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Las Vegas for Families
Vegas Baby! (well maybe not babies, but families too!)
Las Vegas has it's reputation as being a "bad" city. But it does have it's good side too! There is even things for families to do! Free, cheap and educational (ie not so cheap) stuff! This page will take you through some of the fun things that Las Vegas has to offer for families.
Las Vegas, my story
Growing up in Iowa, Las Vegas was always seen as the place that my older relatives went on their "trips". They were not vacations - trips! For some people, that is still how Las Vegas is seen - a trip to have a little fun in a casino.
The company my husband worked at for year's would send him to Las Vegas for a convention. The convention was always scheduled around our anniversary. So I went to Las Vegas a couple of times to celebrate our anniversary. We don't have a lot of money, so we can't afford to go to shows and the little we allow ourselves to gamble goes away really quick! He has rented a car on a few occasions and visited the Grand Canyon. (I'm afraid of heights, so this is not something I may enjoy!)
Last fall my oldest was doing an internship in Las Vegas (and she could get us tickets to see a show!). So the girls in the family (my mother and my two tween/teen daughters) decided to visit Las Vegas over Thanksgiving. Since we had the younger children, I wanted to find things that they would enjoy doing. I was surprised to find there were a lot of things to do in Las Vegas that was family friendly and very affordable! I hope you find something that will inspire you to visit Las Vegas!
Free things to do in Las Vegas
There are a lot of free things to do in Las Vegas that will have everyone asking for more!
- M & M Store - Ok, sorry I know this is a store and it will cost you something if they want to buy an M & M bear (that's what mine bought!)! It really is a very cool store. There are 4 or 5 floors (I lost count!) of ALL things M & M related. There is everything you can imagine with the M & M's colors/logo on it from clothing to school supplies and kitchen supplies. On one floor there is a wall of M & M's. A rainbow of colors - you get to create your "own" bag of M & M's. You can even have them personalized! There is a movie which stars the M & M characters (this is free). There are plenty of M & M characters to take your picture with & a flat penny machine (we love collecting flat pennies - it's a cheap souvenir!) On the top floor is one of the M & M race cars! This is also where you can find M & M ornaments & collectibles!
- Coke World - This is right next to the M & M store and yes, it's another store! This one started off it's life as a Coke museum, but I guess Las Vegas wasn't too interested in a Coke museum so it is now a store. You can find it because there is a 3 store Coke bottle on the corner of the store (great photo op). There is an elevator that goes through the Coke bottle! Coke World is only 2 floors of all things Coke related. There is a little tasting area for different varieties of Coke products (really unique flavors!). There is also a photo op area with the Coke polar bear.
- Bellagio Fountains - These are really cool to see! Fountains of water dancing to music! There are shows in the daytime & in the evening. We went in the evening and in the colder months. The shows can last up to 1/2 hour. During the colder months they lasted about 5 minutes - which is about long enough to stand still in Las Vegas! The Bellagio Fountain website will give you all the show times.
- Lion Habitat @ MGM Grand - This was the coolest thing ever! Because of the way the habitat is created (glass panels) you are able to see the lions very close. The lions can not hear or smell you so they don't hide. There is a "tunnel" that you can walk through that the lions like to sit/lay on - so you can walk under the lions! There is an area within the gift shop at the Habitat that you can visit/hold a lion cub. Check out the Lion Habitat @ MGM Grand for all the information about the lions! (This can count as an educational experience also!)
- Fremont Experience - This is downtown at it's most Las Vegas! Every hour from about 6:00 to midnight there is a light show on the ceiling that covers Fremont Street. The show is different every hour so look at their website to find something that would be appropriate for your family. There is also a lot of free entertainment on Fremont Street. There is everything from magicians to bands. There are also people who pose as statues of different individuals. We saw Rocky and several other "people". It was fun to watch tourists try to make the "statues" move/laugh. Check out the Fremont Experience website for show details!
- Volcano @ Mirage - Who doesn't love a volcano erupting! We never actually got to see this one, but I'm sure it was very cool to see. I'm sure the boys in the family would enjoy this one! Check out theVolcano @ Mirage website for more information!
- Flamingos @ Flamingo Hotel - There is a wildlife habitat at the Flamingo Hotel that is home to Chilean Flamingos. It is a natural environment habitat with other wildlife & waterfalls. We did not get a chance to visit the flamingos and I am not positive it was free, but I think it is - please check with the hotel before you visit the flamingos! Check out the wildlife habitat info at the Flamingo Hotel website.
- Circus Circus - The hotel Circus Circus has circus acts every day at 11:00 am and best of all it's free! This was another experience that we just couldn't fit into our time, but it sounded like a lot of fun! Opening in August, 2011 there will be a Chuck Jones experience. I don't know if there will be a charge for this experience, but it sounds awesome! According to the website you will have a chance to attend workshops on animation! Something to check out! Check out the Circus Circus website here!
Free Las Vegas Things to Do Photos
Fremont Street Experience
"Reasonably" Priced Things to do in Las Vegas
Everyone's idea of reasonably priced is different. It depends on the number in your family and if you feel the experience is worth the cost. The items I have listed below vary from a roller coaster ride, gondola rides and tour Madame Tussaunds Wax Museum. Each one a unique experience, but each family will have to judge if it is worth the cost!
- Roller Coaster @ New York, New York Hotel - Two of my daughters did this one. The roller coaster resembles a taxi cab touring through New York city. It goes inside and outside the hotel. The roller coaster costs $14 to ride. Check out the New York, New York Hotel website for more information!
- Gondola Rides @ Venetian - Ride a Gondola like you are in Venice! This looks so cool! We did not get a chance to do this one, but I will try to do it the next time we go! The cost is $16 per person. Check out the Venetian website for more information. Check out the Gondola Ride website for times and more information.
- Madame Tussauds @ Venetian - If you enjoy wax figures, you will like Madame Tussauds at the Venetian! The website says they have a wax figure of Lady Gaga! Prices are $25 adults & $18 for students. .Check out Madame Tussauds website for more information.
- Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat - Another hidden gem hiding at The Mirage! This sounds like a very cool experience. Prices start at $17 for adults & $12 for children. If you stay at The Mirage you get a discount to visit the Habitat! Check out the Secret Garden website for more details.
- Eiffel Tower @ Paris Hotel - If you can't get to Paris to experience the Eiffel Tower, you can visit the replica in Las Vegas. It is a half-scale reproduction of the Eiffel Tower in the real Paris. The cost is reasonable: adults $10.50, children $7.50. If you want to take in the view at night the cost is a little higher. However if you're afraid of heights (like I am) you may want to skip this one! My family did take in the views and they said they were awesome! Check out the Eiffel Tower at Paris Hotel website for more details!
- Stratosphere - If you and your family are thrill seekers (ie not afraid of heights), then the Stratosphere is the place for you! You can ride the elevator up the tower to view Las Vegas. They boast the world's highest thrill rides. You can jump off the tower with SkyJump Las Vegas, experience 3G's of insanity with a ride that extends 64 feet over the edge of the tower (900 ft in the air!), a giant teeter-totter like ride 866 feet over Las Vegas and Big Shot which propels you an additional 165 feet into the air (as if 866 ft wasn't high enough!)! My daughter did go up to the observation deck. She said it was something to do once - only once for her! If you are a thrill seeker, check out Stratosphere website for more details!
Las Vegas Travel Guides
"Educational" Things to do in Las Vegas!
Strange as it sounds, there are some things to do in Las Vegas that could be considered educational! As with any education - there is a cost involved!
- CSI Exibit @ MGM Grand - CSI TV shows are very popular right now! The original CSI show is based in Las Vegas so a CSI attraction is a natural fit. You get to choose from 3 different "crimes" and "work" through the evidence to "solve" the crime. It was a lot of fun! However, it is not cheap. Prices for adults start at $30 and $23 for children. It is recommended for children ages 12 and up. My 10 year old went and really enjoyed the experience. Parents should use their best judgement. There are packages available to "solve" all three crimes (you can also find packages on "The Strip" to get into the experience cheaper!) Check out CSI: The Experience website for more information!
- Titanic @ Luxor - View artifacts (and a piece of the ship!) from the Titanic. When you enter the exhibit you receive your "boarding pass" - you become a passenger on the Titanic. In the exhibit you get a chance to view a third class cabin and the comforts of a first class cabin. You can feel the cold from the "iceberg". At the end of the exhibit, you can find out if your passenger survived the voyage. It is a costly exhibit, but well worth the price (check out different places on The Strip for ticket deals). Check out Luxor's website for more information.
- Shark Reef @ Mandalay Bay - You can see sharks of all kinds in this aquarium along with 2,000 other sea creatures. The price for adults is $18.00 and $12.00 for children. Check out the Shark Reef website for more details.
- Hoover Dam - Hoover Dam is located 30 minutes from Las Vegas, but it feels like another world! You can see the outside of Hoover Dam for free, but there are a couple of different tours available to show you the inside of the dam. When I was a kid, my dad liked to tour dams. Hoover Dam is nothing like the dams I toured as a child! I would suggest the full tour. You will get to go inside the dam and be able to look out the dam - and see the Colorado River! The tours can be a little costly ($30 per person), but I believe they are well worth the value (educationally!). When my husband and I visited the dam, we just took the PowerPlant tour ($11 per person). It was an ok tour, but the full Hoover Dam tour was awesome! (You can also just go to the Visitor Center for $8.00 per person.) Check out the Hoover Dam website for more details.