Las Vegas half-heartedly sells itself as a family vacation destination. Because the legal gambling age is 21, many casino hotels and resorts would rather you simply left the little ones at home. Some high-end casino hotels even prohibit strollers from being on their grounds. State law prevents all minors from being in the gaming areas at all times.
But it's not all bad news if you want to take kids to Vegas - the place is actually full of family-friendly attractions and activities. Here's just a taste:
Casino hotels with children in mind
Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings features real horses, battling knights and medieval damsels in distress. However, most casinos have virtual-reality and video game arcades, and many of the major resorts have fabulous pools, like Mandalay Bay’s wave pool, lazy river and beach. Note that children under 21 are not allowed in gaming areas.
Some of the Strip’s stage shows (including magic acts) welcome all ages. Kids can learn to do their own tricks at Houdini’s Magic Shop. For big productions, check out Kà, LOVE, Mac King, Mystère or Phantom. Don’t miss the nightly free Viva Vision light-and-sound show in downtown’s Fremont St, featuring 12.5 million lights under a four-block canopy.
Take your kids along for the ride
For high-speed thrills, head to Adventuredome at Circus Circus or New York–New York, where a roller coaster shoots out of the Coney Island Emporium. This four-minute ride includes lots of stomach-dropping dipsy-dos, high-banked turns, a 540-degree spiral and stellar Strip views, plus a heartline twist-and-dive maneuver, producing a sensation similar to the one felt by fighter pilots during a barrel roll. Teens will get a thrill atop the Stratosphere Tower and at Pole Position Raceway.
Sharks and lions
Despite billboards advertising a great white shark looking oh-so menacing, you won’t see any great whites at Mandalay Bay. What you will see in this 1.6-million-gallon walk-through aquarium complex is 2000-plus large and small sharks, jellyfish, moray eels, stingrays and crocodiles. There’s even a shallow petting pool for kids.
Get out of town
Planning your next family vacation? Check out Lonely Planet's comprehensive Southwest USA guide, which includes a special chapter on Las Vegas and Nevada.