I’m well aware of the varied opinions of “family” Vegas trips, but my family and I just returned from a fun three-day jaunt to the city. It was the first time visiting Vegas for my five-year-old daughter and second time for my 15-year-old son. My wife and I had stayed at South Point last year after quite a long hiatus from Vegas and really enjoyed it, so we booked it again this time. Unfortunately I booked the trip on a pre-paid, non-refundable rate through a third-party vendor when this trip was originally planned for April. When a terminal illness in our extended family required us to cancel that trip, I wrote to South Point and explained the situation and they graciously comped me any two weeknights through next May. I was very impressed with their quick response to my letter and their willingness to accommodate me. Customer service still does exist! Now, regarding the wisdom of a “family trip” to Vegas – my feeling is that as a Southern California resident, it makes a lot of sense to visit Vegas as a family. If I lived further away where it required flights instead of a four-hour dash across the desert, I likely wouldn’t select Vegas as a family vacation destination. But despite being an adult destination, there are a lot of fun things to do and sights to see for the kids. So that’s what we planned to do, in addition to fitting in some gambling when possible. We left our Orange County home a bit past 9:00 Sunday morning, stopped at Barstow Station McDonald’s for some lunch and sundry shopping, and arrived at South Point around 1:45. We checked right in and were given a 24th-floor room facing the Strip, and as a bonus, they informed me the $14/day resort fee was also being comped. I’m up! In a bit of a surprise, the window was a different shape than the windows in the room my wife and I stayed in last time. It was still fine, just different on this floor. IMG_0252 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0254 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0255 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr We got settled in and then wanted to go see something that was only happening on this day of our trip – the swimming mermaids at Silverton. The Silverton is only about a five-minute drive from South Point, and the mermaid happened to be swimming in the tank right when we got there. My daughter made her way up to the front and the mermaid approached her and they put their hands together on opposite sides of the glass, which was really cool and cute. At Barstow Station I’d bought her a little $1.99 mermaid doll that had already broken, but she still took it to show “the real mermaid.” IMG_0264 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr I was very impressed with Silverton. It’s really nice inside and feels like it would be a good budget option with a luxurious feel, at least in the casino. Nearby the aquarium is an exhibit of mermaid-themed art work that my daughter enjoyed. We’d never been inside a Bass Pro Shop, so we decided to roam around in there for a bit as well. It’s gigantic and full of interesting things to look at in addition to the merchandise – taxidermy animals, fish, an aquarium with a giant sturgeon, an archery range, and so on. IMG_0269 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0270 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0274 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0276 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0280 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr We had 7:00 dinner reservations at Primarily Prime Rib, so we returned to South Point and hit the pool for a bit before getting ready for dinner. The pool was packed and the water was sort of cloudy, quite different than the serene scene my wife and I encountered last September. We still had fun, though, and that time of day really accentuates the gold reflection off the South Point tower. IMG_0296 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0297 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr We made our way to Primarily Prime Rib and had a great meal. They make the best standard green salad with the tastiest bleu cheese dressing. The server revealed to me that it’s not made in house and is nothing special, but whatever it is, it’s delicious. Great crusty bread, delicious salad and a thick slab of prime rib with a baked potato for $16.95. Hard to beat. With four entrees, a few glasses of wine, three sodas, two free desserts from the South Point fun book, the bill was only $125 including tip. Highly recommended. After dinner we wanted to expose our daughter to the Strip for the first time, so we hopped in the car and took 15 to Tropicana, then took the Strip to Caesars self-parking garage from there. Unfortunately we just missed the last moving statue show of the evening at the Forum Shops, but we all enjoyed looking around for a while anyway. We then made our way over to the Mirage volcano, stopping en route to get pictures with “Hello Kitty” and a giant alien on the street. IMG_0331 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0332 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0342 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_0343 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr My daughter was simultaneously scared and excited by the volcano show, which has changed since I saw it last. When did that happen? The water doesn’t catch on fire anymore and cascade down like lava, but those flame bursts across the lake are pretty cool. IMG_0351 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr We had hoped to catch a Bellagio fountain show tonight as well, but it wasn’t in the cards as the little one got tired and was ready to turn in for the night. We returned to South Point and lucky for me, my wife was also very tired, which meant there was no decision to be made regarding who got to leave the room and go gamble. First though, my son and I toured the hotel/casino for a bit, but it seems that after 10:00 pm, minors aren’t allowed anywhere. Even the bowling alley forbade minors after 10:00. That was sort of a bummer. Having followed a bunch of trip reports here over the last year or so, it seems that video poker can be a free money ATM for a lot of people. I’ve never been much of a video poker player, instead reserving most of my (relatively low-roller) play for the blackjack table and maybe a few slots. On this trip, however, I wanted to give VP a decent run. Most of South Point’s VP machines seem to be Game Kings and I chose standard 8/5 Bonus Poker on a 25¢ machine. I figured I’d get my feet wet by betting the minimum and played for maybe 90 minutes or so. I turned my $20 into a high of $37, highlighted by quad threes and a straight flush. IMG_20130701_014120 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr IMG_20130701_021627 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr Also, betting the minimum nearly came back to bite me. IMG_20130701_021353 by itslikeimsayin, on Flickr After a cold streak took me down to $30, I cashed out and was ready for bed. But instead I invested the $10 profit at a $5 BJ table and promptly lost it in four hands. By 2:45, I was in bed preparing for day two.