Visitors in search of a Las Vegas roller coaster or other thrill ride can find three of the most heart-thumping rides in the city atop the Stratosphere. The best things to do on the Stratosphere Tower include the observation tower, X Scream, Big Shot, Insanity, and SkyJump, opening in April 2010. At one time, High Roller was the highest roller coaster in the world; however, this ride has since been removed from the tower. Daily hours allows travelers to visit nearly anytime during their vacation, and with a number of admission options available, guests can choose specifically what they want to do high above the Las Vegas Strip.
In the early 1990s, construction on the Stratosphere began; it was to be the tallest free standing structure at the time, topping out at nearly 2,000 feet. Due to possible interference with flights arriving and departing from the McCarren International Airport, however, the height of the originally planned structure decreased to the current height of 1,149 feet. Construction was delayed a number of times due to various reasons, including a fire in 1993, but on April 30, 1996, the Stratosphere opened its doors to the public, and production on the second tower began; however, after the Stratosphere Corporation filed bankruptcy, all building ceased on the second tower until Carl Icahn took command by buying out a major portion of bonds that were left outstanding, and the addition was completed in 2001.
Atop the observation deck of the Stratosphere Tower, visitors will have access to one of the best views of the Strip as well as a number of rides, including Big Shot, Insanity, and X Scream. At 1,081 feet above the Las Vegas, Big Shot is the highest ride in the world, and as it shoots you up at 45 mph, you will feel as if you were in a giant sling shot. Extending over the side of the tower is one of the most popular Las Vegas tourist attractions, Insanity, a mechanical arm with a capacity of 4 or 5 passengers, offering views of the Strip while spinning at about 40 mph. Balancing just at the edge of the tower, overlooking the ground far below, X Scream teeters into the open air beyond the deck and then back again, giving passengers the illusive feeling of dangling in mid-air.
Admission to the Stratosphere Tower is available in a number of different packages. Discounted tickets are available for seniors, Nevada residents, and children ages 4 through 12. There are options that include only tower admission, as well as package deals to ride one, two, or three of the tower attractions, and all-day ride passes are available as well. For an additional fee, you can buy a front-of-the-line pass that allows you to skip the wait. Children under the age of 4 are allowed free access to the tower; however, due to safety issues, these children will not be allowed on rides.
Whether you are a thrill enthusiast or are just looking for one of the best views of the city via a Las Vegas roller coaster, paying a visit to the Stratosphere Tower is well worth adding to your list of things to do in Vegas—you won’t forget this part of the trip.