Sometimes we get suspect looks when we tell people we have taken (or are taking...) our child to Las Vegas. We've taken her twice already, and we've passed through one other time. There's actually quite a bit of stuff to do in and around Las Vegas that doesn't involve gambling or partying it up. Here are some of the things that we like to do when we visit...
The Hoover Dam
This is always a must with K. I believe on our first trip with her when she was 3 that we visited it almost every single day! Some of the parking lots once across the dam are free.
The powerplant tour is pretty reasonably priced. ($15 Adults, $12 juniors) We've done it twice with K. One day we will visit when she's old enough for the Dam Tour, and we'll do that one, too!
Definitely, weather permitting (like, not in summer!) walk the bridge to see it from that perspective.
The High Roller at Linq
Somehow we managed to not get sucked in on our first trip with K, but earlier this year it was very visible from our hotel. I mean, it's Vegas. We opted for a day time ride and had the cabin to ourselves. It's definitely a little pricey, but there always seem to be discounts available if you know what your schedule will allow.
Volcano at the Mirage
Since there are fewer instances than the Fountains at Bellagio, this one is a little more crowded. We still had no issue find a spot with a good view. (FREE)
Just be aware if your child does not like fire that there may be a little bit of a freak out. K wasn't overly impressed.
Nevada Southern Railway
This weekend-only train ride is about 35 minutes. ($10 adults/$5 kids) Some Saturday's have story time on the train.
We happened to be on board during a storytime ride. There was also a small craft to go along with storytime. K was 3 at the time and she very much enjoyed the experience.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
We really only went to Lake Mead for two reasons.
1 - K wanted to get in the lake (we let her put her feet in)
2 - We wanted to do the Junior Ranger program.
Brian Head Ski Resort - Around 3 Hours Drive
Our last trip to Vegas was in February so we popped over to southern Utah for a day of skiing and snowboarding. The conditions were great as it was snowing while we were there. Compared to many ski resorts we have been to the lift tickets were very reasonable. Kids 5 and under are FREE!
Zion National Park - Around 2.75 hours Drive
Again, in Southern Utah, Zion was definitely one of our favorite Vegas side trips. It was a very, very hot summer day when we visited so we chose to do the Narrows Hike. It's in the Virgin River in a slot canyon. K was 3 so we did not go very far into the hike since it can get quite deep. K routinely asks to go "hike in the river" again. Be sure to pay attention to the forecast and/or advisories because flash flooding can occur. We also participated in the Junior Ranger program.
KPipe Spring National Monument - Around 2.75 hours Drive (Near Zion)
We were already close by Pipe Spring in Northern Arizona due to spending the majority of our day at Zion. It's very remote and we had no cell phone service, but it was a neat place to learn about. They, too, have a Junior Ranger program. K got a private tour of the house by the Park Ranger.
Mojave National Preserve - Around 1.5 hours Drive
Located in Southern California, Mojave Preserve has all sorts of things to see! I wish we would have had more time there, but we had dinner plans in Vegas. The Junior Ranger book was fairly easy for K. She loved seeing all of the Joshua Trees, sand dunes, and cinder cones. I think we will return at some point when we have more time to explore.
Death Valley National Park - Around 2.25 hours Drive
Death Valley is also in Southern California.
So going in the summer when it was beyond miserable out was probably not our best idea ever! We did have so much fun though. The heat did keep us in more than out exploring so this may definitely be a better winter destination. K participated in the Junior Ranger program here as well. We did manage to see many of the highlights such as Badwater Basin during our time there.
For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with maps, globes, and wanting to see the world. Now I'm trying to make all of those childhood dreams into a reality.