From exhilarating rides to chocolate factories, and aquariums to canyons, there are plenty of wild activities to keep kids entertained while holidaying in Las Vegas. Here’s your guide
Vegas Indoor Skydiving
Las Vegas may be known as an adult fantasyland, but younger family members shouldn’t feel left out. The town is full of attractions to capture young imaginations. And you can see them all from the world’s tallest observation, or Ferris, wheel. Dubbed the High Roller, it towers 168 metres above the LINQ Promenade, a new dining, entertainment and retail district. Go on a 30-minute gentle spin at night, when the lights of The Strip and the surrounding valley are eye-popping.
On the way out, drop in for a cupcake, cookie or ice-cream cone at Sprinkles Cupcakes. Better yet, try their Sprinkles Cupcake ATM!
Vegas rivals Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in terms of sweet treats to tempt young travellers. Among them: Hershey’s Chocolate World in the New York-New York Hotel & Casino; M&M’s World next to the MGM Grand; and the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden in nearby Henderson.
Tournament of Kings show at Excalibur
If appetites aren’t completely spoiled, take the kids for a gourmet burger and fries, courtesy of the UK’s Gordon Ramsay. His BurGR at Planet Hollywood is incredibly popular, and worth waiting in line for.
To work off all that energy, a classic thrill ride should do the trick. Kids love the roller coaster at New York-New York, which twists, turns and loops above the hotel. Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower features some of the world’s highest rides – a controlled free fall and other dizzying attractions will dangle little daredevils more than 100 stories above the ground.
Pink Jeep Tours at Red Rock Canyon
And then there’s SlotZilla: the world’s first power-launched zip line propels ‘flyers’ (who must weigh at least 28kg) out of a 12-storey-tall slot machine. They can choose to ride in a horizontal position akin to Superman. (They’ll feel like Superman, too, flying 533 metres at speeds faster than 60km per hour.)
Enhance that superhero feeling at Vegas Indoor Skydiving. As long as your little one weighs at least 18kg, he or she can experience a weightless free fall. Alternatively, at the Sky Zone indoor trampoline park, they can also flip themselves off a trampoline runway into a pit filled with 10,000 foam cubes.
A Maverick helicopter tour over the Colorado River
Thrill rides aside, here’s how to keep kids (relatively) still for a few hours. Take them to the Tournament of Kings show/dinner/jousting tournament at Excalibur or the Popovich Comedy Pet Theater at Planet Hollywood's V Theatre. For another visual extravaganza, Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil at Aria Resort & Casino comprises a 70-strong cast of aerialists, jugglers, high wire and trapeze artists. Otherwise, there is plenty of exotic wildlife to see for animal fans. At the Mirage, Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden houses royal white tigers, white lions, black panthers, a snow leopard, lion cubs and golden tigers. And its Dolphin Habitat is home to bottlenose dolphins. At Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Shark Reef Aquarium, displays brim with fascinating marine life.
Nature encounters in the great outdoors are surprisingly close by, however. Pink Jeep Tours do trips to Red Rock Canyon, mere minutes away from The Strip. The sandstone cliffs and sand dunes are a great setting for hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding and mountain biking, and there are ancient petroglyphs carved by indigenous people to ‘discover’.
Though further afield, the Grand Canyon is the ultimate adventure. Take the entire family on a Maverick helicopter tour over this amazing natural wonder. It’s a thrilling ride that will bring out the child in everyone.
Ana Figueroa is a Los Angeles-based travel writer