Kid-Friendly Las Vegas
Shark tanks, dessert buffets, and circus shows are among Vegas’s G-rated attractions. It’s not a side of Sin City that you hear about often, but it thrives below all of the glitz and glamour. The result? Many of the more family-oriented activities are also fairly affordable. Go in the spring or toward the end of the summer to keep the kids out of the worst of the mid-year heat.
Widely considered one of the best buffets on the Strip, Cravings in The Mirage offers an eclectic variety of international dishes ranging from freshly baked pizza to Chinese barbecue pork buns. The spacious dining room, designed in glass, steel, and polished stone, was created by Adam Tihany, the Milan-trained architect also responsible for Le Cirque 2000 in New York. Surrounded by large windows, patrons visit 11 live cooking stations for made-to-order dishes and then savor signature items like the prime rib, crab legs, and homemade gelato. The weekend champagne brunch, featuring bottomless mimosas, is especially popular.
Circus Circus, Las Vegas
Perfect for families and visitors on a budget, Circus Circus is one of the most affordable and fun-filled places to clown around on the Vegas Strip. The well-loved resort was renovated in 2009 and offers 3,770 spacious, comfy rooms as well as the Strip’s only RV park. In addition to two sparkling pools and a 40,000-square-foot shopping promenade, the hotel also features four casinos, the world’s largest permanent circus and the Adventuredome, a thrilling indoor theme park. After delighting in free spellbinding circus acts and arcade games at Carnival Midway, guests can savor a relaxing, out-of-this-world meal at THE Steakhouse.
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
Situated just off the Strip, this aquarium is home to more than 2,000 animals, including 100 sharks, piranhas, rare golden crocodiles, and a 300-pound endangered sea turtle. As one of the largest aquariums in North America, Shark Reef contains almost 1.6 million gallons of water in its 14 exhibits, which include a jungle-themed area; a touch pool with sharks, rays, and horseshoe crabs; and a 1.3-million-gallon shipwreck zone. The aquarium also features two shark tunnels that afford a diver’s underwater view. Animal feedings take place periodically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
This kid-pleasing site has a 500-foot elevator ride down the canyon wall. The tour includes a walk-through of the generators, diversion tunnel, and power plant and access to all the exhibits.