10 Inexpensive Family-Friendly Ways to Viva in Las Vegas

Updated: 3 days ago

Photo credit: Visit Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Sin City. Viva, Las Vegas! For most people, thinking about a trip to Las Vegas conjures of images of partying to their heart’s content. But if you know where to look (and not to look), there are actually a lot of kid-friendly things to do in Las Vegas and it can make for a nice long weekend with the family. And I assure you, it will be far less disastrous and comical than Clark Griswold’s Vegas Vacation.

Since we live in Utah, Las Vegas is just a short 6-hour road trip from home. Even though we love exploring Utah and checking things off our Utah Bucket List, sometimes we just need to get out of the cold! And in February/March when Utah is still pretty cold or in October/November when winter is just around the corner, Las Vegas is usually experiencing ideal sunny and warm weather. The combination of short drive and warmer weather make it an easy choice for a getaway. After many trips over the years, we've compiled our list of favorite things to do in Las Vegas:

Top 10 Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Las Vegas

5 Kid-Friendly Activities On the Las Vegas Strip

5. Top Golf - $33-63/hour for the family

Many cities all over the US have a Top Golf location but what makes this one unique is that it overlooks the Las Vegas Strip. The view is especially cool at night, when all the casinos light up the sky with their neon signs. Top Golf is fun even for non-golfers because it requires little skill. Think of it more like a driving range mixed with a bowling alley, add some surprisingly tasty food and you and your family will have a fun time.

Photo credit: Trip Savvy

4. High Roller Observation Wheel - $34.75 for adults, $17.50 for youth ($139.50 for family of 6)

This giant 550-foot tall ferris wheel is a relatively new addition to the Las Vegas skyline. It was built by Caesars Entertainment in 2014 and is the world’s second-tallest ferris wheel. In other words, probably not for those with a fear of heights. It takes 30-minutes to complete one loop and each cabin holds up to 25 guests. This is not your typical county fair two-seater ferris wheel.

Photo credit: Las Vegas Magazine

3. Bellagio Botanical Gardens & Fountain Shows – Free

I can’t think of Las Vegas without thinking of the final scene from Ocean’s Eleven where they end up in front of the Bellagio fountains after the heist and Débussy’s Clair de Lune is playing. The dancing water is mesmerizing, and I try to see them every time I go to Vegas. There are shows every 30 minutes starting at 3:00pm and then every 15 minutes starting 7:00pm and the songs always vary. After watching the fountains make sure to head inside the Bellagio and check out the botanical gardens. They constantly change the decorations according to the season. If you’re feeling a little taste of Italy while you’re there, stop by Café Gelato for some Italian-style ice cream.

Photo credit: Feeling Vegas

2. Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay - $29 for adults, $24 for kids, free for kids 4 and under ($154 for family of 6)

Located at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the far South end of the Las Vegas Strip, the Shark Reef Aquarium is a wonderful way to escape the desert heat and provide some kid-friendly entertainment. There are three main exhibits – the Jungle, which features a rare Komodo dragon and Burmese pythons; the Temple, which has a touch pool with several species you can interact with; and the Shipwreck, which is the main exhibit. At 1.3 million gallons (about twice the volume of an Olympic-size swimming pool), the Shipwreck exhibit is one of the largest tanks in the country. It also features a shark tunnel where you can walk through the bottom of the tank and see the sharks and other creatures swimming all around you.

Photo credit: Mandalay Bay

1. See a Show - $60-120 per person ($360-720 per person)

Ever since the days of Elvis and Frank Sinatra, Las Vegas has been famous for its entertainment of epic proportions. Today you can find hundreds of shows from musicals to magicians to dancers and circus acts. And believe it or not there are quite a lot that are family friendly. Here are a few examples:

  • Blue Man Group at The Luxor – a trio of blue-faced men who don’t speak a word play a variety of strange percussion instruments for laughs.

  • Tournament of Kings at Excalibur – a live dinner show that adapts the legend of King Arthur complete with horse-riding knights and pyrotechnics.

  • Cirque du Soleil – There are multiple family-friendly circus shows with different themes, including Mystere, Michael Jackson One, Beatles Love, Ka, and O.

  • V, the Ultimate Variety Show at Planet Hollywood – if you can’t decide between magic, music, comedy, and acrobatics, then just go for the show that has it all.

Photo credit: Vegas.com

Best Hotels in Las Vegas for Kids

Marriott Grand Chateau – as low as $157/night

The Marriott Grand Chateau is a Vacation Club Resort located across the street from the Planet Hollywood. Unlike most hotels on the Strip, there isn’t a casino on site and no smoking is allowed. And because it’s a Vacation Club property, that means the rooms are all suites equipped with a full kitchen. It’s an ideal place for a family to stay if you still want to be close to the big casinos and shows without actually staying at a casino. And it has two swimming pools – one with a massive projector screen that plays movies and another on the rooftop that offers sweeping views of Las Vegas.

5 Kid-Friendly Activities Off the Las Vegas Strip

5. Hoover Dam - $10-30 per person ($60-180 for family of 6)

If you’re a fan of the 1997 Chevy Chase film Vegas Vacation, then a stop at the famous Hoover Dam is a must! While Clark Griswold might think, “it’s not that high” it is 726 feet tall. It’s the second-tallest dam in the United States and Lake Mead is the country's largest reservoir. Finished in 1936 during the Great Depression, the massive concrete construction project took over five thousand workers to build and was a huge feat of human engineering at the time. Nowadays, you can take a tour to learn about the construction of the dam and how the hydroelectric power plant works. Afterwards, head over to Lake Mead Marina for water sport rentals, swimming, or even a cruise on an old-fashioned steam boat.