As summer is rapidly approaching vacation seem to be on the minds of everyone I know. One destination that I am asked about a lot is Las Vegas! Especially people with children want to know, "what other things are there to do in Vegas besides gambling?" The short answer is a lot! Vegas offers something for everyone and none of it has to include gambling, although gambling is obviously one of the big attractions.
The list of family friendly shows available in Vegas is a long one. Everything from a medieval re-enactment in The Tournament of Kings to the fascinating and science driven Bodies Exhibit are on offer. Some of the top choices seem to be Cirque Du Soleil, Blue Man Group show, Lance Burton's magic show, and Matsuri, a high paced physical extravaganza from Japan.
Whether your kids are 2 or 12 you will find a show to please them and everyone in the family.
Also high on any amusement park aficionado's list is Adventure Dome, located inside Circus Circus hotel. It is the largest indoor amusement park in the US and boasts a double corkscrew, double loop roller coaster among many other rides. In this park you'll find something for every age, toddlers through teens.
Throughout the Vegas strip there is no shortage of arcades, pools, bowling alleys and more to entertain even when you are not inside a huge amusement park. "Something for everyone" should really be the new Vegas motto!
If it's museums that you love, Vegas will not disappoint. There are children's museums, casino history museums, wax museums, fine arts museums, neon, and atomic museums.
The Lied Children's museum is the best of it's kind. It is best described as an interactive hands on museum full of over 100 exhibits. Here children of all ages can discover how the human body works, dig deep in a desert scene, fly the space shuttle, touch a tornado and so much more. The best way to learn is to do, so in my opinion this museum is a real educational opportunity.
Another great museum in Vegas is the National History Museum, located on the boulevard and associated with the Smithsonian. Here you can view exhibits highlighting Africa, fossils, dinosaurs, and so much more. Travel back in time to when Nevada was underwater to get a true sense of how much Earth has changed. Also be sure to see the Marine room and Young Scientist center complete with a submarine ready for exploration.
If you have enough time head over to the Luxor Las Vegas where you can see an authentic reproduction of King Tut's tomb. The rooms are exact in dimension and the contents are replicated to near perfection offering, what some believe to be, as close to a real life glimpse as possible. The tour only takes 15 minutes and is well worth it as everything down to the placement of the tools is exact!
Day Trip opportunities
For nature buffs you can explore and boat around the stunning Lake Mead, go hiking and explore for free in Springs Reserve Trails, get the thrill of a replica of an old western mining town in Bonnie Springs Old Nevada, rock climb through Red Rock Canyon, and explore petroglyphs dating back to 300bc in the Valley of Fire. This is just a brief list of amazingly picturesque spots to explore just outside the city.
You can also take either a day trip or 2 days trip, if time allows, out to the Grand Canyon. It take about 5 hours so it is suggested you plan an overnight there to really be able to enjoy the canyon, longer if possible. I remember visiting for the first time and wondering how amazing it really could be. I was shocked!! It is stunning and worth any amount of trouble to get to. The canyon and surrounding forest are magnificent and in my opinion should be on every one's bucket list for the US. If you have the time head out there even if only for a day!
Also located right on the strip at the Mirage resort and casino is the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. At this 2.5 million gallon habitat they have gone above and beyond recreating a natural habitat for the dolphins while focusing on educating the public about marine animals and their delicate ecosystem. No dolphins were captured from the wild but rather were rescued from other facilities or born on the premises.
The Shark Reef, located at the Mandalay Bay resort, is a top notch aquarium with a large array of species to observe. The facility hosts more than 1,200 species and offers up a true sensory experience. The facility is sparkling, full of interactive sights and educational placards.
Another great animal exhibit is the Wildlife Exhibit located at the Flamingo Hotel. It is free to enter, open 24 hours, and full of beautiful waterfalls, animals, and a stunning botanical garden.