Taking the kids to Las Vegas for part of a vacation makes more sense than you might think; there really is fun for the whole family. There are kid-friendly attractions for your small ones and teenagers ranging from a thrilling roller coaster ride to sharks in a huge aquarium.
You'll find great deals on hotels that cater to families on TripAdvisor, too. Once you're settled in your hotel, preferably one with a kid-friendly pool, its time to get out and explore and grab some food. Some attractions even have something for the adults to do while the kids are riding and playing, for an all-around good time.
Go Indoor Skydiving
Indoor skydiving lasts only a few minutes, but you go through a safety orientation as well as watch a video so you should count on at least an hour of your time. While it feels just like skydiving, you actually are being propelled upward by a strong wind with speeds up to 120 mph. It's a blast, and the entire family can do it at the same time.
At Vegas Indoor Skydiving, the minimum weight to fly is 40 pounds. Before a child is allowed to enter the vertical wind tunnel, they must attend a safety training class and their parent or guardian must be present at the class, too.
Afterward, you can purchase photos and videos of your skydiving experience.
Experience the Stratosphere Tower
The views from the Stratosphere Tower are worth a visit, and just before sunset is a perfect time to go to get the complete experience. The Tower is a unique, iconic fixture on the Vegas skyline with a magnificent 360-degree view.
Younger kids or people with a fear of heights might not enjoy going up in the tower because fear can kick in easily when you are this high up in the sky over the Las Vegas Strip.
Use your own judgment about whether your kids can handle this. For the thrill-seekers, check out the rides like the X-Scream at the Stratosphere.
If you want to feel like you are jumping off the tower, try SkyJump, an open-air leap from 829 feet above the Strip. It's a Guinness World Record holder as the highest commercial decelerator descent facility. Kids must be 14 and older to jump. And, yes, you are harnessed to something.
There are other rides. You can be blasted 160 feet straight up or ride in a seat attached to a giant mechanical arm holding you 900 feet high and spinning 64 feet over the tower's edge .
Fun for the Adults: The 107 Skylounge is nearby, and this is a great spot for happy hour fun. If your kids are teenagers and mature enough to explore the rides alone, take turns at the bar and add a little traditional adult “Vegas” to your family vacation.
Slide Down From a Giant Tree House
Anytime you can incorporate a giant slide with a tree house and plenty of interaction between kids, it is a good thing. At Downtown Container Park, let your children race up the tree house and conquer their fear of long dark slides while you wait at the bottom with open arms.
The kids will get hours of fun engaging in some games with the interactive spots in the play area, and even teenagers will like the very long and high tube slide.
Container Park is a unique shopping center built from shipping containers, housing shops, restaurants, and galleries.
Fun for the Adults: The play area is surrounded by spots for a cocktail or a snack. A few restaurants have patios that look out over the play area.
Zip Over Downtown
In downtown Vegas, you can experience a 77 foot high Zipline and a "Zoomline." On the Zipline, flyers go halfway down the Fremont Street Experience (850 feet), in a seated position. On the upper level, the Zoomline, guests ride like they are flying all the way down the Fremont Street Experience canopy (1,700 feet).
For the Zipline, you must be at least 50 pounds (there are no tandem rides). For the Zoomline, you must be at least 80 pounds to ride. There are no age limits as long as the weight requirements are met, although flyers younger than 16 must be accompanied by a rider 16 or older (you'll be riding separately, though).
Fun for the Adults: Adults will love the rides, and if you need a little liquid courage, try the long bar at The D Hotel to help you with your motivation.
Go Crazy on El Loco Roller Coaster
El Loco at Adventuredome is a ride strictly for kids who love roller coasters and can handle riding upside down. El Loco is a steel roller coaster in the amusement park at the Circus Circus Las Vegas resort.
El Loco riders experience twists, turns and drops unique in the coaster world, as they ascend 90 feet before dropping over and under to experience a 1.5 vertical-G. You must be at least 48 inches tall to ride El Loco.
Savor Hershey's Chocolate
A store dedicated to chocolate should be a no-brainer if you are in Vegas and looking for fun for the kids. Hershey's Chocolate World, at New York-New York, is not cheap, so be sure to keep tabs on your family's wants or you could be in for a big surprise when you hit the register.
The enticing shop offers more than 800 Hershey’s chocolates and candies along with a sculpture of the Statue of Liberty made from almost 800 pounds of milk chocolate.
There are things to do too. You can customize your own chocolate bars and star in a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup TV ad.
Get Spooked out by the Wax Figures
There is something creepy about the way wax figures take a long look at you as you walk around Madame Tussauds at the Venetian Las Vegas. Their eyes follow you around the room.
Grab your camera, and your kids will have some great pictures with celebrities from Britney Spears and Nicolas Cage to Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. This is definitely a Vegas-centric Madame Tussauds.
If you have a kid who loves superheroes, they can join forces with classic Marvel superheroes, like The Hulk and Captain America, as they outwit the bad guys and save The Strip in an interactive, 4D experience.
Take a Canyon Raft Tour
For something easygoing, try a raft trip through Black Canyon, the natural gorge of the Colorado River near Vegas, just below Hoover Dam. You'll be riding with a guide on a motor-assisted inflatable raft, so there's no work involved.
You'll get up close and personal with desert wildlife as guides on the trip give you the inside skinny on the history and geology of the area. The rafts are large and safe; this is not a wild whitewater trip.
It's a three-hour trip into a beautiful canyon. The trip includes a box lunch including a turkey wrap, chips, apple, cookie, and water. There is no charge for the raft trip or lunch for children 4 years of age and under.
Ride High on the LINQ Wheel
Soaring 550 feet above the center of the Las Vegas Strip, the High Roller is bigger than both the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. As you ride in your air-conditioned cabin, you'll enjoy sweeping 360-degree views of the Las Vegas Valley and The Strip. The wheel takes 30 minutes to complete one revolution.
Fun for the Adults: There is a bar cabin for the over 21 crowd.
Play at Adventuredome
Adventuredome, a five-acre indoor amusement park, at Circus Circus is ride heaven for kids, and the rides span the thrill level from kid-friendly to too scary for some. If your kids love amusement park rides, this is a must-do.
It's where the El Loco coaster ride is plus yet another scary one, the Canyon Blaster, the world's only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster. You must be at least 48 inches tall to ride the Canyon Blaster.
On the tamer side, there is a midway with arcade games, miniature golf, and free clown shows.
Get Nose to Nose With a Shark
Your kids can touch a stingray, see a Komodo dragon, and stand face to face with sharks at Shark Reef Aquarium. It's touted as a full sensory experience, where you and the kids will experience the sights, sounds, and encounters of an undersea environment. Shark Reef is great for all ages and even fun for parents.
Its main tank is 1,300,000 US gallons, one of the largest in North America. Look for the rare golden crocodile. Children three and under are admitted free.
Thrill on the Big Apple Roller Coaster
If your children/teenagers are thrill seekers, they'll simply love the Big Apple roller coaster at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino. The Big Apple is the world’s first coaster to feature a 180-degree “heartline” twist and dive maneuver.
The Big Apple Coaster offers the add-on of a Virtual Reality Experience where you can chase aliens high above the Las Vegas Strip! All passengers must be at least 54 inches to ride and a minimum of 13 years old to ride with virtual reality.
Once everyone comes down from this thriller, there's an arcade for more fun.
Tour a Real Gold Mine
Take a tour of a real gold mine and listen to a few good stories about the gold mining era and the characters who tried to make a few bucks years ago on the El Dorado Canyon Mine Tour.
The tour takes you inside the Techatticup Mine, the oldest and most famous gold mine in southern Nevada. This is a walking tour approximately 1/4 mile long on gravel. The tour lasts a little over an hour. Bring a jacket as it can get chilly inside the mine. It's just a 45-minute drive from Vegas.
See Pink Flamingos and More
Get up close to a Flamingo and walk around the outdoor 15-acre Flamingo wildlife habitat at the Flamingo Hotel. It's free and educational.
You'll see flamingoes, ibis, ducks, swans, pelicans, turtles, and koi fish in this habitat on the Flamingo Hotel grounds. There are two feedings daily. Other than those times, it's a pretty serene place where the kids can relax after the thrill rides they've enjoyed and adults can have fun taking photos with the lush tropical scenery as a backdrop.
Play With the Dolphins
The Siegfried and Roy Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage is home to white tigers, white lions, leopards, and bottlenose dolphins in a setting that is set up like a mini zoo. This is a longtime family favorite in Vegas.
Get even closer with exclusive experiences including a behind-the-scenes VIP tour, Trainer for a Day experience, Painting with the Dolphins, and Yoga With the Dolphins.