“You’re taking your kids to visit Vegas?” You would have thought we had announced a trip to the North Pole by the reaction of friends at hearing our travel plans two decades ago. With visions of places to visit in Las Vegas that overflowed with drinking, gambling, and scantily clad dancers, let’s say we were not up for parents of the year award in their eyes.
Truth be told our first family trip to Las Vegas was accidental. A friend and I began a home baking business on a whim. The goal was to make enough money to take both families to Hawaii.
So overwhelmed were we with customers we closed the ovens early and looked for a more affordable destination. Flight and hotel packages to Vegas can often be found at spectacularly low costs. Who doesn’t want to save money when traveling, especially as a family?
Over the years we have returned numerous times to the sunny destination that thaws our frozen Canadian bones. There is a lot of partying going on in Vegas. That fact can not be argued. However family friendly places to visit in Las Vegas abound if you know where to look.
Family Friendly Places to Visit in Las Vegas
We have been visiting Las Vegas attractions for the past twenty years. Our gambling budget is $20 at the penny slots and the rest of the time we are out exploring.
The following are 65 things to do in Las Vegas with kids or adults who would prefer something other than the casino action. We have seen most of them and relied on guidebooks and suggestions for others.
Fountains of Bellagio – 3600 Las Vegas Blvd S. Our pick of the best free activity in Las Vegas. 1200 water launchers in an 8 acre lake create a stunning dance to music. Shows go every 30 minutes Mon-Fri 3pm-7pm, Sat-Sun Noon – 7pm, every 15 minutes daily 7pm-midnight. FREE
Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – Just beyond the Bellagio lobby lies a whimsical garden area that changes with the seasons. FREE
Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art – Housing a diverse range of art exhibits that rotate. Exhibits in the past have included works of Andy Warhol and Monet. Daily 10-7 FREE
Bellagio Flower Glass Ceiling – Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture ‘Fiori did Como’ covers 2000 square feet of the hotel, named for the village on the shores of Italy’s Lake Como. Watch for open mouthed art lovers stunned at the beauty. FREE
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign – center of the median of Las Vegas Blvd S., half a mile south of Russell Road. The classic sign seen on thousands if not millions of postcards has been welcoming people to Las Vegas since 1959. There is a parking lot in the center median that is accessible form the southbound lanes of Las Vegas Blvd. After going past the Russell Rd intersection move to the left lane. FREE
Stratosphere Tower – 2000 Las Vegas Blvd S. Towering over it’s neighbors at 1,149 feet, the observation decks offer panoramic views of the city. The tower is home to some of the most adrenaline filled places to visit in Las Vegas.
The SkyJump – While at the Stratosphere those with much courage can plummet 850 feet in a bungee like jump.
Insanity – The Ride – Another of the Stratosphere’s adrenaline pumping attractions spinning riders in spider like arms out over Las Vegas a mere 900 feet below.
Big Shot – Shooting to the very tip of the Stratosphere tower, this free fall ride lives up to it’s name.
X-Scream – Think teeter totter on steroids as this Stratosphere roller coaster type ride takes those brave enough 27 feet out over the edge of the tower.
High Roller – 3545 Las Vegas Blvd S. at the LINQ. The observation wheel lays claim to one of the tallest in the world. At the top of the 30 minute ride 360 degree views of Las Vegas await.
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay – 3950 Las Vegas Blvd S – Includes three major exhibit areas including the Shipwreck in a 1.3 million gallon tank. On a hot day a reprieve with kids hanging out with sharks and piranhas. Note the entrance inside Mandala Bay near the swimming pool area.
Moving Statues at Caesar’s Palace – 3500 Las Vegas Blvd S – In the main square of the forum shops you will see Zeus and his god friends come to life at the top of every hour along with some indoor thunder and lightening. Your teens may think the effect is a bit hokey but younger children will pick this as a one of the best kids activities in Vegas. FREE
The Springs Preserve – Between US 95 and Alta Dr. at 333 S. Valley View Blvd. 180 acres offering the Nevada State Museum, The Origin Museum, the Desert Living Center, gardens and trails
Nevada State Museum – On the grounds of the Springs Preserve – 309 S. Valley View Blvd. Holograms, touch screens and audio stations tell the history of the state. Open Thursday to Monday. Under 18 FREE but admission to the Springs Preserve applies.
Discovery Children’s Museum – 360 Promenade Place, in the Donald W. Reynolds Discovery Center. Three story interactive facility including a 70 foot, jungle gym made up of 12 levels, Solve It Mystery Town and a padded playground for toddlers.
Eiffel Tower Experience – Paris Las Vegas, 3655 Las Vegas Blvd S. This replica of the Paris namesake is half scale and stands 541 feet tall. Rides to the observation deck at 460 feet give a unique view of the Bellagio fountain show.
The Auto Collections – in LINQ Hotel 3535 Las Vegas Blvd. S. Vehicles from Vintage Rolls Royce to Model Ts are for sale and thus ever changing. Daily 10-6
Bonnie Springs Ranch – 16395 Bonnie Springs Rd. Complete with an Old West Town, petting zoo, train and pony rides. 10:30-6 in summer. Old West Town Wed-Sun rest of year.
Adventure Dome – Circus Circus 2880 Las Vegas Blvd S. A five care theme park under a pink glass dome. Mini bowling to rock climbing to the El Loco coaster reaching 90 feet high.
Fremont Street Experience – 5 block stretch between main street and Las Vegas Blvd. A 90 foot canopy stretches over four blocks. Decked out with 12.5 million LED lights and a half million watt system, Viva Vision delivers a light and high definition video presentation to music on the hour dusk to midnight year round. FREE
Slotzilla Zipline – at 425 Fremont St Suite #160. Zipliners must weigh between 60-300 pounds. Children under 12 must be accompanied by a rider over age 13. Daily noon to midnight.
The Mirage Erupting Volcano – 3400 Las Vegas Blvd S. The first of the Vegas sidewalk spectacles, the 50 foot mountain blows it’s stack hourly from 6-11pm daily weather permitting. FREE
Mirage Living Lobby – Once you have seen the volcano eruption head into the Mirage Lobby where a 100 foot glass atrium houses a living rainforest. Behind the front desk you will see a 20,000 gallon tropical reef aquarium. FREE
Siegfried and Roy Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat – 3400 Las Vegas Blvd S at the Mirage. White lions rescued from the brink of extinction through the conservation program founded by entertainers Siegried and Roy. Tigers, panthers and leopards can also be seen along with a dolphin habitat.
Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum – Venetian Hotel via the moving walkway off of Las Vegas Blvd. Hang out with everyone from Elvis to Evil Knievel. Just don’t expect them to be too lively.
KISS by Monster Mini Golf – 4501Paradise Rd in the Shoppes at Harmon Square) across from the Hard Rock Hotel. An 18 hole glow in the dark golf course with an animated KISS robot band. Includes video arcade, wedding chapel (who doesn’t want to be married with KISS) and a gallery. Children 0-4 and non golfers FREE.
City Center Las Vegas – 3720 Las Vegas Blvd. S. Three upscale hotel properties including the ARIA Resort and Casino, The Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas and the Vdara. The lobbies provide gazing at tree house like restaurant, tube tornadoes and ice sculptures. FREE
CSI: The Experience – at MGM Grand Hotel in the District Dining/Shopping Promenade. Based on the popular TV show participants are given a crime scene to investigate traced through 15 lab stations. Some graphic content and recommended for those over the age of 12.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway – 7000 Las Vegas Blvd N. Speedway tours not available during major track events. For additional fees adult daredevils can book ahead for driving adventures such as the Mario Andretti Racing experience.
Las Vegas Natural History Museum – 900 Las Vegas Blvd N. Animated dinosaurs to a 3,000 gallon shark tank accompany displays representing animals around the world.
Vegas Indoor Sky Diving – 200 Convention Center Drive. The feel of skydiving all in a controlled wind tunnel. Children 40 pounds and higher are welcome to fly.
Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park – At Washington Ave and Las Vegas Blvd – Adobe fort built by the Mormons to give shelter to travelers bound for California in 1855. Antiques and artifacts fill a 19th century Mormon living room. Ages 0-12 FREE
Pinball Hall of Fame -160 E. Tropicana Blvd. ( just east of the strip) 200 vintage pinball and arcade machines from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Games range form .25 – 1.00. Admission FREE
New York New York – Coney Island Emporium – 3790 Las Vegas Blvd S- Enough arcade and video machines to keep the kids busy for hours.
Roller Coaster at New York New York – 3790 Las Vegas Blvd S – You must be 54 inches tall to ride this roller coaster with cars designed as NYC taxi cabs. A stunning view of the strip as the ride climbs and plunges in a recreation of New York City. Open 7 days a week 11am-11pm with extended hours on Friday and Saturday.
Las Vegas Monorail – Stretching from the MGM Grand to the SLS Hotel ( formerly the Sahara with five stops between. Not only saves some walking but a fun ride for the kids. Another option would be the double-decker bus that runs up and down the strip 24 hours a day.
Shopping Attractions in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Premium Outlets – South 4400 Las Vegas Blvd – indoor mall south of the Strip with 140 outlet stores, North 875 S Grand Central Pkwy – popular outdoor mall with both tourists and locals visiting 150 outlets. Very busy on weekend afternoons.
Fashion Show Mall – 3200 Las Vegas Blvd S- In the heart of the strip with huge anchor stores such as Macy’s and Nordstoms. Live runway shows every hour Friday to Sunday 12-6.
The Miracle Mile Shops of Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino – 3663 Las Vegas Blvd – 170 stores and 15 restaurants. Named after the famous Los Angeles Wilshire Blvd Miracle Mile. Some Middle Eastern elements remain form when it was adjacent to the former Aladdin hotel.
The Forums Shops at Caesar’s Palace – 3500 Las Vegas Blvd S – A three level entry right off the strip is meant to transport you to Italy. With marble pillars and statues greeting you at the entrance you will find 160 specialty shops in this roman themed retail world. A trip to ancient Italy in these places to visit in Las Vegas.
Boulevard Mall – 3528 S Maryland Pkwy – The city’s oldest mall several blocks east of the strip. 140 stores from Forever 21 to Victoria’s Secret.
Town Square Las Vegas – 6605 Las Vegas Blvd S – just south of the strip at the I-15/I-215. includes Town Square in the middle of the outdoor mall with a playground, merry-go-round, hedge maze and a 35 jet fountains for cooling off.
More Shopping Attractions in Las Vegas
LINQ Outdoor Complex – 3545 Las Vegas Blvd S -With the High Roller ferris wheel as a backdrop the promenade lined with trees features boutique shops and a Polaroid museum. Show the kids what a Polaroid picture actually looked like.
Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s -3645 Las Vegas Blvd S – A new complex of 150 stores lining the front of the Bally’s hotel.
Mandalay Place – Shops and restaurants lining the sky bridge between Mandalay Bay hotel and the Luxor hotel including the Art of Music Gallery where you can find autographed movie posters, album covers and sports collectibles.
Grand Canal Shoppes – 3377 Las Vegas Blvd S- Although these places to visit in Las Vegas are not all authentic Italian, as the gondolas float by under the blue domed sky, the mood is set for these 70 shops.
Shoppes at the Palazzo – 3325 Las Vegas Blvd S – Next door to the Venetian. Look for the arcades’ two story waterfall and the live statues that dance to music.
Wynn/Encore Esplanade – often best for window shopping only , the Wynn is home to stores such as Oscar de la Renta selling $2000 dresses. How about a $300,000 Ferrari while you are in the neighborhood?
The LOVE Boutique – At the Mirage across from the Wynn buy everything Beatles next to the Cirque du Soleil show honoring the foursome.
Le Boulevard – 3665 Las Vega Blvd S attached to the Paris hotel – Fancy boutiques and wine and cheese shops.
The Shops at Crystals Mall – 3720 Las Vegas Blvd S – At City Center many high end stores behind the geometric shaped exterior of jutting high rises. The intriguing three story tree house structure is the eye catcher but unfortunately not meant for climbing.
Toy Shack – at Freemont Streets’s open air Neonoplois mall, most any toy you played with can be found in the collectibles. Beanie Babies, Bobble heads and Hot Wheels galore.
Downtown Container Park – 707 Fremont St – A 40 foot tall preying mantis welcomes you to this ingenious park where boutiques, shops and galleries are housed in shipping containers. Disney Fine Arts sells limited edition lithographs.
Bonanza Gift and Souvenir Shops – 2440 Las Vegas Blvd S – Hit the mother load of all junk souvenir emporiums at these places to visit in Las Vegas. With 40,000 square feet of kitsch packed space you are sure to find a funky pair of Elvis glasses or that lighted Vegas sign you have been dreaming about.
Coca-Cola Store – fronting the Showcase Mall, 3785 Las Vegas Blvd S – two floors of all thing Coca-Cola. the second floor has a full service soda fountain where among other things you can get some of the namesake beverage.
Hershey’s Chocolate World – in front of New York New York – 3790 Las Vegas Blvd S – You made require a trip to the dentist just looking at the 800 pound replica of the Statue of Liberty carved out of chocolate. Two floors of everything Reese’s and Hershey’s.
Gold and Silver Pawn Shop – 713 Las Vegas Blvd S – For fans of the popular TV reality show Pawn Stars this is one of the most famous places to visit in Las Vegas. Be prepared for crowds especially on weekday afternoons when the show is often filming.
Rick’s Restorations – 1112 S. Commerce St near the Arts District – with its own History channel reality show, the store is receiving a lot of attention. Need a restored gas pump or slot machine?
M&M’s World – near MGM, fronting the Showcase Mall, 3785 Las Vegas Blvd S – Four floors of melt in your hand not your mouth themed clothing, housewares souvenirs and yes candy. Enjoy a free 3-D movie every 30 minutes.
Luv-it Frozen Custard -505 E. Oakley Blvd., just off the strip near the Stratosphere -Open since 1973 this family run spot of deliciousness has been re-energizing visitors with their tasty treats.
Places to Visit Near Las Vegas
Flightlinez Bootleg Canyon – 1644 Nevada Hwy Boulder city. A 30 minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip. To do the ziplines over the Mojave desert you must be at least 75 pounds and those 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Bookings should be made ahead.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area – 12 mile west on Charleston Blvd – It is hard to imagine that so close to the pulsating neon strip of Las Vegas this expanse of canyons, ravines and peaks exists. Drive, cycle, hike or climb. The area can be crowded especially on weekends so we suggest and early start for more solitude.
Wetlands Park Nature Preserve – 7050 Wetlands Park Lane- 1 mile east of Boulder Highway – 130 acres of nature preserve and hiking trails open daily dusk to dawn. The nature center is open 9am-3pm. FREE
Wet ‘N’ Wild Las Vegas – 7055 S. Fort Apache Rd ( about 15 minutes from the Vegas Strip. Water rides and lazy river with activities suitable for all ages. Open through summer months and hours vary. Phone to confirm schedule (702) 979-1600
Have you been to Vegas? We are certain there are more family friendly places to visit in Las Vegas. Let us know and we will add them to our list!
Readers suggestions for Family Friendly Places to Visit in Las Vegas and surrounding area.
For those seeking water in that hot desert terrain, I would add Lake Mead Recreation area. Just outside of the city with lots of boat and jet ski rentals. There is also a wonderful paddle boat cruise to the back side of Hoover Dam. ~~Wendy
Want to see the inside of an Egyptian pyramid? Head to the Luxor Hotel – 3900 Las Vegas Blvd S ~~Ingrid
The tour of Hoover Dam and Valley of Fire. When It’s really hot in the valley, Mt. Charleston is within an hour’s drive and is usually 20 degrees cooler. In the winter there is a ski lift and real snow! I also enjoy Lake Las Vegas, though nowadays it is pretty deserted. There are a few nice restaurants and one or two stores are still open out there. My last suggestion – depending on how far you want to drive- would be Nelson NV which has a gold mine you can tour and a reconstructed ghost town. The kids always enjoy it and I take a lot of my photos there. Tons of rusty old cars and trucks and buildings that have been salvaged from the surrounding desert. ~~ Emilio
More Readers Suggestions for Places to Visit in Las Vegas and surrounding area
Ethel M. Chocolates, especially at the end-of-the-year holiday time to see the lights (after the self-guided tour of the factory, you also get a piece of their chocolate – free!)
Cowabunga Bay Water Park (especially on a hot Vegas day!)
Clark County Heritage Museum (includes houses and other structures that have been relocated to the grounds and a nature trail).
If you’re driving out to Boulder City, there’s the Nevada State Railroad Museum were you can also take a little excursion ride on a train.
For families with older kids, there’s also the Mob Museum, the Neon Museum, and the National Atomic Testing Museum.
Seaquest Interactive Aquarium ~~Lois
Readers Ideas for Places to Visit in Las Vegas and surrounding area
A (somewhat) affordable option is the jousting at Excalibur – fun, exciting, a tasty meal, and the kids will love it.
We also enjoyed the Black Canyon river rafting tour – no white-water, so it’s safe for everyone from kids to seniors, and it includes bus transportation to Hoover Dam where the tour starts and pickup downstream a few hours later to return you to Vegas. ~~Diane