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?
Life and Style
health
Sport
A view of today's Spanish papers
football
Arts and Entertainment
Serge Pizzorno of Kasabian and Noel Fielding backstage at the Teenage Cancer Trust concerts
musicKasabian and Noel Fielding attack 'boring' musicians
Arts and Entertainment
Pink Floyd on stage at Live 8 in 2005. From left to right: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright
New album The Endless River set to overtake boyband for most pre-ordered of all-time
Arts and Entertainment
The last great picture - Winner 'Black and White' and overall 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year'
art
News
videoWatch Lynda Bellingham's tragic final Loose Women appearance
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch films his performance as Smaug in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
film
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
people

Sport
nflAtlanta Falcons can't count and don't know what the UK looks like
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
High notes, flat performance: Jake Bugg
music

Review: Despite an uphill climb to see Jake Bugg in action, his performance is notably flat

News
The Putin automaton will go on sale next month in Germany
videoMusical Putin toy showing him annexing Crimea could sell for millions
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

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London