Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fun Thrills Off the Las Vegas Strip for the Whole Family

Written by Tiffany Milligan – A Vegas Local

Yes, we know, Las Vegas is a giant playground for adults. What about things to do with kids in Las Vegas?! There’s plenty to do on the Strip; in the early 90’s this town finally “got it” and realized if they catered to kids, the families will come! AND, believe it or not, there are fun thrills OFF the Las Vegas Strip that your kids (or someone else’s kids) will enjoy! “What?” you ask, “The kids can’t sit with us to do some drinking and gambling?” No, they can’t…I mean, they’d probably sleep really good at night after downing some Jack Daniels, but casinos, CPS, law enforcement, and basically anyone with sense, frowns on these things! ;) Don’t fret though, I have some recommendations to get those “sweet little children” nice and wore out!

Bonnie Springs Ranch
A mother and baby burro on the drive to Bonnie Springs Ranch.Bonnie Springs is this quaint little “zooish” place near Red Rock Canyon, about 15 minutes west of Las Vegas. When I say “zooish”, there are animals AND there is a petting zoo, BUT you’re not going to find a plethora of animals like you would at a traditional zoo in a milder climate. Can you picture some penguins strutting around the desert? What about a polar bear rolling around in the sand? Yeah, uhhhh no! This is a small establishment set up as an old west town with plenty of room for the kids to run (younger kids would probably enjoy Bonnie Springs most). The drive there is gorgeous and it’s one of the fun things to do with kids in Las Vegas!

Wild West Horseback Ride, Man on horse with beatiful sunset backdrop.
While you’re already near Red Rock Canyon, throw those kids up on some ponies and hit the trails for a horseback ride. Have you ever been to Mexico, and paid $20 to ride down the coast on the half dead, emaciated horses that struggle to make it ten feet, much less the entire stretch of beach? These are NOTHING like that! These horses are well fed, groomed, strong and, most importantly, HAPPY! You’ll ride for 1.5 hours, get a BBQ meal, and hopefully see a jackalope! Minimum age to ride is 6 years.

Red Rock Canyon
So, you have kids who are under 6 years, BUT the older kids want to do the above mentioned Wild West Horseback Ride? Not a problem, this is where the family can part and meet back up later (this is an especially great idea if your spouse is driving you nuts and you need a few hours of peace)! Red Rock Canyon has several things to do with kids in Las Vegas. They charge a fee to get in; once in, you can go for a hike on one of the many paths (ranging from paths for beginners to experts), or just enjoy a picnic at one of the many areas along the driving loop. The colors that play off the canyon walls are beautiful any time of the day and even more so at sunset.

Wet ‘n’ Wild
“It’s hot!” you say? Thank you Captain Obvious ;) Yes it’s hot! We are in the middle of the DESERT! Are you looking for things to do with kids in Las Vegas that will keep you cool and keep them happy? Wet ‘n’ Wild is a waterpark with slides and rides…they even have a “dive-in movie”...catchy little name dontcha think? Parents can float around the “Colorado Cooler”, a river that winds through the park, while the bigger kids can go explore the rides on their own! If you have little ones, the “Kiddie Cove” is where the action happens!

The Rookie Driving experience is a fun way to get your kids excited!
The Richard Petty Ride-Along racecars on the track.Three laps, at 160mph, around the Las Vegas Speedway? Yes please! How many people can say they did this? Your kids will be bragging for months about climbing into the seat of a stock racecar and careening around corners. This experience is definitely a fun thing to do with kids in Las Vegas! Don’t wear sandals; you’ve been warned! It will only make you mad when the rest of the family suits up and they don’t let you participate!

Discovery Children’s Museum
So your kid’s a nerd…it takes all kinds to make the world go ‘round! Plus, cool kids like museums too! There’s not a darn thing wrong with having some fun while learning! In fact, if learning were always fun, there would be a lot more of it going on! Interactive exhibits, such as “Toddler Town” and “Patents Pending”, let kids burn off some energy, running around, while learning about water power, eco-friendly things, and more!

Natural History Museum
If you’re still looking for fun things to do with kids in Las Vegas, hit up the Natural History Museum. The mummy dinosaur will keep those kids busy while you stare off into space... wondering how your life has come to this ;) If you time it right, you can see the special events, such as shark dissections or mermaid appearances (and you thought they didn't exist)!

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