Las Vegas has dropped it's "family friendly" routine, and is definitely owning it adult playground reputation (it is "Sin City" after all.) But sometimes it is impossible to avoid towing along the little ones. My oldest daughter has spent several days in Vegas, on two separate occasions while I traveled for business. We learned that just wandering around Vegas is almost as exciting for little kids as it is for the big ones. I had a great situation- a husband who is not afraid of toddlers, and in-laws willing to travel, but we learned a few things that can a stay on the strip more bearable for everyone.
Remember that even the infants can't be on the casino floor. Yes, they
are clearly too young to gamble, but they are also to young to wander,
pause, or push the tempting buttons. If you like to play... the adults will have to tag out.
We were asked not to dine in a couple of restaurants. Lots of parents
bristle at this, but lets be honest... if you were on vacation without
your kids, would you want to listen to mine banging silverware. Don't
let it get to you- there are tons of loud entertaining restaurants..
you'll have more fun anyway. Check out:
Rain Forest Cafe in MGM Grand
Max Brenner in Caesar (famed for chocolate concoctions... HELLO!)
Margaritaville in the Flamingo (fair warning, Rita does provocative
little dance in a margarita glass when the volcano blows... if that's
not your thing, eat upstairs.)
Kahunaville at Treasure Island
Water, water, water, water... it seems like a no brainer, but it's easy
to forget- little bodies dehydrate fast- this is when I use juice (my
daughter NEVER gets juice) and popsicles to bribe my daughter to drink
more. Even in a climate controlled building, the air is dry.
Swim in the desert- chances are your hotel has a pool- USE IT! Use
it to burn of energy and keep you kids cool. But clear out before
the afternoon crowd shows up -a three year old in floaties and a
couple hundred drunk 20-somethings isn't a vacation for anyone.
The Flamingo has a bird sanctuary that you can walk through daily
for free- pheasants, swans and (of course) flamingos tucked in
little glades between koi filled streams.
Caesar's Palace has tons of entertainment including serious retail
therapy in the Forum Shops, The Fall of Atlantis statue show
features animatronic statues, fire and water in the 10 minute show
which runs every hour on the hour Sunday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 11
p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. - midnight. If that is too much
for your little ones, or you need to kill time between shows there
is a 50,000 gallon salt water aquarium with plenty of space to sit
and relax... we've spent hours there.
Bellagio Fountain Show is always crowded, but with good reason.
Stop when you see it, walk on if you don't... it runs all day.
Monday - Friday: 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. (with shows every half hour), 7
p.m. - midnight (with shows every 15 minutes).
Weekends and holidays: Noon - 7 p.m. (with shows every half
hour), 7 p.m. - midnight (with shows every 15 minutes).
M&M World runs a free 10 minute 3-D movie every hour...but
beware... you may not get out without candy!
If your budget allows
for it, Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is an amazing aquarium- sharks, jelly
fish, sea turtles and so much more
Children (5-12): $12.00
Children (4 & under): free (hooray!)
I'd take a weekend in Vegas with my husband over a weekend in Vegas with
my kids any day... But if the littles have to come, I embrace it as an
opportunity to continue teaching my kids how to behave in adult
environments. I'm never going to be a Chuck E. Cheese mom.