Hard-rock band Van Halen was back on tour and coming to the casino-lined shore of Atlantic City, N.J. My cousin and I had tickets to see them at the historic Boardwalk Hall and were awaiting the March 24 show for a couple of months. When that day arrived, I took some photos of the boardwalk for a while until we met up there with other family members. Having some more time to kill, our group of five decided to grab something to eat nearby.
The dining establishment we chose had a sense of adventure within its walls, as patrons are surrounded by a great rainforest setting. Hence the name, the Rainforest Cafe. It was a very unique, lively dining experience as it made me think about why I love travel. It’s all about such interesting places, including where to eat; it’s all about getting out there and trying new places and living life. This particular place brought those thoughts to mind because it was so entertaining and eye-catching. There were so many vibrant details that really brought the tropical world to all who ate there with great simulation.
On the outside, above the entrance are sculptures of animals’ heads as if they’re leaping out of hiding toward you. Torches are lit on either side of the group of animals, giving a sense of primitive cultures making use of fire. Inside the cafe, there’s an alligator or crocodile lurking in a pond surrounded by short stone walls. Just beyond the sign-in stand is a fish tank that stands on either side of and goes up over guests as they are led into the dining area. A jungle canopy hangs overhead throughout the cafe to recreate dining outside somewhere in the Amazon. Monkeys and chimps dangle from vines and giant butterflies in an assortment of colors slowly flap their wings while perched on gnarled trees.
While eating tropical-themed menu items, the sounds of various animals can be heard and an animated orangutang shakes tree branches side to side. The animal sounds aren’t the only ones that guests will hear during their rainforest dining experience. However, I’ll leave that element as a surprise for those who haven’t been to a location of the Rainforest Cafe. The food and service was excellent; those and the recreation of a tropical setting full of life are reasons why you should check out this great eatery.
Now for the concert. Earlier that day, before meeting up with my relatives, I saw this guy with a Van Halen backstage pass that he wore on a long cord. After our tropical-themed dining, my cousin and I had around 20 minutes to get to our seats. That wasn’t so bad since the Rainforest Cafe was only a few doors away from Boardwalk Hall. We got to our seats in section 214 during the opening act performance by R & B group, Kool & the Gang. This concert was the first time we’d see both Kool & the Gang and Van Halen live and both gave great performances. Meanwhile, the rest of our family went off to hang out at Trump Casino.
I wrote an article about the concert for my campus news, the Loquitur; you can read it in full here. The two concert photos below are courtesy of my cousin, Brittany B.
Check out my Atlantic City photos, from earlier that day, on Flickr.