Sin City might not seem like the most family-friendly vacation destination, but it really can be. All you have to do is stay smart and plan ahead when bringing your kids to Las Vegas.
First, choose a resort hotel with a family-oriented pool complex. On the Strip, Mandalay Bay has a sandy artificial beach and wave pool, while the MGM Grand has a lazy river ride. Keep in mind that nearly all pools in Las Vegas are open seasonally from spring through fall. If you’re visiting during winter, it doesn’t matter where you stay – the pools probably will be closed. For families on a budget, the Orleans hotel west of the Strip offers child-care (not free, sorry), a bowling alley, movie theaters, and a video-game arcade. Keep in mind that if your hotel doesn’t have an awesome pool, suburban Wet ‘n’Wild water park is where local families beat the summer heat.
For daytime attractions on the Strip, let your kids ride the roller coaster at New York-New York, climb aboard the High Roller observation wheel, visit the Adventuredom amusement park at carnival-themed Circus Circus, or zoom up the Stratosphere Tower, which has thrill rides at the top, as well as a hair-raising SkyJump for older teens. If your kids are animal lovers, skip the cruelly cramped Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. Instead visit the overpriced, but entertaining Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay.
Off the Strip, families with kids of any age can visit the eco-friendly Springs Preserve, which offers nature trails and interactive museum exhibits. Teens will love the high-speed go-karting at Pole Position Raceway. Downtown’s SlotZilla zip line allows kids of any age (minimum weight 60 lbs.) to ride along in tandem with an adult. West of the Strip, the sky-high Voodoo Zipline on the rooftop of the Rio requires all riders to be at least 48” tall. Though you might not want to make a special trip east of the Strip, the low-roller Pinball Hall of Fame is fun for kids and nostalgic adults alike.
If your teens and tweens are mall rats, there are plenty of spots to let ’em loose on the Strip. Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile Shops has the most teen-friendly stores, but the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is an equally good choice for families, with corny animatronic shows to amuse younger kids. South of the Strip and easily reached on an SDX Express bus, Town Square shopping mall has a branch of GameWorks, a mega classic and high-tech gaming arcade with bowling lanes, as well as a free kids playground with a maze, treehouse, and princess tower.
For after-dark diversions dark, get tickets to a family-friendly stage show, like Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère, LOVE, Michael Jackson ONE, or Kà, or the celebrity impersonators of Legends in Concert. Grab last-minute discount tickets at Tix 4 Tonight, which has locations on and off the Strip.
Last but not least, get out of town! Take a break from the Strip’s neon lights and take the whole family into the great outdoors at Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, or the Grand Canyon.
Feel free to add your own suggestions for families by leaving a tip or hint below. Thanks!