Once I was parked outside Casa de Shenandoah and a peacock sprouted at the top of the gold leaf-patterned gate. It looked down upon me, glaring, and I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to open the door and take a picture, but remembered I’d once been told by a peacock expert not to make sudden moves around the brightly feathered birds. They can be a might chippy, y’know? So I sat still in my car, looking at the peacock, whose own gaze was fixed on my front windshield. I felt I might be the victim of a peacock kamikaze attack until it suddenly disappeared from sight. Then I peered inside the slit in the gate and saw three beautiful Arabian horses, feeding on the grass. I wanted to reach in and touch them. It would be pretty cool, I thought, to make a loop through the property to see what else was inside. Now, after several weeks of parrying with his neighbors, Wayne Newton is being allowed to open his ranch and estate to visitors. Across the street, north of the ranch on Sunset Road, will be a theater and museum dedicated to the history of Las Vegas entertainment, but I’m mostly interested in the animals on the original Shenandoah property. A showroom on one side, peacocks on the other, all in a single tourist attraction. Only in Vegas, and that’s not a criticism.
Wed, Dec 1, 2010 (2:40 p.m.)