Well, the visiting Swedes have left, flying out from Las Vegas on a very ragged return journey, having to sit in airport in San Francisco and Hanford, Germany for many hours waiting for connecting flights. It was rather busy (and noisy) in our house, with three boys 8,8 and 10, nice to be back to the quiet dull life we have become accustomed to.
We’ve been investigating things to do in Vegas for visiting kids. The list is not very extensive, Las Vegas was an adult town, and then tried to be a kid’s town and the casinos realized they weren’t making money off of kids so it’s back to an adult play place. We took them to Red Rock where the kids climbed the rocks; to the Circus Circus Adventure Dome for a day of rides (Circus Circus and the Excalibur still have big kids sections); the park down the street from our house and finally Friday we made it to the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur. That was a big hit.
Locals get a 20% discount, but even with that it was still $60 apiece (which includes food and drinks). Entrance to the arena is down under the casino floor in the Excalibur, in the middle of the arcade. Very convenient, so as you wait to get in the kids get to spend more money playing games and winning prizes. All seats are assigned, so there is no reason to rush in to get a special place. Everyone sits at long tables facing a long dirt covered arena; there are only five tiered rows, and almost every seat is good. The people in front are down low enough so even standing they still don’t block your view.
After being seated people come by with pitchers of soda, and also try to sell alcoholic beverages to the adults and fancy light up swords and flowing headpieces to everyone. The show started on time, with a magician and a fool wandering into the arena to acquaint everyone with the rules, and lead us in some practice cheers and demonstrating the proper method of following along. This got people into the mood for the rest of the show, and was not too much of a distraction while the food was being served. There are no utensils; you got a large mug of tomato soup and a plate with a whole small chicken, a few red potatoes and a broccoli stalk. Desert was a fancy apple pop tart type thingie. The meal wasn’t bad – not great, but OK. The price was less than a Cirque show and there was something to eat.
As you were eating the main cast came out, eight knights on horseback were introduced, with each one representing a different seating area of the arena and you were lead to cheer for the one that matched the area you were sitting in. Then the King came and discussed what was happening and lead everyone in a few toasts – Huzzah! There were women dancers and scattered around the arena were a bunch of large guys in tights, bare chested. They were all very muscular, could have fit in for the Thunder from Down Under show and provided something for the women to look at. A bad guy appeared, and after a few minutes the fighting began.
It was all very energetic – the horses galloping fast and lances breaking and swords being swung. From the noise it was evident that there was contact – and there were sparks thrown off by the swords – impressive! The actors were very energetic, with a lot of falls, rolling around and jumping. Everyone was encouraged to cheer for their champion, with the bad guy coming out at the end for a very dramatic final scene, with fireworks and big flames and loud explosions. The boys really enjoyed it – they didn’t have to understand any English, there were loud noises and big guys swinging swords and riding horses, and everyone got to stand up and yell and scream and make lots of noise. I was more surprised that I actually liked it.
Final recommendation: yes, go see the Tournament of Kings. Not for the food (though we all did eat it) but for the excitement of horses and fighting and noise. Not as technical as the Cirque shows, but a little less expensive and very enjoyable.