35 Things To Do in Las Vegas with Kids
Las Vegas, Nevada is a popular destination. Vegas is known for its vibrant nightlife, the 4-mile long strip, and 24-hr Casinos. We’ve seen this destination portrayed as the ultimate girls or guys’ getaway location on movies and TV shows, so, naturally, this was my impression of what Vegas was like. When we were invited to Vegas for a wedding, I was very curious about what it would be like to travel there as a family with young kids.
When planning our visit I asked several friends to share their thoughts about traveling to Las Vegas with kids. The responses were all over the map! There were some who passionately expressed that “Vegas was no place for children,” while others strongly encouraged the idea. I’m never one to pass up a travel experience, so we booked our flights and away we went!
Family-Friendly Activities in Vegas with Kids
Downtown Las Vegas has endless choices for kid-friendly activities on your vacation. Exploring the Las Vegas strip is best done when you plan ahead and choose the right time of the day to avoid the more popular adult “Vegas experience.” To my surprise, there is so much more to Las Vegas than the adult activities that it is known for.
Here is a list of kid-friendly activities that you can enjoy with the whole family:
1. Circus Circus
Circus Circus is one of Las Vegas’ most popular hotels for families, and a great place to stay if you are traveling by RV. The resort is home to a permanent circus, rides, restaurants, and more. You may run into a magician or clown as you wander through the hotel, or catch acrobatics at one of the free circus acts.
2. Shark Reef Aquarium
Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium is one of North America’s largest aquariums with more than 2,000 animals, including around 15 species of sharks. Visitors can feed the sharks, stingrays, or sea turtles at the interactive touch pool, dive with the sharks, or enjoy sea life up close with an undersea VR experience.
3. Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower
Enjoy the view at one of Las Vegas’ observation decks from the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. While you are there, grab a crepe or brioche from one of the delicious French restaurants.
4. Tournament of Kings
If you want a unique dinner experience, but want something more kid-friendly than one of the famous Vegas 5-star restaurants, plan an evening at the Excalibur Hotel. The Excalibur Hotel is designed like a castle hosts the Tournament of Kings, a dinner-and-a-show attraction where the whole family can watch a knight earn a maiden’s respect with real horses and impressive stunts.
5. Dolphin Habitat
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is a family favorite in Las Vegas. The Mirage Hotel is home to a surprising amount of animals, including bottlenose dolphins, white tigers, lions, and leopards.
6. Lion Habitat Ranch
This lion sanctuary is located in Henderson, a short drive from the strip. The Lion Habitat Ranch is a non-profit organization that allows people to support their conservation efforts by visiting the animals. Visit their website for family group rates.
7. Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
The Bellagio is known for being a luxury Las Vegas resort, but it is actually a great place to stop by with the whole family at no cost. The Bellagio conservatory features a beautiful botanical display of flowers and plants that changes seasonally. Don’t forget to catch the famous music and light show at the Bellagio Water Fountains at night.
Games, Rides & Thrill Attractions
8. The High Roller
For the best view of the strip, make sure to visit the tallest observation wheel in the country. Located at the LINQ Hotel, the High Roller will take you 550 feet into the air in one of the 360-degree viewing pods.
9. Vegas Indoor Skydiving
Vegas Indoor Skydiving is an exhilarating indoor activity for families who are looking for an adventure. The safe, simulated skydiving experience is one of the more expensive activities on the list, but worth every penny. Keep in mind that a child has to be over 40 lbs to participate.
There are three zip lines to choose from for a thrill in Las Vegas. The most popular is the SlotZilla Zip Line in the Fremont Street Experience indoor mall, where you can fly above the crowd in downtown Las Vegas.
11. Gondola Rides
Get a taste of Italy with gondola rides at the Venetian Hotel. Take a relaxing cruise down the river through a Venice-inspired hotel with a singing gondolier.
12. Arcade Games
Casinos are strictly for adults, but Vegas does have a number of arcades for kids near the strip. You can find arcade games, video games, and laser tag at Game Nest, Fun Dungeon, and Battle Blast Laser Tag, to name just a few.
13. Virtual Reality Experience
Virtual reality has created new opportunities for entertainment over the past few years. Ride a virtual rollercoaster at X World 360 or head to VR Adventures more games and virtual experiences.
14. Sports in Vegas
Catch a professional hockey game with the Las Vegas Knights. The NHL team came to Las Vegas in 2017 and plays at the T-Mobile Arena, located right on the strip. You can find less expensive seats in the upper levels and still have just as much fun.
Sweets & Treats
15. Ethel M Chocolate Factory
The Ethel M Chocolate Factory is about 15 minutes from the Vegas strip. Take a class and learn where chocolate comes from, watch the handmade process of how Ethel M Chocolates are made, or stroll through the peaceful cactus gardens
16. M&M’s World
The first M&M’s World store can be found next to the MGM Hotel & Casino and it is the perfect stop for a family with a sweet tooth. Stop on the second floor to see the M&M wall and take home your own personalized M&M’s as souvenirs.
17. Hershey Chocolate World
Every child spots the giant Hershey chocolate bar while walking down the strip. Take your time browsing through endless chocolates and candy at Hershey Chocolate World and stop at the bakery for a fresh treat.
Parks, Wave Pools & Water Fun
Rent boogie boards and catch waves at Planet Hollywood. This surf simulator is the ultimate aquatic experience in Las Vegas, but there is a height limit of 42 inches for young children.
19. Mandalay Bay Beach
Mandalay Bay Resort is already one of the best hotels for families in Las Vegas. It has a wave pool and a lazy river for pool fun every day.
Wet’n’Wild is a large water park located on the outskirts of Vegas. If your hotel does not have a kid-friendly pool, Wet’n’Wild is the perfect place to cool off from the Nevada heat and enjoy the water slides, wave pool, and lazy river.
21. Downtown Container Park
If you are looking to do some shopping, the Las Vegas Downtown Container Park is the perfect place to find Vegas souvenirs. The outdoor shopping mall is built out of shipping containers is a great place for a tourist to support unique Vegas vendors.
22. Adventuredome Theme Park
Adventuredome is an indoor theme park located at Circus Circus Hotel. There are rides for all ages, from carnival merry-go-rounds to thrilling rides and rollercoasters.
23. Rock Climbing
If you are looking for a healthy and fun activity, you can find Red Rock Climbing Center just a little ways from the strip in Las Vegas. The local spot is a nice break from the crowds and offers beginner to experienced rocks for the whole family.
24. Symphony Park
Symphony Park is the downtown hub of Las Vegas, with plenty of restaurants, retail spots, and events away from the Vegas strip. The main attraction for families is the Discovery Children’s Museum which is full of educational games and activities.
25. Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre
It can be challenging to find evening activities on the Vegas strip that are safe for the whole family to experience. Fortunately, there are a number of shows that are geared towards families, and Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre is the perfect show for young kids.
26. Terry Factor
Terry Factor is a comedian and ventriloquist with a surprisingly amazing singing voice. His jokes are rated for the whole family, aside from a few snuck into the act for parents that may be difficult for young kids to understand.
27. Blue Man Group
If you want to “wow” the whole family, the Blue Man Group will never fail to entertain. This performing arts group puts on a remarkable Vegas show full of music, dancing, neon art, and more.
28. Murray the Magician
Murray the Magician is a celebrity musician, comedian, and illusionist. He hosts the best family-friendly magic show in Vegas, with entertainment that varies from classic magic tricks to hilarious pranks.
This is an exciting show that’s great for the whole family. This World famous dance crew Jabbawockeez presents an audio-visual story. It’s brought to life through hip-hop dance. This show has incredible reviews.
30. Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil performances are likely the most highly recommended shows in the world. There are currently five Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas to choose from: KÀ, Mystère, “O,” Michael Jackson ONE, and The Beatles LOVE show.
Beyond Las Vegas
31. Hoover Dam
Las Vegas is located in the middle of the Nevada desert, but there is a lot to see within a short drive from the neon lights. Hoover Dam, the famous concrete gravity-arch dam, is full of history and only about 30 minutes from the busy city.
32. Zion National Park
Escape the busy city life and explore one of the most beautiful areas in Utah. Zion National Park has breathtaking views and some of the best hiking trails in America, with great options for exploring with kids. It’s only a 2 1/2 hour-drive from Las Vegas!
33. Bryce Canyon National Park
If you drive just a little farther past Zion, you can explore more natural sights in America at Bryce Canyon National Park.
34. The Grand Canyon
If you are visiting Las Vegas, it is well worth the few hours drive to the Grand Canyon. You can stop by for a few hours to enjoy the view on a day trip, or add a few days to your vacation to get the full experience. Read our complete guide to visiting the Grand Canyon with kids here.
35. Sking at Lee Canyon
Skiing is not the first activity that comes to mind when planning a trip to Las Vegas, but there are a few fantastic ski hills nearby for families traveling in the winter months. Lee Canyon is the closest in Nevada, only about 45 minutes drive from the city.
Planning Your Visit to Las Vegas
During our visit, I learned so much that would help improve our next visit. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your trip to Las Vegas with kids.
Best Family-Friendly Hotels in Las Vegas
Pick the right accommodations! Some hotels are better for families like the Mirage Hotel & Casino. It’s home to the Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat and shows like Cirque du Soleil.
The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casio has the famous Shark Reef Aquarium, plus a huge family pool and beach area. You will also find plenty of kid-friendly food options at any of the hotel’s 20 restaurants!
You might also like the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, their pools, waterfalls, and river-pools are sure to please any kid.
Getting Around Las Vegas
Rent a car or get ready to spend some money. If you’re staying on the strip and you don’t want to walk long distances between your planned activities, I recommend renting a car. It is very expensive to take taxis everywhere, and what seems like only a short distance can take a long time with traffic.
You might be used to taking an Uber or Lyft but they are often not allowed to pick up and drop off at the front of the hotel, which makes ride-sharing very inconvenient. There is plenty to do within walking distance on the strip, but there is also a lot that is worth driving to, like fun photos at the Las Vegas sign.
If you do not rent a car, be ready to walk – a lot. It can be done, but map out your attractions strategically, or you will find yourself dragging the kids from one of the strip to the next, (there will be whining). Group your activities together based on location and make sure everyone wears good walking shoes and stays well-hydrated, especially during warm summers.
More Las Vegas Tips with Kids
- Plan to avoid the strip at night as much as possible. While Vegas is relatively safe in the tourist areas with plenty of people around at all hours of the night, you may not want your little ones to witness the nightlife and party scene that the city is known for. If you get started in the early morning hours while everyone else sleeps in, you can see all of the fun on the strip without worrying about what or who you may run into. Crowds will also be more sparse at the start of the day, so plan for more popular attractions at this time.
- Let’s talk about how expensive a visit to Las Vegas can be. Food and lodging are probably the biggest expenses, especially the closer you are to the strip. A lot of Vegas hotels also include resort fees, parking fees, and high taxes that are charged above the rate that you find online. The activities and shows are also costly if you have a large family. This is certainly something to consider when planning your trip. Try to find hotels where a meal may be included, such as breakfast buffets, and look for coupons for lunch and dinner.
- Plan the more expensive activities ahead of time and look for group rates or discounts online, or check out Groupon to buy tickets ahead of time. You should also keep your list of free activities close by in order to fill time in between. There are many free things to do in Vegas, like visiting the Bellagio fountain or gardens. Walking the strip is a free activity on its own. Another money-saving tip: skip the photos that the attractions and performers charge extra for.
- Change your mindset about Las Vegas. Yes, there are places and things that you will want to avoid, but any city will have those – especially at night. A huge part of Las Vegas is clearly targeted to families, from interactive experiences to aquariums, animals, and rides. There are also plenty of shops, restaurants, shows, and opportunities for family photos.
What Every Parent Should Know
Vegas during the day is VERY different than Vegas at night. We learned quickly that by the time the sun set, we wanted to be in our hotel room away from the chaos! At night the strip was crowded and completely unpredictable and we didn’t know what we might see from one block to the next. To be honest, it was a little scary for my younger kids.
Plan out your itinerary carefully. Keep in mind the tips to save money, choose the right time of day for each activity, and minimize travel time from one area to the next. There really is something for every age in Las Vegas, so if you have a few kids of varying ages, consider letting them each choose one experience that they really want to do.
Some travel destinations rank higher than others, and while Vegas does not stand out as a kid-friendly location, I still encourage you to visit with the family. There is plenty to do for the whole family, on and off the strip, plus, I’d much rather my child experience a destination and form their own opinions about it, isn’t that the beauty of an adventure?