As befits a city that styles itself the Entertainment Capital of the World, whether you’re into gaming, eating, drinking, partying or watching shows or just about anything else, there’s so much there to keep you busy in Vegas.
However, if you’re looking for something that will get your pulse racing and make you feel truly alive, The Strat offers three rides at the top of its observation tower that will deliver more than just your standard hit of adrenaline – and here’s the lowdown on what to expect.
Introducing the Strat SkyPod
Let’s start with a bit of background.
The Strat is a resort that lies just beyond the northern limits of what’s officially counted as the Las Vegas Strip – although many people consider it a Strip hotel – and it’s unmistakable for one feature: the huge observation tower that dominates this part of the Las Vegas skyline.
Unsurprisingly, many of the attractions associated with the resort are related to the tower – and more specifically with the SkyPod, the complex of observation decks, lounges, bars, restaurants and attractions at the top.
You have to pay to go up to the SkyPod, and once you’ve bought your ticket, you step into one of the fastest elevators in the world to be whisked up to your destination at an astonishing 1,801 feet per minute.
Once you’re up there, you can simply enjoy unrivalled panoramic views of Las Vegas as you sip a drink or dine in a classy revolving restaurant.
However, if you’re searching for a little more adventure and want something that’s going to get your heart rate up and your adrenaline flowing, you’ll also want to make sure you ride one or more of the thrill rides, so let’s talk about those now.
The Thrill Rides
At the top of the Strat observation tower, you’ll find three terrifying thrill rides that are guaranteed to set the adrenaline coursing through your body.
If you’re the kind of person who loves rollercoasters and other hair-raising theme park rides, be sure to make your way to The Strat to check them out before you leave town since they’re likely to be at least as scary as anything you’ve ever experienced before.
1. Big Shot
Big Shot was the first of the SkyPod rides to open back in 1996, and it’s not one for the faint-hearted.
When you sit on the ride and strap in, you’ll already be 921 feet up from the ground. But once the ride starts, you’ll shoot a further 160 feet up at 45 miles per hour, reaching the top in a matter of seconds and being exposed to 4Gs of force as you race up into the sky.
You’ll then find yourself suspended at the very top of the tower with your legs dangling in the void, 1081 feet up in the air and looking down over some supreme views of Las Vegas and the surrounding area.
You won’t be there for long, though, because moments later, the ride drops back down again, exposing you to similar levels of G-force in reverse as you rush back down to where you started.
Limitations: Riders must be at least 48 inches tall to ride Big Shot. It is not recommended for guests with physical, mental and/or medical limitations. Children of 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.
X-Scream was the second of the thrill rides to open at the top of the SkyPod, and having debuted in 2003, it’s been terrifying riders ever since.
At first, it seems like a standard rollercoaster, but then as the ride starts, and it lurches forward, you suddenly feel as if you’re being sent over the edge of the tower and are destined to plummet all the way down to the bottom.
That doesn’t happen of course, and instead, the car stops, leaving you hanging in mid-air 27 feet out and 866 feet up.
Make the most of the views for a few moments if you can bring yourself to open your eyes – and then get ready to be jerked back in the other direction.
You then get to experience the same disconcerting sensation several more times, after which, you’ll be glad to get your feet and trembling legs back on the ground.
Limitations: Riders must be at least 52 inches tall to ride X-Scream. The ride is not recommended for guests with physical, mental and/or medical limitations. Children of 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.
The newest of the three thrill rides, Insanity opened in 2005. It’s a ride that will frighten the life out of anybody who doesn’t have a good head for heights since it spins you 64 feet over the edge of the observation tower, 866 feet up from the ground and at all kinds of crazy angles.
However, if you think you have nerves of steel and a stomach to match, you can put yourself to the test and try this ride – and you’ll come off it understanding why they chose this name.
Note that at the time of writing, Insanity is closed for maintenance, although hopefully, it will be back up and running soon.
Limitations: Riders must be at least 52 inches tall to ride Insanity. It is not recommended for guests with physical, mental and/or medical limitations. Children of 15 or younger must be accompanied by an adult.
The SkyJump is different from the thrill rides since it isn’t a theme park-style attraction.
Rather, it’s an extreme activity similar to a bungee jump that allows you to leap off level 108 of the SkyPod and descend 829 feet on a rope at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour down to the landing pad below.
It’s considered the highest commercial decelerator descent facility in the world, a claim that’s been validated by the Guinness Book of World Records.
It’s not available as part of the SkyPod and thrill ride packages and needs to be paid for separately. It’s also considerably more expensive than the SkyPod’s other rides.
However, it has to rank among the most exhilarating activities in Vegas, and it’s the kind of thing that adrenaline junkies live for. And if that includes you, there’s no way you’ll want to leave town until you’ve experienced it.
Limitations: Jumpers must be at least 14 years old and a minimum of 52 inches tall. Maximum weight is 265 pounds.
Other Attractions in The SkyPod
There are several other attractions in the SkyPod, even if you don’t want to experience the thrill rides or the SkyJump. They include the following:
1.Two Observations Decks
Even if you do nothing else at the top of the observation tower, it’s worth the price you pay to get up there just for the stunning views of Vegas and the surrounding desert landscape.
There’s one located on level 108 and one on level 109, and both offer unrivalled panoramic vistas of the area.
2. 108 Eats
If you get to the SkyPod and find yourself feeling hungry, you’ll want to head to 108 Eats in the observation deck on that level for sandwiches, snacks and even ice creams.
3. 108 Drinks
If there’s one thing that’s better than taking in the stunning Nevada scenery from the top of the Strat observation tower, it’s doing so with a glass in your hand – and you’ll be able to find your favorite tipple in the observation deck bar that’s known as 108 Drinks.
4. Top of The World Restaurant
For one of the most memorable meals you’ll ever enjoy, book a table at the Top of the World restaurant over 800 feet above the ground.
It’s a spinning restaurant on level 106 of the SkyPod that completes a turn every 80 minutes. There are plenty of fine dining options in Vegas, but none with such a spectacularly unique location as this one.
5. Wedding Chapels
To make your trip to the top of the Strat observation tower memorable for another reason, you can even choose to tie the knot up there – because the SkyPod is even equipped with two wedding chapels!
1. Thrill Rides
All thrill rides are open daily from 2pm to 10pm. However, they may occasionally close due to unfavorable weather such as strong wind or rain.
Note that at the time of writing, the Insanity ride is closed for maintenance.
Mon-Thu – 2pm-10pm
Fri-Sun – 12pm-10pm.
The attraction may sometimes close due to bad weather.
3. Observation Decks
4. 108 Drinks
Mon-Thu – 12pm-12am (Happy Hour 3pm-7pm)
Fri-Sun – 12pm-1am
5. 108 Eats
Mon-Fri – 11am-11pm
Sat, Sun – 10am-11pm
6. Top of The World Restaurant
Mon-Wed – 4pm-10pm
Thu-Sun – 4pm-11 pm
Prices and Packages
To reach the thrill rides, you first need to go to the SkyPod at the top of the observation tower.
You have to pay to reach the SkyPod, and various combo packages are available that give you either SkyPod access only or SkyPod access plus one, two or three* thrill rides.
Another option also exists that gives you SkyPod access plus unlimited rides on all three* attractions.
These prices do not include the SkyJump attraction as an option – this attraction is priced separately.
Prices vary, and weekends are more expensive. It’s also possible to obtain discounts through various special offers.
However, here are the standard prices at the time of writing:
|SkyPod access only||$20||$30|
|SkyPod + 1 ride||$25||$35|
|SkyPod + 2 rides||$30||$40|
|SkyPod + 3 rides*||$35||$45|
|SkyPod + unlimited rides*||$45||$55|
The SkyJump attraction has prices that start at $129.99 for the basic package, with other options that include photography and a wrist video camera costing more. Strat guests can enjoy their jump for a reduced price of $99.99.
*At the time of writing, the Insanity ride is closed for maintenance, so this package is currently unavailable. This also means you can only choose between Big Shot and X-Scream when choosing a one-ride package, a two-ride package or an unlimited rides package.
1. Do You Have to Pay to Go to The Top of The Strat Tower?
Yes, prices start at $20 just to go to the top – and it costs more from Friday to Sunday.
2. When Will Insanity Open Again?
At the time of writing, no information is available about the schedule for the maintenance or reopening of the Insanity thrill ride.
However, since the ride has been removed from the official website, we have to assume that it will be closed for the foreseeable future – and we can hope that the repair works won’t take too long.
3. Can You Walk to The Top?
The tower has 1,455 steps that go up 855 feet to level 108. However, the stairs to the top usually remain closed to the public and are only opened once a year when races to the top are held to raise money for charity.
4. Is There Still a Rollercoaster at The Top of The Tower?
No, the rollercoaster known as Big Roller closed permanently at the end of 2005. However, it was the least popular of the rides back then – and the three that are there now are far better and more exciting!
5. Which Ride Is Scariest?
This is a subjective question, and different people will have their opinion. However, unless you have nerves of steel and absolutely no fear of heights, all three thrill rides are likely to be just about as scary as any other ride you’ve ever been on.
Four Attractions that Will Likely Rank Among the Most Exciting You’ll Ever Experience
Located over 800 feet up in the air, the three thrill rides and the SkyJump are likely to rank among the most exciting, exhilarating experiences you’ll ever have, whether in Vegas or anywhere else.
The thrill rides in particular are very reasonably priced for what they are, making a trip up to the observation decks to check out the views and try the rides a great way to spend a fun couple of hours while you’re in town.