The Hoover Dam – Historic Marvel of Engineering

Bluegreen Resorts’ Bluegreen Club 36 puts you near more than just gaming and nightlife in Las Vegas: The area surrounding the sparkling city opens onto stunning deserts and leads you to landmarks such as Hoover Dam in Black Canyon, only about 35 miles to the south.

Generations after its construction, Hoover Dam draws about one million annual visitors eager to explore its history and visual majesty, and its role as a major supplier of power. The largest-scale infrastructure project commenced by the federal government during the era of the Great Depression, Hoover Dam was designed as a means of harnessing the energy and irrigation potential of the Colorado River, and as a way of preventing the devastating floods prevalent in the area. Today, its 17 generators drive electrical power to 20 million people in Nevada, California, and Arizona.

United States Secretary of Commerce, afterwards President, Herbert Hoover was a driving force in facilitating construction of the dam. It was not only a marvel of engineering, but a testament to the grit and fortitude of a nation determined to surmount the obstacles of the Great Depression. Work began in 1931 and finished four years later, two years ahead of schedule. Construction workers who built the dam withstood heat that sometimes approached 120 degrees as they hung suspended 1,000 feet in the air.

A few awe-inspiring facts and figures: Hoover Dam is the tallest concrete-construction dam in the Western hemisphere. Construction required some five million barrels of concrete. The dam rises more than 700 feet high over the Colorado River, is more than 1,200 feet long and 660 feet wide at its base, and weighs as much as 18 Empire State Buildings. Every second, 1.5 million gallons of water course through its walls. The dam’s construction formed Lake Mead, still the largest reservoir in the country. At low water points, you might still see the ruins of St. Thomas, Nevada, below the surface; the town was evacuated to make way for the construction.

On your visit to Las Vegas, you can take a guided tour of Hoover Dam and its power plant. Helicopter tours offer a particularly striking view, as does the newly built Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge walkway, some 900 feet over the Colorado.

Get Ready to Play Blackjack

If you’re in the mood for glitz, glamour, and plenty of sparkling night life, Las Vegas should be at the top of your list, especially when you consider that Bluegreen Resorts’ Bluegreen Club 36 is situated within easy access to the Las Vegas Strip.

Even if you’re a novice, you may feel ready to try your skill and luck at some of the city’s premier casinos. If you want a relatively easy game to learn, look no further than blackjack.
Blackjack, which probably derives from an 18th century French casino game originally called Twenty-One, is played player-against-dealer. Each receives two cards, and each attempts to come closer to 21 without going over. All face cards are worth 10 points, with aces worth 1 or 11 points, whichever is the more advantageous.

The dealer turns over one of his two cards so that you can see it. You decide whether to “stand” with the hand of two cards you have, or take a “hit” and get another card, hoping to get closer than the dealer to the magic 21. If you go over, or if you and the dealer both go over, you lose. In the case of a “push,” or tie, you get no money.
How many “hits” you take is up to you, but once you “stand,” the dealer reveals her cards and the game is over.

Remember that, because casino games are filmed in case a dispute arises, you need to use hand signals: To stand, wave your hand one time over your cards. To take a hit, tap against the table.
Now for some strategy:

Many experienced players advise following this formula, based in mathematical probability: If the dealer is showing a card valued from 2 to 6, and you have a total in your hand of 12 to 16, stand. Take a hit if your hand of 12 to 16 is facing a dealer showing a card ranked from 7 to ace.
More beginner tips: Purchase chips by laying your cash in front of you, rather than branding yourself a novice by handing it directly to the dealer. Select a full table, because this will give you plenty of time to consider your strategy while others are playing. And while most casinos use multiple decks at their blackjack tables in order to prevent card-counting, you can increase your odds if you find a single-deck table. Check the sign listing the minimum and maximum bets before you sit down at a table, and pick one with a lower minimum to start.

Enjoy Your Visit to Orlando’s SeaWorld with a Few Insider Tips

When you visit Orlando and stay at Sunshine Resort I & II or The Fountains, Bluegreen Resorts’ two convenient vacation destinations, you will have access to a world of entertainment possibilities. The Fountains is practically right next door to SeaWorld, one of the area’s most popular and beloved theme parks.

Your entire family will find magic in exploring the sea mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles that make their home at SeaWorld. The park, which has expanded over the years, now includes thrilling roller coaster rides, Shamu’s Happy Harbor for the youngest visitors, behind-the-scenes tours, arcade games, glittering shows, and exciting ways to interact with sea lions and other marine mammals while learning about their lives and habitats.

In order to make the most of your SeaWorld vacation, pack a little insider knowledge about the best ways to save time, money, and energy while you have fun.

Any time you travel to a U.S. destination by plane, says one travel insider, book your seats exactly 54 days in advance in order to take advantage of the best rates. Bing Travel’s airfare predictor is among the savvy programs that can help you to make economical travel decisions. You may also want to follow @SeaWorld on Twitter or “like” it on Facebook in order to stay up to date on news and any special offers.

Arrive early at SeaWorld and avoid the long lines by checking out the most sought-after venues, such as the Manta Aquarium and the Kraken roller coaster, first. SeaWorld offers a special Quick Queue Unlimited feature that will allow you to gain front-of-the-line privileges on some of its most in-demand rides. The park also provides you with the opportunity to use its SeaWorld Signature Show Seating program to select and reserve seats ahead of time. And visit Shamu’s Happy Harbor as a way for your little ones to expend their excess energy when needed.
If you’re not interested in being splashed, locals and frequent guests will tell you to stay away from the front row at shows such as Journey to Atlantis. And if you want to chill in the middle of a hot day of walking, plan to take in some of SeaWorld’s “cooler” attractions, such as Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, during the hottest hours.

Hoping to take in more than one theme park again and again? A Platinum Pass entitles you to unlimited admission to SeaWorld and its sister parks, such as Busch Gardens, as well as perks such as complimentary parking and reserved seating at select attractions.

Downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park Ready to Charm Visitors

Downtown Orlando, Florida, offers plenty of beautiful views and entertainment for visitors from all over the world. Enjoy your stay with Bluegreen Resorts at either of its two comfortable, affordable, and family-friendly vacation complexes – Orlando’s Sunshine Resort I & II and The Fountains – and enjoy easy proximity to all that this world-famous tourist city has to show you. While you’re in Orlando, it might be easy to hop from one theme park to another, and there are many wonderful ones to choose from. But why not give the city’s beautiful downtown a try and visit upscale restaurants, glittering nightclubs, neighborhood bars, art galleries, and the iconic fountain at Lake Eola Park?

For generations, Lake Eola has served as one of the most recognizable images of Orlando. The nearly 1-mile sidewalk that encircles the lake is popular with the locals and an easy spot to take a walk or run. The tree- and flower-filled park features a children’s playground, fleet of paddle boats in the form of white swans that can be rented to glide over the lake, and a red pagoda presented as a gift from Orlando’s sister city in Guilin, China. Enjoy a lunch or dinner lakeside at Relax Grill, where you can rent a swan boat by the half-hour. In addition, the Walt Disney Amphitheater offers a venue for a number of special entertainment events throughout the year.
The fountain at Lake Eola has become beloved by generations of Floridians and tourists alike since it debuted in 1957. Images of its spray of water against the city skyline have graced thousands of postcards and Instagram photos. In a nightly choreography feature, the water changes into a rainbow play of color.

The fountain, which was struck by one of Orlando’s frequent lightning storms in 2009, underwent extensive renovations and reopened in 2011 with a new plexiglass shell and updated electronic controls so that it can now delight new generations of visitors.