And… Survival Guide if you go to Vegas with Kids
Survival Guide and What to do with Kids in Vegas further down, but first let’s see debunk some myths: Sin City is not Disneyland and, with the new trend most resorts are embracing, namely that of attracting young party-type crowds (high alcohol consumption and so forth), it’s becoming even less so. Some of the family attractions (such as the Lions’ Habitat at MGM Grand) have been closed to make space for more bars and alcohol-friendly places. There are a few attractions left which could be suitable for families, but they are far and few between.
Having said this, if you have decided to go to Vegas as a family, in terms of resorts you have some options; we’ve highlighted below those who seem to follow general consensus.
Budget. Let’s start from the one everybody knows: Circus Circus Vegas. It is still the best Vegas option for children of all ages in that they provide a fantastic ‘Adventure Dome’, suitable for adults too (provided they love roller-coaster-type adventures). We loved it. I noticed they had a large section for young children (and toddlers), so it’s not to be missed if you want your kids to have a good time. In terms of resort facilities and quality, as well as location advice, read our Circus Circus Review.
Excalibur. Budget resort on the South Strip with a castle theme which could fascinate some children; they also have a large arcade area in the lower floor and some shows aimed at families. For details, read our Excalibur review.
New York New York. They have a huge roller-coaster (scary!) better suited for teenagers and twenty-something guests and a popular arcade, so some say it’s suitable for children. I would not think that it’s the case unless the ‘children’ are older teenagers, since the environment is busy, very loud and very crowed (with many, many drinkers walking around, of course).
Orleans. Located off Strip but with an excellent, free shuttle service to the Strip, it offers a good option for families since they provide a movie theater, a bowling center, an arcade and, importantly, a childcare area. It’s also an affordable resort with good rooms and an overall fun environment. Popular with locals too; their buffet is very affordable and probably good for families with a budget.
Mid Range: Mirage. They have the Dolphin Habitat and the Secret Garden, which are both of course excellent for children. However, the resort itself is not child-oriented; it seems to cater for high-gamblers and alcohol-lovers; it’s now trying to entice young party crowds so the overall atmosphere is not ideal for young children or families. The Dolphin Habitat and the Secret Garden are however well worth a visit.
Upscale Vegas resorts. These resorts may be better in that they provide better ventilation against the heavy smoke (which pervades every section of every casino everywhere, which is unavoidable as you walk to your rooms or go to the buffet. But they don’t look nor ‘feel’ suitable for families, unless the children are older teenagers.r
Always bear in mind that casino floors are off-limits (you can only walk through them on the designated walkways to get to your rooms if you have children, and you cannot stop and play there) and that, some times, it’s best to opt for baby-sitting services or childcare services (on or off-site). Vegas can be very tiring for children; younger children in particular, always seem to be stressed out (noise, smoke, loudness, and so on).