In part two of this three-part series*, I want to share some of our favorite kid-friendly things to do in the evenings. Some of these are great during the day, too!
Adventuredome at Circus Circus – This indoor amusement park has everything from adrenaline rides to family rides to a 3D effects theater to laser tag. You can also try your luck at midway-style games or take in a round of mini golf. In addition, my son really likes the rock climbing wall. While you’re at Circus Circus, you can also view the free circus acts in the casino.
Madame Tussauds Las Vegas – Want to get up close and personal with your favorite celebrities? You’ll feel like you are at Madame Tussauds. There are lifelike and life-sized wax figures of celebrities, sports stars, and presidents you can touch and pose with for photos.
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay – While there are, of course, sharks, there are also exhibits showcasing numerous other “dangerous” fish including lionfish, jellyfish, piranhas, cichlids, and an octopus as well as some fearsome land predators including a golden crocodile, Kimodo dragon, a Burmese pythons. There is also a touchpool where you can touch stingrays and horseshoe crabs.
Stratosphere Tower – Get a beautiful view of the Las Vegas Strip and beyond at the 360-degree, 1,000+ feet high observation deck. There are both indoor and outdoor viewing areas. For older more adventurous kids and their parents, there are four thrill rides on the outdoor observation deck.
Also worth a mention are three unique stores within a very close vicinity of each other toward the southern end of the Strip. The Everything Coca-Cola store is hard to miss with the giant, 4-story Coke bottle out front. Head to the soda fountain and try the Around the World Sampler for a taste of 16 different soda products around the world. At select times, you can also get a photo with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. In the same building as Everything Coca-Cola is the M&M’s World. Not only can you buy anything and everything M&M, kids will love the wall of M&Ms where individual colors are arranged into a rainbow of chocolate candy. You can also enjoy a free 3D movie, “I Lost My M in Vegas.” New to the Las Vegas Strip and right across the street from Coke and M&M is Hershey’s Chocolate World. While there is chocolate for sale, you can also view a 800-pound Statue of Liberty made of Hershey’s chocolate as well as an Empire State friends by using an interactive screen to send a Kiss e-card.
Las Vegas is certainly known for its shows. If your children are small, then the shows are probably not for them. In fact many of the shows have a minimum age for attendance. From the time my son turned 5 (he’s now 10), however, we have taken him to a few shows and most have kept his attention. These are the ones I’d recommend.
Blue Man Group – This show is difficult to describe. It’s part comedy, part concert, part technological entertainment. All I can tell you is my son still talks about it a couple years later.
Cirque du Soleil shows – Most of the Cirque du Soleil shows are family-friendly (the notable exception in Las Vegas is Zumanity which is adults only). A few may have scenes that might be pretty intense for children. Our favorites for kids are The Beatles Love and Michael Jackson One, especially if your kids are familiar with the music already.
David Copperfield – Even though this show was late at night, my son was fascinated by the magic tricks. David Copperfield not only does large tricks on stage, but comes out into the audience with smaller ones and there is a camera so that all can see well.
Jabbawockeez – Jabbawockeez is a high energy, hip-hop dance, light and music show, which we first saw on America’s Got Talent. While the eight-member group does perform with its signature white masks, they have multiple color changes throughout the show, but do “demask” during the bows.
Recycled Percussion – While we haven’t seen this one (yet), I saw them on America’s Got Talent and have seen enough video clips to know that I would take my son to this. From their website, “Recycled Percussion combines extreme percussion, engaging humor and extraordinary athleticism. Whether they’re playing on buckets, ladders, grinders or sinks, Recycled Percussion’s boundless energy and creativity will blow you away.”
Tournament of Kings – Huzzah! Be transported back to the Renaissance in this dinner show where gallant knights joust for your applause. There isn’t a kid’s menu available but if your child does not like what is on the menu, you can contact them in advance and they will work with you on substitution. By contacting them in advance, you can also request allergy-free meals. If that doesn’t work, they do offer a show only option for the later performance.
MONEY SAVINGS TIP – One important note about the shows. They are not inexpensive so can be a costly night out for a family. If you don’t have your heart set on a particular show, I recommend waiting to purchase tickets until the day of the show at Tix4Tonight. We nearly always purchase our tickets there. They have multiple locations but the ones that we’ve found with the shortest lines are inside the lobby at Circus Circus and inside World Showcase mall by the giant Coca-Cola bottle (the outside location often has a long line, but the inside location is usually shorter). There will be screens listing all the shows, their availability and price. Once you’ve selected a show, get in line and purchase your vouchers. You then take your vouchers to the show box office to exchange it for tickets. Even on busy holiday weekends, we have found that most of the shows listed above are available.