Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | 2 a.m.
They're there. Some of them in out-of-the-way nooks and crannies. Others front-and-center as you go into the airport or enter a casino. And as soon as you see one, you're likely to do a double-take.
What are they? Out-of-the-ordinary vending machines in the Las Vegas Valley.
From flower bouquets to gold nuggets, from art to cotton candy, Las Vegas is home to some of the most unique vending machines that can be found. Here's a look at some of them.
The VendEver Cotton Candy Factory
The VendEver Cotton Candy Factory dispenses the sweet treat in countries all over the world and caters to people who want cotton candy on the go.
Construction on the machines is finished in Henderson, and the fresh cotton candy can be found at the Las Vegas Premium Outlets malls, in Regal Theaters in select Station Casinos and now local Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Vaughn Williamson, who partnered with VendEver to create the machine, said the $2 batch of cotton candy is made right in front of customers through a clear glass panel. Robotic movements create a spinning effect.
The machines are refilled weekly and dish out 125 to 250 servings of cotton candy a week, Williamson said.
The machine at the South Las Vegas Premium Outlet can be found near the carousel, and the one at the north location is near the food court.
Gold to Go
The German-made machine, dubbed the “Gold ATM,” sits across from the large Golden Nugget display by the main entrance to the casino and sells seven sizes of gold bars, ranging from a one-gram piece to a one-ounce souvenir.
Gold-To-Go representative Judi Goldstein said the machine distributes gold bars in packaged boxes. The going rate of gold is updated every 60 seconds on the vending machine’s computerized screen. Nevada's state tax is built into the purchase price.
“We’ve had people come to the Golden Nugget specifically for this,” Goldstein said.
As of March 6, the going rate for a gram of gold was $102 and $1,926 for a one-ounce bar. A special one-ounce golden eagle coin was going for $1,960.
The Cosmopolitan’s Art-o-mat machines stand behind a philosophy that art should be accessible for everyone. The resort’s seven refurbished cigarette vending machines sell small pieces of artwork created by one of more than 400 artists from around the world. The Cosmopolitan was the first Art-o-mat location in Nevada.
Guests insert $5 into the machine and pull a knob to receive a piece of Art-o-mat artwork boxed and wrapped in cellophane, most likely created by independent artists.
One of the Cosmopolitan’s Art-o-mat machines recently inhabited the Andy Warhol Museum.
Chump change is probably not accepted at one Vegas vending machine. U*tique Shop, which claims to be the world’s first interactive and fully automated luxury store, is located in the Cosmopolitan.
The futuristic machine dispenses from a collection of 56 items, including luxury brands like Lancome, Smashbox, the Art of Shaving and Jonathan Adler accessories. Looking for the latest in headphones? You can purchase Beats by Dre.
Shoppers can also join Club U* to receive promotional codes for discounts and reminders for special events and sales.
The “automated retail experience” is on the ground floor of the resort, adjacent to the main casino.
Coming home from a long trip but forgot a special occasion? A Fresh Flowers machine at McCarran International Airport has got you covered.
With three locations at baggage claim and one at Terminal 1 on the second level, the machines have been selling small bouquets of red roses and daises at the airport since 2004.
A two-flower bunch is $10, and a three-rose cluster is $20. All flowers are prewrapped in clear plastic and tied with a ribbon. The machines are restocked every two days.
Cash and credit is accepted at all locations.
Best Buy Express
Best Buy Express kiosks may be one of the more recognizable electronic vending machines out there, with various locations on the Strip, like at the Flamingo, Planet Hollywood and the New York-New York.
Enclosed in the signature blue and yellow Best Buy logo, the express store sells everything from iPods to cameras to e-readers.
SD cards, Nintendo DSi and chargers can be found at the Flamingo’s Best Buy machine. Shoppers on the go can spend from $17 to $300.
After a long night of partying in six-inch heels, Lindsay Klimitz and Ashley Ross sometimes ended the night in pain. The two were used to seeing other women barefoot, heels in hand, going out on the Strip to avoid walking in uncomfortable shoes. They wanted to create a way for women to party without the pain. So they partnered with Rollasole, a London-based shoe company, to bring a shoe-vending machine that provides women with an easy way to change into flats after a night out in Las Vegas.
Rollasole flats go for $20. Styles include leopard print and striped, and they come in various colors. Small, medium and large sizes cater to a size 5.5 to 10.5 in women's shoes.
Rollasole’s first location was inside of Vanity Nightclub. The second shoe shop is outside of the RPM Nightclub at the Tropicana. Klimitz said the pair will be celebrating the installation of another Rollasole in late March at the Shoppes at the Palazzo near the Tao nightclub.