What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… or so the saying goes. But when I visit Sin City, I can’t wait to get back home and tell everyone about my Vegas adventures! After all, my trips aren’t just about shopping and shows. You can do anything in that city, and I certainly have, but here a a few of my favorite adventures in Las Vegas that have nothing to do with feathers, drinks or poker chips!

Playing with the big toys

Just off the Strip sits a huge dirt field and rows of bright yellow construction machinery. At Dig This Vegas you can learn how to operate a Caterpillar D5G Track-Type Bulldozer or a Caterpillar 3I5CL Hydraulic Excavator. Each 90 minute session includes a breathalyzer test, safety overview and in cab training before you get to dig and push massive piles of dirt around.

I did it in Las Vegas - Drove the big CAT!

I expected to have an instructor with me, but instead was connected via headset to the instructors and on my own. Once you’ve worked up a sweat (literally – thank goodness for the in cab air conditioning) and gotten the hang of the controls, the instructor guides you through a series of activities to test your skills. Using the excavator, I moved a pyramid of huge tires from one spot to another, built a ramp and spun the cab around on it and dropped basketballs into hoops. By the end of the 90 minutes I still wasn’t consistently remembering which lever worked which part of the machine, but I had a lot of fun playing in this super-sized sandbox.

Zippity Doo Dah

A half hour from the Strip is Boulder City, where Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon operates North America’s third largest zipline. The moment when you have to climb into a zipline harness and stare at the rock canyon floor a few hundred feet down is a helluva time to discover your fear of heights has morphed from minor to paralyzing. The short hike up Bootleg Canyon to get to the first zipline is comically narrated by the company’s fantastic guides. They also encourage keeping an eye out for the area’s big horn sheep, lizards, hawks and other desert wildlife.

I did it in Las Vegas - ZIpline

I might have been ugly crying the whole time, but I managed to “fly” safely over the Mojave Desert on the four runs, covering over 8,000 feet. Later in the trip we saw people ziplining over Fremont Street – which looked fun, but certainly not as death-defying.

Ride a whirly-bird

Despite my newly discovered fear of heights; I’m not usually afraid of flying. At least, not in a commercial aircraft. Luckily, the pilot of the EC-130 helicopter I was riding in was calm and reassuring when my nerves showed during our helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon from Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters. During the four-hour round trip you’ll get stunning aerial views of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and Grand Canyon West, and of course, the Grand Canyon. The tour I chose included a champagne picnic 4,000 ft. below the rim on a private plateau overlooking the Colorado River.

I did it in Las Vegas - Helicopter ride

The next time you hit Vegas, be sure to try a few excursions you’ll be telling stories about for years to come.