Are you bringing the kids with you on your trip to Las Vegas? You'll want to find things to do that they can enjoy. While the city remains geared toward adult entertainment, you can still find plenty of things to do for the under-21 set.
If you're looking for something to do with kids under 13, the Adventuredome's rides will make younger children happy. This small theme park behind the Circus-Circus has enough rides to keep everyone busy for a couple of hours. Afterwards, you may want to check out the midway inside Circus-Circus and the free circus acts.
[PHOTO_106214]Older kids will want something more daring, so a trip to the top of the Stratosphere is a better option for teens. The real question is: are Mom and Dad brave enough to be dangled, dropped, or spun 1,000 feet above the street? Or are the kids doing those rides without you?
The Las Vegas Strip has several small animal exhibits, all of which are suitable for children and families. Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef gives you the chance to see sharks, rays, jelly fish, and eels. Take advantage of the self-guided handsets that give information about the exhibit's animals, and take your time–it's a small aquarium, but it offers a chance to see some truly unusual creatures.
Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage — Photo courtesy of Dan4th NicholasAt the Mirage's Dolphin Habitat and Secret Gardens, visitors have the chance to see dolphins both above and below the water. The Secret Gardens holds tigers, lions, and an assortment of other animals that rotate out to their larger homes with Siegfried and Roy, the Las Vegas performers whose collection of exotic animals inspired the Gardens.
Getting outdoors and away from the Strip may be a welcome activity for everyone in the family. A trip to Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area or the Springs Preserve will show you a different side of Las Vegas.
Springs Preserve — Photo courtesy of Ken LundThe Springs Preserve is located on the spot that gave the city its name, which means "The Meadows" in Spanish. The springs that once gave the area greenery are no longer visible, but the site is now home to museums, walking trails, and demonstration gardens. Archaeological digs on the grounds attest to the historic significance of the area. The Nevada State Museum recently relocated to this site, giving visitors to the Springs a chance to see incredible fossils.
Red Rock Canyon, located west of the city, is a great place to hike, picnic, or take a scenic drive. It's easy to spend an entire day exploring the red sandstone cliffs and rock formations that give the area its name. Everyone in the family will be inspired to take pictures. In the winter months, temperatures are generally mild, especially for those who are accustomed to snowy climates. In summer, you'll want to visit early in the morning, before the temperatures rise. The visitor's center details the geologic history of the area, and first-time visitors will benefit from a stop there before continuing along the one-way scenic drive.
Red Rock has many hiking trails, but a good one for the whole family is the Children's Discovery Trail. It's an easy hike that will take you to a seasonal waterfall. If the kids need to work off some energy, this is a good place to do it--you'll find lots of easy bouldering and no steep drop-offs. The peaceful surroundings are a nice respite from the busy Las Vegas Strip. Who knew there was such natural beauty so close to slot machines and show girls?