Fun stuff to do with kids in Vegas?
July 13, 2007 3:25 PM   Subscribe

Fun stuff to do in Vegas with kids? We'll be there for 2 days, staying at Circus Circus, with 7-year old boy/girl twins. Haven't been there in 10 years. Besides walking the strip at night and doing the stuff at the hotel, what else do y'all recommend? Also, what's the rule on kids and casinos? If we take that walkway that goes into Caesar's, I seem to recall it drops you off right in the casino. Are we not allowed to even use this with children, or is it OK as long as we get them out of the casino area quickly?
posted by mattholomew to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Most the casinos have specific paths around the outer edges of the casino halls where children are permitted to walk so they can reach the restaurants and concert venues and such. Generally they're marked by differently patterned carpets.

I was in Vegas in January with my cousin's boys, and they liked the TV in the sky thing on Freemont St at night. The most fun they had the whole time, though, was out in the Valley of Fire, crawling up and down on the rocks. They had to work hard not to get dirty since they were dressed for a wedding, but they still had a good time climbing.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:35 PM on July 13, 2007

-lion exhibit at MGM Grand
-"Volcano" and other animal exhibits at Mirage (I think there are sharks / dolphins, and the Seigfried and Roy animals)
-Stratosphere rollercoaster and other rides
-Excalibur jousting dinner show
-Excalibur arcade and virtual reality rides
-New York New York roller coaster
-M&M store
-A variety of magic shows.
-Rick Thomas magic show. Less expensive than Lance Burton and others, but a "big" show (SKIP Amazing Jonathan with kids. Very adult. In fact... skip it with adults as well. I like him on TV but the live show was not good.)

In general, Vegas is not as "family friendly" as they were trying to be a few years ago. So, be prepared for your kids to see some billboards and signs that are definitely adult-oriented. And DO NOT take, or let your kids take a brochure or "trading card" from the people standing on the streets. They have nude photos. Also, expect smokiness in the casinos, even walking through the lobbies. Not so bad during the week, but weekends and some nights it can get bad if you are at all sensitive.

There is way more to do than I can list, and I have only been a couple times. I'm sure others will give you more and better ideas. Have fun!
posted by The Deej at 3:37 PM on July 13, 2007

I was in Vegas in January with my cousin's boys, and they liked the TV in the sky thing on Freemont St at night.
Yes, that is fun, however, park as close to the entrance to Fremont as you can. It's in a very iffy area of Vegas, and you don't want to be walking blocks to your car at night.
posted by The Deej at 3:39 PM on July 13, 2007

Leave the city and go see some of the insane, amazing natural landscapes in that area.
posted by milinar at 4:01 PM on July 13, 2007

Indoor skydiving is not cheap but pretty memorable!
posted by zepheria at 4:09 PM on July 13, 2007

Things to do with kids in Las Vegas.

Consider a tour of the Ethel M Chocolate Factory (and Botanical Cactus Gardens) -- about ten miles east of the Strip.
posted by ericb at 4:16 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Go to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve - its amazing
posted by a22lamia at 4:21 PM on July 13, 2007

If it's only half as amazing as their website, I'm impressed.
posted by rcavett at 4:27 PM on July 13, 2007

Vegas local here.

Roller coasters.
Hiking expeditions, with bonus Anazasi petroglyphs!
Zoo and/or Sigfried & Roy's Secret Garden.
M&M World (includes movie about the issue of "problem gamblers")
Horseback riding.
Water park.
Depending upon your daughter's interests, Sanrio Store in Fashion Show Mall.
Depending on everyone's interests, golf.
Gondola rides.
Hoover Dam.
Las Vegas Grand Prix (Rainbow just south of Lake Mead).
There's bowling and movie theaters at pretty much all the Station Casinos.
Just walk around gawking at stuff (one of my favorite pastimes is watching the gawkers).

Don't forget to ask for family friendly tips at the front desk; the people who work that desk live here, many have lived here for years or even decades, and many of them have families.
posted by ilsa at 4:30 PM on July 13, 2007

All this is predicated on you having your own wheels.

Red Rock Canyon is fun, whether you want to go hiking or not. Beautiful and quiet. Check out the visitors center.

Don't forget Boulder Dam. There's a little Boulder Dam museum in Boulder City that my nieces and nephews liked. I check that place out nearly every time. Plus, there are a bunch of antique shops, touristy art galleries nearby and the museum is air conditioned.

Of course, there's a bunch of stuff to do at Boulder Dam itself. I heard the guided tours sell out quick so you might want to check into that to see what you need to do to secure tickets. Walking the dam is free and dizzying.

Then there's the Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. Their hours weren't that great so check ahead but I really liked it. They have a movie theater simulation of a nuclear blast. All the fun of the bomb with no residual radiation!

There's the natural history museum north of the city (forgot what that place was called) and the Lied Children's museum (I think that's what it's called) that has interactive science-type exhibits. Kids loved both.

UNLV has some museum with exhibits of Indians and what not. And one of the libraries has an art museum connected to it.

The Bass Pro Shop south of the city has a two story waterfall and a little light gun shooting gallery with ghost clothes, a piano playing cowboy, hooting owls and such.

Under M&M world is a Game Works with all sorts of arcade games and air hockey tables. Never get tired of air hockey.

Free acrobat show and free bird show at the Tropicana--during the day time even.

FAO Schwartz in Caesar's Forum. It's on the way to the animatronic gods fighting about something or other--all while mounted on a salt water aquarium. The luxury car shop there was, at least last year, charging for admission again so that may or may not make your list.

Imperial Palace has a huge car museum. Check the tourist books for coupons.

Star Trek experience at the Hilton. Never been on that so can't say if it's worth it or not.

Librace Museum, same thing. My sister was dying to go but the schedule never allowed it.

Art museum in the Bellagio. Went their once to see the Monet exhibit.

Gondola rides in the Venetian. Rainstorms every half hour in the Aladdin stores mall walk... thing.

Vitamin World is in the light industrial district just south of the strip. They have a free walking tour through their plant were you watch them make pills, capsules and squishy oily vitamin E deals. I was surprised how much my nephews loved that.

Big and expensive aquarium in the Mandalay Bay. It was pricey but it sure was pretty.

There's even a small zoo in north of Las Vegas but that place made me depressed. They don't have many visitors and the poor animals need more attention.

Bonnie Springs is an old western town with scheduled shoot 'em ups and shows and a train ride from the parking lot to the ranch. Spent a day there and the kids loved it.

About an hour outside of LV is a ski resort. My nieces and nephews are all from Hawaii so seeing snow is a Big Deal for them but likely to not interest you. Besides, I think it's off season.

Oh I heard the Circus Circus has one of the worst buffets in LV. Skip it at all costs.

My apologies if I can't remember the names of some of these places. I often meet my relatives from the Hawaiian Islands in Las Vegas and my mom is the master of finding small, cheap, out-of-the-way attractions since we don't gamble. If there's something here that interests you and your google searching fails you, email me and I'll get the info from my mom.

Why go to Las Vegas if we don't gamble? Because if you live in Hawaii, it's cheaper to spend a week's vacation in Las Vegas than it is to vacation on a neighbor island. Has been for years.
posted by Tacodog at 4:49 PM on July 13, 2007

The Star Trek Experience at the Hilton is actually quite cool.

But I wanted to warn you that Circus/Circus itself is something of a dump. Don't be surprised if you're disappointed by the place.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:52 PM on July 13, 2007

Generally kids are no problem walking the pathways through the casinos as long as they don't linger anywhere.

Circus Circus is rather far north of most of the cool stuff on the Strip (except the Strat). You may want to plan for a cab ride or two, or get the low down on the Deuce which will take you inexpensively up and down the Strip and all the way downtown for the Fremont Street Experience (warning: obnoxious music on that page).
posted by dzot at 8:03 PM on July 13, 2007

From what I've read, the Stratosphere has added a retro world's fair type attraction, with midway type games and rides designed for kids. It's not too far from Circus Circus. You might wanna stop there in between trips to downtown. And of course there's the observation deck up top.

The "Deuce" public bus is a good way to get around. It's double-decker, and clean, but they make frequent stops and can take a while at each one (often because of tourists needing help or having trouble with fares). It can also still get pretty crowded, but they come by often, so waiting for the next one shouldn't be a problem.

And if you walk along the strip with kids in tow, you might wanna use blinders. Or have them stare down at the sidewalk the whole way.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:42 PM on July 13, 2007

The Mandalay Bay shark exhibit is cool. I think it's $10, but you get to go in an underwater pirate ship and look at sharks swimming above and below you. Try that at the circus circus circus circus!

Get out of Circus Circus as soon as you can and you will have a good time. Check out TI to see what it means to be less kid-friendly than a few years ago. Buy groceries at Trader Joe's to save money on snacks. Go to the Times Square Piano Bar in New York New York and look for the nearest person of color. Get free validated parking at the Glitter Gulch and eat a deep-fried oreo. Attend a time-share seminar.

The first time I went to Vegas was with my dad, on a cross-country drive. We had just spent several days in the Rockies, Zion, and the north rim of the Grand Canyon. We stayed at Circus Circus and almost left upon checking in it was so depressing. I'll never forget driving down the strip and asking him what he thought of the city, to which he replied, "Look at the beautiful moon. It's the most amazing thing here and nobody even notices it."
posted by billtron at 11:40 PM on July 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thought I'd post a follow-up. We did stay at Circus Circus, and it is rather dumpy although the new anti-smoking laws (basically you can only smoke right at the gaming tables, not everywhere in the hotel as in the old days) make it much more tolerable. Got an all-day pass to the rides in the adventure dome which was a lot of fun. It was HOT (Mid-July) so we could only do a small amount of walking outside before we were all wiped out. We ended up taking them for a drive up the strip at night to see the lights etc. and they were already nodding off then.

If I were to do this again, I would avoid the summer months, find a Hampton inn near the strip, and just park at one of the casinos for the day.

Oh, by the way, it wasn't a problem walking with kids in the casinos, nobody batted an eye.

Went to Zion national park after Vegas which was a much-needed dose of natural beauty after the sleaze & glitz.
posted by mattholomew at 6:14 AM on July 17, 2007

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