While Las Vegas might already be at the top of your list for your next grown-up weekend away, surprise!—it’s also a great place to bring the kids! With loads of shows, restaurants and activities geared towards those who haven’t quite reached gambling age, you’ll find tons to do there for all your people. Bonus: it’s super close to the Grand Canyon. We’ve got all the info here for your next family vacay in Las Vegas!
The Neon Museum
Start your visit to Las Vegas with a stop at The Neon Museum and you’ll get all caught up on the city’s history through its retired neon signs. Knowledgeable guides tour guests through this this neon boneyard that includes signs from old casinos and other Las Vegas businesses while providing interesting facts about the area’s development into the tourist destination that it is today. You can visit the museum and tour the signs on your own until 4 p.m. daily or opt for the full experience of a one-hour guided tour in the evening.
Earlier this year, the Neon Museum launched Brilliant!, a 30-minute night show in its North Gallery where lights are projected on to unrestored signs making them appear to come to life. Kids will especially love this show and the music and story that goes along with it. You can buy tickets to Brilliant! on their own, or pair them with your visit to the museum.
770 Las Vegas Boulevard North
Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Monorail
When you need to make your way around the Las Vegas Strip, ditch the car (and the exorbitant parking fees) and opt for the Las Vegas Monorail. Connecting the MGM Grand and the SLS Las Vegas, the Monorail has seven stops along the strip to get you where you need to go.
Operating from 7 a.m. until the wee hours of the morning, the Monorail is a favorite among families as it provides a quick and air conditioned way to get around the city and is super fun for the kids. Pro tip: Once you enter the Monorail system, you can ride as long as you’d like on one ticket so make the most of it and ride it from beginning to end! One ride costs $5, an unlimited day pass is $13 and multi-day discounts are available. Nevada residents can ride for a buck and kids under five ride free.
High Roller Observation Wheel
Hop off the Monorail at The LINQ and you’ll be in the right spot to board the High Roller Observation Wheel. This observation wheel is akin to a Ferris wheel but on a massive scale that only Las Vegas can pull off. A full rotation brings you up 550 feet during its 30-minute rotation.
During your ride you will be inside a huge pod that allows you to walk around and take in the Vegas sights. Screens inside provide area history and information about the observation wheel itself. Plan your visit for the evening hours and you’ll get to see the city in all its neon glory. Pro tip: Tickets are cheaper during the day and also when purchased in advance online. Kids six and under ride free and you can get a family four-pack for $59.
3545 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV
Michael Jackson ONE
If you are looking for a Las Vegas show that both kids and parents will adore, Michael Jackson ONE is the ticket. Combining the gravity-defying artistry of Cirque du Soliel with the epic music of the King of Pop, this show will have you dancing in your seat. The hour and 30-minute show takes place at the Mandalay Bay Resort (with no intermission). You won’t know where to focus your attention with performers on the stage, in the aisles, on the walls and even suspended above the audience.
The show brings to life iconic hits like Man in the Mirror, Bad and Smooth Criminal. Parents should be aware that the zombies in Thriller can get a little intense as they come up the aisles and interact with the crowd so sit the kids off aisle if you think this might be an issue. Pro tip: If you are taking an Uber to the show, ask for the Delano hotel drop off as it is much closer to the theater entrance than the one at Mandalay Bay.
3950 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV
photo: Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Your little history buffs are in for a treat when you visit the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the Luxor Hotel. This fully-immersive exhibit starts out by assigning you with the identity of one of the Titanic passengers. You can read about your person’s history and when they were sailing aboard this massive ship.
The exhibit takes you through all the different classes on the ship with information about how the first class dined and how those on third class had to share a communal bathtub. Actual artifacts including “The Big Piece” are on display with videos showing how they were removed from the ocean floor. Opt for the audio tour to get the full experience. Bonus, kids three and under are free.
The Luxor Hotel
3900 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV
There’s no shortage of awesome eats in Las Vegas. If your ride on the High Roller has you there at mealtime, the LINQ Promenade is the perfect place to grab a kid-friendly meal from options like the Yardhouse, Haute Doggery or In-N-Out Burger. Save room for sweets and stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes or Ghiradelli Chocolate.
If you have some time off-strip, definitely grab a spot in line at Freed’s Bakery—the location of Food Network’s Vegas Cakes. Dozens of cookie options are sold by the pound and half pound, or you can’t go wrong with one of their cupcakes or cookie ice cream sandwiches.
Visit the Grand Canyon
Take some time away from all the downtown crowds and spend the day in the Grand Canyon. Just a short flight from Las Vegas, Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines will bring you right to this majestic national park. A shuttle picks you up at your Las Vegas hotel and drops you off at the airport in Boulder City, Nevada to start your aerial adventure.
Helicopter and airplane tours are both available with options ranging from flight only to additions like a bus tour to the Hoover Dam or the opportunity to walk across the Skywalk Bridge—a bridge with a glass floor that allows you to walk out over the Grand Canyon itself.
The kids will be stunned by the massive size of the Grand Canyon, which can best be viewed from the air! Your flight includes an audio tour that points out many of the historical spots along the way.
A particularly fun option is to add on a Buck Wild Hummer Tour to your Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines excursion. You will take a flight to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where a shuttle will deliver you to the Buck Wild office. There you will board a former military hummer with open-air stadium seating.
Your knowledgeable tour guide will take you through the national park, stopping along the way at scenic overlooks for a bit of a history lesson and a chance to snap photos. If you are lucky you just might spot some of the parks resident elk! Buck Wild tours can be booked on their own or in combination with your Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines flight.
Green Valley Ranch Resort
If relaxation is high on your Las Vegas list and the kids are along for the ride, the Green Valley Ranch Resort is the perfect spot. Located off Strip, GVRR lets you get away from the crowds and all the downtown nightlife that might not be very appropriate for kids. You’ll feel like you are miles away even though you are only a $20 Uber ride from the action.
The Green Valley Ranch Resort offers Vegas draws like a casino with an all-you-can-eat buffet, as well as a killer pool with its own zero-entry sandy beach. You will win the day when you take the kids to the underage version of a casino, the on-site arcade complete with tickets they can redeem for prizes. Need a spot to cool off from the heat? The hotel has its own movie theater and food court. A coffee stand in the lobby will get you caffeinated for the day and on-property restaurants like Turf Grill and Pizza Rock will keep you all well fed.
Parents who want to see a show or take advantage of the hotel’s casino or fancier restaurants without the kids tagging along can drop them off at Kids Quest. Located right on the casino floor, Kids Quest offers drop-off childcare where kids from 30 months through age 12 get to have their own fun while you get some parent time. For $10.50/kid per hour, kids can play on the climbing wall, work on an art project, check out the iPad station and more. Meals and snacks are available for an additional charge.
In addition to GVRR, Station Casinos offers nine other off-strip properties with amenities like Kids Quest, swimming pools and more—perfect options for your family vacation in Las Vegas. One even has an ice rink!
Green Valley Ranch Resort
2300 Paseo Verde Parkway
The moral of the story is: don’t leave the kids at home the next time you visit Vegas. You’ll see “Sin City” in a whole new light when you bring the shorter set along for the ride!
—photos and story by Kate Loweth
This trip was paid for by Station Casinos and the attractions mentioned above but the opinions belong to the author.