Omega Mart (adult admissions start at $45, face mask and temperature check mandatory), the biggest attraction in the complex, lines one side of the complex’s atrium and seemed — at first — to provide a banal respite from Area15’s sensory overload. Along the sale aisles I found Nut Free Salted Peanuts, Gut Monkey Ginger Ale and cans of Camels Implied Chicken Sop.

Meow Wolf (the name derived from pulling two random words from a hat during their first meeting), Omega Mart is an amalgamation of some 325 artists’ creations tied together by disparate overlapping story lines which one can follow — or not.

For a short time, I tracked the story of the takeover of Omega Mart’s corporate headquarters by a hilariously manipulative New Agey daughter, and then got sidelined into the tale of a teen herbalist leading a rebellion to something else. I have no idea what I experienced other than that Brian Eno composed the music to one of the installations. None of my kids could explain what they experienced either, other than something mind-expanding. If it wasn’t for dinner, we might still be in there.

Raku. Step behind an understated white backlit sign and you enter an aged wood interior of an intimate restaurant that you might find off a Kyoto alley. We slid into the family-style tables behind the main dining room and commenced to feast. There’s a $100 tasting menu if you are feeling adult, but my tribe ordered cream-like tofu with dried fish, foie gras skewers and a dozen other items.

Chinatown became our go-to-spot for snacks and boba tea between adventures. A favorite spot became Pho 90, a low-key Vietnamese cafe with outstanding noodle dishes and exquisitely layered banh mi sandwiches for picnics in the wild.

Red Rock Canyon, 17 miles west of the Strip, is like walking into a Road Runner cartoon with a Technicolor ballet of clashing tectonic formations. We grabbed our admittedly reluctant brood on a 2.4-mile, round-trip hike on the Keystone Thrust Trail through a series of gullies until we emerged above epic white limestone cliffs jutting through the ocher-colored mountains. Here we had our Vietnamese picnic overlooking the monolithic casinos in the distance.

Rail Explorers has set up rail bike tours on the abandoned tracks leading to the Hoover Dam construction site. We booked a sunset tour (from $85 to $150 for a tandem quad bike). After some quick instruction, we, along with three dozen other visitors, climbed into an 800-pound, four-person Korean-made bike rig and, giving the group ahead of us a three-minute head start for some space, started peddling.

Our route was along four miles of desert track gently sloping into a narrowing canyon pass. As we effortlessly peddled at 10 miles per hour, we noticed that the spikes holding down the railroad ties were often crooked or missing. “I bet these were all driven in by hand,” my teenage son, Cody, a history buff, noted.

In the enveloping dusk, we glimpsed shadows moving along the sagebrush: bighorn sheep, goats and other critters emerging for their nocturnal wanderings. But the most surreal sight was at the end of the ride, where a giant backlit sign for a truck stop casino appeared over a desert butte — Vegas was beckoning us back, but now we welcomed the summons. Here we were, peddling into the sunset, feeling more athletic, cool and (gasp!) enlightened than when we first rolled into Vegas four days ago. Oh what good parents we were!

“The moniker of ‘Sin City’ is totally wrong,” Mr. Alvarez told me, “if you know where to look.”

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She Was a Star of New Palestinian Music. Then She Played Beside the Mosque.

“People on the conservative side saw this as an example of the weakness and absence of the Palestinian Authority, and the impotence of the Palestinian condition,” said Sari Nusseibeh, a Palestinian intellectual and former head of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. Though Palestinian society was once more accepting of diversity, it has grown more conservative in recent years as the struggle for statehood sputtered and some Palestinians turned to tradition and religion to sustain their identity, Prof. Nusseibeh said.

Ms. Abdulhadi was born on the eve of a more hopeful time, in October 1990. Her family had been living in exile in Jordan since 1969, after the Israeli authorities expelled her grandmother, Issam Abdulhadi, a leading women’s rights activist.

But as peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians gathered pace in the early 1990s, Israel allowed certain exiled leaders to return with their families, in a gesture of good will. Among them were Issam and her family, including young Sama’ and her older brother and sister. Her father, Saad, is a publisher and events manager, and her mother, Samira Hulaileh, runs a forum for businesswomen. She met for this interview in their hilltop home, as Ms. Hulaileh served homemade lamb dumplings.

As a child, Ms. Abdulhadi was always a trailblazer. With her grandmother, she successfully lobbied her headmaster to let her form a girls’ soccer team (she later played for the national team). As a teenager, she organized hip-hop battles and break-dancing events, and acquaintances from the time remember her as a powerful presence.

“It was the same feeling that you still get today,” said Derrar Ghanem, a contemporary who also later helped build Ramallah’s electronic music scene. “She walks in and you think, ‘Who’s that?’”

Ms. Abdulhadi began to experiment as a D.J. amid the second intifada, the Palestinian uprising that killed about 1,000 Israelis and 3,000 Palestinians during the early 2000s. She used her father’s sound equipment to play music at friends’ events.

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