Las Vegas, Nevada has several large or unique aquarium tanks located at various properties that form a nice collection if lumped together. By far the best is the Shark Reef Aquarium, a complete attraction with 15 exhibits that I reviewed separately here: http://www.zoochat.com/22/review-shark-reef-aquarium-197869/. The others are scattered, mostly along The Strip in the large hotel and casino complexes. All of them are free. This will just be a short description of each; I do not rank them in my list of aquarium facilities I have visited since they are all single exhibits. None of them make my top 25 individual fish exhibits list either. They are not worth seeking out, but for visitors to the city they might be nice distractions for aquarium lovers looking to escape the slot machines! I will list them starting in downtown and going South from there along The Strip. The Tank is a 200,000-gallon aquarium located at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in downtown’s most (only?) luxurious property. It is in a large open-air courtyard in the interior of the property that features the swimming pool. In fact, The Tank is the name of the swimming pool itself, which directly surrounds the aquarium. The pool is a modern basic oval that was renovated in 2007, at which time the aquarium was added. The aquarium is housed on the first level of an oval 3-story structure that supports two floors of bars above it; the first story is entirely occupied by the habitat. Two wide waterfalls spill from the second floor on either side of the front of the aquarium and thunder into the swimming pool. The habitat is viewed from all sides; the wide sides of the oval each have a single large curved viewing window, while one end has a large convex curved window and the other end has a smaller concave window. The pool deck surrounds the swimming pool and can be walked around for dry viewing; swimmers can swim or wade around for wet viewing, and the two larger windows extend down a few feet into the pool for underwater viewing of the underwater habitat (most of the tank is above the pool’s water surface but it does extend down). One wide side and the ends are outside, while the other wide side is actually in a shady sheltered area covered by the overhang of the bar floors above; this improves viewing the habitat on this side during the day when there is a lot of glare on the other sides. On the upper level of the structure, swimmers can enter a three-story twisting waterslide; it descends down until its opaque tube enters the aquarium through the convex window on one end, becomes a clear tube and races through the middle of the habitat until it exits the concave end and splashes into the pool! The aquarium itself contains no props or scenery, just water full of activity and crammed with large fish; I did not see a species identification sign or chart anywhere so I am unsure of the inhabitants, but it definitely contains sandtiger sharks and black tip reef sharks. This memorable tank was added after the property was purchased by Landry’s Restaurants, the owners of the Downtown Aquarium Denver and Downtown Aquarium Houston attractions as well as the Aquarium and Rainforest Café restaurant chains which all feature aquatic habitats. Is it any wonder that they added an impressive habitat here? It is larger than all but one of the tanks at Shark Reef Aquarium. The Tank - view of the backside of the habitat with the swimming pool in the foreground: The Golden Nugget also has another aquarium tank, opened in November 2009 in a new addition of the hotel. It is located inside, in a restaurant and bar called the Chart House that is open to the registration lobby. It is a 75,000 gallon floor-to-ceiling reef habitat, again in the shape of an oval with four viewing windows. One of the long curved sides forms the backdrop of the bar, which is on axis with the registration desk so that it forms a dramatic backdrop for the lobby. The other long curved side and the smaller convex ends face the rest of the bar and dining room seating areas of the restaurant. Inside the aquarium, a large stout column of simulated reef rises from the floor to the surface, and the exposed column walls between the windows are covered with the same treatment. The simulated coral is fairly realistic but there is far too much variety in the various fan and horn corals globbed on every surface to be believable. An average density and variety of small reef fish inside make it an enjoyable centerpiece, but I did not see any species identification signs. I also did not dine there, so perhaps the menus list the species? Chart House aquarium - dining room view: The rest of the properties with aquariums are on The Strip, starting with the Mirage Hotel and Casino which also houses the admission-based attraction of Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat that I have reviewed separately here: http://www.zoochat.com/22/review-siegfried-roys-secret-garden-dolphin-196671/. The dolphin part of it is an outdoor habitat of four connected pools filled with 2.5 million gallons! The free aquarium in the hotel is much smaller and is inside, behind the long registration desk for the hotel. It is an impressive aquarium filled with about 1000 tropical saltwater fish from around the world. Although its inhabitants are not identified with signs and visitors can not approach it beyond the counter, it is a scenic backdrop and filled with activity. It is 53 feet long, 8 feet tall, 6 feet deep, and 20,000 gallons, with most of its back wall detailed as an artificial coral reef. It was opened in 1989, making it the oldest of the aquariums here. Mirage Hotel registration desk aquarium: Atlantis Aquarium is a single 50,000-gallon tank located in The Forum Shops, an indoor themed shopping mall which is part of the huge Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino. One end of the mall features an immense Roman-style rotunda hall lined with shops and restaurants around its perimeter; in the center of the rotunda is the aquarium, built in 1997. It is a narrow habitat that extends about ¾ of the circumference of a large round temple structure in the center of the room. Seven large viewing windows line the outside of the tank, which is about 11 feet tall. Inside, the back wall is formed by various simulated stone temple blocks, many of which have seemingly toppled over. A few statue busts lie on the bottom, and there are some simulated corals scattered around. The species include a few rays and small sharks as well as a wide variety of small tropical fish. A small video monitor mounted above the habitat slowly cycles through pictures of the species inside; I did not note them however (are you sensing a trend in this thread?) It is a nice exhibit with easy viewing of the considerable activity. However, it is unfortunately located in the midst of an hourly free programmed show that creates considerable noise and perhaps vibration directly next to the tank. The show is ‘Fall of Atlantis’, and its stage is the center of the round temple and the ¼ circumference of its front that is not occupied by the aquarium. During the 5-minute-or-so show, robotic figures rise from hidden slots in the stage and roof of the temple; they depict an Atlantean king and his children who are arguing about who will inherit the civilization. Without describing much more of this nonsense, multiple special effects of lighting, water fountains, and huge flames erupt around the stage while the sound system booms and echoes through the hall; all of it within a few feet of this tank! I must admit that I did not see the fish scattering from stress. I understand that the mall gives an occasional tour of the behind-the-scenes holding tanks and life support systems for this habitat, which are located below it in the basement. Atlantis Aquarium: In the casino part of Caesar’s Palace is another tank, this time much smaller. It is actually the centerpiece of the Seahorse Lounge that is open to the busy casino. The bar and lounge is themed with the grand Roman style of most of the property, in this case with an underwater theme with large seahorse statues lining the walls and a mermaid statue in a niche behind the bar. On axis with the formal layout, in the center of the room, is a round column tank set within a stout stone column with seashell details and a tile mosaic band that proclaims the name of the lounge. The tank is about 6 feet in diameter and about 6 feet tall on top of a low pedestal. It contains 1,700 gallons. Inside is a thick simulated reef wall in the center, providing plenty of perches for Australian Potbelly Seahorse. It is not an impressive display but is pleasant, acting more as part of the décor. Seahorse Lounge aquarium: Speaking of exhibits that act as décor, the next one is an abstract one that serves the design-y interior of a restaurant more than it serves its aquatic inhabitants. It is located in Beijing Noodle No. 9, an Asian café inside Caesars Palace near part of the casino. Like many of the shops and restaurants attached to the Las vegas mega-casinos, the interior and theme of this one has nothing to do with the overall theme of the property. Instead of a Roman recreation, this restaurant is an uber-modern all-white design; its outer walls, wall partitions, and even ceiling are covered with a complex pattern of perforated white metal panels. The aquatic habitat within is actually a series of six identical small pedestal tanks that form a corridor at the entrance of the dining room, three on each side that are adjacent to one another. The pedestals are decorated with the same curvy pattern as the room, and mirrored on top. Inside, the tanks each have a thick mirrored column in the center. The inhabitants of each tank are packed in tight; each one holds what must be about 100 nearly identical fat goldfish! The effect of all these bright orange fish echoes the pattern of all the white perforations that are magnified when patrons look through the tanks to the other sides. It is a memorable and abstract study to say the least, but certainly a crowded and very unnatural habitat. I suppose it beats living in a bowl. I did not check the menu to see if they are featured in the cuisine. The next property with some aquariums is the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Adjacent to part of the casino is a Rainforest Café, part of the large chain mentioned earlier. It is similar in design to all the others, featuring a dark and decidedly fake simulated tropical forest with robotic animals and effects. Like the others in the chain, it has small tropical fish aquariums scattered around its large interior. This one has five. The largest is an arch tank that is 10,000 gallons, composed of a round column tank on each side and a similar round beam overhead that connects the two. Patrons pass under it on their way to the dining room. Each column has a simulated reef outcrop in the center. Behind the cashwrap of the large gift shop that adjoins the dining room is a stout round column tank that also has a reef outcrop in its center. It is the second-largest tank here. The dining room is two stories and has three identical smaller pedestal tanks surrounded by tables, two downstairs and one upstairs. They each are a slightly-curved S-shape and have two simulated coral mounds inside. All five tanks have a nice assortment of species; the smaller ones in the dining room have small backlit identification signs mounted in the rockwork around their bases but I did not note the species. I am also not sure of the volumes of the smaller four tanks. Readers who have been to another location of this chain have seen the doppelgangers of these tanks. A final property I will mention is one that I have not visited, but heard about. A few miles South of the main part of The Strip is Silverton Casino Lodge. From their website: “Our signature 117,000-gallon reef aquarium will transport you to a tropical oasis where you can admire more than 4,000 tropical fish, and three species each of stingrays and sharks.” And “ In addition, the Mermaid Lounge features two 500-gallon jellyfish aquariums lit with LED lights.” They state that they have daily diver presentations, as well as weekend mermaid swims! Part of the property is a huge Bass Pro Shop, a chain of outfitters that specialize in selling products for activities like fishing. The website description for the aquatic habitats at this store: “An 18,000 gallon water feature simulating Red Rock Canyon’s beautiful rock formations is filled with spectacular live Koi. Three additional aquariums at Bass Pro Shops feature trout, channel catfish, carp and bass and include a flowing canyon river featuring ducks, turtles, bluegills and sturgeon.” I have posted additional pictures in the United States – Other Gallery.