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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

The Zoo, Vegas, and Color War! – Californian Extravaganza

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Time has been flying by as we’ve continued our adventures through San Diego, Las Vegas, and Zion National Park! It’s been an incredible week together, taking in the sights and sounds of the West Coast.

las vegas californian extravaganza blog 4 photo 1Our first stop in San Diego was the beach for a surfing lesson! Everyone had fun learning how to stand up on a surfboard and ‘hang ten.’ After surfing, we enjoyed some time relaxing and playing catch on the beach, which was a great way to spend a warm afternoon. That evening we headed out to Seaport Village for dinner, where we also watched the sunset over the water and enjoyed breathtaking views of the ocean.

The next morning, we visited the San Diego Zoo. As a group, we rode the double decker tour bus to see and learn more about some of the animals at the zoo. After the tour, we had time to explore and see some of the animals that interested us the most, which meant we saw pandas, elephants, and polar bears. While we were at the park, we celebrated Annabelle’s 14th birthday with a special cookie cake from the zoo. She also spun the birthday wheel and won a Starbucks treat! After that, we played laser tag, where we were trying to tag each other’s vests, but also shot at targets and team home bases to win points. We all had a lot of fun competing against one another to see who could score the most points.

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After saying goodbye to San Diego, we hit the road and headed towards Las Vegas. As we entered the city, we stopped at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign to take a group photo and get our first glimpse of the famous strip. Nearer to our hotel, trip members were excited to pass by other famous Vegas hotels, like The Excalibur, which is shaped like a castle. Our own hotel, the Luxor, was Egyptian-themed and everyone thought it was cool that our rooms were in the pyramid. That evening, we headed out to New York-New York, a section of the strip designed to resemble the Big Apple. For many of us, it was exciting to get a little taste of home on the other side of the country! While some of us headed off to explore the restaurants and stores, others were brave enough to try the roller coaster. On the ride, they twisted around buildings and zoomed through the Vegas sky.

For our second day in Vegas, we explored some of the other themed areas. We started at the Roman Forum shops, where the fountains and details in the buildings actually made us feel like we were in Italy. Next, we went to the Stratosphere to ride the rides on the 110th floor of the building. Some trip members tried to the X-Scream, a huge teeter-tatter at the edge of the building, while others chose to ride the Big Shot, which takes riders up to the very tip of the building before dropping back down again. After some pool time at the hotel, we headed back out to the Venetian to see the Grande Canal (which is reminiscent of Venice), and then walked along the strip to see the other hotels and the fountain show.

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The next day, we left the city and headed out to the canyons! Our first stop was Zion National Park, where we were treated to incredible views of the colorful rock formations and had the opportunity to soak up some sunshine. The boys started games of soccer and football, while the girls joined a dance group and practiced their moves.

After our afternoon in Zion, we headed to the campsite for a delicious stir-fry dinner, where the staff made an exciting announcement – Color War! The next day would be filled with games to compete for first place! The first event of Color War was a trip-themed game of Family Feud. The staff polled each trip member about their favorite things from the trip, and teams competed to figure out what the top answers were. At the end of the night, the Blue Team was in the lead.

As we continue our tour of the canyons, we’re excited to see some more amazing sights and discover who will win Color War!

Until next time,

The Westcoast Blogger

Interested in exploring the best spots in California? Learn more about our middle-school or high-school Westcoast Connection California Extravaganza trips.