What do nuclear scientists and mobsters have to do with one another? Well, when it comes to Las Vegas, they are jointly responsible for making the city what it is today. Before the 1940s, Las Vegas was a little railroad town in the middle of the desert. Thanks to the combination of Manhattan Project pouring scientists into the area, Hoover dam workers, and entrepreneurial-minded mobsters who saw a business opportunity, gambling became legal in Nevada again in 1931. Shortly thereafter, the first casinos were opened.
Paul Twitchell and Las Vegas’ New Age Connection
Everyone knows about the connection between Las Vegas and gambling, and most people know about Las Vegas’ mafia connections. What few people know about, however, is the connection between Las Vegas and the New Age movement. In the 1960s, Paul Twitchell, founder of the Eckanar spiritual movement or religion, made Las Vegas its official headquarters. The New Age organization’s headquarters remained in Las Vegas until 1975, when Twitchell’s successor, Darwin Gross, moved the organization to California. However, probably due to this early influence of the New Age in Las Vegas, New Age groups and shops have remained popular in Las Vegas ever since.
“The Most Technologically Advanced Hotel Ever Built”
Where else but Las Vegas would you expect to find the hotel Popular Mechanics called “the most technologically advanced hotel ever built”? Of all the resorts and casinos in Las Vegas, this title belongs only to the Aria Resort & Casino, which opened in December 2009.
What makes it so advanced? For starters, it’s Gold LEED certified, which means that it’s designed to be environmentally friendly to the extreme. It is the largest hotel in the world that has achieved LEED Gold-level certification. Its guest rooms have certain “smart” features, such as regulating the temperature and turning on and off lights based upon guest occupancy, with limos to transport guests that run on natural gas instead of petroleum.
In addition to its 4,000+ hotel rooms, it also has 150,000 square feet of gaming space and a 300,000 square-foot convention center. The hotel’s remaining 900,000 square feet hold a parking deck, offices, and administrative spaces.
Getting to Las Vegas from Charlotte
Getting from Charlotte, NC, to Las Vegas, NV, isn’t really that hard. The plane trip is only 3 hours and 45 minutes, which means a flight from Charlotte in the morning will have you there by early afternoon Eastern Time. How much can you expect to spend? Save your money for the casino: You can pay as little as $400 for a flight to Las Vegas from Charlotte, and that’s during the busy spring and summer months. Wait until the quieter fall months, and you could spend as little as $300 for a round-trip ticket to Vegas.