10 Surprising Family-Friendly Attractions in Las Vegas
Casinos and clubs aside, the Strip is basically one big theme park.
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Visit the Hello Kitty Cafe
When you think of Vegas, you probably think of bachelor parties, celebrity marriages and tons of smoky casinos. But Vegas has evolved into so much more than partying. It’s one of the most popular cities in America for hosting conventions and conferences. And more and more eateries that you’d find in larger cities are popping up on the Strip, from Park MGM’s Eataly to the brand-new and totally adorable Hello Kitty Cafe where customers can enjoy Hello Kitty themed drinks, pastries and ice cream as well as buy Sanrio merchandise. If you find yourself in Vegas on business, bring the family along. There are tons of family-friendly entertainment right on the Strip. Read on to see our favorite spots.
Ride the Roller Coaster
The Big Apple-themed attractions at New York New York Las Vegas Hotel and Casino are a must-see, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Statue of Liberty. And in true New York fashion, there’s even a Shake Shack. But the best part of this mini NYC is The Big Apple Coaster. Board a yellow taxi cab and zoom out of the building for incredible views of the Strip. That is, if your eyes are open: be warned, the coaster is fun, but very intense. If you have both daredevils and scaredy-cats in your crew, non-riders can play in the adjoining arcade while the rest of the family rides.
Visit the Aquarium
Did you know Vegas has an aquarium? Shark Reef is tucked inside the Mandalay Bay hotel and it’s kind of a hike to find it once you’re inside, but it’s well worth the steps. More than 2,000 animals--including giant sea turtles and 15 different species of sharks--are featured in the aquarium’s 14 exhibits. Don’t miss the clear, acrylic walk-through tunnel. You can watch the sharks swimming overhead and below.
Make a Day of it at Adventuredome
Set under a millennial pink, glass circus tent, Adventuredome is packed with fun for the whole family. The Circus Circus indoor park features mini golf, bowling and tons of thrilling rides and coasters. For the little ones, the park has a classic carousel and "junior rides" for riders shorter than 5'8".
Ride the Monorails
The Strip is only about four miles long, but walking distances between hotels (and even within hotels) can be deceiving. And ordering XL rideshares for a family of four or more can get expensive fast. But there’s another way to get around the Strip without walking or sitting in traffic--Vegas has monorail trains. The Las Vegas Monorail has seven stops along the Strip, connecting The Las Vegas Convention Center to popular hotels such as Caesars Palace. And the free Aria tram connects the iconic Bellagio hotel to other MGM properties like Park MGM and Aria. If it’s your first time in Vegas, the monorail routes are a great way to see Las Vegas and capture awesome Instagram video.
Enjoy Real Dole Whips
Vegas pools aren’t exactly known to be family-friendly. It’s a whole scene of day drinking and clubbing and revelry, but over at the Mirage the main pool has a tropical, casual atmosphere, and the pool bar has a treat we thought you could only get in Disneyland or Hawaii--Dole Whips. That’s right. You can get your hands on the officially-licensed pineapple treat poolside. And adults can even order a couple of different Dole Whip cocktails, too.
Watch the Retro Anamatronics
Everything in Vegas is expensive. Cabs, meals, shows. It’s all $$$$. But there are some free, hidden gems on the Strip, such as The Fall of Atlantis fountain show inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. This quirky animatronic show is themed around the myth of Atlantis and features pyrotechnics, talking nine-foot statues, a giant dragon and a whole lot of water. Shows run every hour on the hour starting at 11 a.m.
See the Famous Fountains
You can’t go to Vegas without seeing the famous fountains at the Bellagio. And you have to see it in-person, up close at least once. The awe-inspiring (and free!) water show features more than one thousand fountains with water soaring as high as 460 feet into the air. And no two shows are alike. The fountains' sequences change as well as the music which ranges from opera to pop hits. Shows run every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes after 8 p.m.
Meet Really Big Cats
If your kiddos love the zoo, head over to the Mirage for Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Learn about the iconic big cats that made Siegfried & Roy famous and then see gorgeous white tigers, white lions and leopards.
Get a Bird's Eye View of the Strip
Hop aboard the tallest observation wheel in the world and glide 550 feet above Vegas. The High Roller Observation Wheel takes 30-minutes to complete one revolution so you and your family will have plenty of time to take in the amazing views of the Strip and the Las Vegas Valley. Looking to save? If you book your tickets online, youth admission is just $9.