ultimate guide visiting las vegas kids family vacationM&M’s World. Image by Bernard Spragg via Flickr.

Las Vegas may not be the first place you think of when you’re planning your next family vacation, but there are tons of family-friendly things to see or do in the city and just beyond the city limits.

With museums, a plethora of attractions, and numerous educational opportunities, Las Vegas is far from a cultural wasteland. Plus, its central location makes it the perfect base for exploring other southwest locations like the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, and Red Rock Canyon.

In this portion of our guide to visiting Las Vegas, we’ll outline some popular family-friendly hotels, our favorite kid-pleasing attractions, and offer some tips for visiting “Sin City” with your kids.

Here we go!

Family-friendly Hotels

Staying at the right hotel can make your Las Vegas family vacation significantly less stressful. These hotels are known for their kid-friendly attractions and amenities:

Circus Circus

With free daily circus acts, a midway of popular carnival games, and the famous Adventuredome theme park, Circus Circus has no shortage of fun, free, family-friendly activities.

Mandalay Bay

Located at the south end of the Strip, Mandalay Bay’s 1.6 million gallon shark reef is a big hit with kids. With 15 species of sharks (plus piranhas and stingrays) and one of the most impressive pools on the Strip, complete with a quarter mile of lazy river, wave pool, and a beach area with real sand, Mandalay Bay is another popular choice for families.

Mirage

This tropical-themed resort will sweep any family away. With an outdoor volcano that actually erupts every night (alongside music and 150 fireshooters), palm trees, waterfalls, an indoor rainforest, saltwater aquarium, and a dolphin habitat, there’s no shortage of things to see and do with your kids.

Excalibur

Home of the Tournament of Kings show, this King Arthur-themed resort also offers a huge arcade and multiple pools with big decks and numerous waterslides.

las vegas kid friendly hotel excalibur casino resortSouth Point Hotel

If you want to avoid the Strip altogether, South Point Hotel is located several miles south of Sin City’s party central. It also has a 64 lane bowling alley, arcade, 16-screen movie theater, and a kid-friendly pool area.

Orleans

Located less than two miles off the Strip, this popular spot has a 70 lane bowling alley, 18-screen movie theater, arcade, supervised multi-level jungle gym, and a pool surrounded by tropical gardens. Bonus: Orleans runs a free shuttle to the Strip every half hour between 9 AM and 12:30 AM, so parents can have some fun too.

Get our tips for booking a hotel in Las Vegas.

Kid-Friendly Attractions

Despite Las Vegas’s reputation as the party capital of the world, there are tons of family-friendly attractions to check out with your kids. Here are 20 of the most popular:

  1. M&Ms World: With four floors devoted entirely to M&Ms, even adults will feel like a kid in a candy store.
  2. Tournament of Kings at Excalibur: Enjoy a dinner show with mdieval jousting, live entertainment, and lots of audience participation.
  3. Bellagio Fountains: This iconic choreographed light and water show is a can’t-miss Las Vegas experience for visitors of any age. Shows run every 15 minutes between 8PM and midnight, and every 30 minutes between 3 and 8 PM.
  4. Adventuredome Theme Park: Located at Circus Circus, Adventuredome is the world’s largest indoor theme park, with five acres of roller coasters, 4D adventures, and arcades. It’s free to enter, but rides and attractions will cost money.
  5. Mob Museum: Don’t miss this popular museum when you visit downtown Las Vegas! Journey back in time and explore the history of organized crime from the perspective of the mobsters and law enforcement through a multitude of interactive exhibits and immersive storylines.
  6. Grand Canyon: The Grand Canyon is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. Guided tours run daily right from the Strip, including bus, airplane, helicopter, and boat tours. Learn more about visiting the Grand Canyon.

grand canyon panorama

  1. Neon Museum: Also located in downtown Las Vegas, you and your kids can enjoy a historic collection of Vegas’s signature neon signage, preserved and displayed in the famous Neon Boneyard. Guided tours run seven days a week.
  2. Hoover Dam: One of the world’s most spectacular engineering marvels is located just 35 miles from the Strip. Descend into the Dam, view it from indoor and outdoor platforms, as well as from two states, and even combine your tour with a Lake Mead or Colorado River cruise. Learn more about visiting the Hoover Dam.
  3. Smith Center for the Performing Arts: JoAnna from Kaleidoscopic Wandering suggests that families try to catch a show at the Smith Center.
The Broadway series always has a great line up, and the Nevada Ballet Theatre is stellar. In addition to the shows in the large performance hall, the Smith Center also features several smaller, intimate shows. Many shows are appropriate for all age groups, so visitors should check the schedule prior to visiting the city to see what might be showing when they’re in town. The Smith Center is located next to the local children’s museum, which is very popular with families traveling with young children.
  1. Shark Tank: Nestled inside the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas, this famous shark tank also includes a three-storey waterslide.
  2. Botanical Gardens: Visit the Springs Preserve six miles from the Strip and see the largest collection of Mojave Desert cacti and succulents, as well as a butterfly habitat.
  3. Red Rock Canyon: Just 20 miles from the Strip, Red Rock Canyon is the perfect destination for a half or full-day adventure. Experience true desert beauty and make it back to Las Vegas in time for your evening plans! Learn more about Red Rock Canyon.

red rock canyon panorama

  1. Trampoline Park: What kid doesn’t love bouncing around on a trampoline? SkyZone Las Vegas was the world’s first trampoline park, now offering open jumping, Ultimate Dodgeball, SkySlam (aka trampoline basketball), and a foam zone.
  2. Atomic Testing Museum: Learn the story behind America’s nuclear testing program and see a replica of the control point where each nuclear countdown occurred.
  3. Death Valley: Explore the hottest and driest place in North America on one of the many guided day tours available from the Strip.
  4. Explore wetlands: The Clark County Wetlands Park is located just 10 miles from the Strip. Wander through the habitats of the more than 300 species of plants and animals that inhabit the Las Vegas Wash, or take part in a guided discovery walk or one of the many family programs available.
  5. Valley of Fire: Named for its distinctive red sandstone formations, the Valley of Fire is only 55 miles away from the Strip. Take a guided tour right from your hotel and hike into the impressive rock formations to hunt for petrified wood and more. Learn more about what you can see at the Valley of Fire.
  6. Discovery Children’s Museum: This 58,000 square foot museum offers three storeys of interactive culture, science, and art exhibits, plus a 70-foot, 13-level play tower.
  7. High Roller Observation Wheel: Hop on the world’s largest observation wheel (it’s 550 feet tall!) and enjoy a sky-high view of Las Vegas and the surrounding desert.
  8. Las Vegas Natural History Museum: With exhibits showcasing natural history and just about any animal you can imagine (including dinosaurs), as well as shark feedings three times a week, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum is a perfect destination for families.

Tips for Visiting Las Vegas with your Kids

There are a few things you can do to make sure your Vegas family vacation goes smoothly. Keep these tips in mind when you’re exploring Las Vegas:

  • Do any sightseeing in the morning: You’ll beat the heat, and there will be fewer crowds as well.
  • Spend the afternoon poolside: What better way to pass a hot afternoon under the Las Vegas sun than by relaxing at the pool?
  • Don’t explore the Strip at night: The party truly begins when the sun sets.
  • Check what shows your hotel is offering before you book: Some hotels offer adult-only shows and promote them visibly throughout the hotel.
  • Consider booking a hotel off the Strip: A number of off-Strip hotels are casino-free, and are less likely to offer (and heavily promote) adult-only shows. They’re also cheaper and tend to be quieter.
  • Take taxis or use the monorail to avoid the bustle of the Strip.
  • Bring snacks wherever you go: Drinks and munchies are expensive.

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Las Vegas

Find answers to all your questions about Las Vegas in our Ultimate Guide!

Special thanks to all the expert travelers who contributed their tips to the Ultimate Guide to Visiting Las Vegas!