Is Las Vegas Family Friendly?

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Now I can say I have visited Las Vegas at age 13 and age 18 (I just returned yesterday!), making me an excellent candidate to decide the commonly debated question: “Should I take the children to Las Vegas?” In short my answer is definitely a “yes” but I could go either way, so here’s both viewpoints:

Why You SHOULD Take Your Kids To Vegas

Right before the trip I told an adult that I was about to Vegas but before I even told her I could already see her eyes rolling. “Sure enough she said why would you want to go there? Aren’t you a little young for the gambling?…” But it turns out that you actually have to be 21 to gamble.

Here’s my list of must-sees for kids in Vegas:

I was really into architecture (and still am) so visiting malls like the upscale Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace really meant a lot to me. This mall is home to 150+ stores and many great dining establishments as well like Planet Hollywood, The Cheesecake Factory, Spago, Mesa Grill and a few designer restaurants from your favorite chefs. The Cheesecake Factory is a must.

 

The “faux” carousel at the Bellagio indoor conservatory is pictured above.

 

Kids (especially teens) will love visiting the Stratosphere. Younger kids will enjoy seeing the stunning view and eating at the Top of the World Restaurant whitch features a rotating 360º view of Vegas, the Strip and the surrounding area. Teens won’t want to miss riding on the wild and crazy thrill rides atop this 100 story+ tower. You can ride over the edge, drop with views of the edge or even JUMP off of the edge on the newest attraction, SkyJump Las Vegas.

I’ve always dreamed of visiting France so a visit to Paris Las Vegas was a highlight of our trip, for me. This hotel is home to a half scale, 541-foot-tall replica of the Eiffel Tower. Head up to the llth floor, more than 100 feet above the strip on a glass elevator to dine at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant with the finest French cuisine in town.

You have to take your kids to the Circus Circus! Here you’ll find the Adventuredome, a 5 acre indoor amusement park with 25 rides and attractions. Are you ready for the Canyon Blaster? It’s the world’s only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster at 55 mph. Bring your poncho (we did!) to experience The Rim Runner water ride (we came in the off season and were dissapointed to find this ride closed, but they did open it for the last few minutes that the park was open) and spash down the 60-foot waterfall. This was our favorite ride, not to big, not to small. Other attractions include four thrill rides, your classic theme park favorites, 18 holes of miniature golf, rock climbing, bungee jumping, and a SpongeBob SquarePants 4D show in a FX Theatre.

 

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Roller coasters can be found all across town, unlike many other cities in the country! The New York New York hotel is home to The Roller Coaster.

Everyone loves a good show, well how about free shows! The world renowned Fountains of Bellagio are a true must. Another of my favorite shows is Sirens of TI. This show may be geared for adults, but what kid doesn’t love seeing pirates, right? Another fantastic free show is located downtown. The Freemont Street Experience is brilliant. This 5 block light show is displayed on 1 big screen above your head (it’s more like a roof).

We can’t forget the animal habitats! Where else can you see your favorite animals for free? See flamingos at the Flamingo hotel. Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat isn’t free, but it is well worth your money. It’s home to white lions, Lions, white tigers, Golden Tigers, Black panthers, leopards, and Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins.

 

Wave pool at the Monte Carlo

 

Another must see is the all new CityCenter complex. An assortment of hotels, shops and a brand new mall, Crystals. See the water displays, art and wide variety of modern architecture.

Have your kids ever seen a Volcano errupt? Take them to the Mirage to see The Mirage Volcano.

I recommend that anyone staying more than three days should definitely take the short bus, car, or taxi ride to downtown Las Vegas where they will find the Fremont Street Experience and The Tank at The Golden Nugget.

 

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Why You SHOULD NOT Take Your Kids To Vegas

While personally, I can’t stand it when people say not to bring kids to sin city but after going recently, I can definitely see why a protective parent would think twice. After all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

What did you expect to find here? Do you really want to take your kids to a place called “The Strip” where people commonly walk the streets in very little clothing, go to nightclubs, get drunk, etc…??

 

Mickey and Miney pictured here with their heads off, right outside Caesars Palace!

When we were in the Walgreens across the street from CityCenter (supposedly in the best part of town) we actually saw a drunk man approach the cashier beside us and start cussing her out and putting her down.

But an even more alarming situation was when we were in Crystals Mall at 1AM (let me reming you that this is probably THE NICEST mall in the country) literally right beside Tiffany & Co when an armed cop runs in the door chasing after a criminal. The cop yelled “get on the ground or I will shoot” and he slammed down on the ground about three feet away from us.  Tip: don’t keep your kids out past 10PM!You know that Fremont Street Experience I was raving about above? Yeah, well check out who we found right in the center of it, some dude man in his underwear:

 

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A “nude” statue outside Caesars Palace.

 

There are homeless people all throughout the city, even CityCenter, where I saw some dude holding up a sign that read “need spare change for pot.” Even worse was that he was pretty much sitting there on the path that connects Crystals to The Cosmopolitan every single day of our trip. I also saw a sign that read “No food in two days” and another person had a sign that read “too ugly too prostitute.” But some of these people actually looked a little on the hefty side and seemed pretty well dressed for a homeless person. The security guard at our hotel recommended that we didn’t give to these people. He said that many of them were making more than he was at a normal job and that people who hit it big in the casino like to surprise them with a chunk of their earnings. The more we give them, the more they will continue to beg and junk up the strip. Some of the musicians, on the other hand (which can also be found throughout the street corners), are somewhat good and improve the ambiance and deserve an extra buck here and there.

 

So you think all that’s bad, huh? But the WORST part of the city is this company that hires hundreds and hundreds (probably thousands) of people to mob the strip with shirts reading things like “GirlsDirect to You in 20 Minutes.”

These people were handing were “forcefully” putting these cards with images of basically nude gals right up to me as I walked by each and every one of them. You can find these vulgar cards all over the cities side walks, ruining the overall ambiance for any child! Then the city has to hire tons of janitors to clean up their tracks and sweep each and every card up, one at a time. What a disgrace!

Where else can they see a huge recreation of New York, a pyrimid, the eiffel tower, a circus of attractions, a castle and miniature aquariums, zoos and theme parks? So don’t give your money to the casinos, bring the kids instead! Did I mention that many of the attractions are free?

 

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Taylor Goldblatt

After years of research, travel, and dreams, I have created this website for people like you who want to experience the things that only America can offer. My passion is to explore and share America's greatest destinations and attractions. Follow me on Twitter @USCityTraveler for additional travel tips and ideas.

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