When you think of Las Vegas, you instantly think of an adult's playground because you have to be over 21 to enjoy everything that it offers right? Not so. There is a lot to do for younger visitors as well. In fact even more so since Las Vegas changed its image from gambling mecca of the world to the resort mecca of the world. So what will the kids love?
1. Circus Circus
It's all in the name really. This hotel at the bottom end of the strip is designed with children in mind. The main part of the building itself is in the shape of a big top and everything inside brings you all the fun of the circus. When you first enter, you are hit with the sights and sounds of the gambling floor, but beyond that is a children's haven. Right at the centre is a theme park which includes roller coasters that will thrill the big kids and smaller rides for the little ones. Upstairs the area is lined with all of the games and stalls that you would see at a fairground and in the centre is a stage where there are numerous shows throughout the day. We particularly enjoyed the magician who was both funny and entertaining.
2. New York, New York
At the other end of the strip is the huge New York themed hotel. Inside is everything you would associate with the big apple, from gift shops selling New York memorabilia and typical New York burger stalls. Upstairs from the main gaming hall is the thing that will please children no end. There are lots of games and rides to keep children of all ages entertained. For the thrill seekers there is the huge outdoor Manhattan Express roller coaster which isn't cheap at $14 a ride, but my husband says is quite a thriller (I was too sensible to find out!).
3. Outdoor shows
The fountains at the Bellagio are entrancing for people of all ages, but I imagine that children would really be mesmerised by the dancing water cannons that are accompanied by familiar music. It takes places every thirty minutes during the day and every fifteen minutes after dark and is free to watch.
For something that really packs a punch head down the Mirage where you can see the volcano that erupts every hour after darkness and is again free. it lasts about fifteen minutes and begins with the sound of the jungle to build up the anticipation.
The third thing you can see for free is the Sirens of Treasure Island, which is a show put on twice a night and revolves around two pirate ships. it's pretty lame really, but it's accompanied by fireworks and the like. it is a fairly long show though at half an hour and children's interest may wane.
When I asked my fourteen year old niece what her favourite thing about Las Vegas was she excitedly replied that the Coca Cola and M&Ms shops 'were amazing'. Both of them are enormous shops that cover five floors and are filled with more branded merchandise than you can shake a still at. I didn't understand the point of them myself, but they were filled with excited children who had bags of pocket money burning holes in their pockets!
There is plenty of wildlife related fun to be had and it will please children no end. If you are on a budget, head to the Flamingo hotel where you will find a flock of their namesake pink birds amongst other things. You can wander around the gardens of the hotel spotting giant fish, turtles and many other birds and it is quite pretty.
Head to MGM Grand to see the lion habitat in which two lions are housed. It's a very popular attraction though and can be hard to get a good view unless you are prepared to elbow your way through to the front!
So, it isn't just for adults by any stretch of the imagination. There is a lot to do for children too and not all of it has to cost the earth either.