Las Vegas Family Activities and Attractions

by Diana Edelman on August 8, 2010

Las Vegas Family Attractions

Las Vegas isn’t just a playground for adults. Families from all over the world head to the desert oasis for some quality time together. Whether spending time on The Strip, or adventuring outside the infamous casino-lined boulevard, activities for families await.

Las Vegas Strip Family Attractions

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Adventuredome at Circus Circus encourages you to act your age somewhere else.

Housed in a large, pink glass bubble, the five-acre Adventuredome at Circus Circus Las Vegas offers a day full of thrills. It’s got 25 rides and attractions, including the exciting roller coaster that hovers above the crowd and treats guests to upside down screams, Board the Canyon Blaster — the world’s only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster, then check out the 4D theater experience and head over to the midway for some carnival games. Be ready to get wet if you plan on trying out the Rim Runner, a boat ride that plunges its passengers 60 ft into a pool of water. An all-day pass is $24.95.


Gameworks, located next to MGM Grand, offers another indoor experience for families. Adults can sip on beers while kids can play games like virtual bowling, race car driving and more, as well as shoot pool or play darts.

Housed in Mandalay Bay, Shark Reef Aquarium is an underwater exhibit where families can watch sea creatures up-close. It’s the only predator-based aquarium in North America and is packed with 2,000 animals including a variety of sharks, sting rays, piranhas and jelly fish. It’s even got endangered sea turtles and rare golden crocs. If you are a diver, there is an opportunity to dive with sharks in a ship wreck experience. Admission is $16.95 for adults and $10.95 for children 12 and under. Admission is free for children four and younger.

The famous illusionists, Siegfried and Roy have created the Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. The pair present a sanctuary for animals such as white tigers and lions, panthers, leopards and Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins. The Secret Garden even allows people to participate in the special dolphin trainer-for-a-day program. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for children 4 to 12 and free for children 3 and under.

There’s still more! Las Vegas: The CSI Experience at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino is a fantastic option for children 12 and up. Young crime-solvers (and grown-ups, too) act as crime scene investigators in an interactive challenge. It’s a hands-on attraction and when you solve the crime and find the killer, you receive an official CSI Diploma. Admission is $30 for ages 12 and up. Children under 12 are admitted for $23. For the younger crowd, M&M World at the Showcase Mall is perfect. The four-floor retail-entertainment complex is a chocolate-lover’s dream and includes a massive gift shop and a free 3-D movie.

Head off the Strip for more Family Fun

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The Springs Preserve is a top recommendation for families

Escape the Strip and head out to explore the rest of Las Vegas with the family. The Springs Preserve is a 180-acre outdoor exhibit commemorating the history of Las Vegas that we highly recommend. It’s got museums, an outdoor concert area, and botanical gardens. There’s even a system of trails that takes families through an exploration of wetlands. The environmentally-friendly preserve features the Desert Living Center, a five building enclave complete with art gallery and library. The Center aims to educate people on the environment and how to live a greener life. It’s even got a Compost Crawl and Garbage Truck Theater to entertain kids. Ticket prices vary based on age and residency.

Other family activities include the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum — an interactive exhibit that combines education and child development with fun; the Alicante Nature Discovery Park — a 20-acre park with a lake; the Sky Zone Recreational Center where you can experience parachuting indoors; and the Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix Family Fun Center, complete with rides, arcades and four race tracks.

Family Friendly Shows in Las Vegas

For a more stationary experience, there are family-friendly shows up and down The Strip. Magician Lance Burton is a must. Named “Best Magician” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal consistently, he delights crowds daily at the Monte Carlo Resort. Act quick to catch his show — his final performances are in early September. Nearby is the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur, a dining experience that takes you back to medival times of knights and feasts, including a jousting match on horses, fireworks and dinner sans silverware (yup, eating with your fingers).

Other shows for families are The Mac King Comedy Magic Show at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino; the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater at V Theater in Planet Hollywood’s Miracle Mile; the entertaining performance by the Blue Man Group at the Venetian; and the family favorite “Lion King” matinee at Mandalay Bay. Just be aware that little kids may find the Lion King a little long and wordy.

Do you regularly visit Las Vegas with your family? If so, and you have some advice for readers planning a Las Vegas getaway, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

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