Las Vegas With Kids?

This is the time of year when many people take road trips.  Load up the car with the family, pack some games and snacks, and hit the open road.  There are many great places to go in the US.  If you have kids, is Las Vegas one of them?

I was asked this question recently by a friend.  My first thought was that Las Vegas is Sin City, the adult playground.  Why would anyone even think of taking the kids?  On second thought, there are a few things worth seeing in Las Vegas even if you’re under the legal drinking and gambling age.

Las Vegas Strip
How did she get here?

The Cirque du Soleil shows are definitely worth seeing when you’re in Vegas, no matter what your age.  On my last trip I saw the show called KA.  I thought it was amazing, engrossing, and thoroughly entertaining.  The stunts done in that show are unbelievable. When I go back I will try to see one of the other Cirque du Soleil shows.  These shows are quite expensive, but in my opinion are worth the experience.

Cirque Du Soleil sign
The KA adventure.

There are a variety of magic shows held around the Strip every night, including one by the longstanding crowd favorites, Penn & Teller.  I once saw Penn & Teller perform in a small off-Broadway theater in 1986.  Before the show they were out front chatting with the guests as they walked in.  They probably don’t do that anymore. Kids might actually enjoy magic shows more than cynical adults.  They might not spend every minute of the show trying to determine how each trick was done (like I do). (Looking for a place to stay? Why not try ARIA Las Vegas?)

If you want to give an older kid a thrill, or perhaps see a younger child hurl his Cheerios from the top of a tall building, go to the Stratosphere Hotel.  The highest thrill rides in the world have names like X-Scream and Insanity.  Just the names are enough to make me queasy.

No visit to Vegas is complete without watching the fountain show in front of the Bellagio Hotel.   The show is figured prominently in one of my favorite movies Oceans 11. Who doesn’t like fountains? But why are they so popular in the desert?

Bellagio fountains
That’s a lot of water.

Finally, the Hoover Dam is a few miles outside of the city.  An engineering marvel of the Great Depression, the dam created the largest reservoir in the US.  One gruesome fact is that 112 people died building the dam. I’m not sure if any of them actually fell into the concrete mix and are still there or if that is just a myth.

Hoover Dam
That’s a lot of water and a lot of cement.

My final advice was that Vegas might be worth a stop for a day or maybe two only if it is on the way to somewhere else (such as Los Angeles, Yosemite, or Phoenix).  I wouldn’t have it as my final destination.  Unless you want to see Prince Harry play pool.  In that case, leave the kids at home.