There's more to Las Vegas than casinos and nightclubs. Make Las Vegas a family-friendly adventure that’s fun for kids of every age. From watching knights joust to cooling off at a water park, there's something for every tiny traveler to enjoy.
Here are the top 15 attractions and shows for kids in Las Vegas.
Head to the skies with Vegas Indoor Skydiving, where you can get an adrenaline rush without jumping off an airplane. Flyers walk into a vertical air tunnel, where a 1,000-horsepower motor shoots them into the air and gusts up to 120 mph keep them afloat. Riders need to weigh at least 40 pounds and take a safety training class before skydiving, and an adult must be present for kids to fly.
Explore the STRAT SkyPod, SkyJump, and Thrill Rides
Head to the top of America's tallest freestanding tower for a view of the city from the SkyPod's indoor and outdoor observation decks. The STRAT tower houses SkyJump—a bungee jump that takes you down 108 floors in about eight seconds—as well as other thrill rides. X-Scream catapults riders 27 feet over the edge of the SkyPod, while Big Shot blasts them 160 feet in the air from a 921-foot-high platform.
The world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller at the Linq Promenade spans 550 feet in the air. The 28 glass-enclosed cabins take passengers for a 30-minute spin, giving them a serene view of the entire Las Vegas valley. Consider this a break from the chaos of the Strip, and snap some shots of the kids from high above the city.
Circus Circus attracts families with its indoor Adventuredome theme park, set on five acres and featuring more than 25 rides—including two roller coasters. Speeding through the park at 44 mph, Canyon Blaster is the world’s only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster. Meanwhile, El Loco ascends 90 feet before dropping over and under. For those who don't want thrills, the Carnival Midway offers games and free circus acts such as trapeze artists, clowns, and acrobats. There are even tame roller coasters and flying airplanes for the little ones.
Bravely get up close with 2,000 underwater creatures—including more than 15 species of sharks—at North America's only predator-based aquarium. Featuring 14 exhibits, Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay boasts a 1.3 million-gallon saltwater tank, which you can walk through via tunnel for an almost 360-degree view of aquatic life. The Touch Pool gives everyone a chance to feel sharks, rays, or horseshoe crabs.
Tour New York City on the Big Apple Roller Coaster
The Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York is really two rides in one. The world’s first coaster to feature a 180-degree “heartline” twist-and-dive maneuver takes you through a replica of the Big Apple’s skyline. A virtual reality option changes the ride into an adventure with aliens and monsters, all set in New York City. The kids can even play in the arcade before or after.
The Golden Nugget gets its guests up close with sharks at The Tank. Brave water venturers can zoom through a 200,000-gallon shark tank—inside a clear tube, of course. For those who prefer not to undertake the water slide, there’s a behind-the-scenes shark tank tour by one of the on-staff marine biologists. Participants can witness feeding time and learn about the different species that inhabit the tank.
Located at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel, the 15-acre Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is open to the public 24 hours a day. It's filled with a flock of Chilean flamingos, Ring Tealed ducks, and Sacred Ibis, as well as swans, koi fish, turtles, and brown pelicans. Swing by at 8:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. any day of the week to see the pelicans get fed. Have those cameras ready for selfies.
Play with Dolphins and Watch the Big Cats
One half of the magical Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat houses the famous magician's white tigers, lions, and leopards. The other neighboring half hosts a dolphin habit, which recently welcomed a bottlenose baby. Visitors can get a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility or even become a trainer for a day. Alternatively, you could paint artwork with the playful creatures or spend the morning doing yoga next to them.
Cheer on your favorite royal jousting knight—or even the fire-breathing dragon— at the Excalibur's "Tournament of Kings." Knights ride horses and fight with swords, maidens dance, and the dragon gets his own pyrotechnics show. With Merlin the Magician overseeing the festivities, diners take it all in while eating tomato soup and Cornish hens sans utensils.
Build huge mounds of dirt and push gigantic tires in a bulldozer at Dig This. The construction equipment sandbox includes skid-steer loaders, bulldozers, and excavators, and the off-Strip attraction offers kids ages four and up a digging experience to remember.
Big cats roam the Lion Habitat Ranch south of the Strip near the M Resort in Henderson. You can dine at a table in the midst of a cage, or go behind the scenes to watch the animals being fed and cared for—if you're feeling brave, you can even feed them yourself. The ranch also has a giraffe you can hand-feed.
One of the best afternoon shows in Las Vegas, "Mac King Comedy Magic Show" gives children a chance to get up on stage with a magician. Goldfish disappear and turn into coins, ropes magically get longer and shorter, and live animals appear in this 75-minute show with the charismatic King.
You can learn to surf on body boards on the FlowRider Wave in a Box at Planet Hollywood Resort. Because the machine's surface absorbs energy, riders can feel safe knowing that they have less of a chance of getting hurt if they wipe out. Kids must be at least 48 inches to ride. Two pools accompany the attraction at this rooftop destination.
Wet'n'Wild water park features more than 25 thrilling attractions that keep kids cool during the heat of summer. Among the park's eight waterslides, you'll find the Tornado and the six-lane Desert Racer. Kids can splash around in the 10,500-square-foot Paradise Falls, which has 11 slides, spray guns, geysers, and a massive tipping bucket that dumps water on guests. Kiddie Cove offers three slides for the little ones.