The second largest hotel in the world, the MGM Grand Hotel/ Casino remains one of the most popular entertainment complexes on the busy Las Vegas Strip. The second hotel at this site bearing the MGM name (the first suffered a huge fire in 1980, killing 87 guests), this structure opened with much ado on February 23, 1993.
Emerald green in color with a statue of Leo the MGM Lion sitting at the front entrance, the MGM Grand is massive, covering 6.6 acres. Dwarfed only by its neighbor, The Venetian Hotel, the Grand includes a 30-story main building with more than 5,000 rooms; The Signature at MGM Grand, which includes 3 towers with 576 rooms each; the award-winning Skylofts Penthouses - 51 in all; and the 29 villas of the Mansion at MGM Grand.
When the hotel/casino first opened in 1993, its Hollywood theme was highly touted. Much of the decor centered upon one of MGM's most notable movies, The Wizard of Oz. Oz artifacts were displayed throughout the lobby and guests were greeted inside by audio-animatronic figures of the cast. The emerald green color of the structure was meant to echo Oz's Emerald City. Casinos, gift shops, and restaurants all had Oz-related names.
However, by 1996, the Oz theme had worn out its welcome, and by 2000, the decor was changed to reflect that of old Hollywood. The hotel now bills itself as The City of Entertainment, hoping to appeal to mature clientele rather than families visiting the Las Vegas area. Also gone was the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park, which was installed during a time when the city was involved in heavy marketing to visitors with children.
The MGM Grand Hotel and Casino of the 21st century includes extensive state-of-the-art gaming facilities, still the main reason for a visit to the hotel. Thousands of slots and video poker machines are available in denominations ranging from 1 cent to $500. Table games, including various types of poker, dominate the casino floors and a 5,300-square-foot betting arena offers guests a chance to place money on their favorite horses or sports teams.
Entertainment venues at the MGM Grand include the Garden Arena, a 17,000-seat complex that hosts sporting events, concerts, and more; the 740-seat Hollywood Theater, an intimate setting for top-name performers; and the Crazy Horse Paris Theater, which features scantily-clad dancers in a show designed for mature audiences. MGM Grand Hotel is also home to Cirque du Soleil's amazing multi-media KA production.
Guests can also visit the hotel's Lion Habitat, located in the casino area, featuring a glass tunnel that provides easy viewing of the hotel's resident lions, which actually live on a ranch outside the city.
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