One of the more curious questions I get here on this website as well as I see in Vegas-related groups online is about kids and families. In a nutshell, the questions are usually framed like this: “Why do parents keep wanting to bring their kids to vegas? There’s nothing here for them to do!” Or one of my favorite comments to see goes like this: “This is Vegas, it’s for adults!”.
Now, in all honesty, I am one of those who really support the last one there. That Vegas was meant as a place for adults to escape their mundane life as parents and to get away to their own little version of Disneyland. And that really is what modern Las Vegas was originally built around.
Then reality sets in and I have to confess that Vegas is doing a pretty good job of hanging onto that “adult Disneyland” image while also being open to welcoming the families with kids. It’s just that there are times I wish parents could remember this is a 24-hour town and there are times that kids should be seen and there are times when the kids need to let Mom and dad be Adults… But I digress.
Vegas is Changing
As much as I hate to hear that statement, I know that it is true and it always has been true. Las Vegas is always changing, always adjusting to the new demands of the markets. As Las Vegas is becoming less of a gambling town as more cities around the world open up to gambling, Las Vegas has to keep reinventing itself. These Billion-Dollar Palaces were never built because the owners were just nice people. they are here to make money. And the good ones know they are here to entertain and entice the public to come out and spend money. Lots of Money. So they need to welcome the families.
Not Just Families!
Vegas is changing and not just for the families. Some people come to Las Vegas just for an escape from reality. Wanting to see how other people live. They come here for entertainment, not just gambling. They like to see new things, experience new adventures, and try something they can’t try back home. They also like to walk the Strip and people watch! People-watching in Las Vegas is a sport!
Most of the lists online now are all about Las Vegas “Pre-Covid-19” and since we were shut down for a few months, some things have changed. Many attractions have either cut back on what they offer or they went dark for the foreseeable future. While some even just closed for good. Making those lists unreliable.
So I thought it was time to make an updated list of some of the things you can see in and around Las Vegas that are also family-friendly. Some are free, others have a fee to enter. The ones that are still operating as las Vegas begin to recover from the pandemic-caused closures.
Starting with The Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip runs almost straight North-South. The world-famous casinos, popular resorts, and world-class shopping are all right there on the famous stretch of road!
From South to North on the Las Vegas Strip!
The first one is not actually “On The Strip”, but it is close enough that a short Uber ride will get you there. Its just southwest of the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign
Carroll Shelby Museum/Shelby Heritage Center
Yes, THAT Carroll Shelby. The man who created classic sports cars like the Ford GT40 and the GT350 Shelby Mustangs. The Shelby American Collection has some of the rarest, most valuable, and authentic cars on display. As one reviewer put it “A beautiful facility pays homage to an American Racing Legend and America’s most iconic and desired sports car/roadster.”
Museum and tours are free.
The “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign
From the people on my tours, I get the feeling that some people believe this sign didn’t really exist. That it was something Hollywood made for the movies. But I can tell you, it’s real, it’s free and at times it can be crowded! This is just south of the Mandalay Bay resort. Take all the pictures you want, it’s free and open 24 hours a day. There may be “photographers” there wanting to help you get the perfect photo, they are there for tips. Just beware, they are not “official” anything.
See the Newest Hogs! Las Vegas Harley Davidson
Not only do you get to see what’s new with the most famous American Made motorcycle, but they do also have a convenience store to get a snack or some water to keep you hydrated while walking the Strip. They often have a bike or even a trike for you to pose with in front of a replica of the Vegas sign! You can even book a tour on an HD motorcyle! It’s free to wander around but please try to not drool over all the cool chrome and leather accessories!
Pinball Hall of Fame
Having recently moved into their new mega location just a few steps north of the Harley Davidson dealership. The Pinball Hall of Fame is more than a museum of some of the oldest, newest, and exotic pinballs and other games, it’s a place to spend a few hours of family bonding time a couple of quarters at a time! Most of the machines are available to play and remember your youth!
Mandalay Bay Lazy River
Many people say it is the best pool for kids. Mandalay Bay Beach is an 11-acre aquatic playground that invites you to sun, swim, splash and soak on your terms. Ride tides in the wave pool. Flow with the Lazy River. Lounge in a lagoon. – Check the website for COVID restrictions
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
At 1.5 million gallons, this is one of the best Aquariums. See more than 2,000 animals, including sharks, giant rays, endangered green sea turtles, piranha, and a Komodo dragon. This unique exhibit gives you the chance to dive with a higher concentration of exotic sharks than you’d ever find in the wild. – See website for fees and admission
HyperX Esports Arena & Arcade at Luxor
You as a parent may not get it, but I’m pretty sure your kids will. The ultimate competition gaming and entertainment experience to the Strip. Featuring a state-of-the-art gaming and broadcast center that will thrill both amateur and professional gamers looking for world-class competition or high-tech nightlife. – See the website for tickets and admission
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at Luxor
Experience the wonder and tragedy of the world’s most famous ocean-liner, Titanic. Over 250 authentic artifacts recovered from the wreck site of Titanic, as well as extensive recreations of some of the most famous rooms from the Ship, make this an educational and entertaining experience perfect for all ages. – See the website for tickets and admission
Bodies… The Exhibition at Luxor
Using an innovative preservation process, the Exhibition showcases real full-bodies and organs, providing a detailed, three-dimensional vision of the human form rarely seen outside of an anatomy lab. – See the website for tickets and admission
Ultimate 4-D Experience at Excalibur
Experience the unique worlds of Hollywood’s top brands as high-definition 3-D projection and thrilling special effects place you right in the middle of the action. Join some of your favorite characters on incredible 15-minute adventures at the all-new Ultimate 4-D Experience. See the website for tickets
Fun Dungeon at Excalibur
The Fun Dungeon offers over 200 games, including 15 Carnival Midways, 10 Kiddie Land Games, 60 Arcade Games, 10 Sports Games and 106 Redemption Games! Make sure to try our World’s Biggest Pacman, Mega Stacker, Smash Air Hockey, and more.- Free to explore.
Tournament of Kings (a dinner show with knights on horses) at Excalibur.
Not open at this time. Visit the website for updates
The Big Apple Coaster at New York New York
Get your thrills going over 67mph on the world’s first coaster to feature a 180-degree “heartline” twist and dive maneuver and 203ft drop, providing more than 1.4 million riders with heart-stopping action and excitement each year. – See the website for tickets and admission
The Big Apple Arcade at New York NewYork
Come test your skills at The Big Apple Arcade! We have some of the latest video & arcade games and some classics such as Skee-Ball, Air Hockey, and NBA Fever! Bring the family, or challenge your friends to a friendly competition. – Free to explore.
Hershey’s Chocolate World Store at New York New York
This is a two-story destination that features a new retail experience where guests can create their own HERSHEY’S happiness through a variety of interactive experiences. Chocolate lovers from around the world can enjoy unique HERSHEY’S candy experiences, fresh made HERSHEY’S sweets, and a wide selection of gifts.- Free to explore.
MGM Grand Pool Complex
I would have to say this is the largest pool complex on the Strip. Currently only open to MGM Guests. 6.5 acres of fun featuring four refreshing swimming pools, three whirlpools, cascading waterfalls, and top-notch amenities. Grab a tube and float down our famous Lazy River, stretch out on a comfy daybed, enjoy a variety of food and drink options, or find your bliss with a poolside massage. – See the website for tickets and admission
The Hunger Games: The Exhibition at MGM Grand
If you loved the Hunger Games movies, you will love this attraction. A dynamic exploration into the world of Panem, the exhibition leads guests on a mission to become a part of the rebellion to conquer the capital, featuring stunning architectural design and special effects lighting that highlights iconic costumes, genuine props, and artistic set recreations from the cinematic series. – See the website for tickets and admission
M&M’s Las Vegas
Almost everything M&M’s. This 28,000 square foot, four-level monument to the colorful fun of M&M’S was the first M&M’S store location ever. Featuring a place to create your very own one-of-a-kind M&M’S with the personal printer, combining customized messages, a variety of images, and 16 different colors of M&M’S candies. Located in Showcase Mall right next to the MGM Hotel & Casino – Free to explore.
Coca-Cola Store Las Vegas
Experience the world’s most iconic beverage brand in an immersive retail destination including exclusive Coca-Cola branded merchandise, unique and entertaining experiences, and true refreshment that inspires the senses. You gotta have your photo opp with the polar bear mascot plus hundreds of soda pop flavors from around the world. Located in Showcase Mall right next to the MGM Hotel & Casino – Free to explore.
Fountains of Bellagio Show
These famous fountains were destined to romance your senses. It is the most ambitious, complex water feature ever conceived and it’s free for any visitor to enjoy. A daily experience, every 30 minutes, from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM Monday through Friday, and every 15 minutes from 8:00 PM to midnight. On weekends and holidays, the fountains display every 30 minutes from noon to 8:00 PM and every 15 minutes from 8:00 PM to midnight.
Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden
Imagine a 14,000-square-foot Botanical Garden that is a changing showcase of inspiring sights, sounds, scents, and colors and that is the Bellagio Conservatory. When the seasons change so do the displays. – Open 24 hours and is Free to explore.
Bellagio Chocolate Fountain
World’s largest chocolate fountain at Bellagio (27 feet tall). This floor-to-ceiling sculpture circulates more than 2,100 pounds of melted milk, dark, and white chocolate thru 500 feet of pipes 24 hours a day.
Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck
An icon of the city skyline, the high-altitude attraction is located 46 stories up and is a half-scale replica of the world-famous Paris, France landmark. – Not wanting to go to the top? Enjoy the nightly light show on the tower safely from the ground! – See the website for tickets and times for free light show.
This is a Work in progress. Check back for more updates!