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Interop: 25 random things about Las Vegas

Pigeons, Elvis and nukes to make your stay brighter

By , Network World
May 04, 2009 01:22 PM ET

Network World - For those who attend Interop this month and think they have some free time, here are 25 quintessentially Vegas things to consider while visiting the city of lights.

1. Pee on the Berlin Wall, sort of. So it's not on the scale of New York City or Paris, but this attraction is one Vegas casino's tribute to a bit of German history. A section of the famous Berlin Wall ("Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!") has been reassembled in the men's room at Main Street Station Casino Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. A row of urinals are mounted on the wall.

2. Las Vegas is home to a pigeon sanctuary where birds captured in buildings where they are not wanted can live out their days in the comfort of a chain-link cage. The founder of Nevada Pigeon Control, Nephi Oliva, estimates there are 500,000 pigeons in Las Vegas and wants to get rid of them humanely rather than killing them. So his business captures them and houses them in his sanctuary where they are cared for. He's hoping the City of Las Vegas will hire his company to control the pigeons, much as a dog catcher controls stray dogs.That would cost the city $8.2 million per year, according to the public utility rates on his firm's Web site.

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3. There are 55 golf courses in and around Las Vegas where you can get out for a couple of hours and enjoy lush green grass in the middle of the desert. Don't forget the sunscreen.

4. Stay out of trouble that might land you in Nevada State Prison in Carson City, which takes in prisoners who commit crimes anywhere in the state.  Built in 1870, it was supposed to be closed next year because it's unsafe. It just got a two-year reprieve, so it will be welcoming felons for the near-term. After it's closed by Nevada, you might want to stay out of Alaska, which is considering leasing the prison to house its miscreants.

5. Just before Interop starts, the SpiceWorld conference for IT professionals in small and medsize businesses will provide  a day of training on topics from inventorying networks to running a help desk. The event, held at the Luxor Hotel (the big black pyramid) is affiliated with Interop to the extent that SpiceWorld attendees get free Interop expo passes and a 40% discount off Interop conference passes.

6. Drive 30 miles outside the city to see the Hoover Dam, the largest concrete structure in the world when it was completed in 1936, and which is responsible for powering all the bulbs that light up the Vegas strip. It's also what holds back the Colorado River at Black Canyon, creating Lake Mead, which is responsible for the local water supply. Check out Lake Mead while you can because its water level is plummeting in the midst of a years-long drought.

7. Be ready to duck. Recently an MQ-1B Predator unmanned aircraft missed the runways at Creech Air Force Base northwest of Las Vegas. It crashed harmlessly in the middle of the desert miles from the city, but you never know.

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