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Tag Archives: kid stuff

Animal Adventures on the Strip

Believe it or not, Las Vegas is a wonderful place for nature-lovers. With its close proximity to state and national parks, there are enough outdoor adventures to keep any traveller happy. However, what you might not expect is that there are chances to learn about and experience nature right there on one of the busiest streets in America.

Check out these two animal adventures on the famous Las Vegas strip.

1. Shark Reef Aquarium: Mandalay Bay’s predator-based aquarium features all kinds of interesting creatures like sharks, piranhas, jellyfish, and stingrays. It’s perfectly-portioned: not too daunting for those travelling with young kids, but in-depth enough that you feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth. For more on the Shark Reef, read about our first visit with our daughter.

2. Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat: Head over to the Mirage for an up-close look at lions, tigers, and dolphins. Watch as trainers feed and work with dolphins in one of the large pools or head down the ramp to see an underwater view of these swimming mammals. Next, walk into the secret garden to see white lions and tigers in a tree-lined, shaded habitat. Don’t forget to the find the “wishing tree” before you leave!

Travel tip: Those visiting the Secret Garden should be aware that this is an outdoor attraction. Although the lion and tiger habitat provides some shade, the dolphin area is in the blazing sun. Dress accordingly and bring sunscreen.

Animal Adventures on the Strip: Secret Garden

Clark County Fair in Logandale, Nevada

Spending a little over two years in Texas must have left an impression on me. Even though I grew up in the suburbs of a fairly large city, I’ve grown to love county fairs, rodeos, and anything else that involves funnel cake and livestock.

Clark County Fair, Logandale, NV

Our afternoon at the Clark County Fair made me feel like I was back in Texas again. A big western sky, dust and dirt, fascinating animals, and all kinds of less-than-healthy snacks made this an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday.

Our five-year-old daughter was the perfect age for most of the rides, and she particularly liked a little roller coaster that she got to ride on her own without Mom and Dad.

Clark County Fair, Nevada

As for the livestock, we got to see all kinds of interesting animals. We saw an enormous peacock with a huge, beautiful plume of feathers. We also saw some piglets…and their mom who was absolutely enormous. We saw a calf with its mother as well, and several roosters, one of whom cock-a-doodle-doo’ed right at us.

Clark County Fair, Nevada.

We ended our day with some funnel cake and homemade root beer from one of the food stands. On our way out, we let our daughter play one more carinval game, and she won a little stuffed animal that quickly became a sentimental favorite of hers.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Give the fair a try when it comes around again next year.

Clark County Fair. Nevada.

Kid-Friendly Vegas: Are Mermaids Real?

Another weekend, another awesome kid-friendly experience in Las Vegas! When I told my daughter we were going to an aquarium to see a mermaid, she said, “I thought mermaids were pretend. Are they real?” I told her she’d just have to see for herself.

Mermaid at Silverton Casino's aquarium, Las Vegas

This is one of those rare Las Vegas activities: not only is it kid-friendly, but it is also FREE and requires almost no planning. We arrived at the Silverton Casino on a Saturday afternoon and didn’t have any trouble finding a prime spot for mermaid-watching right up front by the glass.

I thought the mermaid was pretty convincing. Older children might not be fooled, but we saw lots of smiles from the younger kids. The mermaid did lots of waving, blowing kisses, and high-fives through the glass. She really seemed to go out of her way to make each child feel special.

Mermaid, Silverton Casino. Las Vegas

For more information about the “real” mermaids, take a look at the Silverton Casino website. You’ll find the aquarium hours as well as a short bio about each mermaid. I found it interesting that many of them have a background in synchronized swimming.

For more Vegas fun, check out my list of family-friendly activities in Southern Nevada.

Mermaid, Silverton Casino. Las Vegas

Mermaid, Silverton Casino. Las Vegas

Photo Friday: Climbing at Valley of Fire

What could be better than climbing rocks at Valley of Fire? How about climbing rocks with your cousins

Valley of Fire

To check out photos from other bloggers, stop by the family travel blog Delicious Baby for Photo Friday.

Kid-Friendly Activities in Las Vegas

We spotted a rainbow in the Bellagio fountains. Las Vegas

If you’re thinking of traveling to Las Vegas with kids (or you live here already and need a little inspiration), then this list is for you! There are so many family-friendly activities in Southern Nevada that it’s hard to know where to start. I know this list isn’t comprehensive, so if you have any ideas you’d like to add, please leave a comment.

Let’s get going!

On the Strip:

1. The Shark Reef Aquarium, Mandalay Bay: Possibly the coolest aquarium you’ve ever visited. The enormous shark tank allows visitors an up-close look at a variety of sharks and other predators.

2. Eiffel Tower, Paris: Travel 460 feet into the air and enjoy one of the best views in Las Vegas.

3. Secret Garden, Mirage: Watch dolphins swim, flip, and dive. Stand face-to-face with white lions with only a wire fence between the two of you. This is a great stop for animal-lovers of all ages. Check out the fantastic photos of the attraction at Vegas Solo.

4. Blue Man Group, Venetian: A kid-friendly show that is a mix between performance art and rock concert. Take a look at the fantastic travel blog More Kids Than Suitcases for a review of the show.

5. Roller coaster, NY-NY: At $14 per person, this is one expensive roller coaster. However, you will have the opportunity to see the Strip zoom by at over 60 mph. Did you know you can get married on the coaster? Pretty crazy!

6. Bellagio Fountains: This is one of the more unusual attractions on the Strip. Why? Because it’s free! Watch the fountains dance to music in an intricately-choreographed performance.

7. Bellagio Conservatory: After you check out the fountains, go inside the Bellagio for another free attraction. The conservatory features a wide variety of flowers and plants that have been morphed into beautiful arrangements. The display changes based on the season, so be sure to go back for a return visit.

8. The Buffet, The Wynn: One of the best buffets on the Strip (and one of the more expensive). Kids will love the elaborate dessert section.

Off the Strip:

9. Red Rock Canyon: Take the scenic loop through the park, and stop for pictures along the way. If the weather is good, you can do some hiking too or bring a picnic lunch.

10. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park: A hidden gem on the western side of Las Vegas. Located right next door to Red Rock Canyon, this state park offers visitors the chance to learn about both history and nature. The Overlook Trail is a great hike for young kids.

11. Calico Basin: Unlike many of the state and national parks in the area, there is no admission fee to enjoy Calico Basin. Take a stroll along the boardwalk trail or have a snack at one of the picnic pavillions.

12. Red Rock Lanes, Red Rock Hotel and Casino: Want to escape the heat? Find some indoor fun at Red Rock Lanes. Consider cosmic bowling if you already miss the bright lights of the Strip.

13. Springs Preserve: Offering nature exhibits, trails, animals, and botanical gardens, Springs Preserve is an educational experience for visitors young and old. Take a look at their events and programs calendar to find a special activity for your family.

14. Lied Discovery Children’s Museum: This interactive museum in downtown Las Vegas offers exhibits on a variety of topics including arts, science, and culture. Stop by before May 13, 2012 to check out the special exhibit, Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!

15. Steak ‘n Shake, South Point: This is the ultimate in kid-friendly fare. Reasonably-priced, casual, and a nice reminder of home for those of you visiting from the Midwest, Steak ‘n Shake is a great option for families dining on a budget in Las Vegas.

16. Hash House a Go Go: What could be more fun than “twisted farm food?” With menu items like bacon waffles, BBBLT (yes, all of those B’s stand for “bacon”), and good old fashioned pancakes, this restaurant is sure to be a hit with foodies of all ages.

17. Bonnie Springs: Located near Red Rock and Spring Mountain Ranch, this is a reasonably-priced, family-friendly outing. Stop by Sugar Bowl Mix for her thoughts on Bonnie Springs and four other kid-friendly Vegas activities.

18. Arbors Tennis & Play Park: Looking for a nice playground in Las Vegas? Drive out to Summerlin and check out Arbors Park. It offers a little something for everyone, including a crane for digging in the sand, giant slides, a tricycle path, a jogging trail, and a large, open, grass field for playing soccer.

Day Trips from Las Vegas:

Hoover Dam
Valley of Fire State Park
Death Valley National Park
Mount Charleston
Lake Mead

See? There’s lots to explore. Happy trails!

Note: I realize this is an incomplete list…feel free to add other ideas in the comments section! I was not compensated in any way for writing this post.

UPDATE: Looking for more to do in Las Vegas? Check out Part 2!

Photo: The Ultimate Sandbox

Death Valley NP, sand dunes

The Mesquite Sand Dunes at Death Valley National Park are so much fun to visit. We brought sand toys for my daughter, and she could have stayed there all day. Even my husband and I were running around barefoot and making “sand angels.”

Gotta love those three-day weekends. Hope yours was just as fun.

Photo Friday: First Bowl of Miso Soup

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My daughter is a pretty adventurous eater, but there’s one thing she’s never really enjoyed: soup. No chicken noodle soup when she’s sick or creamy potato soup on a cold day. She doesn’t want anything to do with it…

Unless it’s miso soup. She became a fan, thanks to Hokkaido restaurant in Las Vegas.

It took a little convincing, but she finally tried it. Maybe her bravery had something to do with the knife-wielding teppanyaki chef. Who knows! I’m just glad we have another item to add to her eating repertoire.

To see photos from other travelers, stop by the family travel blog Delicious Baby for Photo Friday.

Photo Friday: At the Wynn

Tips for Visiting the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village

Each year, Opportunity Village puts on a huge holiday celebration called the Magical Forest. Visitors will find millions of twinkly Christmas lights, a train, funnel cake, a carousel, and other fun activities.

This was our first time visiting the Magical Forest. Based on the large crowds, I assume this is a popular holiday tradition for many Las Vegas families. Here are some tips to make your experience even more enjoyable:

Buy tickets ahead of time or be prepared to wait in line. You can buy tickets online or at local CVS Pharmacies. We didn’t plan ahead, so we had to wait in the ticket line. Luckily, they had six or seven ticket windows open and the line moved at a good pace. But who wants to stand in line when you could be eating funnel cake?

When purchasing tickets, consider the passport option. The passport tickets include unlimited rides. Purchased individually, ride tickets cost $1 each and most rides require 2-3 tickets. The passport option is a good bet if you plan on taking the train or riding the carousel more than once.

–Speaking of money, remember that it goes to a good cause…buy that popcorn, hot chocolate, and funnel cake!

The line for the train might be long, so consider arming yourself with snacks before you start waiting.

Have your camera ready for your walk through the Christmas lights. Our favorite display was the Blue Man Group’s interactive musical tree.

Blue Man Group tree at Opportunity Village

Bundle up. It might not seem that cold at first, but once you’re out there for an hour or two, you’ll be glad you’ve got your hat and gloves. If you’re visiting from out of town, you might be surprised how chilly it gets in Las Vegas in winter!

Looking for more information on Opportunity Village or other family-friendly holiday events? Check out Vegas Family Events.

Photo Friday: Unusual Fashion at Red Rock Canyon

Someone dressed herself…

Avant garde fashion at Red Rock Canyon. Las Vegas.

Very avant garde.

To see Photo Friday posts from other travellers, stop by the family travel blog Delicious Baby.

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