Children are our future. They are also a major delight in our lives. But they definitely change the whole meaning of the words, “We’re going to Vegas.”
Sure, you can pack the kids into any of the big hotels on the Strip and send them scurrying off to the pool or shopping while you hit the tables. But if you want your kids to grow up remembering the fond times with you, consider having some different fun when you visit Las Vegas.
The tables will always be ready and waiting for you. Your kids will grow up before you know it.
1 – Pick a Family-Friendly Holiday
It’s hard to top out the shows on the Strip for fun and entertainment. And there’s no denying that Vegas has lots of themed attractions the whole family can enjoy. But certain times of the year are extra special.
If you want to treat the kids to an ice Christmas vacation without having to slog through ice and snow, you could do worse than take them to Las Vegas in December. There are usually two or three ice skating attractions and plenty of Christmas decorations and shows.
Although you won’t find a big Thanksgiving Day parade in Vegas, it’s a great place for a short vacation if you ‘d rather not go during the summer. The temperatures are more hospitable and this is a great time of year to do some of the outdoor attractions.
The LINQ Promenade shops are open for Black Friday and some years they’ve offered great discounts on Las Vegas attractions.
2 – Stay in a Glampground
Families with a little extra money to spend will enjoy a glamping vacation. “Glamping” is the luxurious way to camp.
Most people think of the state of Nevada as a huge desert, but there’s a little more scenery to take in than just rocks and sand. Glamping enthusiasts can choose from about 50 locations and stay in treehouses, tipis, log cabins, tiny houses, yurts, domes, and other unusual accommodations.
The kids won’t be wishing they could be playing the slots. You can take them to visit Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, the Grand Canyon, and either of two national forests.
National parks and trails criss-cross the state. The family can see mountains, go caving, see Red Rock Canyon, or stand in Death Valley. Lake Mead National Park also boasts over 1 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys, streams, and lakes, including the big one for which the park is named.
3 – Tour Las Vegas as a Family
One of the most interesting attractions in Las Vegas is free. You can roam certain streets and enjoy fantastic street art created by locals. The Art Walk in Downtown Las Vegas is well-known among locals.
In addition to the fantastic sights and sounds, everyone can enjoy walking up and down the Strip there are several attractions, including the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Adventuredome Theme Park, the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay, and the Gondola Ride at the Venetian.
But even if you have never heard of it, your kids are sure to want to visit the Marvel Avengers STATION. It’s the real deal, a museum built around the Marvel cinematic universe.
Who wouldn’t want to be Iron Man or have their own personal J.A.R.V.I.S. electronic butler? But maybe the best family attraction of all is the VOID virtual reality venue at Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian.
Travelers to Vegas say you can usually take in two of these attractions per day, sometimes three if you plan accordingly.
4 – Plan a Magic Day for the Family
What’s better than a great magic show? Las Vegas is famous for its enchanting productions and stage magicians. The kids will love the GameWorks arcade at Town Square. There are over 200 games to choose from.
Other magical or magic-like activities include three zipline attractions, Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden at the Mirage, the Tournament of Kings (dine at King Arthur’s Court), and several Cirque du Soleil shows.
If you take the family ziplining, they’ll also enjoy Las Vegas’ famous indoor skydiving attraction. It’s better than riding a magic carpet.
And everyone says Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum is to die for.
5 – Make a Schedule and Book Things in Advance
One of the more practical tips for traveling is to set up a schedule so everyone knows what to expect. You can’t plan for temper tantrums and sick days, but leave a little free time in-between excursions so everyone has some down time.
You’ll want to print out a map and plot each day’s activities on it. Make notes about what your travel options are. Walking may sound great before you get there, but if everyone gets too uncomfortable, know where to jump a bus when you need it.
Think about buying a transit pass, renting a car, and charting parking garages in advance. It’s better to be over prepared than to be lost in a strange city when the clock is ticking.
6 – Pack a Few Extras to Ensure the Family Is Comfortable
Plan on keeping water bottles and travel wipes handy. Every mother knows that baby wipes help keep infants cool. Well, travel wipes do the same thing for everyone else.
Take hats for everyone, extra shirts, and don’t forget to use sunblock.
Unless you’re going hiking in the wild, you probably only need one to two packs for the family. Don’t burden everyone with backpacks because they’ll have to find places to stow their gear when they visit attractions.
If you do plan on going out into the desert, make sure everyone packs a water bottle. It may be inconvenient, but water fountains are hard to find. Chewing gum is easier to carry than water and it helps fight dry mouth.
And give every kid a cheap cell phone that can be tracked in case they get lost or separated from you. Program the family numbers into the phones so they don’t have to memorize anything.
7 – General Travel Tips for Families Going Anywhere
Invest a little extra money in one or two sets of matching durable luggage. Mark them stylishly with reflective tape or stickers so they’re easy to pick out from a crowded baggage return.
Some people swear by travel cubes, zippable light-weight storage bags for your clothing and accessories that fit inside suitcases. Travel cubes make it easy to organize everything you take with you, but they do take up some of the space inside your luggage.
If you’re driving to Vegas, you’ll want a travel cleaning bag. Include Febreze anti-allergen spray, a roll of paper towels, and an all-purpose cleaner. Put the liquid spray bottles inside gallon-size resealable bags to avoid ruining other things if they leak.
Unless you’re going camping, you probably don’t need a first aid kit.
Take at least two travel wipe packets. Some families just buy an entire box of them.
You’ll probably have a motley collection of chargers and power cords for smart phones, portable CD players, and more. Collapsible lunch bags make great carryalls for electronic accessories and they are both cheap and waterproof.
If you don’t want to pay for movies at the hotel, take an HDMI cable with you if you travel with a laptop computer. You should be able to hook it up to most modern TV sets. Some hotels disable the HDMI ports, but you’ll find plenty of online travel forums where people share specific tips and experiences.
Vegas should be fun for everyone. If you have enough smart phones in the family, you’ll be able to record lots of pictures and videos.
You’ll want to take more than you need and do more than you have time for. Be flexible. Let your mood help you pick what to do next. And most importantly, make sure everyone relaxes and has a great time.