I know what you're thinking, "Vegas Vacation with Kids" sounds like an oxymoron. These words simply don't go together, but alas we found out that Las Vegas is the perfect getaway for families. World class shows, restaurants, exhibits and outdoor recreation like Red Rock Canyon, Willow Beach, and Hemingway Park, even animal conservation destinations like The Lion Habitat Ranch make it a vacation destination for the entire family. Simply put, it's Disneyland without the lines. We had four days to take it all in, and I can tell you we only scratched the surface of this magnificent city, that's a quick flight, or car ride away.
We started our vacation enjoying a brunch buffet with Mermaids at the Silverton Resort. The Silverton has an Aquarium with a 117,000-gallon tank that''s home to thousands of tropical fish including stingrays, smaller sharks even Dory and Nemo. The unlimited buffet included eggs, bacon, bagels and lox, pastries, and yogurt parfait. Meal with a Mermaid must be scheduled two weeks in advance. There are only two tables, and the Mermaids interact one on one with children while performing flips and blowing rings in the tank. Kids are invited to look for a hidden treasure with Mermaids, and it's a good time for all ages. Don't miss Farmer' Market Sundays @ The Silverton every Sunday from 9 am to 3 pm.
For more information visit: https://silvertoncasino.com/promotion/meals-with-a-mermaid/2018-07-28/
While at the Silverton Resort, be sure to check out The Bass Pro Shop Las Vegas this everything related to the outdoors store, has everything you would ever need for an outside adventure. The shop also has a 40,000 gallon freshwater aquarium and authentic trout stream, and large dioramas of various wildlife mounts are depicted in true-to-nature scenes with many of the exhibits coming from museums and private donations.
Las Vegas is a unique American city where you can live out your wildest dreams, and a gondola ride in the canals of The Venetian Resort Las Vegas is an excellent case in point. We got to sit back and relax in an authentic Venetian gondola and float beneath bridges, beside cafes, under balconies, and through the resorts vibrant Venetian streetscape. Our singing gondolier Coco took us on a trip down the Grand Canal on a journey we'll never forget! For more information visit: https://www.venetian.com/resort/attractions/gondola-rides.html
When in Vegas you have to see a Cirque du Soleil show, you would be remiss not to see the acrobatics of Cirque performers which defy gravity, logic, and your wildest dreams.
Mystere was the first Cirque du Soleil show to perform on the Vegas Strip, and it paved the way for a half a dozen others. Mystere is a like a gigantic fun house that's come to life. As you sit in your seat, trapeze artists swoop right over your head, acrobats scale the walls, and like every Cirque performance you're left days later still astonished by their feats. For more information visit: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/mystere
Since 1989, The Lion Habitat Ranch has been home to retired lions from the now defunct MGM Grand Lion Exhibit, and their offspring. Just minutes from the strip, but a world away is this incredible animal conservation center that cares for an array of lions including Barbary lions which are extinct in Africa today. The ranch is home to 35 Barbary lions, which have been extinct in the wild since the 1940s, a reminder of how important conservation centers like The Lion Habitat Ranch are. Lions sleep fifteen to twenty hours a day, so it's not uncommon to see these big cats lounging, but the action happens when it's mealtime at the ranch.
Staffer Jon Meador has been accepted into the lions pride, and has the honor of hand feeding them. On a sunny afternoon we bared witness as he entered their enclosure, and hand fed lions raw chicken. I tried to talk him our of it, but he said he's been doing this for years. The Lion Habitat Ranch is also home to exotic birds, tortoises, and a Reticulated giraffe named Ozzy.
Not to be upstaged by hand fed lions, Ozzy likes to paint! Daily, Ozzy picks up the paintbrush and channels his inner artists and it's quite a show.
Kids also get to feed the giraffe, and experience my little guy will never forget.
For more information visit: https://lionhabitatranch.org/
The name Sugar Factory may send you into diabetic shock, but don't worry, you can find great, nutritious, filling food at this eatery and celeb hangout located in the heart of the Vegas Strip at Fashion Show Mall!
We stopped in for lunch and dined on Steak with Frites and Green Beans Almondine, Salmon Salad, Rainbow Sliders, and Sampler Platter of Mac n Cheese Pops, Onion Rings, Buffalo Wings, and Chicken Tenders. We also tried a smokin' cool goblet drink Coconuts Gone Bananas, a blend of coconut, banana, pineapple and citrus, mixed with Virginia Black and garnished with Gummy Coconut Slices and two Giant Gummy Bananas! We also indulged in a Rocky Road Milkshake, the mug was covered in frozen chocolate and walnuts. A meal we'll never forget! Hey, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!
For more information visit: https://sugarfactory.com/
Marvels Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N is an exhibit that allows you to immerse yourself and put yourself into the shoes of Captain America, Hulk, Thor and Iron Man. Your goal: To interactively assemble case files on each of the characters and move on to become qualified members of the AVENGERS S.T.A.T.I.O.N. We all had fun tinkering with the computers, and becoming super heroes total fun!
For more information visit: http://www.stationattraction.com/
Not your typical magic show by any means, you have to see it live to believe it! I was coaxed into going to A Magical Dream. Magic, isn't my thing. Perhaps I was jaded after seeing countless magic acts at kids parties, but Xavier Mortimer is a world class magician in a class by himself. This family friendly show amazes audiences young and old, and for good reason- Mortimer has what it takes to keep audiences on the edge of their seats with their jaws dropped from start to finish. He began his career performing with Cirque du Soleil, and appearing on such hit programs as Penn & Teller Fool Us and America's Got Talent where he dazzled judges, and made a name for himself. This young, and enormously talented rising star is continuing to awe audiences on the strip to his packed shows, flying, disappearing, and convincing skeptical people like myself to believe in magic again!
For more information about Magical Dream visit: Best of Vegas
See some Magic here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dsVBBifOiM
This farm to table restaurant located in lovely Summerlin just outside the strip focuses on local, seasonal ingredients. Honey Salt was created by restauranteur Elizabeth Blau and Chef Kim Canteenwalla with community in mind. We popped in for live music, and good eats. We started our culinary dining experience with Crispy Calamari with lemon, sriracha aioli, and a colorful salad of Burrata and Beats.
As our entree we enjoyed a fresh Slow Braised Shortrib, with roasted baby carrots, mashed potatoes, crispy onions, and a side order of some of the tastiest crispy Brussels sprouts on earth. Honey Salt's rustic decor is charming, and invites you to stay awhile. A departure from the typical tourist restaurants on the strip. I highly recommend Honey Salt as a healthy alternative, and treat very family friendly.
For more information visit: https://www.honeysalt.com/
Real Bodies is a powerful exhibition that explores life by displaying more than 20 real, perfectly preserved human bodies and more than 200 anatomical specimens. What's great about this exhibit is that it connects you to a deeper sense of what it means to be alive. We walked through Bodies and learned about various disease and illnesses that damage our organs, and the impact of some of our lifestyle choices. A smokers blackened lungs are on display, and a brain sample is which shows the damage after a blood clot, uterine fibroids and more. It was educational for the entire family, and makes you think about our commonality as a species on this planet.
For more information visit: http://www.realbodiesatballys.com/about/
See a Fire-Breathing praying mantis @ The Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas It's The Star of the Show!
Container Park in Downtown Las Vegas is really something to see. Created by DTP Companies, the brainchild of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, it's open-air shopping center made up of old shipping containers that have been transformed into boutique retail shops, unique restaurants, and live entertainment for the whole family – located in the heart of Las Vegas!
We dined at Simply Pure a vegan restaurant that's getting rave reviews and gaining traction on the Vegas restaurant scene. The recipes found at Simply Pure are great for meat-eaters and picky kids too. Most recipes are gluten-free and many are allergy-friendly! Their full made-to-order menu with cooked and raw entrees, appetizers, raw desserts, along with a fresh pressed juice menu are tasty, and surprisingly affordable. The Mama Mia Lasagna was so authentic my son didn't know it was vegan, I ate the "Chicken" Salad Lettuce Wraps which were zesty and filling, my husband fell in love with the Green Chili Enchiladas, but the best thing on the menu in my opinion, are the fresh squeezed juices. We sampled High Octane- Beets, Carrots, Cucumber, Ginger, The Pure Angel- Apple, Carrot, Ginger, Cucumber, and The TLC-Apple, Cucumber, Lemon, Mint. These drinks have refreshing flavors that you know are good for you, and that's reassuring. Chef Stacey Dougan created Simply Pure after overcoming numerous health issues through a vegan diet. After curing herself, her goal has been to inspire others to embrace more plant-based foods in their diet without feeling deprived. For more information visit: http://www.simplypurelv.com/
The Dome at Downtown Container Park is an immersive, 4K-visual dome entertainment experience. Nearly 14 million pixels surround viewers in a series of ultra-HD, 360-degree imagery designed for all ages. Over 36,000 lumens light up an indoor dome set above 25 recliner-style seats Several movies are shown at The Dome we took in Dinosaurs at Dusk which propelled us back in time to the age of dinosaurs as we learned about their ultimate demise. We kicked back in lounge chairs, and enjoyed the ultimate theater experience. For more information visit: https://downtowncontainerpark.com/the-dome/
Like many things in Las Vegas, Slater's 50/50 Restaurant is unique. Where else can you get burgers that are half beef, half ground bacon? Where else can you get pumpkin sauce for your fries? Slater's also has an impressive craft beer selection where you'll find every brew from Pizza Port to Wolf Pup Session. Every year Slater's 50/50 taps over 1000 different craft beers, something no other restaurant in the nation can top. We feasted on Vampire Veggie Flatbread with artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and red onions. 5050 Bison & Bacon Burger, a Bacon Cheeseburger, and a Backyard Classic. We topped off our decadent meal with a S'more Milkshake, topped with real s'mores! For more information visit: https://slaters5050.com/menus/lunch-and-dinner-nevada/
Fun & Free in Las Vegas!
Just for kicks we went the the The Conservatory and Botanical Garden @ The Bellagio where Spring was in full bloom. The theme was Spring in Japan. We walked through a row of Cherry Blossoms, and marveled at red-crowned Japanese cranes and got to see a towering replica of the Osaka Castle.
The Osaka Castle is one of the most iconic and historic castles in all of Japan, but you don't have to hop on a plane to see it. This is exhibit is free and open to the public at The Bellagio Resort.
This free spectacular water show with music is designed to mesmerize the crowds that flock to the Bellagio fountains. Every half-hour between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and every 15 minutes from then 'til midnight, an 8.5-acre lake in the middle of the desert explodes with 1,214 spritzers shooting water up to 460 feet in the air — the water rockets and dances, perfectly choreographed to a variety of music. We think it's romantico!
Visit the worlds largest permanent circus at Circus Circus Las Vegas. Free performances take place center stage of the Carnival Midway. Daily shows start at 11:30 a.m.. We saw Pei Pei & Wang Jing perform. This duo is skilled in the art of Unicycles and Foot Juggling and come from the Imperial Acrobats of China.
For more information visit: https://circuscircus.mgmresorts.com/en/entertainment/circus-acts.html
Where We Stayed!
Tahiti Village Resort & Spa is the ideal getaway for families. It's one of the few non-gaming hotels in Las Vegas, virtually smoke-free and kid friendly. With over 1500 palm trees, the longest lazy river in Nevada, and a pool with a sandy beach entry, it has a real Tahitian vibe!
Each room at Tahiti Village includes a full kitchen, or a kitchenette complete with cookware and utensils.
Our suite had a washer/dryer in the unit even detergent no trips to the store on this vacation!
I loved our view of the lazy river from our terrace. The terrace even included patio furniture. It was our home away from home, and Tahiti Village has tons of recreational activities like Movie Night at the Pool, and Luau's.
You can see the Vegas skyline from many of the rooms, and there is a shuttle bus to the strip every half an hour so there's no need to drive into town, or pay for parking. As a mom, it's not a vacation unless I don't have to cook, or clean, and at Tahiti Village with the on-site restaurants, spas, amenities and activities you really feel taken care of.
There are Tiki Bars, and an incredible newly revamped restaurant on the premises 17 South Booze & Bites Executive Chef Jason Diaz formerly of the The Cosmopolitan Hotel brings a generous gourmet menu to this gem of a resort.
We dined on Chicken Fried Cauliflower, Pub Sliders, and Chicken Wings. The food was delectable, the view was to die for. Tahiti Village's pool area spans one acre, and just sitting among the palm trees, and hearing the waterfall in the background was therapeutic.
Las Vegas is a one of a kind, dynamic vacation magnet. I have traveled to this great city, single, married, and now as a mom. Each trip was unique and fun, but to be able to visit Las Vegas as a family and spend time on and off the strip was an experience me and my family will never forget. Where else could we have experienced so many adventures in four days? I have traveled the globe, but only Vegas can take you on a journey like this one. We are already planning to return to complete our Vegas bucket list. What's on that list? You'll just have to wait and see!
Stay Informed Subscribe to Central San Diego Macaroni Kid It's Free!