The mere mention of Vegas may conjure up images of scantily clad showgirls strutting their stuff, blue-haired grannies stuffing quarters in the slots, or maybe even an endless montage of cocktails and clubs. This technicolour desert oasis may have a reputation for adult revelry, but it's every bit as much about family-friendly fun.
By day, Las Vegas transforms into a playground for all ages, offering up an array of unique activities to rival any of its night time pursuits. Think less Sin City and more Entertainment Capital of the World as you and the young 'uns take to (and around) the Strip for Las Vegas excitement family style.
Town Square Children's Park and Playground
Toward the south end of the Strip sits Las Vegas Town Square and the Children's Park. This epicentre for family fun is a perfect for younger kiddies looking to get their play on. Thanks to a sweep of activities and facilities, there's plenty to keep their minds engaged and little hands busy. This includes a pop jet fountain, tree house, hedge maze, stage for storytelling and performances and springer toys made of Robinia wood.
Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
You may have heard about Siegfried and Roy's famous white lions and tigers. Well, if you head straight to the Mirage you can see them along with many other exotic animals. Young children will love exploring the tropical garden surrounds while learning about lions, tigers and leopards. There is also an aquarium featuring Bottlenose Dolphins. If your little animal lover isn't content to just look, exclusive packages are available that allow behind-the-scenes tours, trainer for the day experiences as well as painting or yoga with the dolphins.
Every child one loves chocolate and this four-floor retail-entertainment attraction on the Strip is dedicated to it. Sure you'll find plenty of M&M's-themed treats, but this Las Vegas location is all about upping the cool factor. Let your kids create their very own customised M&M's on site. Choose from 16 different colours, create personalised messages and print your unique M&M's using the Personalised Printer machine! There is even a 3-D movie screened daily, starring Red and Yellow in a Las Vegas adventure.
Wet n' Wild Las Vegas
You may have to venture approximately 20 minutes from the Strip for this one, but you'll be rewarded with cooling respite from the hot desert sun and good ol' fashion fun for all ages. Holidaymakers can slide and swim to their heart's content at this popular water park. This includes the youngest members of the family. Kiddie Cove is specially designed to cater to toddlers with a multi-level complex of interactive elements featuring five fun zones. There are also three slides (two independent and one group slide) that allow youngsters to dip their toes in the water park experience.
Find more Las Vegas fun:
For Pre Teens
CSI: The Experience
If you're travelling with an aspiring detective, or a pre teen with a penchant for science, the MGM Grand's CSI Experience is the perfect activity for the afternoon. This unique exhibit allows children aged 12 and up to step into the shoes of a crime scene investigator, analysing forensic evidence to help solve a triple homicide case. This is a hands on experience complete with two state-of-the-art crime labs, impressive special effects, guide videos from CSI cast members and real-life forensic scientists.
SlotZilla Zip Line
When it comes to off the Strip fun suitable for pre teens, families should head to famous Fremont Street – home to SlotZilla. More than building the world's largest slot machine, Las Vegas took things a step further and added a zip line experience. Flyers can soar (in a seated position or super hero-style) 533 metres down Fremont Street at 40 miles per hour 10 stories up! It's a whole new way to see this iconic Vegas destination. There are no age restrictions, though flyers under 13 must be accompanied by someone over the age of 13. Flyers must also weight at least 28 kilograms to participate.
Madame Tussauds Las Vegas
Your kids may not see their favourite celebrities living the high life in Las Vegas in person, but Madame Tussauds has to be the next best thing. Located at the Venetian, this famous museum features many of Hollywood's biggest stars realised in ultra realistic wax. With more than 100 celebrities, your kids can strike a pose with their favourite big names and tell all their friends how they hung out with the world's most famous stars.
Hershey's Chocolate World
If your kids didn't get their fill of sweet treats in M&M's World, Hershey's Chocolate World at the New York New York will put them over the edge. This is two floors dedicated to some of the USA's most popular treats, including Reese's, Jolly Ranchers and, of course, Hershey's chocolate. In addition, this flagship store also offers the chance to create customised chocolate bars, star in a Reese's commercial and check out the Jolly Rancher flavour wall. Plus, there's a Statue of Liberty replica made of 363 kilograms of chocolate!
Eiffel Tower Experience
If your older children have a serious case of the travel bug, but aren't quite old enough to make the trek to Europe on their own, why not send them to Paris in Las Vegas complete with an Eiffel Tower experience? This Vegas attraction is an exact half scale replica of the real deal, allowing guests to rise above the frenzy of the Strip for incredible 360 degree views from the observation deck. Take the glass elevator ride at night for an especially dazzling show. There is also a restaurant on the 11th floor, photo kiosk and dedicated Eiffel Tower shop.
The Stratosphere Extreme Rides
Speaking of towering heights and unforgettable views, if your teens prefer thrills and spills when on holiday there is only one place to go – the Stratosphere. This lofty hotel is not only 350 metres tall with an observation deck providing incredible views, but it also happens to play home to a handful of extreme rides from the tippy top of the tower! Let your teen test their nerve on one or any of the following:
- Sky Jump, which allows you to jump off the tower at 250 metres up
- Big Shot, which blasts you 48 metres straight in the air before freefalling back to launch position
- Insanity, a giant mechanical arm that dangles you over the edge of the tower 274 metres up before spinning you around as you stare straight down.
- X-Scream, which catapults you 8 metres straight out over the edge of the tower before whisking you back in to go out again.
The Mob Museum
Once the playground for the country's most nefarious criminals, Las Vegas was built by the mafia. Sure it's all above-board now, but this mob connection laid the foundation for Sin City's mischievous reputation, and there's no better place to learn all about it than the Mob Museum. Approximately 15 minutes north of the Strip, this unique museum allows older families to delve into the history of organised crime in the USA. From G-men to Made Men, multi-sensory exhibits cover the birth of the mob all the way through to today's major players, with real stories as lived by from both sides of the battle.
Q: How fun can digging a hole really be? A: You'll have to get to Dig This in Las Vegas to find out!
This unique attraction allows participants aged 14 and up to get behind the controls of bulldozers and excavators to be turned loose in the country's largest heavy equipment playground. After an orientation and breathalyser (safety first!), guests take to the sandbox to try their hand operating these mega machines. This includes warm up exercises, activities and free time in which you can tear, dig, rip, claw and grind your way through the dirt. If there's anything you've always wanted to see these machines do, chances are you can try it out under the watchful eye of qualified supervisors.