Top things to do in Las Vegas | #PTACon17

I have lived in Las Vegas for over 20 years with my husband and four children.  I am very excited to have the 2017 National PTA Convention & Expo in my home town this year and to share a few ideas for things to do while you are here!

Las Vegas is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week town.  There is something for everyone at all hours of the day and night.  Whether you are coming into town early before Convention, have a few spare hours in the evenings or staying a few extra days after, there is plenty of fun to be had.

If you love to shop, everything you could ever want is right here.  From high end designers to discount outlets, there are four malls within a 15 minute walk of the Paris Hotel and even more shopping experiences just a short drive away.  Several malls are even open until midnight, if you still have the energy to walk around a mall after the Convention day is over. See my full list of activities below.

Even though it will be hot here in June, there are still fun activities to be had in the great outdoors. You can choose from two water parks, if splashing in the hotel pool is not enough fun.  Hiking, rock climbing, bouldering and  scenic drives are just 30-40 minutes away at Red Rock Canyon Conservation area or a one hour drive to Mt. Charleston, where it can be 20 degrees cooler than the strip. Need more adventure?  Jump from a plane, kayak the Colorado river, four wheel through the desert, or ride in a hot air balloon. If there is an adventure to be had, you can probably do it here in Las Vegas.

Believe it or not we have many family friendly and fun activities that keep you inside with the air conditioner blowing.  If museums are your bag, we have everything from The Mob Museum, Natural History, Children’s, Atomic Testing, wax figures, old cars, old neon signs, pinball machines, and several quirky museums you could only find in a town like Las Vegas.  There is an indoor amusement park and many arcades on and off the strip to keep big and little kids entertained.

If you have little time and little money there are free activities up and down the strip.  Watch the Volcano show at the Mirage, the dancing waters at the Bellagio Fountains or stroll through the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. You can check out all things candy at the M&Ms World or at the Hershey’s Chocolate World.

Las Vegas is known for the many shows available at venues all over town.  Singers, bands, magicians, comedians, impersonators, Cirque du Soliel shows, variety shows  and even the occasional Broadway show.  Make sure you make reservations ahead of time if possible as many shows sell out.

Last but not least is the food.  You could eat at a different restaurant for every meal, every day of your stay and you will not put a dent in the number of great restaurants in Las Vegas offering every kind of cuisine.  Buffets and four star restaurants can be found all along the strip and you can also find food being prepared by famous chefs in small shopping centers away from the strip.  Choose a cuisine, check out the reviews and enjoy amazing food from around the world.

A few tips as you are having fun.  Drink way more water than you usually do at home. It will be hot and the humidity is usually around 10%, so it is easy to get dehydrated here.  Wear comfortable walking shoes.  The hotel buildings are huge and much farther away than you realize.  Try not to pay full price for anything. Check the internet or your favorite coupon app for available discounts.

Have a great time at convention learning, networking, and sharing all things PTA and then in your free time, enjoy all of the things Las Vegas has to offer!

Linda Johnson is a national service representative at National PTA.

Shopping:
Grand Bazaar– just north of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel in front of Bally’s.
Miracle Mile Shops– just south of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace– About a 15 minute walk north on Las Vegas Blvd to Caesars Palace. Use the pedestrian bridge to cross the street.
Linq Promenade – About a 15 minute walk north on Las Vegas Blvd to the High Roller observation wheel located at the end of the promenade.
Las Vegas North-Premium Outlets–  13 min drive
Fashion Show Mall– 8 min drive

Adventure:
Sky Jump Las Vegas– Jump off the Stratosphere tower
Slotzilla Zipline through the Fremont Street Experience
Flight Linez Bootleg Canyon
Vegas Indoor Skydiving
Hiking at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area– this is best done first thing in the morning before it gets too hot.  If you are not into hiking, you can just drive the 13 mile scenic loop.

Family Friendly Activities
WetnWild Las Vegas
Cowabunga Bay
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
Game Works at Town Square
Pinball Hall of Fame

Free things to do in Las Vegas
Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and the Bellagio Fountains
Take your Picture at the famous Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign
Hershey’s Chocolate World
M&M’s World Las Vegas
Volcano at the Mirage

The Who’s Who of #PTACon17

The 2017 National PTA Convention & Expo is right around the corner and we have an amazing lineup of education leaders and experts who are traveling to Las Vegas to connect with PTA advocates across the country.

We are pleased to welcome the following keynote speakers:

Paula A. Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, the nation’s largest non-commercial media organization, with 350 member stations throughout the country.

Steve Pemberton, author and motivational speaker who shares his personal story of beating the odds and overcoming childhood trauma through the power of education.

Rosalind Wiseman, author and internationally recognizes expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying, social justice and ethical leadership.

In addition to hearing from these influential leaders, attendees will have the special opportunity to take part in exciting events like the National PTA Awards and Reflections Celebration dinner – a night filled with awards and entertainment for the entire family.

This year, we are thrilled to announce that Le PeTiT CiRqUe will be performing during the awards celebration on Saturday, June 24 at 7 p.m.

Winner of 16 National Youth Awards, Le PeTiT CiRqUe has entertained audiences across the U.S. and internationally in Dubai and Canada. They have performed for world leaders including the Dalai Lama and the Sultan of Brunei and are the only all-kid prodigies cirque company in the world! You’ve seen them all over national television—they appeared on NBC’s “LITTLE BIG SHOTS” as featured guest stars on March 26, 2017.

Register for the National PTA Convention & Expo by going to PTA.com/Convention and be sure to get your tickets for the Awards and Reflections Celebration event too.

We can’t wait to see you in Vegas!

Ashley Collier is the associate manager of digital communications at National PTA.

A Special Message from President Laura Bay: I Challenge You!

Hello PTA Leaders,

Think BIG… Think PTA! 2016 National PTA Convention & Expo is just two months away, and I challenge you to register for our BIGGEST convention yet.

This year’s convention will take place June 30-July 3 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort—a great excuse to plan a family vacation to Disney World! In addition to enjoying the magic of Disney, PTA leaders will connect with one another at convention and be inspired by big thinkers including New York Times best-selling author Julie Lythcott-Haims.

So what are you waiting for? Join the excitement and be a part of our biggest convention yet!

Help me spread the word about convention by making a video just like this one, and share it on Facebook or Twitter using the official hashtag #PTAcon16! You can also find promo tools like badges, sample messaging and more in our toolkit at PTA.org/Convention.

I look forward to seeing you at convention!


Laura Bay is National PTA’s president.

 

Come to #PTAcon16 and Plan Now

If you haven’t heard the news by now, the Think BIG… Think PTA! 2016 National PTA Convention & Expo will be held in sunny Orlando, Fla. June 30-July 3 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.

We’re so excited and hope you and your family can plan to spend your summer vacation with us! Think BIG… Think PTA! is going to be BIGGER than ever so you will go back to your community and think BIGGER about the possibilities for your PTA.

To get you ready for June 30, National PTA’s convention committee co-chair Roxanne Rhinehart has a few words for you:

Now It’s Your Turn
We want you to help spread the buzz about our BIGGEST convention yet! Make your own video—like this one—and challenge your family, friends and fellow PTA members to register too. Be sure to use the official convention hashtag #PTAcon16 when sharing it on your Twitter and Facebook!

Use Our Special Discount
Are you a newly-chartered local PTA? For a limited time only, the first 50 registered local PTAs will pay only $250, which is 23% off the regular rate. Enter “6398648” at checkout.

Download the #PTAcon16 Toolkit
Get social with National PTA and download our ready-made graphics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Pinterest! We have attendee badges, sample social media tweets and more. Check it out!


Catherine Llamido is the digital communications specialist at National PTA.

Enjoy Your Time in Charlotte!

This year’s National PTA Convention & Expo will be held on June 25-28 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Charlotte is home to many cultural, entertaining and fun attractions for all ages. If you have some free time outside of #PTAconv15, take a cab or hop on the LYNX—it’s time to go on an excursion of the Queen City!

Photo Credit: by Archdaily.com

Photo Credit: by Archdaily.com

Racing Capital of the World
Charlotte is, of course, home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. This exciting tourist hotspot offers artifacts and interactive exhibits of some of NASCAR’s greatest icons and original racing cars. Get a first-hand look at the Hall’s Racing Simulators and check out special events at the High Octane Theater. No stranger to life in the fast lane, the city is filled with other racing venues such as The Speedpark, the Rusty Wallace Racing Experience and Victory Lane Indoor Karting Center. Vroom vroom!

Outdoor Fun!
Take an outdoor tour at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Discover the outdoors and agricultural heritage in the region. Charlotte also offers super fun segway tours, bicycle tours and walking ones, too. Explore around the city while riding one through the beautiful greenways and neighborhoods. There are also other unique tours such as Charlotte’s local history and ghost tour. Reserve a tour today!

Photo Credit: Rodgersbuilders.com

Photo Credit: Rodgersbuilders.com

Arts & Culture
Care to spend time at a show or musical performance? The city’s vibrant arts and culture scene is growing and bustling with entertaining concerts, festivals and more. Check out ABC’s Dancing with the Stars Live! perform at Ovens Auditorium on June 28 and Discovery Place’s brand new GUITAR exhibit. There also museums that are worth your time, such as the Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and Levine Museum of the New South.

Photo Credit: Ctcharlotte.org

Photo Credit: Ctcharlotte.org

Kid-Friendly Entertainment
A PTA convention wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Carowind’s Amusement and Water Park. Visit Planet Snoopy, Dinosaurs Alive and some of the park’s most thrilling rollercoaster rides! You can also check out Children’s Theatre of Charlotte for family fun educational activities and bring reading to life at ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center!

Photo Credit: Cmhpf.org

Photo Credit: Cmhpf.org

Foodie Galore
If you’re getting hungry after all of this fun and excitement, be sure to check out downtown’s EpiCentre, offering a wide range of appetizing eateries and restaurants. Stop by one of Charlotte’s historic spots, the McNinch House, for a lovely treat. The menu has a variety of unique and beautiful dishes. Once an old, abandoned and worn-down building and now a beautiful, sophisticated hotspot for dining. Other options? Try one of Charlotte’s top 25 restaurants.

Find more things to do during your #PTAconv15 trip in Charlotte here.

Homepage photo credit: Shutterstock.com


Co-authored by National PTA’s digital communications specialist Catherine Llamido and media relations intern Jessica Burton.

4 Things You’ll See at #PTAconv15!

There won’t be a royal baby, but there will be fun in the Queen City for Convention. Here are four things to check out in Charlotte!

TEACHER_OF_THE_YEAR_435711811. Hear from the Teacher of the Year

Last week, we honored Shanna Peeples for her recognition by the Council of Chief State School Officers as the 2015 National Teacher of the Year.

Peeples will address attendees during the 2015 National PTA Convention & Expo Sunday, June 28. Let’s give her a big round of applause and thanks! Don’t forget to #ThankATeacher this week!

Copyright 2014 Lifetouch National School Studios, Inc2. Attend the Reflections Awards Luncheon

We will recognize over 200 national winners at the 2015 Reflections Awards Luncheon. Known as one of National PTA’s most celebratory and heartfelt events, the Reflections Awards Luncheon bestows PTA’s highest honor on young artists and celebrates arts education in our schools.

Copyright 2014 Lifetouch National School Studios, Inc3. Experience the Fresh 20 Demo Stage!

Come to the Fresh 20 Demo Stage and explore new education apps, fundraising strategies and products and services that will enhance your efforts in the next school year with presentations from Sylvan Learning Center, Disney Theatrical, BOKS and more!

The Fresh 20 is a meal planning service, created for busy families who want to eat fresh, healthy meals and fundraisers. Visit the Fresh 20 at booth 113.

Copyright 2014 Lifetouch National School Studios, Inc4. Visit the #PTAconv15 Social Media Lounge

Stop by the PTA booth for R&R time at the #PTAconv15 Social Media Lounge! Join our live Twitter feed, take photos at our awesome booth, meet me and socialize with other attendees!


Catherine Llamido is the digital communications specialist at National PTA.

Excited About Service

Let me start by saying how proud I am to be serving as National PTA’s new President. To be able to represent millions of parents and friends of education is exciting. We have a great deal of work to do and I know we are all ready for the task at hand.

As we work through these challenging economic times I want to say how much I appreciate the work being done by the National PTA Board and staff in making sure this association remains strong. Like many of you, my wife Teresa and I have seen our 401k turn into a 200.5. Like many of our employers, our PTA business took an investment hit last year as well, but we are rebounding strong. So far this year PTA is seeing strong returns as the market begins to rebound.

You would think that with the economy being what it is that our convention attendance would suffer; however, this year that wasn’t the case. This past week we were able to host one of our most successful conventions in Fort Lauderdale, with an increase in attendance over the past two years. Our thanks to the wonderful folks with the Broward County Schools, Florida PTA, Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the entire Fort Lauderdale community for making this annual event a home run!

One of the topics of conversation at convention was focused on another challenging year regarding membership. Considering the economy, and seeing other not-for-profits facing the same issue, we’re happy to be in the position we’re in. PTA has some exciting opportunities in the coming years. As we roll out new programs, projects and events you will see a more proactive association; one that will be able to address parents’ issues quicker.

As we do move forward let us all keep in mind that we still have some challenges ahead. The economy will take some time to return to the position it was just a few short months ago. As your PTAs plan for the next school year, let’s work to keep all of the families in your communities involved. If individuals cannot afford a PTA membership, let’s keep them engaged by letting them know that we are ready to help in any way possible.

And let’s stay connected on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/chucksaylors

Until next time!