Las Vegas has a reputation as a place people visit when they want to experience exciting nightlife and gamble in casinos. While those things can be found in abundance, Vegas offers much more than just those elements to vacationers. The vibrancy that characterizes the Vegas Strip at night pervades the city in the day, too, thanks to lots of exciting tourist attractions that are great for the entire family. Read about some of the amazing attractions Vegas has to offer, and rent a car for one-of-a-kind day trips to other picturesque parts of Nevada, too.
Your family will love the light and water show the Bellagio puts on at its famous fountains. The fountains at the Bellagio are one of the most iconic pieces of Vegas imagery, and your trip won't be complete without stopping by to see the mastery. The choreographed fountain show comes with a dash of popular music. The best part? Watching the fountains is free. During the afternoon the show starts every half-hour; between 8 p.m. and midnight, it's every 15 minutes.
As long as you and your travel buddies or family members aren't afraid of heights, you'll want to ride Big Shot at the Stratosphere Tower while you're in Vegas. The ride starts atop an observation deck that's more than 900 feet in the air. It takes you up 160 feet at 45 mph, offering you a thrilling ride and gorgeous views of Vegas and the surrounding valley. Older kids will love riding, but you must be at least 48 inches tall. The observation deck itself is family-friendly and worth a visit by itself.
Even if you're not gambling, no trip to Vegas is complete without at least walking through the Venetian. Take an indoor or an outdoor gondola ride at the Venetian on the strip. The gondolas come authentic from Venice, and the scenery transports you to an Italian paradise within the walls of this Vegas hotel. Outdoor rides happen seasonally when the weather is good; indoor rides happen year-round, every day of the week. To hop on a gondola seating four people, it's $29 per person.
Your family can easily make a gigantic indoor amusement park on one of your Nevada family day trips. The Circus Circus hotel and casino offers the Adventuredome, a 5-acre indoor amusement park the whole family will love. A few of the rides require riders to be at least 48 inches tall, but the park is full of rides appropriate for families and smaller children, too. Circus Circus is on the strip just a few blocks away from the Venetian, so driving there will be simple if you're staying within the city.
Mount Charleston, also called Charleston Peak, is the highest point in Nevada's Clark County; it sits in the Spring Mountains nearby the small town of Mount Charleston. During the winter, take a day trip from Las Vegas to Mount Charleston and enjoy a family skiing adventure. Picturesque hiking trails make Mount Charleston worth a visit during the rest of the year. From Las Vegas, Mount Charleston is about 39 miles northwest, which takes a little over 45 minutes by car.
Families with older kids will love rock climbing at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Though difficult climbing trails are available, easy climbing paths also exist, drawing all levels of climbers to the area. Hiking trails through the picturesque red peaks provide fantastic photo opportunities. Red Rock Canyon is 16 miles west of Vegas, and you can typically make the drive in about 20 minutes.
Five miles north of the strip, you'll find the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. This family-friendly attraction is perfect for people who love animals. Exhibits feature live displays, extinct animals, and lots of replicas covering more species than you knew existed. One of the museum's best features is the live pool filled with baby sharks and sting rays.
Though Vegas is a popular destination for vacations, it also suffers from typical rush-hour traffic patterns. The city's main roads, including Interstate 15 and U.S. 95, get clogged during rush hour. Plan your travels throughout the city between about 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Las Vegas Boulevard, especially the Las Vegas Strip usually has bumper-to-bumper traffic, so if you must drive there to reach your hotel or your attractions, leave yourself plenty of time to get from point A to B.
The Vegas Strip isn't the only worthwhile part of Vegas to visit. South Las Vegas is residential, has hotel options that get you away from the frenetic downtown area and is where you'll find a drugstore or a Target if you need one. The West Side is also significantly residential, with more stores and restaurant options. A few attractions exist in both areas if you're looking for a low-key casino or a mall to walk through when you need a break from the lights and excitement.
Family-friendly shows, restaurants, and attractions litter the Vegas Strip, and you'll leave feeling like you want to return to do more exploring. Of course, you can always leave the kids in the hotel room with a movie playing for a night if you want to go out on the town or hit up a few of the most famous casinos. Armed with knowledge of the attractions you want to see, the typical traffic patterns, and drive times to all of your favorite day trip locations, you're ready to hop on a plane to Vegas with the entire family.
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