Since my youngest child was born, our family has gone to Las Vegas on three different trips with our kids. It all started with a three days Vegas trip with a 5 year old and a 18 month old way back in 2015. While friends thought we were a tad crazy to take a toddler and a young child to Las Vegas, we found that there was just so much to do with little ones. So we just kept going back in more recent years to do and see even more!
I’m living proof that you can take a baby, toddler, or young kid to the Vegas Strip and still find plenty of family-friendly activities. If you are thinking of doing the same, here are 15 things to do with young kids while in Sin City, fully updated with 2021 reopening information and prices.
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Best Things to Do With Young Kids in Las Vegas
1. Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Located in the Mirage, Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat truly feels like an oasis from the Vegas madness. Kids of all ages (including babies and toddlers) will enjoy watching dolphins play and marvel at the majestic white tigers.
Arrive at opening (usually 10 am) to have the animals all to yourself before the rest of Las Vegas wakes up. At $25 for adults and $19 for kids ages 4-12 with re-entry privileges, we found the attraction to be one of the better values in pricey Las Vegas.
2. Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group is a wild and wacky sensory experience that defies categorization. I can perhaps best describe it as equal parts Twinkies, enthusiasm, eyeballs, curiosity, marshmallows, exuberance, color, and self-examination. It’s definitely worth experiencing for yourself. The show has had several hotel homes over the years and is located in the Luxor Hotel & Casino in 2021, with shows resuming in late June.
When our family visited, the show was limited to ages 5 and up. We hired a babysitter for our then toddler and enjoyed a special night on the town with our almost 6 year old. Now the show welcomes all ages and will allow kids under age 3 to sit on parents’ laps. That said, it can get loud and overwhelming so consider carefully whether you should take the littlest ones.
3. Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium
The Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium offers a great chance for your kids to get up close and personal with all sorts of marine life. The biggest hit with our 6 year old was definitely the sting ray touch pools. Taking a photo with a scuba diver in one of the shark tanks was another highlight.
At $20 for adults and $15 for kids 5+ (0-4 are free), this is a pretty solid Vegas value for families as well, especially if you have younger ones who are free.
The Shark Reef Aquarium is extraordinarily popular, so your best bet to avoid the crowds is to arrive for morning opening. Plan for about an hour to walk through the entire attraction. Right outside the Aquarium is a huge food court with kid-friendly food choices and lots of empty space for toddlers to roam, and we made great use of the space after our visit.
4. Gondola Ride at the Venetian
If you aren’t quite ready to jet off to Venice with your little ones, the Venetian provides an entertaining glimpse of the real thing. Our daughter loved being serenaded by an especially friendly gondolier as we cruised through the hotel’s Grand Canal Shoppes on our gondola ride.
The ride is much quicker than the real Venice experience, so take photos as fast as you can. Wait times can be significant at peak times, so plan accordingly with young kids. Waits for the indoor gondolas are traditionally longer, but the indoor ride is more beautiful and is also protected from the sun and heat. With 2021 prices as high as $39 per person depending on the day, this is an expensive outing, but worth the splurge once.
5. Tournament of Kings
(Editor’s Note for 2021: The Tournament of Kings is still closed as of the date this article was published, with no reopening date announced yet.)
Some have said that the classic dinner show is dying, but it lives on in Las Vegas in truly kid-friendly form at Excalibur in the Tournament of Kings. At the Tournament of Kings, families eat with their hands while watching a show full of knights, jousting, and adventure. The horsemanship and skill of the performers were what truly impressed my husband and me. Our daughter just loved cheering for the good guys.
The food served was surprisingly delicious and healthy for a banquet style meal and included baked chicken, boiled potatoes and steamed broccoli.
The show does have a scary villain and is quite loud with pyrotechnic effects. Sensitive little ones may be scared at moments, but our little adventurers didn’t seem to mind.
6. Bellagio’s Fountains & Conservatory
The Bellagio is the best Las Vegas resort for free offerings appropriate for family travelers, so be sure to schedule a stop here. The nightly fountain show outdoors is perfect entertainment for the little ones.
Be sure also to make time to stroll through the gorgeous seasonally-changing flowers in the conservatory indoors. The creations are unique and breathtaking and fun for both kids and adults to explore.
7. M&M World
Vegas is all about excess, and what could be more excessive for kids than four whole floors devoted to candy? At M&M World near the MGM Grand, you can buy just about any piece of clothing or gear in the world branded with the M&M logo.
And, of course, there are thousands of pounds of candy available for purchase in every variety and color. If you can enter with your kids and come out with less than $20 of bulk M&Ms, you are a better parent than I.
8. Hershey’s Chocolate World
What – four stories of M&Ms wasn’t enough chocolate for you? Not far across the Strip in New York, New York, chocolate competitor Hershey has an experience all its own. Hershey’s Chocolate World has giant versions of all their iconic chocolate brands, from Kit Kat to Reece’s.
9. The Mirage Volcano
Another free evening activity that is well-suited for kids is the erupting volcano at the Mirage. In 2021, it runs hourly at 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm every day, so there are plenty of opportunities to make a show, even it it means you have to push back bedtime a little bit.
10. High Roller at the LINQ
Without a doubt, the High Roller is the coolest and most modern Ferris Wheel I’ve ever experienced. The wheel rotates once every half hour and is slow enough that riders simply hop into a fully-enclosed pod cabin as one moves slowly by the loading area.
The view from the top is breathtaking and a great way to get oriented to the Strip. Night rides are more expensive, but worth the upgrade in my opinion so you and your children can see the Vegas lights (kids 6 and under are free).
11. Hoover Dam
(Editor’s Note for 2021: Tours are currently not running yet because they are mostly indoors in tight spaces. The visitors center is also closed. All outdoor walkways remain open to explore.)
Although we usually stay on the Strip for the sake of convenience, off-Strip activities are definitely a good idea if you have the time. The one that cannot be missed with children is undoubtedly Hoover Dam. Adults find this marvel of modern engineering fascinating too.
Take the shorter of the two tours (little ones are ineligible to take the longer one), which we found to be perfect length for our children’s attention span. It started with a short movie and then our group then walked underground through some of the tunnels to see the power generators. The tour finished with a great view of the dam and newly-constructed bridge. I’d highly recommend putting babies and toddlers in a baby carrier for this tour; it isn’t really meant for strollers.
12. Red Rock Canyon
It took us three trips to do more off the Strip, which is when we finally discovered Red Rock Canyon. Don’t miss it for so long like we did!
The full loop is a leisurely 13 mile drive, but be sure to stop at several lookouts and plan a hike or picnic at one of the stops. We did two smaller hikes and also enjoyed the educational museum at the visitors center (still closed in 2021).
Red Rock Canyon is a national conservation area so national park passes are valid here. Our family always buys an America the Beautiful Pass for $85 each year, so our extra entry here was free (Related: National Parks for Beginners). Otherwise the fee to enter is $15 per car. Note that in 2021, timed entry reservations are required through May.
13. Eiffel Tower Experience at Paris
For another great Vegas view, you can ascend the Eiffel Tower located at the Paris Las Vegas. It offers fabulous views of the Bellagio’s fountains right across the street as well as most of the Strip on a clear day.
Masks are required in 2021 due to the tight quarters in the elevator and on the observation deck. Kids 3 and under are free.
Paris has also added an evening light show illuminating the tower that you can see for free from the ground for a kid-friendly alternative on a budget. It runs every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour from sunset to midnight.
14. Wynn Buffet
(Editor’s Note for 2021: The buffet at the Wynn as well as many other buffets in Vegas are still closed in 2021, but put this on your bucket list for the future!)
Folks have pretty mixed opinions about the traditional Vegas buffets. But I promise you – with young kids, you need to experience one of them at least once just to see their reactions to the decadence on display.
We went all out when we took our kids to their first Vegas buffet. We went Easter Sunday a few years ago to the Wynn, one of the most expensive and over-the-top ones on one of the most popular days of the year. I’m happy to report it was worth every penny!
If that’s too much of a splurge to risk with young kids, we also found a more reasonably priced kid-friendly alternative at Red Rock Casino Resort, where my kids ate every color of donut under the sun.
Circus Circus has its very own indoor amusement park – Adventuredome – that is a kid-friendly favorite. While there are a couple of coasters that makes this is a fun stop for older kids and teens too, there are plenty of kiddie rides toddlers will enjoy. Best of all, the all day wristband for kids under 48 inches too little to ride the bigger attractions is just $20, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
Have you been to Las Vegas with young kids? What were your favorite activities? Share your tips in the comments.
Disclosure: MGM Resorts provided me with complimentary admission to several of the attractions in this post for editorial purposes. Other activities were are our own expense. All opinions are my own.