Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Can we find kid-friendly places in Las Vegas?
Can we find kid-friendly places in Las Vegas? PDF Print E-mail

Treasure Island Hotel, Las Vegas

Q: We’re frequent Vegas visitors, and on our next trip we’re considering taking our two grandkids, ages five and seven, with us for a week. Their parents can use the time by themselves, and we believe the kids are old enough to enjoy some kid-friendly features. What do you suggest we do in Vegas to give the grandkids a good time?

A: First of all, you have to be out of your cotton-pickin' minds to take kids that young to Vegas. It ain't called Sin City fer nuttin'. That said, if you insist on dragging the grandkids along, the town does have places to see and things to do that may be enjoyable for kids that young. But, don’t overload the their activities, unless you want to deal with too many bouts of twitching, pulling, fighting, crying and potty visits.

The Bellagio Resort is beautiful, with classic inside decor and a lovely pool area that make art lovers sigh with delight. However, if you’re not registered guests there, and bring your kids to enjoy the place, you'll be met by sour-faced rent-a-cops who'll tell you that kid visitors are not welcome. They’ll quickly scoot you outa there!

Of course, if you have the $500 a day to pay for the plush Bellagio rooms, your dear little grandkids will be treated as honored Bellagio guests. That is, until you get the $200 bill for the dinner your little ones hardly touched. All restaurants in the hotel are very expensive. Unless you have lots of money to spare or book rooms there, stay away from the Bellagio.

You should know by now that Vegas is no longer the bargain it was back in the days of 99-cent steak and eggs, and $1.99 all-you-can-eat buffets. To get today’s Vegas food prices, just move the decimal point over one character to the right. There are many bargain places for kids to eat in Sin City, but not in the overpriced Strip hotel resorts.

There are also many places for the kids to be entertained, many absolutely free. The shabby old Circus Circus hotel has evening circus acts, but if you want to see free circus acts in a cleaner, safer setting, take the kids to the Rio Hotel. There are also amusement park kinds of games the kids will enjoy. The Rio also has the best buffets in Vegas, but are very pricey.

Other hotels offer kid fun. There are continuous half-hour free shows near the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, which include movable, talking dummies doing dumb Roman things to music and sound effects. The shopping area of Caesars also has a fake sky in the ceilings that shows different lighting at different times of the day.

At night, there’s a fake pirate battle outside the Treasure Island Resort. It used to be a spectacular show of the British Navy vs a pirate ship. But Vegas being Vegas, it now features almost nude showgirls boogying as pirates fighting the delighted British swabbies. OK for little kids who aren’t aware of the strip joint theme, because of the spectacular gymnastics, brilliant explosions and sound effects.

Next door, at the Mirage, each night there's a ten-minute extravaganza every half-hour of a high-spouting, fiery erupting volcano. The Bellagio ... as long as you don’t try to sneak those damn kids inside ... has a spectacular after-dark nightly dancing fountains show on a lake outside that shoot a hundred feet into the air in rhythm to such classics as Sinatra singing “Luck be a Lady”.

If you take the grandkids downtown, you’ll see the historic old hotels and gin joints of early Vegas. High above the main drag, Fremont Street, is an enormous, curved video screen. At night it features all kinds of colorful animated and movie scenes, flashing lights, sound effects and ear-splitting music. The grandkids will love it.

There are many other interesting doings at Vegas hotels and elsewhere in Vegas that can keep the youngsters occupied, including kid-friendly magic shows, video game rooms, mechanical and live animal exhibits, swimming pools, carnival rides and toy stores. Many hotel pools have water slides, waterfalls, bird exhibits and other features kid can enjoy.

However, in visits to Sin City, our saddest moments are seeing lonely little kids huddled unescorted in a corner outside a casino late at night while parents or grandparents gamble inside. It’s not only cruel and selfish, but also dangerous for the safety of the kids.

If you must take your grandkids to Vegas, make sure you share all the kinds of fun designed for their enjoyment, and be absolutely certain to stay with them every moment of the day and night.


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