Me and my wife have always witnessed couples and their kids whenever we visit Sin City. We see them laugh, cry, scream, and shout. And on late nights, see kids sleeping in strollers.
We've always had an understanding that whenever our kids arrive, we would NEVER bring them to such an adult atmosphere. There's a time and place for kids in the world but Vegas was such a taboo.
So as a last minute decision, we decided "let's see what happens" and took our 2 year old pre-loaded with ideas of family friendly places to keep him entertained. On the way up there, as you can see, he was a good boy sitting for a good 4 hours, we had some fun with our music.
So here's a list of places we suggest if you do bring your kids to Las Vegas.
As some of you know, the time goes by extra fast in Las Vegas so you can actually take on 3 or 4 of these locations, plus dinner, and your day with your kids will be over as you know it.
1. The Secret Garden Dolphin Habitat - Located at The Mirage Resort & Casino. Opens at 10am to 6:30pm on the weekends and 11am - 6:30pm on the weekdays. $22 for adults, $17 for kids 4 - 12, and FREE for kids under 3. Your kids will certainly be entertained by all the cool tricks those dolphins can do, just like a miniature Sea World. You also get to see some of the rare white tigers in their habitat. I read somewhere that there was also a few leopards or cheetahs but when we went, we didn't see them. Nevertheless, you'll spend a good hour or two giving your kids something they'll remember.
2. The Circus Acts at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino - This casino is like a primary location for all families. Completed with carnival style games with prizes, an arcade, an amusement park called Adventuredome with several roller-coasters, and free hourly circus acts in the middle of everything. All kids everywhere will enjoy this place very much. If you have older kids, like 10 to teens, just give them ride wirstbands and $100 each and let them go. Then you and your mate can spend time drinking and gambling together.
3. The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay - Opens 10am - 10pm Friday & Saturday and 10am - 8pm Sunday thru Thursday. $20 for adults, $18 for seniors 65+, $14 for kids 4 to 12, and 3 and under are FREE.
We took Mav there last Saturday night and spent a good hour and a half being in awe of looking at all the scary sharks. While we were both having a good time, Mav was petrified with fear. He didn't whine or cry one bit but we knew if he ever acted up, this is the place where we would take him as a "Scared Straight" solution. There was also an additional Ocean Monsters exhibit option you can also look at for an additional $5 but we didn't bite (get it? bite? haha, nevermind).
4. The Volcano at The Mirage Resort and Casino - Firing nightly at 8pm, 9pm, and 10pm on Friday and Saturday, and only 8pm and 9pm Sunday thru Thursday.
After good time at their Secret Garden, maybe have dinner at their Mirage's LVB Burgers & Bar, you can make it out on the strip and wait for their Volcano to erupt at one of those hours. Loud as heck for the kids but they'll get used to it as it continues and the big bright fireball at the end which can be felt from it's intense heat. Really cool display for everyone.
5. The Bellagio Fountains at Bellagio Hotel & Casino - Showing every half hour on 12noon to 8pm then it's every 15 minutes until midnight.
Speaking of cool displays for everyone, the fountains is definitely on the list for your kids. Next to Circus Circus, this place is very popular for families. Loaded with strollers and toddlers sitting on daddy's shoulders, your kids will be amazed by these dancing water cannons. My personal favorite music piece is Con Te Partiro (Time To Say Goodbye) from Andrea Borcelli & Sarah Brightman. It gets me teared up everytime, but I always say the water hits me.
6. and beyond... I can tell this blog is getting long so I'll just talk about some honorable mentions. There's big arcade section at The Excalibur, take them to the M&Ms store next to the MGM Grand, the Hershey's Store near Monte Carlo, bowling at Brooklyn Bowl between The Flamingo Casino and the Linq Casino, that massive ferris wheel that's also in that area. The Stratosphere has a small arcade and thrilling rides at the top for the older youngsters and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum at the Venetian Resort & Casino.
About the shows, what I didn't know, you can't take kids under 5 years. So if you bought tickets and planning to take your toddlers under 5, they won't let you in.
So in conclusion, like I said before, there's a time and place for kids, but despite of our good time as a first time family in the city, I do not recommend bringing kids to Las Vegas simply because of the extra responsibility. I mean, you have that responsible role 99% of the year so why not take some time off and play on YOUR TIME? Go to Vegas, be free and LIVE LIFE!
But, if you still insist on bringing your kids for a few days of family fun in Vegas, I think there's an efficient amount of activities I've just mentioned your whole family can enjoy. So would I bring both of our kids next time, I would, but only if it's absolutely necessary. I always have a plan A for me and my wife's getaway for Vegas, which will always will be our top priority, but now we have a plan B in hand for our kids if we do take them in the future, no worries :).
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Have a great week!