Las Vegas: A Family-Friendly Holiday Destination?
By: Phoebe Ackland, ellaslist
Las Vegas...probably not the destination that comes to mind when you think of little ones and wholesome family getaways. Rightly so- they don't call it Sin City for nothing!
The eyes of most parents would be watering at the thought of visiting adult Disneyland with kids- imagine, having to give the birds and the bees talk to little ones who pick up baseball-style cards advertising strip clubs that are utterly enveloping the sidewalks? Mortifying, and inappropriate! And no, son, you cannot collect them.
However, you might be pleased to know that Las Vegas actually has quite a lot going on for families. If you avoid the smuttier parts of town (and by the way, there are lots of them), stay out of the way of drunks, don't let kiddos inhale too much of the smoke as you walk past casinos and maybe just make it a goal to be safely tucked away in your hotel room before it gets dark, then you might find that your family hits the jackpot with a trip to Las Vegas. But just a little bit of warning before reading on- there are blogs out there who have tried and tested Vegas with kids and beg you to go anywhere BUT Sin City. Just some food for thought.
If you're booking flights despite the raised eyebrows of friends and extended family, then use this is your guide to family adventure planning:
1. High Roller
The Las Vegas Observation Wheel! Found at The LINQ's outdoor shopping centre, dining and entertainment promenade, little ones will be blown away on this 550-feet tall carnival ride. It takes 30 minutes to make it the full way around in one of the High Roller's 28 glass cabins, and impressively, each cabin can hold up to 40 people- so perhaps Las Vegas is the perfect destination for a whole family reunion! More information here.
2. Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
From the dangerous to the unusual, Shark Reef is not your typical aquarium! One of the highlights is the almost 360-degree view you'll get of a 1.3 million gallon shipwreck exhibition- you'll walk through a tunnel with fish and sharks swimming around underwater ruins on all sides of you! Little ones will love the touch pool, where sharks, rays and crabs have been known to be on the sensory rotation. More information here.
3. Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat
As magical as its name. At The Mirage, you'll enter a world full of bottlenose dolphins, white tigers, white lions, and leopards. Special experiences available include 'Trainer for a day' where you can get in the water, help train and play with dolphins, 'painting with the dolphins' where you will be helped to create a masterpiece on canvas with a bottlenosed friend, and 'yoga with the dolphins' where you can have a relaxing morning session in an underwater dolphin viewing area followed by a delicious healthy smoothie. More information here.
4. Discovery Children's Museum
A MUST-SEE for kids! This extremely interactive, vibrant and engaging experience is one that all children will love, and they'll learn something new while they're at it! Attractions include Toddler Town, a desert-themed play town, The Summit, a 70-foot, 3-storey tower, Water World where kids can splash around, Fantasy Festival for some imaginative play, and Mystery Town where kids are encouraged to investigate and solve problems. More information here.
5. Tournament of Kings
A kid-friendly theatre dining experience! Tournament of Kings gives 'dinner and a show' a whole new meaning and is the most popular one in Vegas. Based on the story of King Arthur, families will sit in a 900-seat theatre around an arena watch valiant knights atop mighty steeds fighting each other with a mix of special effects and pyrotechnics, whilst indulging in a 3-course meal using traditional Medieval utensils: your hands! More information here.
6. Adventuredome Theme Park
In the family-friendly Circus Circus Hotel and Casino. Rides and attractions include the Batman Laser Challenge: Defeat The Joker where you'll race through a web of lasers, free daily clown performances on the main stage, indoor rock climbing and bungee jumping at Xtreme Zone, mini golf at Pirates Bounty, two big rollercoasters, Spongebob Squarepants and Ice Age themed rides, as well as an array of family and junior rides: a circus carousel, Frog Hopper, Thunderbirds, and lots more. More information here.
7. Flamingo Hotel and Casino
Head over to this hotel's lush 15-acre property to check out the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat! You'll see birds of all kinds including parrots, ibis, ducks and swans, as well as koi fish, turtles and plenty of flamingos! It's a free and signature-Vegas experience that families and nature lovers will adore. There are two live feeding shows a day, as well as beautiful grounds to enjoy, and plenty of awesome photo opportunities. More information here.