School’s out for summer and you know what that means: Your kids are going to expect a vacation.
We might be a playground for adults, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appeal to the underagers. Yeah, their eyes are probably going to pop out of their heads a couple times at the pool, but consider their blushing cheeks a rite of passage and look for other ways to keep them busy. Here’s our list of good, clean fun you can actually have in the middle of Sin City.
Catch a show
Yep, we’re known for world class entertainment and lots of people secretly come to our shows just to see boobies. Contrary to popular belief, not every show on the Strip is a smorgasbord of T&A. Jeff Civillico, who’s currently performing at the Flamingo through the summer months while the Linq Hotel’s theater is under renovation, has been voted a top Vegas show. His juggling, unicycling and ladder-balancing on his chin will have the whole family oohing and ahhing. Can’t get enough of the belly laughs? Head to the Mac King Comedy Magic Show, featuring one of the longest running magician in Las Vegas who will have you laughing until your side aches.
If you want to be impressed by big productions (who doesn’t, am I right?), you won’t go wrong with the Blue Man Group. A wild combination of music, theatrics and art deliver a high-energy performance that’ll have your kids talking about it for years. Plus, they’ll get a pretty rad Halloween costume idea out of it. Speaking of costumes, the Tournament of Kings has been a Las Vegas staple for decades and it’s pretty easy to see why. Your family will be transported to a medieval celebration that features horse jousting, dancing, singing and a feast fit for a king. This is as close as you’ll get to experiencing Game of Thrones without having to rip somebody’s innards out.
Explore an exhibit
Let’s get real for a second. If you live in the middle-of-nowhere U.S.A., the closest you’ve probably ever been to a celebrity is when you pressed your nose to the TV screen. But in Vegas, celebrities run wild like gazelles on an African safari. Madame Tussauds has more than 100 wax figures that look exactly like your favorite stars; many of them even come in and sit for the artists. This means that while your kids are gazing up at their favorite Avengers or sports hero, you can get a closer look at J. Lo’s caboose. There’s a cool multi-sensory theater at the end of the exhibit your whole family will love.
We’ve seen the outside, now let’s get a closer look at the inside. Bodies…The Exhibition is like an anatomy class on steroids and hallucinogens. If your kids enjoyed dissecting owl pellets in school, they’ll be floored by the 13 whole-body specimens. That’s right folks; people actually donated their bodies to science so those of us who are still breathing can see what we all look like without skin. Here’s a good time for life lesson: The exhibit also has a healthy lung and a smoker’s lung on display so you can show your kids exactly what happens to their bodies when they experiment with cigarettes.
Exercise the whole family’s critical thinking skills when you step into the world of crime scene investigators. If you’ve ever binge-watched any of the CSI shows, here’s your chance to see if you’ve got what it takes to solve the case. At CSI: The Experience, you’ll choose a life-size crime scene to investigate and get to work in the lab, take a look at photos, fingerprints and more. After you’ve pieced together your evidence and theories, the truth will be revealed in a re-enactment of what really happened.
Get your adrenaline pumping
If you always wanted to experience the thrill of skydiving, but the thought of jumping out of a plane scares the bejeezus out you, there’s still hope with Vegas Indoor Skydiving. Instead of plunging down – you’ll soar up, inside a padded wind tunnel with a “fan” that generates winds up to 120 miles per hour. Once the propeller kicks into full gear, you’ll float high above the netted floor where your awesome guide will flip, spin and maybe even fly next to you. The view may be different, but at least you won’t have to worry about being the bug on the windshield. Know what I’m sayin’?
There’s no need to drive for hours to get to your favorite amusement park when you’re in Vegas. They’re all neatly settled on the Strip. The Adventuredome is America’s largest indoor theme park, spanning more than five acres. There’s something for every member of the family, from extreme roller coasters like El Loco and Canyon Blaster for the big kids to 4-D motion rides and a special FX theater for the little guys.
The Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York sends more than a million visitors on a joyride each year. You’ll get an incredible view of the Strip before you plummet 144 feet into loops, hills and corkscrews at speeds of 67 miles per hour. The Stratosphere Tower is also home to a collection of nail-biting “holy cow I may pee my pants” thrill rides perched 1,049 feet above the Las Vegas Strip. The Big Shot, X-Scream, Insanity and SkyJump dangle your body and your mental health by a string, all for the sake of an extreme laugh. These rides are definitely for the big kids and even then, they may chicken out too.
Find some wildlife
You can see a lot more than just party animals on the Strip. The Mirage is home to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Home to white tigers, lions and leopards, the Secret Garden is a lush, tropical environment with some of the rarest cats on the planet. The Dolphin Habitat has an underwater viewing area and a few different hands-on experiences you can book like Painting with the Dolphins and Trainer for a Day.
The Shark Reef in Mandalay Bay joins only 10 percent of aquariums nationwide who are accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, it’s also the only one in the state. Needless to say, they’re kind of a big deal. There are more than 1,200 species of marine life to see, including sharks, a 300-pound sea turtle, exotic fresh and saltwater fish. In addition to the super neat shark tunnel, guests can also check out exhibits with crocodiles and piranhas, and even pet some stingrays.
Take it all in
The view that is. The High Roller in the Linq Promenade is the world’s largest observation wheel at a whopping 550 feet tall. With 28 enclosed pods and a 360-degree view of Vegas, it’s hard to go wrong with this one. When you hop off the ride, stop by the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM for a snack and the Polaroid Fotobar and Museum to show your kids what it’s actually like to print all the pictures they snap with their phones.
Having kids is hard work and sometimes you want to get the biggest bang for your buck without a lot of effort. The Big Bus Tours are the perfect way to take in all Vegas has to offer from the comfort of your own rear-end. The open-air double decker bus cruises up and down the Strip so you can see all the iconic sites and hear unbelievable Vegas stories from your tour guide. Don’t forget to take selfies at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. You can’t go home without them.