From his turret, Merlin welcomes you to Excalibur Hotel.

Family Vacations in Nevada: Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a city divided when it comes to family vacations. Long known for its glittering casinos and adult entertainment, the city has reinvented itself in recent years as a family vacation destination. As a result, Las Vegas now offers an array of family-oriented shows and themed hotels that kids are sure to love.

Family-friendly resorts include the Excalibur Hotel, inspired by castles in Europe. Its Tournament of Kings is a must-see extravaganza, and its Court Jester's Stage features magicians, jugglers, and puppeteers. Outside the Sherwood Forest Café, kids can climb on giant dragons.

If your family's tastes include pirate adventure, try out Treasure Island Resort, based on the tales of Robert Louis Stevenson. There's a lagoon facing The Strip and plenty of talking skeletons and treasure chests inside the resort. It's also home to Mystre, the fantastic Cirque du Soleil performance many consider to be the best show in town. Circus Circus shows are daily from 11:00 a.m. to midnight in its mezzanine, along with dozens of carnival games and an arcade with more than 300 video and pinball games. Behind the hotel is an amusement park.

Las Vegas's selection of shows is legendary, and many of them are suitable for families. In addition to Mystere, the inventive Cirque du Soleil theater group offers two other breathtaking performances -- one of which is completely underwater. Star Trek: The Experience is a huge hit with kids over the age of seven. Part museum, part movie, and part ride, this exciting attraction combines live theater, a motion-simulation ride, and dazzling special effects.

Lance Burton's magic show features some of the best sleight-of-hand in the business, and children are often called out of the audience to assist onstage. The spectacular Fountains of Bellagio are a family favorite. They are located in front of the opulent Bellagio resort. The fountains are synchronized to music and enhanced by dramatic lighting. The show is free.

Other Las Vegas attractions include Stratosphere Tower, reaching some 1,150 feet above The Strip. It offers thrilling rides, freefall jumps, and roller coasters. While younger children will enjoy the view, the rides are better suited for older kids.

The Secret Garden of Siegfried and Roy and the Dolphin Habitat are greats stop for animal lovers, as is the Wildlife Walk at the Tropicana. M&Ms World, with 26,000 square feet of chocolate, is a mouthwatering shop for kids to visit. Dozens of other kid-pleasing attractions include Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, the Guinness World of Records Museum, the Lion Habitat at MGM Grand, racecar driving experiences, the Manhattan Express roller coaster, and much more.

Beyond Las Vegas, a world of outdoor adventure awaits. Continue reading to find out about trips to Pyramid Lake.

Las Vegas Information

Address: Downtown Las Vegas at N. Las Vegas Blvd. and Fremont St.

Las Vegas, NV

Telephone: 702/735-1616

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Las Vegas City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit America’s Playground.
  • Nevada State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Nevada, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.