Long known as an adult playground, Las Vegas has transformed itself over the past few years. Yes, it still has the casinos, the clubs, and the adult scenes that make it a draw for the 21-and-older crowd. But it’s also a fantastic kids destination.
SlotZilla Zipline at Fremont Street Experience
Zipline high over downtown Las Vegas two ways: choose between the standard zipline (you must weigh at least 50 pounds), or you can fly like Superman (you must weigh at least 80 pounds). You’ll go 40 mph over two pedestrian-filled, light-flashing blocks via this zipline, which was launched just a few years ago.
Indulge in a slice of the 1½-pound, 24-layer chocolate cake at Strip House at Planet Hollywood
If you’re going to overeat, then Vegas is the place to do it. At the Strip House, they’ve got a 24-layer cake. No typo there. It weighs a whopping 1½ pounds (we suggest sharing).
Las Vegas High Roller Observation Wheel
This used to be the world’s tallest observation wheel until Dubai took that honor. Now, at 550 feet above the Strip, it’s the tallest in the United States, and offers views of the entire valley and Strip sans motion sickness during the half-hour spin (we get motion sickness from just about everything, and didn’t experience it here). There are a few ways to do this, including Happy Half Hour — for those 21 and older — which takes place in its own cabin. Kiddos and their families will get their own cabin sans the drinks — but with the same high experience.
Brilliant! Exhibit at Neon Museum
Lights, music, the best of Vegas. The Neon Museum collects Vegas’s original lights and signs, and showcases them with music in a very special half-hour production. It’ll make you feel nostalgic for the olden days of Vegas, even if you weren’t alive back then. Kids (and adults) are free to dance and move about as they please during the show.
Gondola University at The Venetian
Want to learn how to be a gondolier? Nine people per day (sign up in advance) can learn this skill (way harder than it looks, but plenty of fun) during a gondola training class at The Venetian, open to anyone 13 and up. With the help of a master gondolier, you’ll get to take your family and friends for a ride on the actual water.
Vegas Night Flight with Maverick Helicopters
Kids aren’t allowed to gamble in Vegas. But they can fly over it, which feels even more powerful (and may even be less expensive than gambling). The 15-minute-long ride is long enough to give you the absolute best views of the Strip, along with bragging rights and plenty of time to pose in and out of your helicopter.
Breakfast buffet at Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan
This is a picky eater’s (translation: a kid will find something to eat) dream. At breakfast, you can find all the regular breakfast eats, along with sushi, Chinese food, prime rib, chicken, a dozen gelato flavors and toppings, an entire dessert area, and more.
Adventuredome at Circus Circus
It’s an entire amusement park within a hotel. They’ve got everything from a roller skating rink (this is new) to an arcade, indoor bungee jumping, miniature golf, a laser challenge, a roller coaster, bowling, and more. You could easily spend an entire day here.
Coca-Cola International Beverage Bar
On the second floor of the Coca-Cola Store (north of the MGM Grand), sit at the bar, where kids are welcome. Order the Tastes of the World tray, and sample 16 non-alcoholic sodas from around the world. Hint: these include the Bibo Pine Nut from South Africa, the Fanta Kolita from Costa Rica, and the Smart Watermelon from China to name a few.
Wet ’n’ Wild Water Las Vegas
Take a 15-minute ride off the Strip to this water park, which has a six-story drop slide off a “canyon,” a 36-foot catapult via a 110-foot tunnel, a wave pool, racing slides, and a few slightly calmer rides for the younger kids (and adults who don’t want to fear for their lives).
Danielle Braff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.