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Joel was rated 3 stars by the Michelin Guide, 5-stars by Forbes Travel Guide, and has been ranked by Wine Spectator and Travel and Leisure to be among the finest restaurants in the world. Joel has also been ranked as one of the Top 5 best restaurants in the United States by Gourmet magazine. That's some great creds, but why the high price tag? His culinary style raises such a price tag because of the end product's authenticity and similarity to classic French cuisine of the 1700s with rare ingredients down to the millimeter. Here in Nevada, Joel Robuchon is proof that Nevada can be whatever you want, especially when it comes to dining -- A triple-digit plate, or an all-you-can-eat $5 buffet. Only in Nevada.
- If you have 279 bucks to spare, you can dine at Joel Robuchon inside the MGM Grand. His establishment is one of five major five-star restaurants inside the resort. His Las Vegas restaurant is one of his ten restaurants around the world.
You only live once, or that's how the saying goes. Well, this room has a view that you can't get anywhere else in the city and well, that may be reason to chant YOLO?
The Sky Villa suite at the Palms Casino & Resert is Nevada's most expensive motel room. Lodging here will be fit for those who don't mind forking out big dough for big views and this suite will be hard to beat. Sky sits high above the neon glitz of the Las Vegas Strip, and even this is a bold understatement. We're talking straight down from a cantilevered pool enclosed in glass. Sky Villa also features a sauna, rotating bed, full bar, car service, and of course, 24-hour butler service.
The two-story room is 6,100 square feet and fits up to 8 people. The only way to get your palms within this Palms highlight is via reservation and a hefty, but refundable "down deposit" of a thousand dollars. Once you meet these requirements, the starting rate for this suite is $20,000 a night. Given that you're livin' like a Vegas King, this might actually be worth it if you had that kind of money to drop. Just don't forget about us little people along the way.
Las Vegas seems to be chock full of superlatives and the Palazzo hotel and casino resort stands right above them all as the tallest completed building in Nevada. This opulent faux palace offers luxury in a modern European ambiance. This all-suite hotel also offers the largest standard accommodations on the Strip at 720 square feet per guest room. The Palazzo is actually part of a larger complex comprising the adjoining Venetian Resort and Casino and the Sands Convention Center.
This all-suite hotel offers the largest standard accommodations on the Las Vegas Strip at 720 square feet per guest room. The hotel complex is named the largest hotel in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Once again, here is a superlative straight out of Las Vegas, this one being one of the mightiest in the U.S. Stratosphere Las Vegas was formerly known as Vegas World, but by whatever name, this signature attraction is not only the tallest structure in Nevada, but it's also the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States and the second-tallest in the Western Hemisphere.
From left to right: CN Tower (Toronto), Willis Tower (formerly Sears) (Chicago), Stratosphere (Las Vegas), Space Needle (Seattle)
The top of the tower has two observation decks and a revolving restaurant known as "Top of the World." In addition to these, the Stratosphere boasts four thrill rides, three of them being the highest in the world! Big Shot at 1,081 ft. is the highest thrill ride in the world, Insanity at 900 ft. is the second highest, and X-Scream at 866 ft. is the third highest. Both rides dangle riders over the edge of the tower and then spins them in a circular pattern at 45mph! SkyJump Las Vegas, a controlled-descent, Bungee-jumping-like attraction allows riders to plummet 855 ft. attached to a high-speed descent wire.
The Stratosphere is owned and operated by American Casino & Entertainment Properties. Attached to the Stratosphere is a separate hotel with 24 stories, 2,427 rooms, and an 80,000 sq. ft. casino. The tower is often included in travel guides as a prime Strip attraction and by using this alternate definition, the Stratosphere is the northernmost of the major Strip resorts.
The Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge opened in 2010 as the key component of the Hoover Dam Bypass project, which rerouted US 93 from its previous routing along the top of Hoover Dam. The project removed several hairpin turns and blind curves from the route and most importantly, alleviated congestion on the dam. At its completion in 2010, the bridge was the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States.
This amazing engineering feat incorporates the widest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere. Of course, the title we're looking for "tallest bridge" and at 900 feet above the Colorado River, it's the tallest in Nevada and the second-highest bridge in the United States. And may we mention, this is also the world's highest concrete arch bridge! Tillman has a length of 1,900 feet and a four-lane, 1,060 ft span. Not only is it the first concrete-and-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States, it's concrete arch is also the widest in the Western Hemisphere. USA Today even called it "America's Newest Wonder." All of these mighty superlatives have been brought to you at a cost of $240 million.
Bridging The Debate: North versus South
Being this is Nevada, of course this mighty superlative comes with much controversy ... much of it dealing with our good ol' region pride of Northern versus Southern. Hoover Dam Bridge has been contested many times with its counterpart in the north, the Galena Creek Bridge just south of Reno. Each one is an awesome superlative, but both have been crowned with mightiest-on-earth architypes by several media sources and the debate stands as to which bridge really deserves this super title.
Reno-Gazette Journal (2009): "About 1,700 feet long with a nearly 700-foot supporting arch, the Galena Creek Bridge will be the largest structure of its type on Earth."
USA Today (2010): "The Hoover Dam bypass bridge is … the highest and longest arched concrete bridge in the Western Hemisphere."
This debate could be settle by Troy Martin, principal structures engineer with the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Galena Creek Bridge's lead designer. He explained why both media reports are correct! Galena Creek is a "cathedral arch" bridge, which has no columns going from the arch itself up to the superstructure or deck, or, the flat part people drive on. If you look at photos of the both bridges, you can see columns rising out of the arch at Hoover Dam but not at Galena Creek. "Concrete" is an important word in these descriptions. According to Martin, there are longer arch bridges in the world that are made of steel. In fact, he felt comfortable making claims only for the United States, but he said the Tillman bridge is the longest concrete arch bridge in the nation. Galena is the second longest concrete arch bridge in the U.S. and it's the longest cathedral arch bridge anywhere.
Furthermore, Eric Sakowski — creator of the popular HighestBridges.com site, has traveled the world documenting bridges said this about our North South debate ...
"The Nevada DOT claim is accurate but 'cathedral' arch bridges are very rare and so it is sort of a record that is trying to be specific so they can claim the top spot. It is the second longest concrete arch in America after the Hoover Dam bypass bridge, which is an impressive achievement itself. However among all concrete arches in the world, it does not even rank among the top 20 so I can understand NDOT wanting to bring its status up in the ranks."
Hmm. So what's up with this debate? Martin said the cathedral arch style was chosen because "it’s aesthetically pleasing. It’s all for looks to make it more open. In fact, he follows up by stating a cathedral arch isn't used as often even though it's considered just as safe as a normal bridge. NDOT's Scott Magruder stated that the Galena Bridge was chosen as a cathedral bridge after much consultation with residents of Pleasant Valley. The Galena Creek Bridge is expected to last "at least 100 years without needing any major repairs."
Finally, the "Western Hemisphere" modifier for the Hoover Dam bridge description is accurate! On websites that track bridge dimensions, there are a number of concrete arch bridges with longer spans but not in the cathedral style. Among these is the Wanxian Bridge in China (1,380 feet), the Krk Bridge in Croatia (which has two arches, one of which has a span of 1,280 feet) and the Jiangjiehe Bridge (span of 1,080 feet).
Tallest Bridge. We could argue this particular superlative even further by saying the Hoover Dam Bridge is shared by two states and not fully contained within Nevada. Therefore, the winner of "tallest bridge" could go to the North. We'll let you be the judge of this one.
However, with all the facts laid to rest in regards to the world's longest, it's time to celebrate and slay this debate! The Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge at Hoover Dam is a slightly longer arch bridge than Galena Creek and hands down, it is the longest concrete bridge in the United States.
If you want a one-of-a-kind bridge in Nevada (even if it is in a rare category with few competitors), the winner goes to Galena Creek in the north. It is the world's longest cathedral arch bridge.
The Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge is an arch bridge in the United States that spans the Colorado River between the states of Arizona and Nevada. The bridge is located within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area approximately 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Las Vegas, and carries U.S. Route 93 over the Colorado River.
Las Vegas. The name says it all. Internationally renowned as a major resort city for all things that can happen, "Vegas" bills itself as "The Entertainment Capital of the World" most famous for its consolidated casino-hotels and associated entertainment. Las Vegas is not only the state's largest city, but could easily be considered the most important economic source in Nevada with over half of the state's income deriving from the spoils of this extreme city.
Ask any old timer of the past and nobody would have ever guessed that this dusty railroad town in 1905 would eventually evolve into the number one tourist destination in the world. (Is that another superlative right there?) At the close of the 20th century, Las Vegas had become the most populous American city founded in that century and grew to its present state not only because of its entertainment, but more so for its mild climate and cheap real estate. It's only through its growth that the city's tolerance and promotion for various forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of "Sin City." It's this image that has made Las Vegas a popular setting for films, reality shows, and television programs - further crowning the megacity with its even more famous slogan: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."
Leaking Las Vegas
This gaming, the girls, the glitz and the glamour all come with a huge price tag ... and we aren't referring to the other g-word (gold). Las Vegas is first and foremost a desert and without its vital water supply from Lake Mead and the Colorado River, this city is dead in the water ... literally. Ready for another superlative? Las Vegas is also the driest city in America, averaging only 3 inches of rain a year which further complicates matters for its two million residents and exorbitant amount of annual visitors.
The continuous water problem in Las Vegas is quite ironic for an entertainment mecca, especially one that fancies water parks, golf courses, elaborate fountains, not to mention over 4 million toilets and expensive, power-consuming theme-based casino entertainment. Nevada's greatest treasure ... water, makes all this possible, a resource more valuable than any winnings on the casino floor. So then, it's no surprise that Las Vegas is also the holder of a shameful superlative: consuming more water than any other city in America. The City of Las Vegas fights a continuous battle that must utilize nothing less than smart water practices if it wants a definite future.
Well ... It's called "grand" for a reason and this holder of this prestigious title is so grand it would be a palace in any other country around the world. We'll let the stats speak for themselves ...
(c) Wikipedia Commons
- The MGM Grand is the third largest hotel in the world and the largest hotel resort in the United States.
- The MGM Grand is the third largest hotel in the world and largest hotel resort complex in the United States. The MGM Grand was even the largest hotel in the world when it opened in 1993.
- The MGM takes up nearly a full city block, set in between Paradise and Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip. The complex is so massive it must be linked by a series of overhead pedestrian bridges to neighboring casinos.
- The 30-floor main building is 293 ft high crowned with approximately 6,852 rooms.
- The property includes 5 outdoor pools, 3 rivers, and 8 waterfalls that cover 6.6 acres as well as a 380,000 sq. ft. convention center, the the Grand Spa, CBS Television City (Studio 54), and MGM Grand Garden Arena.
- The hotel also houses numerous shops (at last count 34), a dozen shows and night clubs, 19 restaurants as well as the largest casino in Nevada which occupies 171,500 sq ft.
Beginning in 1981, the Grand featured a glass-sided lion habitat inside the casino area which enclosed up to six lions that were shown everyday since 1999. A see-through tunnel ran through the habitat for close-up viewing of the lions who would frequently lounge on top of the glass. The lion habitat closed permanently in February 2012 as part of MGM's "Grand Renovation." Don't worry. The lions were taken back to their owner Keith Evans to a ranch 12 miles outside of Las Vegas where they are happily cared for.
Fun Fact: Speaking of opulence, are you ready to live like a king? The better question is, how much are you willing to spend? The MGM Grand boasts one of the most expensive mansions in the world, a 100,000 square foot palace that is strictly off-limits and out of view from the general public. (Ask about the "king suite" at the front desk.) Staying at this Romanesque mansion is nothing short of a buzz feed, where you, our lucky guest, will enjoy your very own personal 1.500 square foot patio and swimming pool and combined exercise room, bowling alley, dance floor, conference room, a 2,000 square foot kitchen with your own full-service, 24-hour butler, and just to spice things up, your very own complimentary movie theater with a library of your choosing and not two, not three, but four complimentary Rolls-Royce to get you to and from ...
... All yours for the low cost of $12,400 per night and by spending a minimum of $1 million in the MGM Grand Casino. Only in Vegas.
Access to the MGM Grand can be done in two ways: by vehicle through casino's valet parking or by its four story parking garage (parking fee required), or on foot by a network of pedestrian bridges that link over Las Vegas Blvd to neighboring casinos.
From rhinestone cowboys to real cowboys, we turn to cattle ranches, and there's no better one than the T Lazy Ranch. Out of the 1,100 cattle ranches across the state, the historic T Lazy S Ranch wins the title of the Nevada's largest cattle ranch with 5,500 head of cattle. The TS Ranch lies between the towns of Elko and Battle Mountain near the site of Dunphy in Eureka County -- a ranch that also lays
This large operation was originally settled by Irish immigrant William Dunphy (pronounced "DUN-fye") and his friend Hildrith who continued to expand their operations throughout the 1870s. The men began "bending" homesteading regulations by using his Irish emigrant friends back in California to file homestead claims, thus bypassing the necessary state regulations that at the time, limited ranch expansion! These were later sold to Dunphy after they received title, expanding his operations and his ability to control vast acreages of open range in the area. By 1875, the TS owned over 40,000 head of cattle which were run in two herds -- one in Nevada on the Rock Creek and Humboldt River drainages and the other in Idaho on the Snake River system. Following Dunphy's death, the ranch exchanged owners several times and today, it is now owned and operated by Newmont Mining Corporation, one of the largest gold mining companies in the world.
The TS Ranch is now managed through Newmont's subsidiary Elko Land & Livestock Company, but still remains one of the largest in the country. Owners of the TS continue to adhere to many of the old Spanish buckaroo traditions and Dunphy's innovative range management style with a solid reputation for tough horses, good cattle, and top hands. The Ranch has dropped the word "Lazy" from their name and prefer to call it the TS Ranch because ... as they say ...
"There is nothing lazy about this outfit!"
- The TS Ranch is located 19 miles east of Battle Mountain at the "Dunphy" Exit from Interstate 80.
In our list of Nevada's largest, who could forget the Comstock? Seems like the once "Richest Place on Earth" even has her own fair share of superlatives, one of them being the sacred title for largest church in the state. In fact, the Comstock's tallest structure, is a church -- the historic St. Mary's of the Mountains Catholic Church, an elaborate gothic-style cathedral that proudly retains the crown for the largest standing church in Nevada. But, let's not stop there. To top off this already awesome superlative, St. Mary's is also Nevada's oldest church!
St. Mary's is arguably the most prominent building in the entire state, built by Father "Paddy" Manogue in 1872, who also ministered to the Comstock's Irish-Catholic miners for nearly twenty years. St. Mary's was labled as "the Mother of all Catholic churches in Nevada," notably being one of the only buildings that survived the Great Fire of 1875. Divine intervention?
- Nevada's largest church is open to visitors during parish hours in the winter and every day during the summer from 8am - 5pm. Mass services are still held in the old church every Saturday at 4:00pm and every Sunday at 11:30am. St. Mary's also has an extensive gift shop that supports the ongoing parish and restoration project.
This insanely ginormous body of water was born out of necessity and at the construction of one single dam, resulted in a body of water that has no equal -- a mighty reservoir so impressive that it might be one of the crown jewels of the Southwest. At 112 miles long and covering 247 square miles, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States.
Lake Mead is a child born out of the 1930s at the construction of Hoover (Boulder) Dam -- a single project that forever changed the wild and untamed nature of the Colorado River. Several billion tons of concrete formed a lake that extends 112 miles behind the Hoover Dam, as far north as Interstate and as far east as the western reaches of the Grand Canyon. Mead boasts approximately 26,134,000 acre feet of water and at maximum capacity, retains 489 feet of water at its deepest point. If viewed from above, this huge impoundment resembles a spider's web with hundreds of fingers, arms and coves that rack up an impressive 550 miles of shoreline!
Lake Mead is not without shortcomings. While water rights to Lake Mead are shared by three states, California, Nevada, and Arizona, it is the city of Las Vegas that consumes nearly eighty percent of its water. Despite its size, Lake Mead has succumbed to drought three times in the last fifty years, a poignant reminder of the ongoing challenge of water management in the West. Hydrologists and state officials from all three states encourage smart practices regarding water usage on a river already tired and thirsty.
The National Park Service manages Lake Mead (and Lake Mohave) and its NRA under one of the largest parks in the continental United States. Lake Mead NRA caters to over four million visitors a year, many who come for the lake's numerous water recreation, warm winters, and explore its remote desert country and adjoining red rock country. The park also preserves over seventy miles of the Colorado River in its most pristine state, much as it looked before the formation of Lake Mead, beckoning visitors to float down one of the world's greatest waterways in its most pristine condition. Whatever your flavor, Lake Mead is sure to have it and however way you play, no doubt you'll be paying homage to America's largest reservoir!
Fun Fact: Ready for another superlative? Lake Mead is the only lake in Nevada with a permanent outlet to the ocean!
- Lake Mead NRA is readily accessible from every corner of Clark County, with most of its visitors arriving from the west and the Cities of Las Vegas and Henderson. From Las Vegas or Henderson, follow Lake Mead Parkway or Lake Mead Blvd a short fifteen minutes east into the park. From the north, Lake Mead NRA can be readily accessed by way of the park's scenic "Northshore Drive" from Interstate 15 and "Lakeshore Drive" from Boulder City. The far southern reaches of the park along the Colorado River remains completely road-less meaning the only way onto the river south from Boulder City is by boat or on foot, a wild and scenic country that stretches for more than fifty miles. The southern most access of the NRA can be had at Laughlin and Bullhead City at Lake Mohave's Davis Dam where park visitors can boat in north.
What did you think of these superlatives?