Gambling On A Good Time

The Reno Hilton, the hotel headquarters for WASTECON, boasts an oasis of entertainment, including eight restaurants, a casino, a two-screen movie theater, a 50-lane bowling alley and a shopping mall. Fun Quest, also in the Hilton, offers video games, magnetic bumper cars, a video game theater and laser tag.

If that is not enough excitement, visit the National Automobile Museum, which features 200 fully automated antique, vintage, classic and special-interest autos, including those once owned by Elvis, Sammy Davis Jr., Lana Turner and John Wayne. Other highlights are the 1907 Thomas Flyer, the only car to win an around-the-world race, and James Dean's 1949 Mercury from the movie, "Rebel Without a Cause."

The city also is home to the Nevada Museum of Art/E.L. Weigand Gallery for lovers of modern, classic, and impressionistic paintings and sculptures. Ongoing exhibits at The Wilbur May Center include T'ang Dynasty pottery, primitive African artwork and animal trophies.

Of course, a gambling city wouldn't be complete without showcases of gaming paraphernalia. The Liberty Bell Slot Machine Collection inside the restaurant in front of the Reno/Sparks Convention Center features an 1895 dice machine, a 1905 nickel gambling clock and the first dollar slot machine made in 1929. Fitzgerald's Lucky Forest and Antique Slot Display houses a collection of "luck" objects from around the world - including the only Blarney Stone to leave Ireland - and restored antique slot machines.

There is no shortage of dining in the Reno area with restaurants representing almost every type of cuisine. The Reno Gazette Journal recommends several, including Reno's only rooftop restaurant, the Top of the Flamingo Lounge inside the Reno Hilton. Menu items include standards such as steak and lobster, prime rib and Rack of Lamb Flamingo, and new entrees such as semolina crusted sea bass, roasted free range venison and veal saltimbocca.

The Steakhouse Grill, located inside another WASTECON hotel, John Asuaga's Nugget, is another favorite. The Hickory Pit Steak House at Circus Circus Hotel Casino also is a prime dinner spot for typical American cuisine such as seafood, steaks, poultry and pasta.

On the more exotic side is Sapna Indian Restaurant, highly recommended by the Gazette Journal for lunch or dinner. Among its specialties are 10-course dinners called "thalis," named for the trays on which they are served. Asiana, the newest Reno Hilton restaurant, features traditional Pan-Asian dishes with an emphasis on noodles. Cactus Creek Bar and Grill inside the Bonanza Casino is known for its delectable Southwestern fare.

After dinner, don't miss the bright lights of the Reno Arch. One of the most recognized city symbols in the United States, the arch spans Virginia Street in the downtown casino area. The art deco design has 800 linear feet of neon and 1,600 light bulbs.

Reno is home to 21 golf courses and several parks, as well, such as the Wilbur D. May Museum and Arboretum, and the city of Reno Municipal Rose Garden, which contains 2,400 rose plants in 560 different varieties. Peak blooming occurs during the summer.

Because the flowers most likely will be out of season, there's the Sierra Safari Petting Zoo, with more than 150 animals such as pot-belly pigs, emus and four-horned sheep.

For a real change of pace in Reno's night life, you can also visit the Fleischmann Planetarium, which features star shows in the Sky Dome Theatre and weekly telescope viewings.

With so much to do in Reno, don't forget WASTECON.