to dam or not to dam and family vegas fun
July 7, 2006 8:14 PM   Subscribe

My family and I are headed to Vegas for a few days in a few days! I'm looking for any must see and do things, bonus points if they are family friendly and cheap or free.

and the obligatory two questions for the price of one.... we'll be driving in from Winslow, AZ. Should we try and cross the Hoover dam going into Vegas on 93 or go a bit further west and go up 95? many thanks in advance.
posted by busboy789 to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It is free to walk through the Venitian and marvel at what an incredible edifice it is.
posted by Crotalus at 8:20 PM on July 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

I recommend seeing the Hoover Dam. Along with Crotalus's suggestion walk along the strip and pop into the many casino/hotel complexes -- there's alot to see.

I suggest a visit to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, Botanical Cactus Gardens and the Living Machine -- free, fun and delectable.
posted by ericb at 8:28 PM on July 7, 2006

The traffic on the Hoover Dam is pretty heavy, but if you're not in a hurry, it's worth it. I'd recommend the Carnival World Buffet at the Rio hotel.
posted by mattbucher at 8:44 PM on July 7, 2006

I second ericb's recommendation for the factory tours and would add three others that are close by; the scary clown tour, the marshmallow factory and the cranberry world tour (Darn, it appears that tours are no longer offered here).

The Bellagio; walk into the lobby and look up at the Dale Chihuly art in the ceiling. Gape. Continue on to the small but pretty botanical garden. Also, pastries. And a chocolate waterfall. Afterwards, walk out and watch the dancing waters show.

Caesars Palace; walk through the mall and catch the various free shows throughout. The recently remodeled Aladdin has some cool stuff in their mall as well. The nice thing about the malls, is that they are full of super expensive designer stores, which in my experience are unlikely to appeal to young kids. That way, you're free to enjoy the spectacle without the worry of the buy me's coming out to play. There is a three story FAO Schwartz toy store at Caesar's though.

There are tigers to view at the Mirage.

The last time we were there, we stayed at the far south end of town at the Silverton. They have the biggest outdoor store I'd ever seen - a Bass Pro Shop. Three floors of stuffed animals, fish tanks and gear, including boats and atv's.

I could go on and on. Just know that all the big casinos have incredible stuff to look at, if that's what your family finds interesting. The pool at the hotel is usually a big hit once they are pooped from all the walking.

As for family friendly, just be aware that after dark is when the "slappers" come out. The men and women who stand along the sidewalks handing out really explicit flyers for strip clubs and the like. They call out to everyone who passes by and and do this weird slapping thing with the papers to get your attention. People take them and drop them so the ground is littered with them. Just don't be surprised, is all I'm saying.
posted by jvilter at 9:37 PM on July 7, 2006

You have to take your family to eat at the Star Trek restaurant in the Las Vegas Hilton. I'm not a fan of Star Trek, but this restaurant was pretty cool. Especially when the actors in Star Trek make up and costumes came out to harrass us. They were pretty damn funny. I swear, the Warf guy was actually Will Ferrell.
posted by NoMich at 9:46 PM on July 7, 2006

Besides the tigers at the Mirage, there's a lion habitat inside the MGM, and sometimes super adorable lion cubs. The roller coaster at New York, New York is fun--but not free. The pirate battle in front of the Treasure Island used to be a great and silly, but I hear it's gotten a bit sexed-up with mermaids?, and may not be as suitable for kids as before.
posted by tula at 11:55 PM on July 7, 2006

Almost every hotel on the strip has something cool to do for free or at least for somewhat cheap-ish.. Many of them have been mentioned already (Bellagio show, Mirage volcano, Treasure Island pirate show), there's others, too... Circus Circus has free mini circus shows several times a night.. the Mardi Gras event (nightly) at the Rio is kind of fun...

For the not free stuff: Coupons are your friend... there's coupon books everywhere, get them and look through them!

Not so cheap, but fun, was Madame Tussaud's wax museum at the Venetian...

If you've never had a milkshake at Ghirardelli, you must try one while you're in vegas...
posted by twiggy at 11:59 PM on July 7, 2006

Drive out of Las Vegas to Red Rock State Park and take a break from the casinos. Only about 30 min drive, but a wonderful vista. Hike the trail to the "tank" (a natural lake at the top of a hill) and look back at Las Vegas

And of course, the rides on top of the Stratosphere Tower...
posted by A189Nut at 12:48 AM on July 8, 2006

Oh yeah, coupons. We've gotten coupons before for day time shows, which are usually cleaned up for the family and cheaper too. There was a magic show at the Tropicana that we enjoyed and last time we were there, we saw comic/magician Matt King at the Harrah's, and liked him a lot.
posted by jvilter at 12:56 AM on July 8, 2006

Mac King - and it's a wonderful show. You can usually get in for free or for the cost of a drink. A-quintuple-plus, super-highly-recommended.
posted by unixrat at 7:04 AM on July 8, 2006

There's a free short 3D film at M&M World (on the strip) that I simply won't miss whenever I go to Vegas. The kids will love it, and you'll love the bar full of bitter single socks.
posted by ferociouskitty at 7:11 AM on July 8, 2006

unixrat - sheesh! Mac King is right. He only says his name about a thousand times in the course of the show too. Blame it on late night posting and googling and finding someone else who thinks he's Matt too.
posted by jvilter at 10:32 AM on July 8, 2006

I've never actually been, but if it was me, I would definitely go to the Liberace Museum.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 9:55 PM on July 8, 2006

... the bar full of bitter single socks.


I want to see the Fremont Street Experience, and it's free. But for that, you have to go downtown, away from the Strip.
posted by Rash at 11:11 PM on July 8, 2006

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