This is probably the most controversial question I hear asked in any of the Las Vegas discussion groups I belong to. The discussion always gets heated quickly and the two camps are always clearly divided and resistant to change. I find myself sitting somewhere in between the two camps. Let me first explain my philosophy on traveling to Las Vegas with children.
In general, I do not think that Las Vegas is an appropriate playground for kids. With the smoking, drinking, gambling and adult extravagance, kids don't fit in. There are ads for strippers and adult clubs on the back of every taxi cab and the pornography distributors are back on the sidewalks handing out ads for escorts that are extremely explicit, despite the attempt to censor the "dirty parts". These ads end up on the street, in the gutters, along fence lines, on tables, bus stops, etc. It's just too easy for kids to find them and I'm not comfortable with that.
That said, Las Vegas, or more appropriately, Clark County, is home to more than 1 million people, some of them even have children. There ARE things for kids to do in Las Vegas, but it takes a bit of responsible parenting to do Vegas with kids the correct way. Unfortunately, those irresponsible parents have created the adamant "No Kids in Vegas" camp.
End of soapbox rant. If you decide to bring your kids, here are my suggestions...
I believe that a teenager (say aged 15 and up) would have a BLAST in Las Vegas. There is and endless variety of things to do and places for them to go. It will be expensive, but then again, Disneyland or Six Flags isn't a bargain either. Plan to meet with them frequently during the day to check up on them. They can get into SERIOUS trouble, but most kids should be okay if they stick to the areas I'm going to suggest later.
A child (say aged 8-14) could also have a great time. However, I don't think that they should be left alone for any reason at any time in any area of the city. If a parent, or sitter, is along on the trip and is willing to spend time doing activities with the kids, I think at this age they can still have a wonderful time.
Under age 6-7 I feel less inclined to suggest you bring them. I've seen lots of kids in strollers who are miserable as their mom and dad drag them through yet another casino after midnight. It's just not a good idea. There ARE things to do with kids this age (see the pool suggestions, or some of the suggestions below) but the majority of things are geared to an older audience I think.
NEWS: Clark County curfew laws now state that anyone below 18 years of age who's not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian must be off the streets and out of any public area between 10 pm and 5 am Sunday through Thursday and from midnight to 5 am Friday and Saturday, on legal holidays and during summer vacation. On the Strip, the curfew hours are 9 pm to 5 am Fridays, Saturdays and legal holidays year-round.
Okay, with that out of the way.. let's get on to the things there are to do with kids.
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