Independent Families: 'Is Vegas suitable for kids?'


Q. Las Vegas is on our destination wish list. However, we have a 10-year-old daughter who we would prefer not to travel without. Whilst we appreciate it's probably not the first place you would think of to take children, could you advise if it's a definite no-go area for kids, and, if not, could you provide some tips.

Lynn and Jim Strange, via e-mail

A. Long gone are the days when a trip to Las Vegas (or "Sin City") meant booze, gambling, and watching showgirls in itty-bitty sequinned costumes. Circus Circus, the first family-themed casino hotel on the Strip, opened in 1968. The 1990s saw a building boom in mega-resorts, where casinos were suddenly just one attraction among many. Today Las Vegas sells itself equally as a family holiday destination, with theme parks, aquariums, cinemas, bowling alleys, hi-tech video arcades, and even child-friendly stage shows.

While many parents may think twice before bringing their children along to Las Vegas, with careful planning your daughter can have just as much fun as you. Bear in mind, though, that under-21s are not allowed in casino gaming areas, and the city has a curfew for children. By law, under-18s are not allowed on the Strip or in any other public areas after 9pm Sunday to Thursday, and 10pm at weekends and holidays, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The most important aspect of planning your trip will be choosing the right hotel. That said, almost any concierge desk can recommend a licensed and bonded babysitting agency that can send someone to your hotel to stay with your daughter should you want a night out by yourselves.

On the Strip, many families with younger children stay at Excalibur (3850 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 597 7777; www.excalibur.com), Circus Circus (2880 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 877 434 9175; www.circuscircus.com), or the Stratosphere (2000 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 380 7777; www.stratospherehotel.com). All of these wacky, themed casino hotels have rooms costing from around $60 (£33) on weekdays, $100 (£56) at weekends. Note that breakfast is not usually included in room rates in the city.

But don't feel limited to these low-budget options. Many of the Strip's premier resorts have plenty of diversions for your daughter. Consider the MGM Grand (3799 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 891 7777; www.mgmgrand.com) with its gigantic swimming pool complex; rooms here start at $100 (£56). Mandalay Bay (3950 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 632 7777; www.mandalaybay.com) has an artificial surf beach and shark aquarium, and offers rooms from $120 (£67). New York-New York (3790 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 800 689 1797; www.nynyhotelcasino.com) boasts a cityscape roller coaster and state-of-the-art amusement centre; rooms start at $90 (£50).

Once you've booked your hotel, it's wise to plan some daytime sightseeing and night-time entertainment in advance. Many of the Strip's most spectacular all-ages attractions are free: don't miss the exploding faux Polynesian volcano outside the Mirage (3400 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 791 7111; www.mirage.com), the dancing fountains of the Bellagio (3600 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 693 7111; www.bellagio.com), or the MGM Grand's walk-through lion habitat. Other casino hotels offer themed diversions, such as free circus acts at Circus Circus, the replica of the Great Temple of Ramses II and the King Tut Museum inside the Luxor (3900 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 262 4444; www.luxor.com; $10/£5.60) and the ersatz Eiffel Tower at Paris-Las Vegas (3655 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 877 603 4386; www.parislasvegas.com; adults $9/£5, under-12s $7/£3.90). Gondola rides are even offered along the artificial canals of the Venetian (3355 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 414 1000; www.venetian.com; adults $15/£8.50, under-13s $7.50/£4.20). To navigate the Strip with ease, hop aboard the double-decker "Deuce" buses ($2/£1.10 per ride, $5/£2.80 for a 24-hour pass) that shuttle up and down Las Vegas Blvd.

Most attractions in Las Vegas offer discounts for families. At Mandalay Bay, the Shark Reef (001 702 632 7777; www.mandalaybay.com; adult $16/£8.90, under-12s $11/£6.10) is an award-winning aquarium focused on marine conservation. If she loves art, check out the Venetian's Guggenheim Hermitage (001 702 414 2440; www.guggenheimlasvegas.org; adult $19.50/£10.80, under-12s $9.50/£5.30), or the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (3600 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 693 7871; www.bellagio.com; adult $15/£8.50, student $12/£6.70). Madame Tussauds wax museum (3377 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 862 7800; www.madametussaudslv.com; adult $24/£13.35, under-12s $14/£7.80) has interactive displays, where your daughter could strike a pose with Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Finally, take a heart-pounding elevator ride up the 108-storey-high Stratosphere Tower (2000 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 380 7711; www.stratospherehotel.com; tickets from $10/£6.70).

Some say it's a crime to leave Las Vegas without seeing a show. A few casino hotels offer productions specifically geared towards children, such as Excalibur's kitsch medieval-styled Tournament of Kings dinner show (001 702 597 7600; tickets $50/£28). But some of the Strip's top shows are also appropriate for children. These include illusionist Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo (001 702 730 7160; www.montecarlo.com; tickets from $67/£37.25), celebrity impersonators in Legends in Concert at the Imperial Palace (001 888 777 7664; www.imperialpalace.com; tickets from $50/£27.80 per adult, $35/£19.50 for under-12s), and the fantastic Cirque du Soleil at TI (Treasure Island, 3475 Las Vegas Blvd S; 001 702 894 7722; www.cirquedusoleil.com; tickets from $60/£33.35).

To save money, Tix 4 Tonight (001 877 849 4868; www.tix4tonight.com) has multiple Strip locations selling same-day discount tickets for a variety of attractions.

For more ideas about Las Vegas for families, contact the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (001 702 892 0711; www.visitlasvegas.com).

Send your family travel queries to The Independent Parent, Travel Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or e-mail crusoe@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee