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Circus Circus will get a SpongeBob SquarePants ride later this year | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Circus Circus will get a SpongeBob SquarePants ride later this year | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Tyler Bennett, 3, of San Diego races at a new go-kart track called Lil’ Sprinter Raceway at Circus Circus on the Strip in Las Vegas Friday, June 3, 2022. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
About $30 million renovations at Circus Circus are expected to be mostly completed by the end of the year. (Las Vegas Review-Journal/File)

It may seem counterintuitive, but a kid crying when leaving Circus Circus is considered a sign of success.

If they’re crying, it means they’re having so much fun that they don’t want to leave, said Shana Gerety, the casino-resort’s senior vice president of operations. “That’s how we at Circus Circus know that what we’re doing is right.”

And there are more crying kids walking through the exit doors nowadays, she said, thanks to the progress of the roughly $30 million renovations at the north Strip resort that are expected to be mostly completed by the end of the year.

Since the 2019 acquisition of Circus Circus by Phil Ruffin, who also owns Treasure Island, new additions to freshen up the site have quietly spruced up the spot that’s been a Strip landmark since 1968.

Since the pandemic’s onset, the crew has been updating the Adventuredome Indoor Theme Park with new rides and renovations, just in time for its 30th anniversary in August. Changes include a new go-karting site for small children called Lil’ Sprinter and a tea cup ride, and a renovated swinging ship ride among other changes.

Another special addition is expected in December: a roughly $6 million SpongeBob SquarePants ride by Sally Dark Rides that will be the first on the West Coast, Gerety said.

Near the Adventuredome is also a new arcade area called The Garage, where visitors can play with virtual reality simulators, mini bowling and full swing golf.

Other renovations at the property have been more subtle. Paint and lighting has been updated, including the “Slots of Fun” casino sign and new paint on the exterior’s iconic pink-and-white tent stripes.

One of the project’s largest costs is updating the site’s elevator system. More than 30 elevators will be replaced as part of the upgrading process — a price that’s expected to represent about a third of the total renovation budget. Elevator renovations are expected to go on until 2025.

Gerety said the investments across the casino are meant to draw back to the resort’s heyday as a family destination in an adult city.

“Circus Circus has always been a family-friendly place,” Gerety said. “Over the years it needed to get a face-lift and it needed to be brought back to those glory days of when families and kids would want to come here.”

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

This content was originally published here.