Attractions in Las Vegas - Especially for Kid

Especially for Kids

Like much of the rest of the world, you may be under the impression that Las Vegas has evolved from an adults-only fantasyland into a vacation destination suitable for the entire family. The only explanation for this myth is that Las Vegas was referred to as "Disneyland for adults" by so many and for so long that the town became momentarily confused and decided it actually was Disneyland. Some of the gargantuan hotels then spent small fortunes on redecorating in an attempt to lure families, with vast quantities of junk food and a lot of hype. They now vehemently deny that any such notion ever crossed their collective minds, and, no, they don't know how that roller coaster got into the parking lot.
To put things simply, Las Vegas makes money -- lots and lots of money -- by promoting gambling, drinking, and sex. These are all fine pursuits if you happen to be an adult, but if you haven't reached the magical age of 21, you really don't count in this town. In any case, the casinos and even the Strip itself are simply too stimulating, noisy, and smoky for young kids.
Older progeny may have a tolerance for crowds and the incessant pinging of the slot machines, but they will be thoroughly annoyed with you when casino security chastises them if they so much as stop to tie their shoelaces anywhere near the gaming tables. Because you can't get from your hotel room to the parking lot without ambling through a casino, you can't reasonably expect a teenager to be in a good mood once you stagger outside. And those amusement parks and video halls that haven't yet been purged are very expensive places to park your kids for an afternoon or evening, assuming they are old enough to be left unsupervised.
Nevertheless, you may have a perfectly legitimate reason for bringing your children to Las Vegas (like Grandma was busy, or you were just stopping off on your way from somewhere else), so here are some places to take the children both on and off the Strip.
Circus Circus has ongoing circus acts throughout the day, a vast video-game-and-pinball arcade, and dozens of carnival games on its mezzanine level. Behind the hotel is the Adventuredome, detailed below.
Excalibur also offers video, carnival, and thrill cinemas.
At Caesars Palace, animated talking statues in The Forum Shops are also a kick, though smaller kids might be scared by them. Calm them down with a visit to the aquarium nearby, in the Atlantis wing of the shops.
The erupting volcano might divert kids, as the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage surely will; and the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is worth a look.
Consider carefully the attractions at Luxor Las Vegas: Bodies: the Exhibition may be too intense for kids, depending on their age, though others will be happily grossed out and might even learn a thing or two, while only those with interest in the high seas, disasters, the Titanic, or the eponymous movie will want to browse through Titantic: The Exhibition.
Cyber Speedway and Speed: The Ride at the Sahara is the place for thrill-ride kids to get their kicks.
Children 10 and up will love the many options for play (from high-tech to low-tech, from video wonders to actual physical activity) offered at GameWorks, as will their parents.
Of moderate interest to youngsters is the Ethel M Chocolates factory tour in Henderson, not for the educational value but for the sweets at the end. More educational is the Marjorie Barrick Museum, at UNLV, but only the reptile exhibit will really interest kids. The Clark County Heritage Museum is also a dear little throwback, and uncynical kids may enjoy wandering through the old buildings and checking out some of the dioramas.
Appropriate shows for kids include Tournament of Kings at Excalibur, Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo, Mac King at Harrah's, and Cirque du Soleil's Mystère at Treasure Island. As a general rule, early shows are less racy than late-night shows.
Beyond the city limits is Bonnie Springs Ranch/Old Nevada, with trail and stagecoach rides, a petting zoo, old-fashioned melodramas, stunt shootouts, a Nevada-themed wax museum, crafts demonstrations, and more. Lake Mead has great recreational facilities for family vacations. Finally, organized tours to the Grand Canyon and other interesting sights in southern Nevada and neighboring states can be fun family activities. Check with your hotel sightseeing desk. Kids should also be entertained by the personalized tours offered by Creative Adventures (tel. 702/893-2051;