Las Vegas is a vast playground for all types of thrill seekers. We’ve got horizontal thrills and vertical thrills. Some are even family-friendly.
If thrill rides are your cup of joe, we’ve got Venti. From roller coasters and zip lines to spinning rides and free falls, our rides have all the directions and altitudes covered. Here are five of our favorite Las Vegas thrill rides.
The Strat Thrill Rides
Newly-branded The Strat (a.k.a. The Stratosphere) has a history of attracting the uninhibited and adrenaline-charged. When it opened in 1996, “daredevils were swarming to the Big Shot pointy-headed wonder like bedazzled moths to napalm” writes the Las Vegas Sun. These days, the vertically endowed property is home to four thrill rides: Big Shot, Insanity, X-Scream and controlled free fall, SkyJump Las Vegas.
At 855 feet, SkyJump holds the Guinness World Record for highest controlled descent. The experience is fun and freeing, if you have the courage to jump.
Insanity and X-Scream are the subsequent third and fourth tallest rides in the world. One dangles you 866 feet above the ground the other thrusts you a few feet off the 109th floor. As for the Strat’s crown jewel, Big Shot, it was once the tallest thrill ride in the world at 1,108 feet. Canton Tower’s Sky Drop snatched The Guinness World Record in 2012.
Once you’re suspended more than 1,000 feet in the air, though, what’s another 501 feet, really?
There’s an enormous slot machine in downtown Las Vegas where everyone who plays is a winner. By winner, we mean that its riders will zip or zoom at hurrying speeds above the Fremont Street Experience crowd.
The slot machine is the aptly named Slotzilla. It’s the world’s largest slot machine, though in all fairness Slotzilla spits out people rather than coins. That’s because it’s a zipline with two different horizontal thrills. Riders soars two blocks between the Four Queens and Fremont casinos in a seated position on the 7th-floor zipline. You can also opt to zip from the 11th floor, where the zoomline sends you five blocks super-hero style at 40 miles per hour, ending at the Golden Gate casino.
The 11-story structure in the middle of the block on Fremont Street isn’t easy to miss, but because this is Vegas, and neon is the new black, it’s decorated by oversized dice, a martini glass, a pink flamingo, flashing lightbulbs and two 35-foot showgirls.
Canyon Blaster is fast and fun. It’s the kind of roller coaster that you can ride a few times in a row and feel satisfied every time. We think this is important, since repetition is the mother of learning. At least, that’s what we told our parents that time we ditched school and went to the Adventuredome at Circus Circus Hotel & Resort.
The Adventuredome is literally a dome of family-friendly adventure with rides, midway games, an arcade, clown shows, bumper cars, rock climbing and a roller skating rink. The pink double-loop, double-corkscrew Canyon Blaster and the bright yellow El Loco (which reopened in August, four months after a rider was injured) are the two roller coasters, but there are also other thrills like the spinning Disk’o and 360-degree flipping Inverter.
There’s a thin line between intense enjoyment and acute awareness of your mortality. Voodoo Zipline is that line (or zipline, as the case may be).
VooDoo Zipline sends you from one Rio Hotel tower roof to another at 33 miles per hour in a specially designed seat for two more than 400 feet in the air. You take off from VooDoo Lounge atop the 50-story Masquerade tower, stop 800 feet away at the Ipanema tower, then return to the launching point backwards with legs dangling in the air and arms in the air (or a praying position). The scariest part isn’t the ride itself, but the fact that the only thing holding you in your seat is a seatbelt.
The views are Strip-tastic, but let’s be honest – your eyes may be too tightly closed to notice.
Big Apple Roller Coaster
The Big Apple Roller Coaster at New York New York Hotel & Casino is a speedy 67-mph ride past beautiful replicas of New York City landmarks. Instead of traffic you get twists, turns, G-force drops and a 180-degree twist and dive maneuver.
Adding to the thrill, the roller coaster can be experienced as is or with a VR twist. If you opt to upgrade to the Virtual Reality Experience, and you’ll wear VR goggles on the coaster for a 4D experience where you’re soaring past popular Las Vegas landmarks and battling enemies. Either way, you’re bound to enjoy cool views.