Las Vegas is a playground for adults, but there are some family-friendly activities to be found. From museums to shows to rides, a little research can uncover fun for kids of all ages. Parents should keep in mind, however, that it is a bustling city, and attractions and hotels may change quickly, so it's always a good idea to contact any attraction they are interested in to make sure it is still operational and still appropriate for families.
There are a number of museums in the city, with exhibits of art, science, and more. The Las Vegas Natural History Museum provides a look at prehistoric Nevada, including exhibits on sharks and other aquatic creatures, dinosaurs, and indigenous plant and animal life. The Lied Discovery Children's Museum lies at the north end of the Strip, and offers more than 100 different interactive stations on two floors. Art lovers may be interested in the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art inside the Bellagio Hotel Casino, which also boasts the famous Fountains at Bellagio. Other fun museum options include Madame Tussauds wax museum and the Pinball Hall of Fame.
For more adventuresome families, Las Vegas boasts a number of thrill rides and theme parks. The Adventuredome Theme Park at Circus Circus is a 5 acre (20,234 square meter) indoor park, and includes roller coasters, water rides, and other attractions, including free clown shows. The roller coaster at New York-New York Hotel and Casino offers a view of the replica New York buildings. The Stratosphere Hotel Casino has the Stratosphere tower, the US's tallest observation tower, as well as Big Shot, X-Scream, and Insanity, the Ride. Keep in mind that many of these attractions may have height and weight limits, so not all children may be able to ride.
Las Vegas is famous for its shows, some of which are appropriate for all ages. Performers and acts change frequently, so visitors may want to check with their hotel to find out what shows are currently playing. Shows like Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil have performed there frequently, and this type of show may be appropriate for those younger visitors who have the patience for a long performance. Age restrictions do apply in some cases.
Visitors interested in nature and wildlife also have options in the city and the surrounding area. The MGM Grande Lion Habitat is on a ranch about 12 miles (19 km) from the hotel, and offers a mini-safari experience; the Flamingo Hotel Wildlife Habitat includes a flock of flamingos, naturally, as well as other animals. There are a number of parks and wildlife areas within a few hours drive as well, including Lake Mead, one of the world's largest man-made lakes, which is about 30 miles (48 km) east of the city; and Red Rock Canyon, about 20 miles (32 km) to the west.
In addition to these options, families visiting to Las Vegas may be interested in a wide variety of shopping experiences around the city. There are also a number of arcades, such as Gameworks, which can hold up to 3,000 people at a time. While many attractions in the city are more adult-oriented, there are still many ways for families to have fun. It's always a good idea for visitors to call or check out the website of any attraction or show before traveling to confirm the venue is still in operation, and to make sure children meet any age, height, or weight requirements.