As well as all the grown up glitz, glamour and high stakes gaming going on, Las Vegas is also a great place to go with kids. The casino floor might be out of the equation but that’s only one small part of the city’s broad appeal. After all, where else can you climb the Eiffel Tower, take a Venetian gondola ride and see a huge model of the Statue of Liberty made out of chocolate? Check out our list of top things to do in Las Vegas for kids.
1) Candy stores
With M&M’s World and Hershey’s Chocolate World both offering multiple floors of chocolate-based fun, your little ones will be as happy as kids in a…well, you know the rest. Both are located on the strip and are free to enter, although you’ll need iron willpower and a heart of stone to not come out of there with at least some candy. And it probably won’t be just for the kids either.
2) The Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur
Dueling knights, exciting sword fights and death-defying jousting matches – we just can’t figure out what it is about the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur hotel that the kids seem to love. And surely it can’t be anything to do with the dancing maidens or the fireworks.
3) Big Apple Coaster
Jump in a yellow taxicab and loop the loop around the iconic skyline of New York. This state-of-the-art rollercoaster is at the New York-New York hotel on the strip. It’s pretty easy to spot and once the kids see it, they’re going to want to have a go. You best buckle up for the ride.
4) Big Shot
Imagine being launched 160 feet (50 meters) into the air in under two seconds. Now consider doing it on top of the tallest building in the western half of the US, already at a height of 921 feet (281 meters). That’s exactly what you get at Big Shot. A ride for very brave kids only.
5) Bodies: The Exhibition
Take them on a learning experience with a twist of reality. Showcasing 13 whole body specimens and 260 organs, Bodies: The Exhibition is an educational experience like no other. As the exhibition's Medical Director Dr. Roy Glover comments, "Seeing promotes understanding and understanding promotes the most practical kind of body education possible."
With a name like 'Adventuredome' you just know the kids are going to love it. This is America’s largest indoor theme park, with over 5 acres (20,000 square meters) of rides and attractions, all under a glass-domed roof.
7) Fountains of Bellagio
Not everything you do with the kids has to cost a fortune. The Fountains of Bellagio is one of Las Vegas’ most popular and famous attractions. And it’s completely free. Stretching for a quarter mile (0.4 kilometers) in front of the hotel, every half an hour in the afternoon the fountains erupt in a flurry of color, light and music.
8) Las Vegas Natural History Museum
The word 'museum' might not capture their imaginations immediately, especially with everything else that’s on offer. But with model dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and plenty of other prehistoric beasts on display, it’s plenty of fun – and educational too.
9) CSI: The Experience
Based on the hit TV franchise, this puts the kids in the shoes of a detective trying to solve a mystery. Discover clues, solve puzzles and find the bad guy. With some mature themes, the exhibit is most effective for ages 12 and up, but the website preview allows parents to make a well-informed decision about the experience's suitability for their kids. Big Bus Tours' 2-Day and 3-Day tickets include free entry to the CSI Experience.
10) Aquarium at the Silverton
A 117,000-gallon (443,000 liter) saltwater aquarium is bursting with more than 5,000 tropical fish, as well as sharks, stingrays and plenty of colorful coral too. There are some well-placed benches all around the tank so you can take a load off and watch the beautiful creatures go about their business. Kids will love the mermaid show as well, with skilled divers taking to the aquarium in tails to perform underwater tricks and blow bubble hearts to young fans. When it’s time for some more fun, head to the Silverton’s bowling alley.
11) Springs Preserve Aquarium
3 miles out of Las Vegas, you'll find Springs Preserve, a 180-acre park featuring botanical desert gardens, walking trails, traveling exhibitions, a theatre and other attractions. Kids will love the interactive educational shows and the unique butterfly exhibit at this desert oasis, which also hosts regular family events.
12) The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel
Visit the Mirage Hotel for an unmissable opportunity to get up close to some of nature's most incredible animals. The Mirage is home to two different habitats: Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden, which hosts a variety of beautiful big cats, including jaguars, black panthers, white tigers and lions; and the Dolphin Habitat, home to playful bottlenose dolphins. Combined admission passes are available for both habitats, and you can enhance your visit by adding on unique experiences like swimming or painting with the dolphins.
13) The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
Unlike most aquariums, Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef is designed to give you an experience of some of the ocean's more unusual and fearsome creatures. Among schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, hypnotizing jellies and giant rays, you'll also get to see saw fish, piranhas, crocodiles and sharks. In fact, Shark Reef is home to over 100 sharks, comprising over 15 species. The 1.3 million gallon aquarium is one of the largest in North America, and also features an underwater tunnel, giving you a exclusive divers' view of Shark Reef's amazing inhabitants.