Las Vegas With Kids?

Cirque Du Soleil sign

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.

A Zombie in Las Vegas?

Las Vegas Boulevard

I was looking to my left at the stretch party limo slowly cruising neck and neck with the yellow Lamborghini when the man bumped into me from the right.  He didn’t say anything, he merely grunted and stared at me with a glazed look in his eyes.

He was dressed in raggedy old clothes, layer upon layer to retain warmth. It can actually get cold in the desert at night.  I thought he must be one of our unfortunate citizens who live on the streets and scrounge for beer money by redeeming cans and bottles.  He smelled like a vomit and gangrene cocktail.  His hands were filthy and what was left of his wild brown hair stuck out in tufts on one side of his head.  The other side was a bare wasteland of cuts, bruises, and old scars from fighting for the last drop from the wine jug.

It was his face that screamed for help.  It was covered in blood.  The blood had congealed somewhat around his nose and eyebrows, but otherwise was still fresh and dripped down his jaw to pool on the collar of his stained shirt.

What happened to this guy?  Should I call 911?

Before I could do anything he grunted some more and shuffled ahead of me.  I silently trailed him while I tried to think about my options. The sidewalk crowds were heavy and the man had to push his way through.  Most people coming from the other way glanced at him, did a double take, and then avoided getting anywhere near him as they passed.

Then a group of rowdy young men, who had obviously been drinking heavily, crossed the guy’s path.  They looked at the bum and then at each other and I thought there might be some trouble brewing.  Maybe these tough looking dudes thought beating up a wino would be fun.  Instead they broke into wide sloppy grins and started giving the guy “high fives.”

“Way to go dude!” said one of the young men.  “That’s awesome!” said another. “You’re the best zombie on the Strip tonight!” said a third.

The guy smiled, grunted, and shuffled along.

This scenario was repeated many times as I walked behind the guy from the MGM Grand all the way to the Venetian.

Just another Saturday night in Las Vegas.  Where the Walking Dead go to party.

Do not forget to make sure you have a valid ESTA before your trip to the US!

Las Vegas Boulevard
Part of the Las Vegas Strip