Why We Took Our Kids to Vegas (and should you?). TOP 10 FAMILY FAVORITES.

When we told people we were taking our kids to Vegas we got more than a few raised eyebrows (and even a couple of direct reproaches).  The truth is we do not really consider Las Vegas a family vacation DESTINATION per se, (and not the one we would cross the ocean or even  the United States coast to coast for).  That said, we were planning a  family road trip through California (read about our trip here) and knowing that we would not make Vegas our destination in the near future, adult members of our family were interested to see what Vegas was all about.  What we discovered was that you could indeed have a great time in Vegas AS A FAMILY should the circumstances (be it a family reunion, or road tripping through California or Arizona National Parks) call to bring your kids to Vegas.

Top 10 Favorite family moments in Vegas: what you can do with kids in Vegas


1. GETTING THERE was an adventure and more than half of the fun.  We got to travel from Yosemite to Vegas via Tioga Pass – a trans-Sierra Nevada crossing which is the highest highway pass in California and in the Sierra Nevada (we experienced a more than 3,000 ft (914 m)  drop off by the time we reached Rt. 395 on our way from Yosemite).  Our journey also took us through the magnificent stillness of the Death Valley National Park– an unforgettable experience in itself.

Top 10 family favorites in Vegas
Death Valley National Park: on our way to Las Vegas.



Las Vegas is  home to some of the most beautiful hotel pools in the United States (and quite possibly in the world).  Many of these fabulous pool complexes are kid-friendly – complete with lazy rivers, slides and waterfalls and some even with sandy beaches (look for them at the Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and Excalibur resorts to name just a few).

Las Vegas Top 10 Family Favorites
Enjoying some R&R at the pool area of Cosmopolitan Hotel


3. ADMIRING ENGINEERING BRILLIANCE OF THE “DANCING BELLAGIO FOUNTAINS which lit up the  lake in front of Bellagio Hotel every half-hour between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and every 15 minutes between 8 pm and 12 am with a perfectly choreographed numbers set to the pop classics. (Free!)

Las Vegas Top 10 Family Favorites
Bellagio Fountains

Top 10 Family Favorites in Las Vegas


Gondola ride ($19.95 per person) in the Venetian was a lot of fun for our 5-year old daughter who has not got to experience the “real deal” in Venice yet.  (My son and I have done this ride in “real” Venice, so we skipped the attraction to do some shopping at St. Marco Square –also housed at the Venetian Hotel.)

Las Vegas Top 10 Family Favorites
Gondola Ride at the Venetian Hotel



My daughter did not want to leave the circus space at the Circus Circus Hotel where international jugglers and acrobats perform for about 15 minutes every half-hour, between 11 a.m. and midnight (Free!)

(There are only 60 seats which do fill up about 10 minutes to performance time; it is a 5-minute taxi drive from the “central” strip).


Las Vegas Top 10 Family Favorites
Horticulture Exhibit at the Bellagio

This inside nature exhibit at the Bellagio offers an impressive selection of plants, flowers and trees- which -under a care of 100 stuff horticulturalists – is being updated 5 times a year to celebrate each season! (Free!)

7. WATCHING (and being slightly scared) by The VOLCANO SHOW (redesigned in 2008)  right in front of The Mirage Hotel as it is igniting the Strip by a mix of fire, water and light effects choreographed to the sound recording of actual volcano eruption.  (Beware that the fireballs shooting 12 feet into the air will probably scare your very young kids). (Free; every 30 minutes between 5pm until 11 p.m; schedule is subject to change and vary by season.)

8. LOOKING FOR THE FROG at THE WYNN’S “Lake of Dreams” light and music show offered after sun sets- enjoyed best when sipping a cold drink on the first flour terrace or second floor balcony of this lush property.

9. TRYING NEW FOODS AT THE BELLAGIO’S INTERNATIONAL BUFFET.  Food quality and choices at the towns’ many Buffets is another Vegas’ feature that appeals to families visiting with kids. We have chosen Bellagio’s Buffet for best price to quality ratio after spending some time comparing reviews and prices of the best buffets (tip: arrive at the later time slot for lunch and stay for dinner selection.).  The Buffet at Wynn is arguably the best in town, but pricy.

10. ADMIRING LUSCH AMBIANCE AND STRIKING ARCHITECTURE of the many beautiful hotels on the stripThe sculptures at CAESAR’S PALACE and the life sized replica of the Eifel Tower in PARIS (hotel) appeal to kids (and adults) of all ages.  We found ourselves gravitating towards the traditional beauty of Wynn and Caesar’s Palace but appreciated the “art nouveau” elements of the Cosmopolitan where we stayed.  (You could find some great hotel deals in Vegas: we paid $125 a night for a 5-star Cosmopolitan we booked through booking.com)

Las Vegas Top 10 Family Favorites
On the strip. Las Vegas.

AND we can’t wait to bring our kids back to Vegas – for our family journey through the Grand Canyon, Bryce and other National Parks in neighboring Arizona and Utah.

Bonus Tip for thrill-rider families: Vegas is home to world renown thrill rides, including the roller coaster at New York  New York Hotel.


1. You cannot play in the casino when your kids are with you (although you can pass through the casinos in the hotel lobbies); casinos (and cigarette smoking) are pretty much part of all the hotels on the strip, BUT there are some smoke and casino-free hotel options you could research  (e.g.Vdara, Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental).

2. In general, while there are many hot hotel deals happening for Vegas, restaurants (especially those in the hotels) are expensive (think $6 croissants in the hotel lobby).

3. It can get very very crowded on the strip- so that it becomes impossible to push a stroller through.

4. While everything seems walkable, just getting from point to point in one hotel may get your kids exhausted, let alone reaching a point of interest on the strip. Plan accordingly and use public transportation or taxi.

5. Vegas is called a SIN city for a reason: there are plenty of flashy outfits, “cover your kids’ eyes” billboards and conspicuous ADS on the taxis you may have to explain to your kids.


Top 10 Favorite family moments in Vegas: what you can do with kids in Vegas
Art nouveau at Hotel Cosmopolitan

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40 thoughts on “Why We Took Our Kids to Vegas (and should you?). TOP 10 FAMILY FAVORITES.”

  1. What a great list! I agree. We go every year for a convention and have gotten to know the city well over the years. We love all the things on your list except you left out my daughter’s favorite but out most dreaded outing: the basement of the Excalibur hotel has this time-warp like arcade and carnival games with horrible reject swag prizes. And she simply can’t get enough.

  2. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

    Thanks, Robin. We had less than 2 days (and spent one of them relaxing at the pool) so we have not reached the Excalibur. Taking a note for next time – to NOT go to the Excalibur basement (when travelling to the Arizona National Parks that is:) There was an arcade at Circus Circus we have spent MORE than enough time in after the circus acts:)

  3. Ha! I am reading this from our Vegas Hotel room now! There is plenty to do here for kids, but we just don’t like the smoke! This is a stop over between National Parks for us as well. Mainly because I had a sister celebrating her bday here, without kids, so we stopped by to surprise her.

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  4. All right, you convinced me. I had no idea there were so many free things to do with kids in Vegas! We may or may not go there specifically, but if we’re in the area, we might stop for a day to do some of these things. Thanks for the tips. The one about the crowded strip makes me a bit hesitant. I hate crowds. But still… It’s probably one of those “You have to do it once in your lifetime.” things.

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Jolanta, it’s funny that you are more concerned about the crowds than all the explicit ADS. yes, I believe it is fun to see at least once and with the proximity of so many natural wonders, it is a convenient “fly into” base.

  5. I recall the vegas pools being very stylish but seriously lacking shade, so it’s helpful to know about the family friendly ones above. If I were to take our daughter there I would also make a point of getting out of town to Red Rocks and Mount Charles, but it’s possible you had a lot of nature and western scenery on other parts of your trip.

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Thank you for reading and commenting, Eileen! Red Rocks was on my list but frankly it was just too hot to get out to the desert again, so we relaxed by the pool (when not doing the other items on the list:)

  6. I agree that Las Vegas isn’t really a family destination, but there are indeed plenty of interesting things for families to do while skipping the adult entertainment.

  7. Yes, I think a lot of people tend to think Vegas is an adult only city – myself included. BUT I there really are so many things you can do in Vegas with kids. The last trip I was on I scouted out several spots because we’re going to be road trippping through there soon too. Thanks for your tips. They’ve been noted. 😉

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Thanks, Elaine! It is a great spot not only for all the activities but to start a road trip through nearby national nature parks!

  8. Vegas is indeed a great attraction for any age and of course, you don’t have to play the roulette or the slot machines to have fun. We took our son there when he was only 6 and he had a blast.

  9. My wife has tried to convince me to visit Vega off and on for quite awhile now. So far, unsuccessfully. Nothing about Vegas is appealing to me. I think that maybe I’m the only one?

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Arnie, Vegas is not my favorite vacation destination- with or without the kids. But- if you happen to be there (for whatever reason- visiting family or being dragged along by your wife-or road tripping to National Parks nearby)- you COULD have a good time! At least I know we did!

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Yes, Tami, I was looking into that but we had less than 2 days and spent half of it relaxing by the pool, so there was no time for Red Rock on this trip.

  10. I’ve always wondered whether it was a suitable destination for kids – but it certainly looks like there would be lots for them to do.

    1. Victoria@celebratetheweekend

      Definitely you wont run out of things to do, Fairlie! I was surprised that I ran out of time, not activities!

  11. We love Vegas with our son as well. It doesn’t seem like its a kid friendly destination, but besides the smoking everywhere it’s pretty great!

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  12. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Las Vegas. It isn’t anyone’s ideal family-friendly destination but my kids have been going here since they were babies. It’s an easy 4.5 hour drive from us so we go multiple times a year. It’s gotten a whole lot more family-friendly through the years. It’s a lively city with so much to do for the whole family as well.

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  13. Us westerners don’t find taking your kids to Vegas odd at all. 😉 Great list! There are lots of things to with family in Vegas, and we have been a few times. We have never done the looking for the frog one, though! There is also a pirate ship show on the strip, but in recent years it seems to be less fun for the family and more “sexy.”

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