Adults aren’t the only people having fun in Las Vegas Family entertainment is alive and well in Sin City. Astride the nude pools and pole dance institutions is a world for the wee ones filled with maniacal magic shows, scary man-eating sharks, painted blue men, waxen wonders and even a haunted mining town. Here are Travel Channel’s top picks for kids.
Criss Angel, the man behind Mindfreak, the popular television series on the A&E Network, manages such feats as walking on water, being in 2 places at once and pulling rabbits out of thin air. He reveals his more human form most nights in the Luxor Believe Theater. Angel has attracted a steady audience of magicians in the making, mostly boys who watch him cut ladies in half, guess the contents of locked box messages and fly through the air on hidden wires.
There are easily 2 dozen trained and able Blue Men in Las Vegas, but only 3 at a time play the air ducts, the paint barrels, the plastic tubes and Captain Crunch boxes on stage at the Venetian. This is a timeless act that bears seeing repeatedly, if only for the infectious percussions offered by men in black with shiny blue bald heads. Without speaking a word, the Blue Man Group communicates a comedy of perplexity, absurdity and pure creativity with engaging skits and hypnotic rhythms. VIP tickets buy great seats and a backstage pass with champagne and hors d'oeuvres, plus a chance to meet -- and speak -- with the silent, enigmatic musicians.
The wax museum has been known for centuries in Paris and London for its frighteningly realistic royalty, starting with Louis XVI following the French Revolution and now with the British royal family, including the late Princess Diana. I But in Las Vegas, rather than figures of Queen Elizabeth or Prince Charles, you’ll find some clever Chamber of Horrors set-ups and Lady Gaga in pose, losing her head no doubt to a crowd of little monsters. Pirates of the Caribbean’s Jack Sparrow, with the face and form of Johnny Depp, takes his stand next to Cher, Oprah, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Elvis, President Obama and Criss Angel. All the figures are presented in true dimensions, are touchable and available for buddy pics. Don’t miss the “Scream” attraction, a lurid look into the world of criminally insane humans who became subjects of a hushed military experiment. The secret is now out at Madame Tussauds.
Fish fun can be found in the Atlantis-themed aquarium at Mandalay Bay. Each deepening tier contains more than 2,000 water-based wildlife, including piranhas, moray eels and an African cichlid. The journey ends at the bottom of the sea where sharks circle visitors as they pass into the 1.6 million-gallon saltwater tank through a Plexiglas-covered walkway. A “petting zoo” awaits for those who might enjoy touching stingrays and horseshoe crabs.
This 1840s ranch town in a very scenic desert spot about 45 minutes west of the Strip has a saloon, an opera house and multiple shoot-outs daily. It also has ghosts. As revealed on a recent Travel Channel Ghost Adventures episode, the spirits are real. They linger in the shadows and back rooms, and seem to love the Old West museum on the property. After some active ghost hunting, hit the mini-zoo for looks at llamas, bunnies and bulls and then have a burger in the cafe, also full of Old West ambiance and fun.
For more family entertainment, Las Vegas is filled with boast-worthy thrill rides, wave pools and cutting edge video game galleries. Or go off the Strip and into the desert for a wonderland of nature and hiking trails always on tap -- and free.