"The Lion King" is the most recent Broadway production in Las Vegas, running at Mandalay Bay
Las Vegas may have the reputation of being the Disneyland for adults, but truth is, the city is jam-packed with activities and adventures families can enjoy. In fact, there are more kids flocking to Vegas now than in the mid-1990s, when it was being billed as a family destination.
“There are so many amenities in Las Vegas beyond gambling that help create an incredible time for families,” says Frederic Luvisetto, vice president of the Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury-level non-gaming hotel complex featuring three towers, each with 576 suites. It also has swimming pools exclusively for hotel guests. Adding to the fun is its Summer Splash promotion, available through August 31 and offering junior suites for $129. It also includes breakfast for two as well as free meals for kids 10 and under. For additional information, agents should call 800-727-0007 and mention booking code SUM016 or SUM017.
Luvisetto says in addition to families enjoying shows like Cirque Du Soleil’s KÀ at MGM Grand, guests can also take day trips to popular locations such as Red Rock Canyon and Grand Canyon. Lake Mead and Hoover Dam are other great getaways that can be done in a day or less.
Fun on the Strip
There are plenty of activities, however, for families that don’t wish to wander too far from the Strip. The most recent addition is the Broadway production of "The Lion King," staged at Mandalay Bay. The Shark Reef Aquarium, with more than 2,000 rare and unusual creatures such as the Komodo dragon, is also located here. More awe-inspiring animals, including white tiger cubs, can be found at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. Those with time to spare can also catch the recently reinvented Volcano, a free show featuring dancing fireballs.
There is plenty of fun for thrill seekers, too. The Adventuredome at Circus Circus Las Vegas features Canyon Blaster—the world’s only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster. There are 25 rides and attractions here, including the all-new spinning and rocking Disk ’O, the Rim Runner flume ride, the SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D Thrill Ride, laser tag, bumper cars, an arcade and much more. The hotel also features Midway, a carnival area that houses games of skill with prizes such as large stuffed animals. Circus acts also perform twice an hour throughout the day.
New York-New York‘s head-popping roller coaster, The Manhattan Express
Older children will love the roller coasters and thrill rides elsewhere in town. Speed-The Ride at the Sahara goes forward and backward at up to 70 mph while The Manhattan Express at New York-New York is a head-popping, high-speed tour around the property featuring a heartline roll that simulates a barrel roll in a fighter aircraft.
Knock off some serious sightseeing at the Stratosphere. Not only does it offer great views of Las Vegas and Nevada from 900 feet above ground, the trio of rides at the top of the tower here might be some of the most hair-raising ever. Insanity-The Ride spins at 40 mph and edges over the tower’s ledge. Oh, and tell your clients that they’ll be face down. X-Scream travels about 30 feet over the edge and will freak folks out with outlandish free-fall maneuvers while racing back and forth from the edge. The Big Shot shoots up 160 feet in 2.5 seconds along a 238-foot mast perched atop the tower and drops you faster than gravity.
Snoop Dogg is among the newest additions at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
For a more grounded experience that’s great for all ages, the world’s most famous celebrities and notables are enshrined at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum at The Venetian. There are more than 100 wax figures—including those of Shaquille O’Neal, Britney Spears and Princess Diana—each costing on average $100,000. The newest figures here are those of X-Men’s Wolverine and Snoop Dogg.
Across from the museum is Treasure Island, which features the free show "Sirens of TI," a swashbuckling sea battle where pirates battle the women of Sirens’ Cove. A great dinner show is the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur, where families can watch jousting, dancing maidens and fireworks while eating with their hands.
And downtown, the Fremont Street Experience runs an overhead light show for several blocks to the accompaniment of a new 1960s music theme.