We can’t quite pinpoint when the Fremont Street Experience crossed over to being an adult-only playground. It used to be an OK place to take your kids to enjoy the light show and concerts until it became an erotic freak show of nakedness and unlicensed street “performances.” But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other family-friendly things to do nearby. Just make sure to cover little Bobby and Suzy’s eyes if you’re going to walk to the best places to hang out with your kids in downtown Las Vegas.
Downtown Container Park is a great place to let your munchkins run wild without being judged too harshly by other members of society. There are plenty of places for grown-ups to sit and sip and even shop while keeping a watchful eye on the little dudes. A playground complex features a giant tree house thingy, a NEOS Playworld System that encourages exercise, slides with the tallest reaching 33 feet high, multiple lookouts and plenty of netted walkways and bridges to run through. There’s also a giant praying mantis that shoots flames out of its antenna – it’s randomly a relic of Burning Man (hashtag awesome). On Thursday nights, you can spread out in the grass on blankets and lawn chairs for a Family Movie Night under the stars – errr – neon lights.
Send Them Zooming
If a 12-story slot machine with a 100 foot drop-off sounds like something you’d like to launch your kids from, then SlotZilla is exactly what you need. It’s all the fun of hearing their screams without the fuss of Child Protective Services on your doorstep. The zip line sends you flying 850 feet across Fremont Street, high out of the clutches of those drunken revelers below. The taller and awesome-er Zoomline sends you racing up to 35 mph headfirst, à la Superman. This is your chance to show Junior no matter how old he thinks you are – you still own him.
Scared of heights? No problem. If your kids have ever seen security guards on Segways, chances are they want to get behind the wheel of one. Only it’s not a wheel, it’s a handlebar gizmo. Cruise through downtown Vegas on this two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter with an electric motor and you’ll see more but be less tired. The best part, Segway Las Vegas gives you the ultimate payback: the “the smiling family in matching helmets” photo they’ll hate you for when you share it on graduation day.
Hit The Books
Just because you’re on vacation in Vegas, doesn’t mean your kids have to go brain dead. There are plenty of things they can learn here – and no, we’re not talking about shot-gunning a can of beer. The Discovery Children’s Museum is three stories and 58,000-square-feet worth of “Look Mom, no hands.” The nine different halls include interactive exhibits that promote exercise, science, art and culture.
Over at the Natural History Museum, it’s all about wildlife. Walk through a land before time in the dinosaur exhibit, learn all about marine life while you watch baby shark and stingray feedings in a shallow pool, and roam the plains of the Serengeti with zebras, hippos and hyenas. Making it rain here is thankfully exactly like it sounds, with the press of a button you can summon a downpour.
Now it’s time for some history, only this stuff isn’t covered in your textbooks. The Mob Museum takes you inside the world of organized crime, when zoot suits and Tommy guns were more than just a Halloween costume. The museum features personal items from legendary mobsters like Al Capone and Bugsy Siegel and teaches visitors about life and crime on both sides of the law.
Tired of seeing the top of your kids’ heads while they stare at their digital devices all day? Well not for long, because there’s a good chance they’ll be part of the shows at “Laughternoon Starring Adam London” and “Mike Hammer Comedy Magic.” Audience participation is the name of the game at these laughter-laced magic shows, with both comedic magicians pulling members of the crowd for multiple skits. London is a quick-witted sleight-of-hand whiz with a pretty interesting rubber duck collection. Hammer’s sharp-tongued show features mind reading and some pretty gnarly razor blade swallowing. It’s great entertainment that you won’t have to break the bank to enjoy.