Traveling to Las Vegas with Kids: Yes, it is possible!
By June Santini
People say Las Vegas is like Disneyland for grownups. While that seems to me to be generally true--that the majority of touristy activities in Vegas are intended for those 21 and older--kids and families can also have a good time together in Vegas.
The #1 trick, in my opinion, is to make it a multi-generational vacation. And I don't just say this because I'm the grandma in question.
Recently, my daughter Meagan needed to attend a professional conference in Las Vegas. Her 9-month-old daughter, being a breastfed baby, was too little to leave back in New York with Grandma for five days. What to do? The first solution was to take along Meagan's husband Brian, who, of course, was perfectly capable of taking care of the baby while Meagan attended talks on actuarial science. But how would this young couple be able to enjoy what attracts 20-somethings to Vegas? Babies make that tricky, if not impossible.
Meagan and Brian solved this problem by bringing me along. And of course, there was no laying about by the pool for me and the little pumpkin (though we did some of that, too, with plenty of sunscreen): I was going to ferret out all of the family-friendly things to do with kids in the area. We at KidsOutAndAbout live for that kind of challenge!
Lucky 7 Tips for a Great Vegas Vacation with Kids
A Las Vegas vacation can be fun for the whole family if you keep a few things in mind. Here are my Lucky 7 Tips for a Family Friendly Vegas Vacation.
- If you plan to gamble, bring someone along to watch the kids or plan on taking turns going to the gaming floors of the hotels. Children are not permitted in gaming areas.
- Be prepared to walk through the gaming areas to get to the family-friendly attractions. You won’t be able to shield your kids completely from gambling and cigarette smoke.
- Bring a stroller for littler children. The hotels are huge, there’s lots of walking.
- Don’t forget sunscreen. It is the desert, after all.
- It is really not a good idea to take kids out on the actual Strip. Instead, avoid most of the less-savory aspects of Vegas by simply taking cabs from one hotel to the other or using the Monorail or the Tram which connect hotels to each other. The atmosphere inside the hotels we visited was nothing I’d be afraid of my kids seeing. Out on the Strip, however, is a different story. Save a walk out there for when the kids are otherwise occupied.
- Don’t forget your bathing suit! Even in November, the pool was great.
- Check the hours for attractions/ shows you really want to see. Some are not open or do not have performances on Tuesdays or Thursdays.
Family-Friendly Lodging in Vegas
Hotels in Vegas are relatively inexpensive, and most offer some kind of suite or adjoining rooms, which will serve you well while on your multi-generational vacation. We stayed at Vdara, in City Center, and it was perfect. Vdara is a smoke-free, non-gaming hotel....
Bellagio is a luxury hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas strip. At Bellagio, you will find lots of things to see and do that are fun for both kids and adults alike. ...
Family-Friendly Fun in Las Vegas
We visited several attractions that would make great family-friendly destinations all on their own, even without the lure of all of the gambling, food, and world-class entertainers for which Vegas is already known.
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
Even in November, the hot Las Vegas sun can be overwhelming. After you’ve had enough pool time and the kids have grown weary of arcade games, you can still escape the sun by visiting the Shark Reef at the Mandalay Bay Aquarium.
Tournament of Kings
The Tournament of Kings, a dinner show at the Excalibur Hotel, has just about everything a kid could want: drama, sword fighting, pageantry, beautiful damsels, fire-breathing dragons, and plenty of horse riding!
Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel
Although the famous Siegfried and Roy no longer perform their white tiger revue, you can still see these rare and magnificent animals up close at the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel.
A random photo: while we were in Las Vegas, we had a bit of car trouble and were stuck on the side of the road for a few minutes while we waited for Triple A. This sunset was so beautiful, I had to take a picture (shown to the right). If you have to be stuck on the side of the road, at least the view was great!
© 2012, KidsOutAndAbout.com
June Santini is Vice President of Operations at KidsOutandAbout. She lives in Honeoye Falls, NY with her husband, Steve, and two of their four children. She is adjusting to her half empty nest and comforting herself by taking her granddaughter to every cultural experience she can.