Las Vegas has a reputation for being a 24-hour playground for adults, but it also offers plenty of ways to keep families entertained. Here is a range of indoor and outdoor activities within a half-hour’s drive of the famed Strip that will please both actual kids and the kids-at-heart inside all of us.
1. Become a pinball wizard
The 10,000-square-foot Pinball Hall of Fame will have you forgetting all about slot machines. Located just a few miles off the Strip, the Hall of Fame houses hundreds of pinball machines from the 1950s to the current day. Older machines cost 25 cents to play, and newer ones are 50 cents, but those are a small price for a few of hours of fun. It’s also a fun walk down memory lane for parents and grandparents.
2. Experience Vegas’ natural habitat
A science museum meets a nature preserve at Springs Preserve, a desert-friendly, interactive experience ideal for school-age children. Educational exhibits (such as the particularly popular flash floods display), a butterfly habitat and a live animal show allow children to get up-close-and-personal with the natural world around them. Extend your visit by walking the Springs Preserve’s trail system, which winds along 110 acres of desert vegetation.
3. Hike the Red Rock Canyon
Located on the western edge of Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area offers a range of hiking trails. A 13-mile scenic loop provides a good overview, while other trails let you fully appreciate the desert landscape up close. Red Rock is a great place for the younger set to run off their pent up energy, but be mindful of the presence of snakes, scorpions and other desert creatures in their natural environment. And don’t forget to stay hydrated.
4. Explore a museum built for kids
Families with young children can easily spend hours at the Discovery Children’s Museum, which features 26,000 square feet of interactive activities. With nine permanent installations and occasional traveling exhibits, kids can try hands-on activities that allow them to explore and learn about the environment, health, inventions and art.
5. Get Wet ‘n’ Wild
What better way to cool off in the desert than at a water park? Wet ‘n’ Wild has lots of places play for kids of all ages to play. Teenagers in particular will enjoy the wide variety of adrenaline-pumping slides and attractions, but there are lots of diversions for the younger members of the family as well.
Head to Paradise Falls, which has several splash-worthy fun zones, nine slides and a huge tipping bucket. In the Kiddie Cove, there are three slides designed for children 30 inches and taller – one of which is a group slide that allows parents to ride with their children.
6. Relax at a Drive-in movie theater
Drive-in movie theaters have pretty much disappeared from the map, but the West Wind is still thriving in Las Vegas. Grab some dinner to go, then sit down with the family under the stars and enjoy first-run films on the big screen. Some movies are shown as double features, and other are screened on their own, but the drive-in is still a bargain compared to a traditional movie theater. The cost for children 5-11 years old is $1.25 each, and general admission is $7.50. Visit on Tuesdays for “Family Fun Night,” when the entrance fee is reduced to $5.25 a person.
7. Get your thrills on a zip line
Families with ‘tweens and teenagers may enjoy visiting one of several high-flying, zip-line locations around Las Vegas. At the Fremont Street Experience’s 12-story-tall SlotZilla, riders can ride sitting up or on their stomachs, “superhero-style.” For those with more time, drive about 30 minutes to Bootleg Canyon, near Boulder City, for the FlightLinez experience, which covers 1.5 miles over the course of four different lines.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly Las Vegas getaway that goes beyond the gaming and flashing lights of Las Vegas Boulevard, plan to visit one or more of these options during your trip. And be sure to visit IHG when booking your Las Vegas hotel, no matter what part of the city is ideal for your stay.