Fun Family Activities in the Heart of Sin City
Lively casinos, chic nightclubs and lavish stage shows—at times, Las Vegas looks like one giant playground for adults. But this desert oasis doesn’t just cater to the 21-and-over crowd, and you’ll find plenty of kid-friendly activities both on and away from the bustling Las Vegas Strip. Whether your children love theme park adventures in the form of roller coasters and water slides or prefer a laid-back day connecting with nature and wildlife, Las Vegas provides vacationing families with a host of entertainment options.
A Day at the Circus
Circus Circus (2880 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV) is one of Vegas’ most family-centric hotels. Spend your day inside the 5-acre Adventuredome, an indoor amusement park with thrill rides, a miniature golf course and a laser tag maze. While tiny tots will gravitate toward the miniature train and carousel, older children will want to ride Canyon Blaster, a 55-mile-per-hour coaster with double corkscrews. Nestled in the middle of the hotel’s casino, the Carnival Midway lets kids test their skills on more than 200 video games and win prizes with carnival games. Look up to see trapeze artists fly through the air and attempt acrobatic feats high above the Midway.
Under the Sea
Located inside Mandalay Bay, the Shark Reef Aquarium (3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV) gives kids the chance to enjoy close encounters with over 2,000 marine animals. Stick your hands inside a touch pool filled with stingrays and horseshoe crabs, walk through a massive see-through tunnel as sharks and sea turtles swim around you and come face-to-face with such predators as crocodiles and Burmese pythons. Add-on fees let you enjoy such interactive activities as diving with sharks and feeding sea turtles.
Connecting with Nature
On your next trip to the Mirage hotel and casino, make a break for Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat (3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV). Stroll through the animal sanctuary’s lush gardens, where big cats, including white tigers, white lions and black leopards, lounge and frolic in their large pens. Next, visit the adjacent Dolphin Habitat, where kids will delight as bottlenose dolphins swim inside a 2.2-million-gallon aquarium. Enhanced experiences let visitors enjoy early morning yoga sessions alongside the dolphin tank or work alongside dolphin trainers for the day.
Slipping and Sliding: Cooling Off in Las Vegas
Water parks are a welcome sight for Las Vegas tourists who bake in the desert city’s scorching temperatures. Open April through early October, the 20-acre Wet‘n’Wild Las Vegas (7055 S. Fort Apache Rd., Las Vegas, NV) offers more than 25 attractions. Paradise Falls is reserved exclusively for pint-sized swimmers, with kiddie splash pads featuring mini water slides, tipping buckets and fountains. Older kids can body surf on 4-foot waves at Red Rock Bay, float leisurely down a 1,100-foot lazy river or plummet down the park’s enormous water slides. Special select events let children watch family-friendly movies from the wave pool, settle in for a story-time session or pose for photos with swimming mermaids.
Shopping and Playing: Fun for the Whole Family
Visit Town Square Las Vegas (6605 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV), an enormous, outdoor entertainment district with nearly 150 shops and restaurants. Kids will head straight for Children’s Park, a quirky and free playground where they can dance in a jetted fountain, run through a hedge maze and enter a pretend world in a bakery-themed playhouse. Children can also scale a large treehouse outfitted with slides, a climbing wall and a fort. In the summer, shade sails keep the play area cool. For a small fee, explore the complex while riding the Cactus Cooler, a miniature electric train, or take in a kiddie flick at the 18-screen movie theater.
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A travel writer since 2002, Leah Rendon has written countless articles for online pop-culture magazines and various travel-related websites, including Eurobooking and World66. Gosford also has experience in copywriting, having developed a series of articles related to network marketing. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in theater arts.