Considered the ultimate playground for adults, Las Vegas can also make a trip fun for the whole family. Beyond the casinos and pool parties are thrills and adventures for even the youngest of visitors. And, parents may be surprised to learn that the trip can also make an inexpensive family vacation: we're approaching some of the cheapest times of the year to visit Las Vegas: September, November and the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
We've polled the parents in our Las Vegas office, and our Deal Experts provided these family-friendly activities:
- Discovery Children's Museum: Take a page from the locals and check out the new, larger location by Symphony Park. Before you go, check out the calendar of events to see what seasonal interactive exhibits will be on display as well as perennial favorites Solve It! Mystery Town, Eco City and Young at Art. Open Tuesdays-Sundays and closed on some holidays.
- Magic shows: In addition to the more mature shows held at night, several magicians have kid-friendly daytime performances to show off their stuff and inspire and delight a new generation of fans. Family-friendly favorites include Nathan Burton at Planet Hollywood and Mac King at Harrah's.
- The great outdoors: Count on kids being awed by the impressive lights and structures on The Strip, but the area around the city is pretty impressive thanks to Mother Nature. Outdoor activities in Las Vegas range from taking pedal boats out on Lake Las Vegas to easy hikes in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
- Circus Circus' indoor theme park, the Adventuredome: Home to roller coasters, an arcade, bumper cars, laser tag, and more, the five-acre Adventuredome sits on prime real estate at at the intersection of The Strip and Circus Circus Drive. Younger kids can take a spin on the Merry Go Round or check out a flick at the 4-D theater with special effects ranging from bubbles. Open daily; rides range from $5-$8.
- Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay: Stop by the ocean in the middle of the desert and check out more than 2000 animals including a rare golden crocodile in the hotel's 1.6 million gallon aquarium. Every week can be Shark Week here: open daily. Kids four and younger are free, kids 5-12 are $12 and adult are $18 for adults.
- Pinball Hall of Fame: Show the kids what the game looked like before the invent of the many iPad apps. Don't let the name fool you, this isn't a musuem; all games on display work and can be played by guests. Games date back to the 1950s and range from $.25 to $.75 to play and there is no admission fee charged. Open seven days a week.
- Madame Tussauds Interactive Wax Attraction: Not unique to Vegas, but this spot at the Venetian at the intersection of the Vegas Strip and Spring Mountain Road could not be more popular among the younger set. Think of what fun holiday photos you can take with wax celebrity look-alikes while taking a break from the desert sun. Children 3 and younger are free, kids 4-12 are $19.95 and adults (13 and older) are $29.95.
Where to stay: Great for families, hotel rooms in Vegas tend to be larger than many of their big city counterparts across the country. For stays on The Strip, look for condo or suite properties that may include extra bedrooms and kitchens, great for fussy kids who may not want to eat every meal out. Another option that works well for some families is looking to stay at non-gaming hotels that can be more mellow at night.
Several resorts off The Strip in the Lake Las Vegas area are geared toward travelers with kids. Amenities range from movie theaters to bowling alleys to huge pools with slides on-site. Check out our hotel deals in Las Vegas for the best offers.