10 things to do in Sin City – 5 of them free!
by Sunny Chanel
September 23, 2009
Back in the day, your visit to Vegas may have included blackjack tables, countless free cocktails and treks to strip clubs – all contributing to a very long and utterly lost weekend. But if you’ve opted to procreate, there may come a time when you – through circumstance or by choice – bring your children to Las Vegas, Nevada. Your indiscretions of past trips will undoubtedly be replaced with sippy cups, diaper bags and an altruistic attempt to transform Las Vegas from sin city to something more akin to a neon laden toddler town. If you’re Vegas bound, here are ten squeaky clean, totally vice free family friendly things to do with those kids of yours. And lucky for you, half of them are completely free. – Sunny Chanel
There’s a lot of wild behavior in Las Vegas so the lions in residence at the MGM Hotel & Casino are right at home. The Lion Habitat at this gigantic property is a refreshing respite among the shops selling tacky casino clothing, overpriced jewelry stores and variety of eateries selling fried this and that. The lion tamers put on the occasional presentation, but just strolling by and being able to walk by, around and under the glass enclosures where the lions are kept, is worth the visit.
Circus Circus ain’t the Bellagio, but they rise in status with families due to their goodies – albeit cheesy funky goodies – for the kids. The hotel/casino features the Carnival Midway with a permanent circus in rotation. Acrobats, jugglers, flying trapeze performers, contortionists, aerial silk dancers and magicians from all over the globe perform free, yes free, at this totally kid friendly destination. And if the kids get their fill of circus acts, they can play about 200 games for fun and prizes.
When: All day from 11am.
Cheaper than a flight to Italy, this Venetian-style gondola, with an appropriately attired gondolier, leisurely winds its way through the man made waterways surrounding the Venetian Hotel and Casino during its fourteen minute voyage. The Gondola only fits four, so if you have a big family some may have to stay on land, but hey, they can take pics of your ride, so that might be a good thing. It may pale in comparison to the real thing, but for a little manufactured culture it ain’t too shabby.
Cost: $16 per person. Children under 2 are free
My kid, she has a shark fetish. She loves them. Thinks they’re just adorable. So the Shark Reef exhibit at the Mandalay Bay is a must-see experience for my family. This is North America’s only predator based aquarium, which seeing that it is in the land of casinos . . . it’s a pretty poetic placement. This massive exhibit features over 2,000 predatory creatures cold chillin’ in 1.6 million gallons of water. Along with the wide variety of sharks, there are crocodiles, piranhas and giant rays.
Cost: Adults $16.95, Children 12 years old and younger $10.95, Children 4 and younger admitted free.
Like a science project on steroids, the Volcano at the Mirage explodes with heat, thunder and fire. The eruptive action includes music (by the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Indian tabla star Zakir Hussain) to create an explosive experience without the risk of that whole hot molten lava thing.
When: Every hour from 8pm to Midnight