I took my kids to Las Vegas for a short vacation last week. This is the second time in a year that we have been, and I have found that Vegas is a great place to take the kids. This is a surprise to many as Vegas is known as sin city and seems to be the kind of place you would never want to take children. With the correct planning though, Vegas can be kid-friendly and fun. Just follow these easy steps, and you too can have an awesome vacation in Las Vegas!
1. Choose the correct hotel – This is very important, especially in Vegas. First you will want a hotel that is clean and not full of drunks. That means most of the hotels would be out, especially the so-called kid hotels, Circus Circus and Excalibur. Second you want a hotel with big rooms, so the kids can spread out. Finally pick a hotel that is set up in such a way that the kids can avoid the casino.
I have found that the perfect hotel for us is the Palazzo. All the rooms are suites, so there is plenty of space for everyone. The bathroom is huge, and my kids loved the bath. There are 2 queen beds, and a large couch, so plenty of sleeping room. There is an automatic curtain opener, which provided my youngest son with hours of entertainment. The other nice thing about these rooms is that they are largely sound proof. I hardly ever heard someone outside in the hall, and I never heard the neighbors.
The casino is clean and the walkways are smoke free, so no one is overpowered by the smell of smoke. The Palazzo has shops and some restaurants on the second floor, along with entrances and exits to the outside. This works out nicely because it makes it possible to avoid the casinos for almost the entire trip. My kids stepped into the casino only a handful of times, and I felt happy about that.
2. Plan to go to the pool early in the day or late at night – Most of the hotels have large pools, and they are usually very crowded. They are also crowded with people who don’t come to Vegas to be around a bunch of kids. I completely understand that, and to avoid any confrontation, I made sure we avoided the pool during peak hours. Early morning and early evening are great times to be at the pool with kids. The pools are not crowded at this time, and no one is making out, so my kids can splash, be loud, and be annoying without bothering anyone. You also get the added benefit of cooler weather which everyone appreciates.
3. Take in a show or two (or three) – Vegas has plenty of live shows, and many of them are appropriate for the whole family. We saw The Phantom of the Opera this time, and everyone from my 8-year-old to my mother loved it. Other shows in town that are appropriate are The Lion King, The Blue Man Group, and depending on the age of your kids, one of the Cirque de Soleil shows.
4. Do something educational – Vegas and educational don’t seem to go hand-in-hand, but there are some exhibits that are in fact educational. The Luxor has Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition that I took my kids to last time we were there, and they enjoyed it. Next door to the Titanic exhibit is The Bodies, which I haven’t been too, but I have heard good things about it. There is also The Atomic Testing Museum which shouldn’t be missed. This museum looks at Nevada’s role in the atomic age, and it has several exhibits that are worth seeing. It is associated with the Smithsonian, and I felt that it was very well done. My twelve-year-olds especially enjoyed it, while my youngest seemed a little bored.
5. Take time to enjoy the small things that you may miss out on if you didn’t have the kids – Okay I didn’t know what to call this topic, but I wanted to include it. There were several things my kids enjoyed doing that I don’t think I would have noticed without them. They loved walking around the Wynn. The outside and inside is beautiful, and my nature loving kids appreciated it.
My oldest son loved exploring Bauman Rare Books at the Palazzo. He was amazed at how much some of the books went for. I think I have a future book collector on my hands.
My youngest son was not that impressed with the bookstore, but he did love the magic store at The Grand Canal Shoppes. Of course being who he is he did not buy any magic tricks, instead he bought some masks. These masks entertained him, and several guests of the hotel, as he wore them in the elevator much to the surprise of the people entering the elevator.
Speaking of the Grand Canal Shoppes, Autry loved them. There is the pretty setting, recreated to look like Venice (if Venice were in Vegas). There is the canal ride and the street entertainers. The statue that is actually a person is very entertaining to kids, as is the jester and opera singer. There are plenty of good restaurants at the Grand Canal Shoppes. We found the Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio Bar and Grill to be especially accommodating to children.
6. Bring along the grandparents – The final step to enjoying a family friendly vacation in Vegas is essential, bring the grandparents. It is nice to have the grandparents around to lend a hand during the day and to babysit in the evening. After all you need to have fun too!