Never considered taking a family vacation in Las Vegas? We’ve partnered with family traveler Erin Bender of Travel With Bender as she strips Vegas of its adult fun and introduces little ones to the city of sin.
Bright lights, gambling, drinking, seedy shows. Doesn’t really sound family friendly, does it? But Las Vegas is so much more than a vacation hotspot for the over 21s. In fact, you’ll probably discover many more fun things than I’ve included in this list – more than can be squeezed into one getaway. So, like me, you’ll keep coming back again and again to Sin City … with your kids.
1. Magic Shows
There’s a plethora of world-class shows in Vegas, but for kids under 12 the magic shows are a winner. Forget adult-orientated David Copperfield and Criss Angel. Think Illusion at The Riviera or Nathan Burton’s Magic Show at Planet Hollywood. Short, punchy and the perfect dose of illusions to not freak out young kids, but inspire them to be the next Houdini. Check kids age limits beforehand, under 5 are free at some shows.
2. Medieval dinner and show
With a home at Excalibur, this medieval show is easily a family-friendly highlight. Entry includes a three-course meal. It’s not just a big meal, it’s medieval. Yep, the dish is served without cutlery so you have to work your way through it with only your bare hands. During dinner, the arena below is filled with jousting knights, sword fighting and more as you cheer on your favorite hero. A fun night filled with laughter and more than enough food.
3. Luxor laser
Catch the free monorail with the kids for a neat view of The Strip. Get off at the south end in the evening to witness Luxor’s super laser – a brilliant blue light shining straight into the night’s sky from an otherworldly pyramid, guarded by a majestic sphinx. You can also visit the museum inside to get up close with ancient Egyptian artifacts.
4. Bellagio fountains
Another iconic free activity in Las Vegas. Every half hour during the day and every 15 minutes after 8 p.m. at the front of the Bellagio, the large fountain comes to life with dancing jets synchronized to contemporary music. A pretty stop as you make your way down The Strip.
Most large Las Vegas hotels have fun, exciting, free features. In the Flamingo, you will find a beautiful tropical garden with lots of different birds, and, of course, gorgeous pink flamingos.
6. New York roller coaster
While a visit to New York New York to see the replica city skyline is amusing, add to that a rollercoaster and it’s an instant Vegas classic.
7. Circus acts
If the New York roller coaster was not enough, head to the Adventure Dome at Circus Circus for thrilling indoor theme park rides. Or you can catch a free indoor circus show running several times each day.
My kids love a good buffet and as a parent, so do I. Kids can eat as much as they like and navigating the oodles of choices are half the fun. Just be careful when choosing the buffet. Places like the Bellagio will charge kids at adult prices (up to $32). Others like Treasure Island offer discounted kids prices and if you stop at a nearby Tix4Tonight booth beforehand you can score a substantial discount. Buffets at the casinos on Freemont Street are generally cheaper than The Strip as well.
9. M&M’s World / Coca Cola World
On The Strip you will find M&M’s World. Spread over four floors and filled with every possible candy-coated chocolate-inspired product along with gifts and memorabilia. Kids will love the 3D movie starring “Red” and “Yellow”.
If you haven’t fallen into a sugar coma by this point, right next door is Coca-Cola World. Several floors of Coca-Cola themed gifts, old memorabilia and a café. At the café you can order a tasting tray of Coke products from around the world. We all had lots of fun trying some delicious (and absolutely disgusting) sodas from every corner of the globe. Chances are you’ll walk out with a new favorite.
Freemont Street, the old center of Las Vegas, is an entertaining and fun place to stroll with kids during the day. The pedestrian mall makes getting around easier and safer than The Strip. At the south end is Slotzilla, a zipline stretching the entire length of the street, perched above the heads of hundreds of tourist. Check the age and weight limits in advance – my 7-year-old passed, but my 6-year-old didn’t.
If the zipline is not your cup of tea, then head to Freemont Street in the evening to watch the world’s largest TV screen come to life. Regular mini-shows are displayed on the ceiling along with a music sequence.
Who would have thought? So much fun and entertainment for families in a destination aimed at adults. Break out of the mold, ditch the perceptions and enjoy your next family vacation in Las Vegas. But be warned, it might not be your last.
Erin Bender is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads visit travelocitygnomads.com.
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