Las Vegas as a Travel Destination for Families

Las Vegas, Nevada is a surprisingly good travel destination for families. While its reputation of ‘Sin City’ may turn some parents away, it really shouldn’t, because Las Vegas has many other attractions which can be enjoyed by the entire family. What I’m saying is, forget the bars, clubs, and strip joints. Instead, look for family-friendly hot spots like the wax museum, which displays wax replicas of celebrities past and present, often in stunning detail and realism. I thought, I was really standing next to Brad Pitt for a minute! Kids will love being able to see their favorite singers and sports figures. Mom can pretend to be in a wedding with George Clooney and Dad can get his picture taken with Richard Petty and other racing greats.

This is just one small example of the massive locus of family entertainment which some would say is hidden in Las Vegas beneath the lens of adult entertainment. Something else to consider for the budget-minded family is the amount of free attractions offered at the different hotels on the strip. It’s easy to pay hundreds of dollars for shows in Las Vegas, but did you know that there are dozens which cost absolutely nothing to see? The Pirates of the Caribbean show, which takes place outdoors every night, is free and fun for the whole family. Another that can’t be missed is the Caesar’s Palace show in which the statues come to life and speak to the audience directly, which is surprising and wonderful for the onlooker. Most of the hotels on the Las Vegas strip feature such attractions, and it’s worth exploring them all at your leisure, with or without a guidebook. You never know what you will discover around the corner in one of the massive hotels, and the exploratory aspect is one of the most rewarding parts.

Of course, all of these examples discount the general feel of walking the strip: seemingly endless shops, hotels, and entertainment. M&M World is a great place to stop with the kids, featuring custom candy and M&M gear like guitars. There are several floors to this massive, bright store, and children and adults love it. Simply seeing the sights makes walking the strip worth it. You may find that you have walked for what seems like minutes and are still next to the same hotel! It’s amazing to take in the architecture, and the best part is that it is free and easy to go into any and every interesting building on the strip and see things from the inside as well. There are innumerable sights and sounds to take in at each of the hotels.

Cake

Cake (Photo credit: mauri212)

Another benefit to going into each hotel is that it gets the family out of the hot sun. One potential downside to Las Vegas for families used to a northern or mid-west climate is that it is hot! However, most hotels are conveniently connected by walkways, so there is no need to wait for traffic to cross the street. Many are also connected by indoor walkways, so often you can avoid going outside altogether. It’s an easy walk to go from the Luxor to New York, New York, to the MGM Grand, for example. If the kids get really hot, there are many vendors selling drinks at all points of the strip. Fortunately, the shops and hotels are numerous and air-conditioned. Once you go into one of the attractive hotels, like Caesar’s Palace, which has seemingly endless things to do, you might not want to leave for hours!

There are also many smaller attractions which work well on a budget. There are traveling displays, such as the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor when I last went. There is always something new to see, and these exhibits do not cost hundreds of dollars for a family to visit (the big shows get pricey, but are worth it). There are also attractive mainstays, like the aquarium at the Mandalay Bay, which cannot be missed. This offers visitors a chance to be up close and personal with sharks and other marine life, all behind the safety of glass. The highlight of the exhibit is a section in which visitors walk through a tunnel that is glass on every side; sharks swim above, below, and around them. It’s thrilling, and a great way to cap off a trip to Mandalay Bay.

Vegas

Vegas (Photo credit: Lisa Padilla)

Another benefit to Las Vegas is its proximity to other great destinations. Despite its reputation for being out in the middle of the desert, Vegas is actually only a short trip to some other major destinations. The Hoover Dam is a very short drive away, and is an amazing sight for those unfamiliar with the area. The massive concrete structure is a sight to behold, and there are also tours available for those who wish to see some of the inner workings of this wonder of technology.

Of course, the biggest nearby attraction (literally) is the Grand Canyon. This is perhaps the most amazing natural sight in the United States, and its proximity to Vegas makes it something that cannot be missed on a family trip. There is no way to overstate how massive this formation is: when you see a little white dot below you, and then realize that it is a helicopter flying in the canyon, the realization of its immensity washes over you like a wave. It is truly an incredible sight, and there are countless vantage points to take advantage of. Young and old alike will be awed. There are also many sights to see in the area around the canyon, like old structures built during the time of United States expansion into the west. There are also tours available. For the very adventurous, mules can be rode into the canyon. An equally amazing, and likely safer and family-friendly route, though, is to take one of the helicopter tours. Like the big shows in Las Vegas, these can be somewhat pricey, but are worth it if the money is there. Of course, after the outdoor adventure at the Grand Canyon, it’s a short drive back to Las Vegas!

Related articles

Leave a Reply