Las Vegas Sun

February 1, 2015

Currently: 63° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Rio’s iconic ‘Show in the Sky’ to close March 30 after 16 years


Christopher DeVargas

The masquerade floats at The Rio’s “Show in the Sky” are prepped and readied for showtime on Friday, Feb. 24, 2012.

Behind the Scenes at Rio's Show in the Sky

Larry Edwards (as Tina Turner), Kenneth Blake (as Rihanna) and Martin Cooper (as Madonna) of Frank Marino's Launch slideshow »

After 16 years of entertaining guests, The Rio’s free "Show in the Sky" will come to an end next month. The long-running interactive attraction, which enjoyed robust crowds this week for Mardi Gras, will give its final performance on Saturday, March 30, at 11 p.m.

Caesars Entertainment confirmed the news but is unable to comment further on why the attraction is closing and what will become of it. There is nothing scheduled to take its place. Continue to check back for updates and more information.

The attraction's whimsical neon showboats and gondolas have remained relatively unchanged since the carnival ride opened in 1997 at an estimated initial cost of more than $25 million.

Though “Show in the Sky” has been scaled back over the years, it has continued to entertain crowds with its mechanical floats that take dancers and two dozen participants on an aerial tour across The Rio’s casino floor and Masquerade Village.

In keeping with the hotel-casino’s theme, the ride captures the spirit of the famed Carnival of Brazil, which was celebrated in its home country this week. Flamboyantly dressed dancers perform choreography and toss out beaded necklaces to onlookers as high-energy dance music plays every hour from 6 to 11 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

The Rio has confirmed that those with tickets to ride the attraction after its closing date can bring them to the original point of purchase for an exchange or refund.

Remaining times and dates for "Show in the Sky" can be found on The Rio's website.

Follow Andrea Domanick on Twitter at @AndreaDomanick and fan her on Facebook at

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 4 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. they just closed bill's and now this i hope they can find other jobs

  2. Iconic? really? While I appreciate the casino did something with the ceiling other than black paint and cameras, that show was about as entertaining as watching your kid on merry go round.

  3. Last couple of times I saw the show, some of the gondolas weren't even operating. Mechanical issues? They just didn't want to run them? Why? And this was 3-4 years ago! I haven't really been to Rio for a few years anyway, as they really don't have much to offer. As for Bill's, I hope to God they don't get rid of the lights on the outside, but I have no hope really as they seem to still want to whitewash Vegas with the rare exception of Circus Circus, Riviera and Downtown.

  4. This is so sad. I have stayed at the Rio just about 70 times in the past 12 years, and I have always made a point to catch the "Show in the Sky". While the show wasn't as much fun as it used to be (the gondolas don't even go around until after the show these days, and only make one short lap), it was still one of the things that made the Rio the Rio.
    It seems to me that Caesars wishes to strip the Rio of all its appeal to tourists and locals alike. Without the Show in the Sky, there is no reason to go off the strip and visit the Rio if you are a tourist. The slow chipping away at the mid-level and player favourable gaming ($1 slot machines, decent paying video poker and tables with rules similar to other off strip properties) will keep the Rio off the list of locals. They have closed many of the great restaurants (if memory serves me correctly, there used to be over 20, now you have about 14, including two Starbucks another similar coffee stand, and a Burger King), and many of the shops stand empty. The club is closed with the exception of the recent rental to Krave (thank goodness) and a few impersonator shows. And while I love Penn & Teller dearly, the weight of bringing guests to the Rio should not solely be on their shoulders.
    I will never understand why the Rio would be kept in this state while Caesars gets yet another new tower and an observation wheel is built in the middle of the strip. The Rio has some of, if not the best, employees out there. I have never been to a place that has made me feel more at home. Everyone there remembers me, and makes me feel as if the Rio is special. So it honestly is heartbreaking to watch the Rio lose another piece of its shine. I am hoping against hope that Caesars does right by the Rio and brings it something wonderful. Fingers crossed.