Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 | 2 a.m.
Map of The Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino
3700 W. Flamingo Rd., Las Vegas
Trekkies, grab your phasers, put on your pointy ears and head to the Rio this weekend. It might be your last chance to catch Mr. Spock in the flesh.
Leonard Nimoy, the actor who made the half-Vulcan, half-human character famous, will make one of his last public appearances this weekend in Las Vegas, during a Star Trek convention that celebrates the series’ 45th anniversary. Nimoy headlines the four-day event that begins Thursday with William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, Sir Patrick Stewart, who played Captain Picard, and George Takei, who played Sulu.
Nimoy will appear at another Star Trek convention later this fall in Chicago then head into the next generation of life: retirement.
He announced last year he wanted to retire because of his age and to give Zachary Quinto, who played Spock in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie, an opportunity to enjoy the spotlight.
“He rarely does appearances, so we’re very lucky that he chose this event,” convention spokeswoman Monica Gillen said.
More than 20,000 Trekkies from all over the world are expected to converge on the Rio. Costumed fans will gather at 2 p.m. Saturday to try to earn the Guiness World Record for the “largest gathering of people dressed as Star Trek characters.” The record was set last year at the Dragoncon convention in Atlanta by 571 Klingons, Andorians and Vulcans.
In addition to celebrity appearances, attendees will test their Star Trek knowledge with trivia contests, bid on collectibles and watch fan-made music videos and tributes. Nighttime will bring Star Trek-themed parties.
“It has gotten to where parents are now bringing their kids,” Gillen said. “People make friends at Star Trek conventions, couples have met their spouses. There has been a community created around the show.”
The convention runs Thursday through Sunday. Tickets cost $35 to $40 and are available at the door.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.