Best things to do with kids in Las Vegas
Circus Circus’s 5-acre indoor theme park offers excitement for all ages. The littlest ones can go around the carousel or the gentle Miner Mike train ride, while speed-seekers will want to check out the extreme vertical drops of El Loco and the world's only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster Canyon Blaster. There's also lazer tag, 4D theater features, roller skating, and classic arcade and midway games.
See tropical fish, giant sea turtles, alligators, sting rays, exotic scenery and, of course, sharks up close and personal at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. The giant aquarium is a wonderland for all types of marine life. The walk-through tunnel that cuts through the 1.3-million-gallon shark exhibit and the interactive touch pool are must-sees. Marine-loving kids (and adults) will love this one.
One of the largest kid-friendly attractions in Las Vegas, the Discovery Children's Museum encourages families to explore three floors (and 58,000 square feet) of art, science, and culture exhibits. Interactive areas encourage kids to solve mysteries, create their own inventions, and dress up in costume while a rotating exhibit area features shows from other museums. Active kids can also climb, crawl, and slide on various structures. There's a lot here to get their creative juices flowing and burn energy to boot.
For a unique, eye-popping view of The Strip, head to The Linq Hotel & Casino. Kids will feel on top of the world taking a spin in the High Roller, one of the world's tallest observation wheels. The leisurely 30 minute ride gives you a 360 degree view of the area from 550 feet up. Nighttime offers the most dramatic scenery.
There is, perhaps, no more awe-inspiring attraction in Las Vegas than this centerpiece at the Bellagio. A team of master horticulturalists construct beautiful scenes with trees, flowers, plants, and structural elements. The display changes seasonally as well as during major holidays. Kids will be impressed, and it's a great backdrop for the perfect family photo.
This animal sanctuary at The Mirage Hotel and Casino features big cats and bottlenose dolphins. It's a calm, lush oasis away from all the hubbub of The Strip. While there are no set shows, kids can watch dolphins play together and do tricks with the trainers. An underwater viewing area offers a closer look. Wander through the gardens and you'll see (and learn about) lions, tigers, and panthers.
One of the most recognizable attractions in the city can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors as guests are serenaded by authentic gondoliers while lazily floating by faux Italian facades and architecture. It's a romantic option for couples, but the four-person boats are great for families too.
For some active outdoor fun, Red Rock Canyon—about 20 miles west—can't be beat. The stunning scenery can be viewed by car or bike from the 13-mile scenic drive. Along the way, there are several hikes where the kids can get some exercise and enjoy the desert landscape.
The Lion Habitat Ranch might be one of Las Vegas’s best-kept secrets. The owners of this lion sanctuary aim to educate the public while caring for the big cats. The well-trained, caring crew creates a peaceful environment where guests can feed the lions, take behind-the-scenes tours and even enjoy a meal with the surrounding animals.
The Fremont East neighborhood keeps getting hipper but also more family-friendly. A shopping center made of shipping containers, the area boasts an interactive playground with a 33-foot-tall slide and giant mechanical praying mantis that shoots fire in rhythm to accompanying music. Regular programming includes karaoke, live music, and movie nights. Don't miss The Dome, a "4K visual entertainment experience" featuring stunning imagery accompanied by the music of legendary rock bands (it also features kids' programming like Dinosaurs at Dusk).
Just a few steps from the blackjack tables and slots, birds of a decidedly pink feather hang out inside the Flamingo’s lush wildlife habitat. While the vibrant Chilean flamingos are the main attraction, you can also spot swans, ducks, turtles and koi. It's free to explore, and kids will love watching the daily live feedings.
Any thrill-seeker knows that one of the most exciting (and famous) Las Vegas attractions is the Big Apple Coaster in the New York New York hotel. Riders zoom past a replica of the skyline and Statue of Liberty while looping in a 180-degree “heartline” twist. For an even more thrilling experience, strap on a cutting-edge VR headset to battle with alien invaders as you soar through the air.
Five blocks of neon lights under the largest LED screen in the world is enough to get kids of any age excited, but Fremont also hosts regular light shows, nightly staged entertainment and plenty of gift shops. Adults can speed across the cityscape on the Slotzilla zipline while younger kids can try the lower zipline that zooms by at half the height.
In the right light, this park's curving red sandstone looks like flames rising from the dirt. An hour northeast of Vegas, Valley of Fire is great for a day-long nature adventure in the desert. See stunning geology, hike scenic trails, and spot 3,000-year-old petroglyphs made by Native Americans. Highlights include formations such as Rainbow Vista, Atlatl Rock, Elephant Rock, and Gorilla Rock.
What kid can resist four stories of chocolately M&Ms and M&M swag? They can create personalized M&Ms and fill a bag with 16 different colors of the sweet treat. There are plenty of gifts to choose from too. After filling up on candy, check out the NASCAR display and settle in for a 3D movies.
Kids will be mesmerized as more than a thousand spouts of water dance in tune with music and lights. The elegant performance looks slightly different from every angle. By the time the show reaches its crescendo, you'll want to watch it again. Fortunately, the show—located outside the Bellagio in a huge man-made lake—starts up every half hour until 8pm and every 15 minutes after that until midnight.
Visitors can catch a glimpse of the factory and learn about the chocolate making process at this delicious attraction. A lovely Cactus Botanical Garden (one of the largest of its kind) is an added pleasure that turns into a premier holiday destination as it's lit up with colorful lights and decorations.
Also known as Big Spring, this is where legendary Old West explorers Kit Carson and John Fremont parked their horses in the mid 1800s. The sprawling site features two museums, botanical gardens, and nature trails. You can rent a bike, ride a train, or visit Boomtown 1905 for a taste of way-back-when. A visit to the playground will burn off the last bit of the kids' energy on the way out.
Travel back in time and be entertained like the royal court in the days of yore at the Excalibur Hotel. This King Arthur-inspired show is full of athleticism, competition and valor. A packed crowd of mostly families enjoys this theater-in-the-round spectacle accompanied by a three-course feast. Watch knights battle it out while you chow down on a supper fit for a king.