For the longest time I thought it was crazy to even consider taking a kid to Vegas. Afterall, all you do in Vegas is gamble and drink, right? Well, not necessarily. There’s a lot of stuff you do in Vegas that is great for kids as well, you just have to change your approach to Vegas.
If your child is under 4, there’s a good chance that they’ll eat free at the buffets. If they are under 3, then it’s pretty much a guarantee. A kid at a Vegas buffet is in gastronomical heaven. It’s really hard to be picky when you can have your fill of pizza, rolls, French fries, macaroni & cheese, and of course, dessert. Most of the buffets in Vegas were kid-friendly. We enjoyed the Rio’s Carnival World buffet, the Circus Circus buffet (it’s small, but their options were good) and Cravings at The Mirage.
After a hefty buffet lunch, it’s time to work off some of that food. We recommend the Coca-Cola Store, M&M’s World, and Circus Circus Midway and Acts. If your kids are older, they’ll also enjoy the Adventuredome at Circus Circus. The games and rides in the Adventuredome aren’t really focused for toddler age. Toddlers will have more fun on the Midway. They can play a million different carnival games and watch the circus acts and then cash in their tickets for toys at the end of the day. Note: You’ll win a lot of stuffed animals. You’ll win so many that the casino provides trash bags for you to carry them around in.
We didn’t go here, but word on the street is that New York New York has a huge arcade as well. Then of course for nighttime entertainment, hit Fremont Street. The Viva Vision shows start at 6, so even the little ones with early bed times can see a couple before they need to go back to the hotel room.
Speaking of hotels, there are several kid friendly hotel options available as well. Obviously, Circus Circus is the most kid-friendly. Although it is old, they have remodeled their West Tower rooms and they are quite nice. The bathrooms are huge and the beds were pretty comfortable. You can also check in and head straight up to your room without even having to see the casino floor. This is not the case in many Vegas hotels. Other kid friendly hotels we’ve heard about are the Four Seasons (albeit pricey) and Red Rock Resort. The Four Seasons is part of the Mandalay Bay compound at the far end of The Strip and Red Rock Resort is off strip about 20 minutes. The Orleans is also kid friendly, but also off The Strip. They have a movie theater and a whole kids play area.
Keep in mind that we visited Vegas with our son in December, so when the summer hits, there’s a lot for them to do when you factor in the swimming pools. Swimming pools in Vegas are just cool – just look at The Tank at the Golden Nugget. While the Golden Nugget isn’t considered not kid-friendly, you do have to walk through the casino to get to Fremont Street, unless you want to walk around the building. On weekend nights, the casino floor can be packed.
Granted, when taking kids to Vegas, you do have to keep in mind that it’s Vegas. You’re not going to find changing tables in the bathrooms of the vintage casinos Downtown on Fremont Street and you might not even find them in casinos on The Strip. There are going to be scantily clad women and people consuming alcoholic beverages and walking down the street. Obviously, gambling is going to be nearly everywhere you turn. But, this doesn’t mean that you can’t stroll right past and that the kids won’t have a blast, because they will. They don’t care nearly as much about all that other stuff as you will. They’ll only be sad that they can’t punch the buttons on the slot machines, but they’ll be amazed by the fountains at the Bellagio, the giant digital signs of the casinos on The Strip and of course, Viva Vision on Fremont Street.