Visiting Las Vegas
If you end up going to Vegas, take your day trip to Zion National Park instead of to the Grand Canyon. Zion is absolutely gorgeous and there are a lot of beautiful hikes (e.g., Emerald Pools, the Narrows if it's safe, Angel's Landing if you want more of a challenge, and the West Rim if you really want to push it) that are accessible from the road. My experience with the Grand Canyon is that there's very little to do there if you don't actually go down into the canyon (an extremely arduous hike). Basically you park the car, look into the canyon, comment on how grand it is, and then go have an overpriced, fairly crappy lunch. I've been to the north rim (Jacob's Lake) a few times and was happy to see it but bored quickly. Maybe the south rim is more fun but I kind of doubt it. Zion, on the other hand, is gorgeous and accessible. Springdale has become a pretty trendy town and there's shopping and restaurants once you're done with the park. It's about a 3 hour drive from Vegas to Zion but so worth it. If you're really lucky it will have snowed. I've never seen a more beautiful sight than the red rock walls of Zion with snow piled on the ledges.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Hotel with good pool
- Babysitter in Las Vegas
- Vegas with kids
- Vegas, Baby with Babes?
- Desert outing near Las Vegas
- Surprise visit from husband's birthday
- Places to stay with 2 toddlers
We are looking for a hotel that has a good pool (or pools) for our 2- and 4-year olds. We're thinking Vegas just because it seems to have everything but are open to other places. We want a good pool for them to play in, maybe some water slides, with either warm winter weather or an indoor pool. We probably only want to stay a few days. The only place I know that fits the bill is in Hawaii which seems a little far to go for such a short time. Ideas about a hotel that would fit the bill?
I just stayed at such a place...Loews Resort on Lake Las Vegas. They have five pools and a children's program -- I think it works out to about $12/hour and runs pretty much all day,though is broken into morning, afternoon or all day sessions. There is not a casino in the resort (a plus for me) and you are about 15 minutes or so from the strip (another plus for me). The rooms as comfortable and spacious. I didn't get a chance to truly experience the resort. I just stayed there because I got bumped from a flight. My husband stays there all of the time on work and has been begging to get us out there for a mini vacation. Actually am planning one for next month while he is there on business and will bring our 3 & 5 year-old-girls. jan
If you're thinking of Vegas, I'd suggest Mandalay Bay. It's not the cheapest, but they have a beach playground that offers a wave pool, lazy river, three swimming pools, and sand. Within the hotel complex they also have a shark reef, and pretty extensive shopping. The advantage is all of this is that it's all walkable, which is great for younger kids. Have a good time!
My family will be going to Vegas in September. I am especially interested in a hotel with a great pool, with lots of variety, appropriate for an 11-year-old. I prefer the hotel to be on or near the strip, but the pool is as important as the location. Thanks. Amy
It can be pricy, but the best pool in Las Vegas is at the Mandelay Bay. I just stayed there last month because of the pool. It has a wave pool (very mellow) and a floating river pool with a water fall. Your kids will love it!! I loved it!! Stacey Hunt
Last time I was in Vegas for a convention - I do this three times a year, staying at different hotels -- I was amazed by the pool at Mandalay Bay. It's enormous, has a sand beach and it seems like you could spend your day pretending you were in tropical zones. Check out their website, and you'll see for yourself. Hands down, it's the best swimming pool I've ever seen, anywhere.
We are going to Vegas for a conference at the end of March and need to find a babysitter for our 14mo son while we are there. The hotel service is $35 an hour! I'm looking for someone so that we can work during the day and won't feel that it's prohibitively expensive to go out at night. Thanks Kelly
I didn't see your original post, but I gathered that you are going to Las Vegas for a convention and are bringing your child. Well, my business partner and I did just that 7 months ago with our then 8 month olds. We contacted a great sitting service, owned by a woman named Dottie. She can be reached at:702.456.1175. She found us a wonderful woman who played, sang and took great care of our little ones. We even had to stop by during the day to nurse and therefore we knew that things were going fine! I'd call Dottie if I were you and relax and have fun! Been to Vegas
We used Nanny's and Granny's http://www.nanny4u.com/sittersvcs.asp in Las Vegas recently (we were on a family trip to Zion, but stayed in Vegas for a night so my husband and I could go out and celebrate our anniversary -- great dinner, little gambling, etc.) Nanny's and Granny's offers babysitters with a variety of levels of training (we chose their most premium level: a woman working on a masters in child pyschology, with tons of preschool experience). She brought toys, a t-shirt for our son, etc. She was incredible and we felt TOTALLY comfortable going out (and in retrospect, it was almost overkill, I mean our son was asleep probably 45 minutes after she came). Our sitter was not cheap, but I know that some sitters who have been trained by Nanny's and Granny's are more reasonable (again, in hindsight it seems silly to us that we wanted someone so educated and experienced for our toddler, but I suppose that's the new parent anxiety thing). Long and short of it is that I would recommend their service -- they have been around a long time, and were responsive, understanding, and the sitter was amazing. A few extra bucks can buy you peace of mind
My father-in-law and his wife live in Las Vegas, so we visit at least once a year with our children (12 and 5.) I don't think it is a child friendly town and it takes some work to make sure our kids have fun.
Since you have a 14 month old and will be working at a conference all day and want to go out ''child free'' in the evening, I would suggest you turn your working trip to Las Vegas into a vacation for the parents. What about leaving your baby at home with a pair of grandparents,two grandmothers, or the regular babysitter? Then your child is at home in comfortable surroundings with people that love him/her. There is nothing worse than being cooped up in a Las Vegas hotel room with kids. There is nothing on TV for kids as hotel owners don't want you in your hotel room. They want you in their casino gambling.
What about bringing some grandparents or your regular babysitter with you and paying for another hotel room? Then they can take your child out during the day. We usually stay at Mandalay Bay or the Hard Rock. Both have excellent pools for the kids. Mandalay Bay is probably better for a smaller child. The Hard Rock has a great water slide at their pool. The Hard Rock is also a smaller hotel that you can actually enter and get to your room without walking through a casino.
Walking through casinos is a big issue for my family since both of my children have asthma and there is a tremendous amount of smoking in Las Vegas. Sabrina
hi my sister and her family are coming in april from england and after 4 days in the bay area we plan to do a roadtrip that will also take us to las Vegas.....we will be 4 grown-ups,2 teenage girls(12 and 14)and a toddler (21mo)...i have been looking online at all the diffrent hotels and my english brother-in-law definetely wants a hotel right on the strip...now i want to know what would be a good choice for our diffrent ages?? i,ve been to Las vegas once but stayed at a motel that time thankful for any response liissa
I would like to know recommendations for the best places to stay in Las Vegas with two 9 year olds. Any thing that stands out as fun or places nearby to visit that you liked. What you liked or disliked about your visit. Thank you! Nancy
It has been a number of years since I've been to Vegas and it changes quickly, but for whatever it's worth, here are some of my family-friendly things to see and do in Vegas:
Treasure Island stages pirate battles every evening in front of the casino. I think they are every 1.5 hr, at 7, 8:30, and 10:00, but the schedule is posted in front of the casino, and you should probably check rather than rely on my memory. Free.
The Mirage has a fountain in front that turns into a volcano every fifteen minutes after dark. It's really pretty cool. Free.
The Belagio has a huge lake in front with fountains that are synchronized to music. I'm not sure how often they go--maybe once every half hour. They change the music each time. Free.
New York, NY has a Coney Island midway with a roller coaster. The roller coaster goes outside around the casino, and it's probably the fastest roller coaster I've been on. It's an expensive roller coaster--$10 or more for a 3 minute ride.
The Hilton has a Star Trek ride that is definitely worth it if you have any Trekkie bones in your body. Part live action/special effects, part motion simulator, you get to really feel like you're in a Star Trek episode. It also has a nice Star Trek museum (memorobilia, timelines, and movie clips) on your way in. I think it's about $15. Coming out of the ride you come to the Promenade, a theme shopping area with a restaurant called Quark's that I highly recommend. You can schmooze with Klingons and Ferengi while you dine (really--they have Klingons and Ferengi there during lunch and dinner hours). The food is pretty good, too.
Caesar's Palace has the Forum, which is worth seeing even if you don't want to shop because of its trompe l'oeil ceiling and outdoor ambiance. It also has an animatronic display of the fall of Atlantis. Free. There's also a motion simulator ride, the Race for Atlantis. I found it quite stomach-churning, but I have trouble with motion simulator rides generally, and this one is pretty long.
The Stratosphere (looks like the Space Needle) might be worth a visit. I think it cost $5 for the elevator ride up. The views were great. There are 2 rides on top--a roller coaster and another ride that I don't think I will even try to explain.
The Venetian has a Grand Canal with gondola rides.
Circus Circus has an amusement park.
As for where to stay, Circus Circus is pretty affordable and seems like it would appeal to kids. Treasure Island or New York New York might also be a good choice. Carrie
We took our kids to Las Vegas and Hoover Dam last year. We had a horrible experience with Las Vegas. We stayed at the MGM Grand Hotel, which is on the strip, and ate a couple of times at the Excaliber, which is across the street and definitely more family friendly in terms of the activities and food. However, our problem was the amount of cigarette smoke that we were constantly confronted with. One of my sons has asthma, and he had to keep his face covered with a wet washcloth whenever we entered or left one of the hotels. Smoking is not only unrestricted (i.e., no regs about smoking on public transportation, in restaurants, or any other public or private venues), but it is rampant. Since you can't get to anything (restaurants, kids' arcades, shows) without walking through the casino -- and it's a long walk, let me tell you -- anyone who will have difficulty being in thick cigarette smoke should not plan to go to hotels on the strip without some kind of mask or face protection, and without planning on having their clothes and possessions continue to smell of cigarette smoke after they've returned to their hotel room. Also, because they don't really ''police'' the rooms, even getting a nonsmoking room doesn't mean you will be able to get away from smoke. Most hotels have nonsmoking floors, but you still have smoke that comes in through the hallways, elevators, etc. I'd suggest looking for a hotel off the strip, then taking a taxi over and planning to do some walking. Nancy
My brother has proposed that we take my dad to Las Vegas for his 80th birthday in May. I am the only one of my siblings with kids, ages 1 and 3. Leaving my children at home for the weekend is not an option. I haven't been to Las Vegas in 3 years and I feel like with the casinos, the money and all the smoke, it isn't a great place for young kids. As I recall, you can't walk through a hotel in Vegas without going through the casino. Has that changed? Or is there somewhere to go in Las Vegas that doesn't revolve around the casino culture? Thanks so much for your suggestions.
Not a High Roller
My dad lives in Vegas, so I go there with my kids (now 6 and 3) about once a year. My dad's place is too small for us, so we have stayed at a couple different hotels over the past few years.
This summer we stayed at the Westin, which is just off the strip. It had a casino, but it was not huge and you could skirt around it to get to the elevators. The rooms were pretty big, and the staff was relatively kid friendly. A few years ago we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Lake Las Vegas. Lake Las Vegas is a new resort development about 20 minutes outside Vegas. The Hyatt's casino was in a room off the lobby, so it was easily avoidable. The Hyatt also had a great pool set up. There are also a few 'suite' hotels in Vegas including an Embassy Suites that I haven't stayed at, but think would be good places to stay with kids.
EVERYONE in Vegas smokes, so you're not going to avoid the smoke issue. (Coming from California it's always so shocking to see people smoking where people are eating! yuck!) But, it's not so bad in the kid-friendly places. I have found Vegas to be turning away from the family focus and back to their hedonistic focus, but there are still some fun things to do with kids. My kids love the shark exhibit at the Bellagio (?) and Siegfried and Roy's garden (at the Monte Carlo?). Both are really expensive, IMHO. They also could spend hours staring at the fish tank in the lobby of the Monte Carlo. CircusCircus, of course, is geared for kids with an arcade (games for kids of all ages) and a mini-amusement park.
Getting around Vegas can be a pain. The hotels are all too far from each other to really be within walking distance (especially if it's hot) and traffic is usually a nightmare. But parking is free and plentiful.
I just returned for the 3rd time from Vegas. It is not a place for children. Period. Can't you agree on another place, such as Palm Springs, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, or San Diego, or some Mountain setting? anon
Seconding the message about Vegas not being for kids.... I love Vegas and just got back from a short trip there (mostly business). I've always had the thought that I'd go there with my wife and daughters someday, so on this trip I paid attention to whether I'd want to do that. The answer is easy--No Way. Too much smoking, drunkenness, lewd behavior, scanty dress, etc. Fun for adults, not for the little ones. WHIVSIV
I had the same concerns when we went to Las Vegas for a family reunion about a year and a half ago. The kids in the family are all grown except for our daughter, who was 5 at the time. I must tell you that I was so delighted to learn about Red Rock Canyon, which is very near Las Vegas. It was beautiful! Here is their website: http://www.redrockcanyon.blm.gov/. Their website says it's the best kept secret in Las Vegas. I say it's GORGEOUS and was very interesting and fun. The day we were there there was a Native American dance performance which captivated my daughter (and me, for that matter). Other than that, our daughter enjoyed going up the fake Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel, and taking the gondola ride at The Venetian. I personal loved just looking at the Bellagio. They had the most spectacular flower show at the time and the most gorgeous floor tile I had ever seen. I even took pictures it was so beautiful. At night, however, I went back to the hotel room with my daughter while my husband went out with our niece and went on the roller coaster on top of New York, New York. We ate one time at the Rainforest Cafe, which is completely a kid-place. That place is highly entertaining for little kids. Hope this helps! Lori
I have a conference in Las Vegas in mid-March and would like to spend an extra day in the region exploring the nearby desert. Does anyone have info. on places to go and stay in the desert and how long it takes to get there by car from LV? Ideally we'd like to do some hiking and check out the wildflowers. monika
I have not been there personally, but when I was working a lot in Las Vegas, people strongly recommended Red Rock National Conservation Area. It is 20 miles west of LV via SR159. There are trails there ranging from 1/2 mile to 13 miles. Also petroglyphs. Lost Creek loop trail was specifically recommended to me. It is supposed to be a really beautiful place. amy
I am taking my husband on a surprise bday trip to Vegas next month. I haven't been in a few years and I know much has changed. Anyone have any feelings about the Palms Hotel or the Venetian accomodations (booked both right now)? Would like to maybe see a show. Heard great things about both Cirque du Soleil shows, O & Mystere. Anyone seen either? Restaurant picks? Going for 1 1/2 days & 2 nights. Any info appreciated! nicole
My Husband surprised me last February for my B-day. We stayed at the Rio Sands (not on the strip) and ended up with a fantastic, huge suite. (Would recommend a place on the strip for next time - easier access to everything.) We could not get in to see ''O'' as you need to book tickets at least 3 mos in advance. However, I have heard of people going about 30 min before the show for cancellations and had great luck.(Didn't know this info until we got back :( ) We saw Mystere instead and it was great! Would highly recommend it.(besides how can you go wrong with any Cirque presentation?). For a great food experience there is the Samba Brazilian Steakhouse (if you like a lot of meat, huge unusual drinks, and a fun atmosphere), which is located in the Mirage Hotel. Have a great time and my Husband used Expedia.com to book a package deal as opposed to doing the air separately from the hotel. Good Luck!!! Suzanna
Some thoughts on Las Vegas: I have stayed and eaten at The Bellagio and Mandalay Bay Hotels, and I just read about this town recently in a magazine.
My impression is that The Palms is trendy, full of twenty- somethings (it happens to be the location for MTV's Real World Las Vegas, which is a show about vapid 19-22 year old's living together for four months). The bars at The Palms (Ghost Bar and Skin) are described in the magazine as ''space-age, hedonistic.
The Venetian bar (V Bar) is described in the magazine as ''a refuge, a place where you can actually have a conversation.''
I personally love the restaurant called Picasso at The Bellagio. It is beautiful, and the food is superb. However, it is expensive. The magazine describes Light, Bellagio's bar/dance club, as having ''dark wood, candles and red velvet.''
If I were going to Vegas I would make reservations at Whiskey Sky, which is described as ''off The Strip, an elegant bar with an adjacent pooside lounge that overlooks the city.'' It is at The Green Valley Ranch and the phone number is 702-617-7777.
Hope you have fun! Alison
I'm not a huge Vegas person, but I've managed to be there a few times in the last few years. The only two shows I've seen are the two Cirque shows and you can't go wrong with either, they are both fantastic. The O show is the one with the water tank built in so lots of water acrobatics.
Can't give any advice on accomodations. Couple other good attractions to kill time...The Libirace Museum is pretty amazing (really! it doesn't get any tackier) and also enjoyed the Coca Cola museum even though it's a sad state of our world. Also, if the nights aren't too cold you have to see the Bellagio fountains show or two from the outside. Every half hour, they have lots of different songs. This is the best free show in Vegas for sure. The Bellagio also has lots of good and pricey restaurants.
Have fun! Jonathan
We have stayed at the Venetian - it is nice. It is on the main strip which is good - as opposed to the Palms which is not on the strip. I would recommend staying on the Strip. Other good places are the Bellagio (our favorite) and Paris. We saw Mystere. It was great. I have hear O is even better. If you have never seen a Cirque du Solei you can't go wrong with either! Have fun! anon
The Zagat guides show restaurants and nightlife in Las Vegas. Here are restaurant reviews: http://www.zagat.com/browse/index.asp?VID=1=1=28 and Zagat also has a book on Las Vegas you can get from their shop on the Web site (and maybe from Cody's): http://www.zagat.com Have fun on the Strip! - Bay
I'm looking for suggestions for places to stay this Friday night in Las Vegas with my wife and two toddlers. It is a one-night stopover - but at a reasonable cost, we would not mind exploring some of the fun for the whole family that is apparently
I was in Las Vegas in May with my then 2 year old, and have to warn you that although Las Vegas is more kid friendly than it used to be there still is very little for toddlers to do. Circus Circus ended up having the most to entertain a toddler, but the big rollercoaster that periodically roars overhead was sometimes frightening. More toward the center of the strip there is a pirate show outside one of the casinos whose name escapes me and also the fountains at Bellagio might interest little ones. You'll probably think Las Vegas is great because you're only staying there one day. Have fun!
From: Barbara (Jan 1999)
Las Vegas with kids. We did it when our kids were about 12 and 14 and they had a blast. We stayed at the Pyramid (Luxor) but most of the major hotels are connected so you can walk from one to another. The kids went to almost every arcade and they liked the Excaliber best. It was just such a kick to see the huge and varied hotels, each with a specific theme. We went to MGM Grand which is like a small version of Great America. The Stratosphere is very interesting and you can see for miles in all directions. The hotel pools are generally as theatrical as the rest of the settings. It is fun to view the volcano outside the Mirage and the pirates battle (Can't remember which one that was!) Prepare to do a LOT of walking. Have fun!
From: Susan (1/99)
I went to Las Vegas in October for my brother's wedding with my three children - Arianna 8 yrs., Kyle 11 yrs. and Nick 16 yrs. It is VERY expensive with kids but lots to do. My kids loved the arcades in the Major hotels (MGM, New York New York, Excalibur, New Orleans) especially Circus Circus which has circus acts every 15- 30 mins. Games are from .50 to $3.00 per chance. They spent more on arcades than we lost gambling. Circus Circus also has an indoor amusement park that they enjoyed. We bought the all day passes and did everything over and over. My daughter rode her first roller coaster there and went on it at least 4 times, because they had no lines. We also rented a car and drove to Hoover Dam. They really liked our docent who showed my 11 year old how to make an electric water powered lamp science project after the tour. If you go to the Arizona side there is a snack shop down some stairs that sells stale popcorn to feed the fish. The fish were at least 2 feet long and they were very impressed (not my 16yr old, but the younger ones). We also hit the big roller coasters at New York New York $8 per person and the stratosphere had two rides(approx. $9-$13), a small coaster (not worth the $) and a drop zone type ride (very fun if you like that sort of thing, only my 11yr old was brave enough to ride it). The free shows like the pirate show at Treasure Island and the water show at Bellagio were also big hits. Bellagio had just opened that weekend and had a fabulous (better than Disneyland) fireworks show. I'm not sure if that is a reoccurring thing or was only for the opening. The highlight of the trip was going to the Hilton and watching Penn and Teller filming for their FX show(they film for 1 week a month.) They have comedians come out in between takes to entertain you. They did recommend it for 13 years and over because sometimes is can have sexual content and bad language. We weren't concerned because we knew the guests were the Smothers Brothers, the Enigma and the guy from the show The Nanny and had only 1 mild cuss word. My husband and I were even filmed and shown on TV. This is also free.
Because of the timing of out trip, the MGM amusement park was not open and I don't think they open until spring. There was so much other stuff to do that we couldn't have stood another amusement type park anyway.
My Cousin took her 9 year old daughter to a show that had imitation Spice girls, Elvis, etc. at the Stratosphere and she really enjoyed that. Again, it was at least $20 per person. It was also very windy and cold so the kids didn't get much pool time. My best advice: Hit all the free shows and bring lots of Money.
From: Maryann (1/99)
We went to Las Vegas last August with our 4 years old son. We stayed in Circus Circus and there were a lot of kids fun. There was a free Circus show every 30 minutes. There is a play facility called Grand Canyon in the hotel and many rides and games there. Every ride and game cost money, so you can buy the one day pass which gives you unlimited rides. That is what we did. I forgot the price for one day pass. There is also a facility in MGM which is more suitable for bigger children. I think you also can buy one day pass. Have wonderful time in Las Vegas.