Las Vegas, Nevada  
    An Adult Playground With Some Family-Friendly Attractions  

 

     
 

With gambling and "escorts" as two of its primary attractions, Las Vegas is unquestionably a grownup destination. While the city's adult-oriented qualities cannot be hidden from innocent eyes, Las Vegas has plenty of attractions and qualities that are great for  families to enjoy together.

We stayed just two nights in Vegas in the summer of 2006, but we constantly on the move. We stayed at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino on the north end of the famous Las Vegas Strip. The Stratosphere Tower is an observation tower a la the CN Tower in Toronto, Skylon in Niagara Falls, or Seattle's Space Needle. At 1149 feet tall, the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the US and the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Atop the tower is a ridiculously expensive gourmet restaurant (Top Of The World) as well as four thrill rides which dangle riders precariously off the top of the tower.

Circus Circus Hotel and Casino features a Big Top geared toward children. Various circus acts perform all day long at regular intervals. They also have games of skill and chance for children which reward the winners with tickets that may be redeemed for prizes, Chuck E. Cheese style.

The Las Vegas Hilton is Barry Manilow's Vegas venue as well as the home of Star Trek - The Experience. Part museum and part indoor amusement park, Star Trek - The Experience is a must for Trek fans, but it can be enjoyed by all. The museum features timelines, props, artifacts, spaceship models, alien creatures and lots of info about all of the Trek television series and movies. The two reality simulation rides... "experiences" is really a better word... are quite unique. Both incorporate some pretty nifty 3D technology to simulate chilling, realistic experiences. The first draws visitors in to be assimilated by the Borg collective. The second takes visitors on a treacherous shuttlecraft flight as the craft is under attack by enemy Klingons.

The architecture on the Strip is amazing. Over the decades, each bigger/better/newer building was designed to be the Strip's most extravagant. The result is a whole streetful of gigantic, unusual buildings. Some of our favorites were New York New York, Treasure Island, Paris and Caeser's Palace.  If you plan to explore several hotel/casinos, a good way to get around is the Las Vegas Monorail. It's easy to use and surely beats walking great distances in the 100 degree summer heat.

And finally, the Fremont Street Experience is worth a peek with the kids. Two blocks of Old Las Vegas (downtown) have been covered with a canopy screen. Every 30 minutes after dark, the neon lights are darkened and visitors are treated to a dazzling light display above them. The Fremont Street Experience has several casinos, of course. They also have lots of shops, some relatively inexpensive restaurants and musicians and other performers. It's a sensory blitz and was a hit with my two teenage daughters.

As a whole, Las Vegas is best suited for adults... But if you're comfortable explaining a few things about the realities that your kids will inevitable see, then families can truly enjoy this one-of-a-kind place.

 

 
     
     
    LAS VEGAS PHOTOS - JULY, 2006  
    CLICK THUMBNAILS FOR LARGER IMAGE  
             
    FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE   FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE   FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE   FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE   FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE  
                       
             
    FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE   SHOP - FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE   CIRCUS CIRCUS   CIRCUS CIRCUS   STRATOSPHERE TOWER  
                       
             
    STRATOSPHERE   STRATOSPHERE   LAS VEGAS HILTON   STAR TREK - THE EXPERIENCE   STAR TREK - THE EXPERIENCE  
                       
             
    NOMAD - STAR TREK - THE EXPERIENCE   GORN - STAR TREK - THE EXPERIENCE   PARIS   NEW YORK, NEW YORK   CASINO  
                       
                   
    THE MIRAGE   TREASURE ISLAND