There really is a lot to do on a Las Vegas vacation with kids both on and off the Las Vegas Strip. Explore Egyptian treasures at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Or, set sail on a 90-minute sightseeing cruise on-board the Desert Princess at nearby Lake Mead.
Over the years, Las Vegas has become much more family-friendly, offering a lot to see and do for those interested in exploring this city as a family. If you’re thinking about Las Vegas, take a look at my list of 15 fun things to do on a Las Vegas vacation with kids. Have fun.
1. Touch Stingrays at Shark Reef Aquarium. Located inside Mandalay Bay, you’ll find more than 2,000 sea creatures, including sharks, moon jellies and stingrays, at Shark Reef Aquarium. You can also sign up for animal encounters, like the new interactive sea turtle feeding session (an extra fee applies).
2. Watch Free Circus Acts at Circus Circus. Starting at 11 am daily, catch free circus acts at Circus Circus. Kids will love watching Jeremy the speed juggler and Noelia the trapeze artist. While there, don’t miss the indoor Adventuredome Theme Park.
3. Take in the Views from Hoover Dam. Take a 30-minute guided tour or simply watch a short film on the history of the Hoover Dam in the Visitor Center before heading outside to take in the views from atop the dam. Walk across and be in two states at once, Arizona and Nevada (two time zones too).
4. Enjoy Hands-On Fun at the Discovery Children’s Museum. The Discovery Children’s Museum is a great place to take little ones to engage in hands-on learning experiences. Look for fun areas to discover, like Water World, Eco City and Toddler Town. Closed Mondays.
5. Take a Spin on the High Roller. Enjoy a birds-eye view of the Las Vegas Strip on the High Roller, the 550-foot-tall observation wheel. Climb aboard one of 28 air-conditioned pods for a 30-minute spin up and over Las Vegas. A video narration points out the sights down below.
6. Explore Nearby Valley of Fire State Park. Located an hour from Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park offers fantastic views, making for great photos of the winding roads through the park as well as overlooks, like the ones found along the Rainbow Vista Trail. If you go in summer, it’s a must to bring water.
7. Explore Egyptian Treasures at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. A Smithsonian affiliate, kids can check out Egyptian treasures, learn about prehistoric life or explore the geology gallery at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Get up close with live animals as part of the Critter Connections program.
8. Get Up Close with More than 300 Species of Cactus. If cactus is not native to where you live, it’s a real treat to visit the Botanical Cactus Garden to see more than 300 different types of cactus. As a bonus, the cactus garden is a part of Ethel M Chocolates, so take a self-guided tour of the factory while you are there.
9. Set Sail on Lake Mead. Climb aboard the Desert Princess for a 90-minute sightseeing cruise with Lake Mead Cruises. Stay for dinner on select evenings and take in the desert stars. Enjoy views of the Hoover Dam and the white “bathtub ring” left by higher water levels on the rocks surrounding the lake.
10. Take a Guided Jeep Tour of Red Rock Canyon. Get picked up at your hotel and enjoy a half-day tour of nearby Red Rock Canyon with Pink Jeep Tours. See highlights like the Spring Mountain Range and Red Rock Overlook while enjoying narration as part of the Red Rock Canyon Classic Tour.
11. Enjoy Free Fun on the Las Vegas Strip. Watch the fountain show in front of the Bellagio (every 15-30 minutes), see the volcano erupt at the Mirage (hourly in the evenings) or meet and greet the flamingos at the Wildlife Habitat inside Flamingo Las Vegas.
12. Take in the Neon Lights of Las Vegas’s Past. It’s a must to take a guided tour of the Neon Museum to learn the history of neon lights in Las Vegas. Take a tour day or night to explore the outdoor Neon Boneyard, which is home to more than 150 signs, some of which have been refurbished and restored.
13. Go Rafting Along the Colorado River. For a scenic escape, board a Colorado River raft bound for Black Canyon, which lies just below the Hoover Dam. Black Canyon River Adventures offers half-day rafting tours that depart daily each morning, providing unmatched views of the desert landscape.
14. Strike Out at Brooklyn Bowl. Take a break to bowl a frame or two at Brooklyn Bowl. Sit back on comfy leather sofas while you wait for your turn in the rotation. Order from a menu that includes salads, fried chicken platters and milkshakes.
15. Cool Off in Lake Las Vegas. Get off the Strip and head about 25 miles east for a stay at the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa. You’ll be right on Lake Las Vegas to enjoy plenty of water activities like stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing.
If you plan to fly to Las Vegas on Southwest, don’t forget about Southwest Check-In online. It’s a great way to ensure a good flight boarding position, which is a must when flying with kids. Many flights also have Southwest WiFi and you can check ahead of time on their website.