Updated: March 21, 2017
Las Vegas Family Tours and Tickets to Book in Advance
- Grand Canyon Spirit Helicopter Tour from South Rim – Highly recommended
- Mystère Cirque du Soleil – Best for 5 years old and up
- The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil – Best for 7 years old and up
- Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil – Best for 8 years old and up
- KÀ Cirque du Soleil – Best for 8 years old and up
- “O” by Cirque du Soleil – Best for 10 years old and up
The 20 Best Things To Do in Las Vegas with Kids
Las Vegas is driven by tourism, whether it’s business trips, party groups, or family vacations. As the city moves farther away from gaming as its main source of revenue, a wide variety of attractions are proving to be major draws – especially for those bringing their kids along for a good time. So do your research, ask questions and be ready to take lots of photos. Las Vegas is fast becoming one of the hottest destinations for families looking for fun and new experiences. A good general resource is www.lasvegas.com, which is operated by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, one of the largest and most prominent agencies of its kind in the world. It can offer more information on the following recommendations, while opening the door to further activities on the Strip and beyond.
1. High Roller Observation Wheel
Open daily 11:30am-1:30pm
At 550 feet above the ground, the High Roller is the tallest observation wheel in the world. Not to be confused with a “ferris” wheel, it features cabins large enough to hold 40 people while serving as observation decks that slowly rotate through the sky. It’s one of the best ways to soak in the beauty of Las Vegas with 360 degree views that include the airport, mountains, and of course, the Strip in all its glory. The High Roller never quite stops moving, with guests hopping on and off as the cabins move through a platform at the bottom. They move slow, allowing everyone to enter and exit without much fuss. Prices cost more at night (after 5 p.m.) and there are discounts for ages 4-12 while children 3 and under are always free. A full ride takes about 30-40 minutes. The High Roller sits at the end of The LINQ promenade, a tourist attraction in its own right with shops, restaurants, and activities. If you’re short on time, head to Sprinkles, where you can order a delicious treat from a “Cupcake ATM” outdoors.
2. Discovery Children’s Museum
Sunday: 12-5pm. Tuesday-Friday: 6am-4pm. Saturday: 10am-5pm. Closed Monday (although exceptions are made on school holidays). Hours modify over summer.
As probably the single best reason to bring the kids downtown, the Discovery Children’s Museum is three stories tall and full of hands-on interactive exhibits. Among the highlights are Eco City, which provides a look at how sustainable energy can be applied to an urban setting and Water World, which features a replica of the Hoover Dam with an explanation of how it works. Young at Art is an interactive gallery inspired by Dr. Seuss while the Summit is a 70 foot tall tower packed with scientific experiments on 12 levels. There’s even Toddler Town for ages five and under. The museum has the resources to make education fun and intriguing for children of all ages and offers six different party rooms for themed birthdays. A youth mentor program is geared towards teenagers. Admission is free if you’re younger than 1 or older than 100 – and a flat $14.50 for everyone else. A food truck can usually be found outside, offering something a little more interesting than the typical museum dining fare.
Times and dates vary by show
The magic and thrill of Cirque du Soleil can be found in theaters and arenas all over the world, but Las Vegas is the only city that has seven of the productions in residency. Located at resorts that line the Strip, each show blends stunts, acrobatics, comedy, music, inventive staging and exotic imagery in an eclectic circus setting while following a philosophy of not using animals as props. The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage and Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay each pay tribute to pop music with thrilling action to match booming sound systems. O at the Bellagio features dangerous stunts above water while KA takes the audience on an epic Asian-inspired journey with a floating stage that nearly steals the show all by itself. Criss Angel MINDFREAK LIVE! at the Luxor showcases one of the top magicians in the world (although the Cirque influence is minimal on this one) while Mystere at Treasure Island offers a more general bigtop feel, and is a good starting point for anyone who hasn’t experienced Cirque before. Zumanity at New York-New York is not kid-friendly. It is strictly adults-only with sensual themes and nudity.
4. Shark Reef Aquarium
Sunday to Thursday: 10am-8pm. Friday to Saturday: 10am-10pm.
With more than 2,000 animals within 14 exhibits, the Shark Reef Aquarium is not only educational, but also an incredibly rewarding experience for a town without a full-fledged zoo. Designed as an ancient sunken temple, guests walk through a tunnel surrounded by water and visit a replica of a shipwreck. There’s also an interactive touch pool as well as opportunities to feed sea turtles, stingrays, and yes, even sharks. With more than 15 species represented, about 100 sharks call the aquarium home. You’ll also come across reptiles like a golden crocodile and komodo dragon, not to mention countless examples of exotic fish. Discounts are available for kids (4-12) with admission free for those 3 and under. Located inside the Mandalay Bay resort, the Shark Reef Aquarium is incredibly convenient and within steps of shopping, restaurants, and other attractions.
5. Tournament of Kings
Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday: 6-8:30pm. Closed Tuesday and Friday.
The Excalibur resort is designed like a castle from King Arthur’s Camelot, so it totally makes sense that it’s also home to Tournament of Kings. The show features medieval warriors on horseback, jousting and doing battle with swords, shields and swinging chains. The staged showdowns require plenty of athleticism and carefully crafted choreography. It’s almost like what professional wrestling would be like hundreds of years ago. Meanwhile, the audience gets to cheer on the knight representing their section while feasting on a three-course meal with their bare hands – just like peasants! The high energy spectacle provides plenty of action in a family-friendly atmosphere. Tickets start at $55.95 and include the meal. Kids under 3 are free but must sit in an adult’s lap and share the meal. Fun fact: The Excalibur is the largest single buyer of Cornish game hens – just so they can be served during this show.
6. Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.
Open daily: 10am-10pm
Imagine a museum dedicated to your favorite Marvel superheroes. That’s what Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is all about. You’ll get an up-close look at costumes used in the actual movies as well as in-depth videos and interactive exhibits. Visitors are welcomed as new agents in training, given a mobile phone and badge to guide them through the attraction. You’ll see Captain America’s uniform and shield as well as Ant Man’s helmet and a surprisingly diverse collection of Iron Man suits. Some exhibits are more indulgent than others, but the tour allows you to go at your own pace, whether a superfan or casual observer. At the end of the journey is a visit to the world’s largest retail store dedicated to the Marvel cinematic universe, sure thrill young kids and frighten parents guarding their wallets. It includes a green screen photo opportunity and an Iron Man virtual reality experience. Located inside Treasure Island, the attraction is free to those staying at the resort (and children 3 and under) with discounts available for seniors, students, locals and active military members. Treasure Island is also one of the few resorts on the Strip that has resisted the urge to charge for parking, leaving you with a few extra dollars to spend on souvenirs.
7. Lion Habitat Ranch
Friday to Monday 11am-2:30pm. Closed Tuesday to Thursday.
Originally a home for animals that were part of shows and attractions on the Strip, the Lion Habitat Ranch has been around since 1975, but only started welcoming visitors in 2012. It’s a kid-friendly and safe environment for families to get up-close with wildlife usually only found in exotic parts of the world. The ranch currently features 36 lions, a 3-year-old giraffe, ostriches, emus, and exotic birds. Guests are within four feet of the animals, compared to your average zoo where visitors are kept much farther away. Designated areas allow you to take a photo with liona safely in the background and depending on the day, you may get to see them fed, which is fascinating entertainment all by itself. However, it’s Ozzie the giraffe who often steals the show, using his mouth to paint one-of-a-kind artwork for guests to take home. As a nonprofit, the ranch depends on donations and admission fees to take care of the animals, with expenses running more than $60,000 a month. Kids under 4 are always free while kids under 14 are free when accompanied by an adult.
8. Wet’n’Wild Las Vegas
Hours vary depending on time of year. Closed during winter.
A summertime joy in the southwest valley and close to those living (or staying with relatives) in the affluent Summerlin area, Wet’n’Wild is a water park that does its best to appeal to both youngsters, teens, and adults with 27 slides and 10 unique attractions. The Tornado spins you around a giant funnel before dropping down into a pool below, while Canyon Cliffs is a six story slide that begins with a near vertical drop. A few of the more intense rides require adult supervision, including the Constrictor which features some extremely tight turns, and height requirements are explicitly posted. About to enter its fifth season, Wet’n’Wild operates about 125 days a year with prices based on date and busy periods. Season passes can be used at sister properties in Hawaii, Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Houston – proving that not everything always stays in Vegas.
9. Neon Museum
Open daily 8am-8pm
The Neon Museum is a great way for the little ones to learn about Las Vegas casino history, without having to step foot anywhere near a slot machine. The attraction is built around the Neon Boneyard, a two-acre campus that features more than 200 vintage signs and marquees from the Vegas glory years. They include a few places still around (like Caesars Palace and the Palms) and a few that have been famously imploded into dust (like the Stardust and Desert Inn). The museum has restored a few of these artifacts and some can be seen around the downtown area as part of an urban walking tour you can take on your own time. Other exhibits are dedicated to acclaimed architect Paul Revere Williams and the “Googie” style of architecture (once seen as futuristic but now firmly entrenched as a moment in time from years past.) The Neon Museum is best suited for kids 10 and older during the day and at least 12 during the (slightly more expensive) night tours where even though the neon lights up, you still need to be cautious of the broken glass and rusty metal in the dark. Once a month, Junior Interpreter tours are hosted for families, with middle and high school students guiding guests through the Boneyard collection.
Open 24 hours. Free.
The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is easily a top candidate for the most photographed spot in Las Vegas. It’s also one of the best free attractions on the Strip. On display in the hotel lobby, the exhibits change every few months based on the season (like autumn and spring), holidays (like Chinese New Year and Thanksgiving) or whatever seems to be a compelling visual (a Japanese tea garden and “Under the Sea” were recent favorites). Each one features thousands of plants and flowers (most of which are recycled for future installations), carefully crafted into colorful designs and maintained by more than a hundred employees. The winter display is especially impressive and generally includes a towering white fir with polar bears, penguins and snow globes among the floral designs. However, one free attraction deserves another. You’re also just steps away from the famous Bellagio fountains, which offer breathtaking water shows that shoot hundred of feet into the air. It’s something that has to be seen at least once during any visit to Las Vegas, regardless of age. Keep in mind, while the attractions themselves come at no cost, the Bellagio does charge for valet and parking.
11. Downtown Container Park
Sunday to Thursday: 11am-11pm. Friday to Saturday: 11am-1am.
The Downtown Container Park features shops, bars, and restaurants made entirely from old shipping containers. It’s a spectacle in itself and fun to walk through, even if you don’t spend a dime – although you’re missing out if you don’t try the hot dogs at Cheffinis. In the middle of it all is the Treehouse, an interactive playground with stairs and slides. There’s also an area off to the side with real grass (a rarity in Las Vegas) that features games, outdoor movies, and a stage for family-friendly entertainment. The park is within walking distance of the popular Fremont Street Experience and a number of downtown hotels. Metered street parking is available and relatively inexpensive.
12. Madame Tussauds
Sunday to Thursday: 10am-8pm. Friday to Saturday: 10am-9pm.
While there are a few Madame Tussauds locations around the world, the version in Las Vegas was not only the first in the United States, but perhaps also the one that seems to take the most joy in exploring America’s celebrity culture. Open 365 days a year and located at the Venetian resort, the attraction has plenty of room for large scale exhibits with more than 100 lifelike celebrity wax figures, including moderns stars like The Rock and Will Smith, as well as Vegas legends like Sammy Davis Jr. and Elvis Presley. The best bet for kids is a Marvel Superheroes area featuring The Hulk and Spider-Man along with a 4-D theater experience that includes wind, water, and even smells during a 3-D movie presentation. Adults may prefer the Jerry Springer talk show set but there are plenty of icons for all ages in the music area, including Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, and Lady Gaga. Entry is free for kids 2 and under and anyone above 6 can have a wax replica of their hand created, which is a fun souvenir to take home.
13. Ethel M Chocolate Factory
Open daily 8:30am-6pm.
Venture east of the Strip where the factory for Ethel M Chocolates can be found just over the Henderson border. Founded by the Mars family nearly four decades ago, the facility is known for producing gourmet chocolates that are made with fine ingredients and generally included in gift collections. The factory, which recently underwent an impressive upgrade, has a tasting room where samples are handed out and classes that discuss the history of the brand while revealing how the products are made. Self-guided tours allow guests to see the workers in action through large windows. Step outside and you’ll discover the Botanical Cactus Garden, featuring four acres of desert landscaping and more than 300 species of plantlife. It’s especially gorgeous at night when decorated with colorful lights during the winter holiday season. Both the garden and factory tour are free.
14. The Adventuredome
Sunday: 10am-9pm. Monday to Thursday 11am-6pm. Friday to Saturday: 10am-12am. Hours may vary during Halloween season and other holiday periods.
Circus Circus has been around since the late 60s, offering a family friendly spin the traditional Vegas casino with a big top theme based on clowns, rides, and bright colors. And while it’s seen plenty of wear over the years, the best thing about the resort is the Adventuredome. It’s a five-acre indoor park featuring roller coasters, bumper cars, and all sorts of fun stuff. You can pay per ride or take advantage of an all-day pass (which is less than $18 for those under 49 inches and nearly $32 otherwise). The best time of year to visit, however, is during Halloween season – when the Adventuredome transforms into Fright Dome, with several haunted attractions all under one roof. Circus Circus is also the only Strip location under the banner of MGM Resorts International to not charge for parking.
15. Smith Center
Times and dates vary by show
After opening in 2012, the Smith Center instantly became a much needed destination for art and culture in Las Vegas, serving as the home for the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Nevada Ballet Theatre. Presentations include touring editions of Broadway favorites and concerts from the likes of Ringo Starr. Yet there’s plenty to draw in the kids as well. The annual production of the Nutcracker is competitive with the the very best editions you’ll see in other parts of the country while Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, the Peter Pan-themed Finding Neverland, and Peter Rabbit Tales (featuring the stories of Beatrix Potter) are among the family-friendly shows to grace the stage in 2017. The building itself is a work of art, inspired by the Hoover Dam’s art deco style and easily identifiable by a 17-story bell tower. Sitting comfortably next to the Discovery Children’s Museum on the grass-filled Symphony Park, the Smith Center includes Reynolds Hall (for large events), the Cabaret Jazz Theater, and Troesh Studio Theater. The Smith Center also offers a number of educational programs, including Camp Broadway – a summer program for kids with an interest in theater.
16. Springs Preserve
Open daily 9am-5pm. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Springs Preserve offers a unique opportunity to step outside the hectic pace of Las Vegas and enjoy nature, science and history in an educational environment. The property includes the Origen Museum (with exhibits that feature live animals and a cool flash flood demonstration) and the Nevada State Museum (which covers everything from fossils and atomic testing to the Hoover Dam and the history of casinos). The Springs Preserve is also home to nearly four miles of nature trails, archaeological sites, a butterfly habitat, sustainable energy gallery, and DesertSol – an innovative solar-powered home that was created by UNLV students for a competition by the U.S. Department of Energy. A new attraction, Boomtown 1905, recreates actual Las Vegas businesses from more than a hundred years ago. General admission tickets include access to the museums but there may be restrictions on special events. A number of discounts are available, especially to Nevada residents.
17. Topgolf Las Vegas
Sunday to Thursday: 9am-1am. Friday to Saturday: 9am-2am.
You don’t have to be a golf fanatic to enjoy this place. The recently opened flagship edition of the Topgolf empire sits just behind the MGM Grand resort, offering a three level driving range and a spectacular view of the Las Vegas Strip. Skill level is irrelevant. Just sit back and hit some balls at your leisure while ordering food and drink that’s delivered directly to your private climate-controlled bay. The venue is also decked out with more than 200 high-def TVs, dining areas, and even two different swimming pools with surrounding cabanas. One-hour Topgolf U Junior classes are offered to kids under 17 who are at beginner or intermediate levels. Shuttle buses are available from the MGM Grand resort. Otherwise, parking is valet-only.
18. Cowabunga Bay
Hours vary depending on time of year. Closed during winter.
With 25 acres of slides and attractions in Henderson, Cowabunga Bay provides an east valley answer to Wet’n’Wild on the other side of town. Colorful, clean, and well maintained, the park features a vibrant beach party vibe borrowed from the 50s and 60s, complete with images of vintage Volkswagens and surfboards. Older teens will enjoy more thrilling rides like Wild Surf, in which a four-person inner tube lifts and drops within the power of the waves. The youngest kids however, will feel right at home at Kids Cove, a beach area where the water is very shallow and always kept to a warm 80 degrees. The food options include fresh-made funnel cake, hand-squeezed lemonade, and Dole Whip – a frozen soft serve pineapple treat that was once only available at Disneyland. Barbeque catering is available for groups and birthday parties. Check the online operating schedule for hours. Season pass holders enjoy perks like priority entry. In June, everyone gets to enjoy the kid’s price of $29.99 Monday-Friday. Kids 2 and under are free any day.
Sunday to Thursday: 1pm-1am. Friday to Saturday: 1pm-2am.
The best way to see the tourist-driven Fremont Street Experience may be from the sky. Slotzilla offers two levels of zip lines that shoot out from a giant 12 story replica of a slot machine. (Don’t forget. We’re still in Vegas after all.) The highest level lets you fly horizontal Superman-style, offering a little thrill to your downtown experience. There are no age restrictions, but you need to be at least 50 pounds for the lower zip line and 60 pounds for the higher zip line. You’ll travel through the air while zipping past the neon lights of the Four Queens, Binion’s, and other classic Vegas casinos.
20. Seaquest Interactive Aquarium
Sunday: 11am-7pm. Monday to Thursday: 10am-7pm. Friday to Saturday: 10am-9pm.
More intimate and community driven than Shark Reef, the SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium can be found east of the Strip as one of the new additions to the recently renovated Boulevard Mall. The idea is to explore exhibits that focus on different experiences from around the world, including the deserts of Egypt, Amazon rainforest, and Caribbean islands. Along the way, you’ll have opportunities to get close to exotic sealife, birds, and reptiles – while maybe even feeding a shark or two. A swim with the stingrays is an especially exciting experience. The attraction is a great choice for an all-day family activity or a kids birthday party and offers easy parking without the hustle and crowds of the Strip. If you’re looking for a nearby place to grab food afterwards, John’s Incredible Pizza Company has indoor games and rides to go along with an all-you-can-eat pizza and pasta buffet.