Everyone’s a Winner with Free Entertainment
Of course Las Vegas is well-known for its many casinos and equally famous live shows featuring big-name performers. But families aren’t limited to these two popular forms of activities. On the contrary, Las Vegas offers a great variety of fun for both you and your little ones–without breaking the bank.
Catch a Show
Yes, Las Vegas is home to many top-notch shows like Cirque du Soleil and concerts by big-name artists such as Britney Spears, but there’s so much more to do that doesn't require a ticket. For example, The Mirage (3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV) hosts a volcanic eruption several times a day. The show features volcanoes, waterfalls, fire and smoke effects, but the main focus is watching the volcanoes shoot fireballs more than 12 feet into the air. Get there early for the best view, which is right in front of the hotel. However, if your small children are sensitive to loud noises and flashing lights, you might want to skip this one.
At The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace (3500 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV), the Fall of Atlantis show relates the story of King Atlas as he tries to choose between his daughter and son as the next ruler of Atlantis. Visitors can watch as 9-foot-tall animatronic statues and a 20-foot winged dragon try to win the battle. Once the show is over, check out the 50,000-gallon saltwater aquarium behind the stage.
Be One with Nature
At the Bellagio (3600 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV), don’t miss the spectacular water and music show held several times a day that features the hotel’s famous fountains. More than 14,000 gallons of water perform a synchronized dance to one of more than 30 different songs. This show is especially beautiful at night, thanks to the ambient lighting around the hotel. Before or after the show, go inside the hotel to the conservatory and botanical gardens. Every season, the hotel offers a new presentation with a variety of spotlight pieces accompanied by more than 10,000 potted plants and flowers to create a themed horticultural scene.
Head to the Big Top
Circus enthusiasts will love the performances at Circus Circus (2880 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV), which hosts mini performances throughout the day starting at 11 a.m. Circus favorites like trapeze artists, the strong man and jugglers all take the stage. Check the schedule, and highlight those you don’t want to miss. See as little or as much as you want, and it’s all completely free.
Go to the Birds
Kids of all ages will love The Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo (3555 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV), which houses a beautiful flock of Chilean flamingos that give the hotel its name. But these are not the only animals in residence. Visitors also can see turtles, ring-tealed ducks, swans, koi fish and brown pelicans. Plus, catch the two live feedings a day or take your picture with one of the resident parrots.
Indulge in Something Sweet
Not many people can turn down chocolate, which makes the Ethel M Chocolates factory (2 Cactus Garden Dr., Henderson, NV) a great family attraction. Enjoy a self-guided tour along the factory’s viewing aisle and see how some of your favorite chocolates come together. Afterward, head outside to the botanical cactus garden to see more than 300 species of cacti and succulents, most native to the American Southwest, along with desert trees and shrubs.
Visiting at the Right Time
Las Vegas remains popular year-round, but the weather can affect the crowds. For the most pleasant weather, visit in January and February when temperatures are mild. In summer, expect the city to be hot; the average high in July is 106 degrees F. This could prove uncomfortable for most and unbearable for children, so plan your trip around these times if it doesn’t work for your family.
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Karon Warren has covered travel for nearly 20 years with numerous print and online publications. Her byline has appeared in USA Today, USA Today’s 10 Best, WorkingMother.com, FamilyVacationCritic.com. and many others. She is a member of both the Society of American Travel Writers and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In addition to her freelance work for other clients, she also writes for her own travel site, ThisGirlTravels.com