Suggestions for the weekend of December 1-2

December is an exciting time in Las Vegas. There are Santa sightings almost everywhere and the whole city is gearing up for the holiday season with green and red décor everywhere you turn. The week of December 1st and 2nd in Las Vegas is extra special because the events for kids seem to be in full swing.

On December 1st, Las Vegas’ own ice-hockey team, The Wranglers, will play the Solar Bears at The Orleans Hotel and Casino. The game starts at 7pm and there is a free concert featuring Louis Prima Jr. right after the game.  Youth tickets start at $6.00 and can be ordered by calling 702-284-7777.

A nice feature that the Orleans thought of was a casino-free entrance into the ice-rink.  The Orleans is located about ten minutes west of Las Vegas Blvd.  and off of Tropicana avenue. Rental cars can park in the garage so families can enter the ice-rink without ever laying foot in the casino. Cabs can drop off at the garage entrance too.  The Orleans also has a Subway sandwich shop located inside the casino area, but it isn’t too far away from where the ice-rink is, if you are looking to grab a cheap meal before the game. Note: Franchise food prices in Las Vegas are more expensive when located inside a casino. Starbucks, Subway, and even McDonalds sometimes charge double (if not triple) the cost of their normal menu items.

One suggested stop before the hockey game is the Rainforest Café, which is located in the MGM Grand. All the kids’ menu entrees are under six dollars and the selections include pizza, pasta, shrimp, and (of course) chicken nuggets. Parents have an inexpensive yet delicious options too, including macadamia crusted tilapia or a Volcanic cobb salad. The MGM Grand is located on the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd. A cab ride to The Orleans will run about fifteen dollars, depending on traffic, and the public bus runs $2.00 per way and picks up at the New York New York Hotel and Casino, which is directly across from the MGM Grand.

On December 2nd think about taking the kids off the strip and to Plant World. http://www.plantworldnursery.com/ A locals’ favorite, this nursery is a free experience for children to interact with animals and learn about plants and flowers too. Although it isn’t your typical “Vegas” experience, Plant World has exotic bids, turtles, rabbits, cats, and more roaming free on the grounds. Some of the birds are even for sale.  Plant World is located on W. Charleston in Las Vegas. The nursery is easy to get to via rental car. All one has to do is drive Las Vegas Blvd. going north and take a left on  Charleston Blvd.  Although Plant World isn’t located in a bad section of Las Vegas, we don’t recommend using the public bus system to get there. The bus does have to go through a few “non-friendly” areas of the city. If you decide to take a cab understand that you will have to make a reservation to be picked-up. The cab fare is going to be around $65.00 round trip so plan accordingly.

Also on December 2nd is the Las Vegas Strip at Night marathon. It starts at Mandalay Bay at 3pm and the finish line is located in front of The Venetian.  Although running a marathon isn’t ideal for the kids, it is fun for them to watch the runners! There are going to be running Elvis’ and live music at different stops along the marathon’s path. The Mirage is also offering pre-race breakfast and pasta lunch specials to both runners and spectators. More information can be found here:  http://stripatnight.com/entertainment.html

If you’re looking to splurge with the kids on this weekend then checkout The Bellagio’s holiday display at the hotel’s main-level botanical garden.  December 2nd is the kick-off of the garden’s winter exhibit and the kids will be the first to view all the holiday cheer put together by 140 on-staff horticulturists. After viewing the exhibit, check out Jean Philippe’s pastry shop. Outside the shop are three chocolate waterfalls. The pastry shop features a chocolate crepe that is so decadent -it has to be shared! More on Jean Philippe can be accessed here: http://www.jpchocolates.com/

 

Suggestions for the weekend of November 17-18

Vesting Las Vegas the weekend of November 17th and 18th? Not sure what to do with the kids? We have the best things to do this weekend in (and around) Las Vegas!

First, let’s talk entertainment. Sure, Vegas has the adult shows but there are national television shows that film in the city too.  On November 17th America’s Got Talent is filming at The Palazzo Hotel & Casino. Tickets starts at $75 dollars but the theatre offers comfortable seats and it is a warm and family friendly option. Moreover, Vegas is cooler this time of year and not too many people want to venture walking the strip when they could be inside instead!

Also in Las Vegas the weekend of November 17th is the Las Vegas Philharmonic. The group is playing at The Smith Center with tickets starting at $46.00. There is not a bad seat in the house at The Smith Center. The building is the latest addition to the Las Vegas skyline. The Smith Center is known as THE place to be for Broadway shows and cultural events. It is a true representation of the Las Vegas community and not what the typical tourist gets to experience. The only caution is the price of snacks. The Smith Center offers up non-caffeinated soda, juice, and even candy- but two sodas and a bag of regular size m&m’s runs about twenty-dollars. The Smith Center is not within walking distance to any of the Las Vegas hotels. Cab rides run about twenty-dollars (one-way) but the building is adjacent to The Las Vegas Premium Outlets.  If you plan accordingly, you can pay a one-time cab fare to see the philharmonic and get some shopping in too!

Speaking of shopping, The Las Vegas Premium Outlets is the place to save. There are over one hundred and fifty shops and inexpensive eating options too. The downside is the mall is outdoors and the kids will have to be bundled up as the weather in Las Vegas (especially at night) can drop to forty degrees. The outlets offer name brand clothing and shoes at deep discounts.  Some brands include Steve Madden, Nike, Puma, Converse, Vans, and Adidas.

On Sunday, November 18th, we suggest taking the kids outside of Vegas to check-out its non-gaming sister city, Boulder City! You will need a rental car for this adventure. If not, the cab ride will be over a hundred dollars. Another option is to reach Boulder City by way of city bus. The 402 bus is the only way to reach Boulder City (the fare is $2.00 per person, per way) and will require a transfer from any hotels – unless you are staying at Boulder Station or Sam’s Town. We suggest asking your hotel’s concierge to help plan out the details if you do chose to use Las Vegas’ public transportation system.

Boulder City is about twenty-minutes outside of Las Vegas. The historic town was built to house the workers who built Hoover Dam.  There are lots of antique shops to visit when going to Boulder City, but we suggest taking the kids on an old-fashioned train ride when in town. The Southern Railway excursion is an hour-long ride between Boulder City and Henderson, Nevada. On Saturdays and Sundays the train rides run at 10:00, 11:30, 1:00, and 2:30. Get there early to buy tickets as this is a popular activity for Las Vegas locals. Boarding begins fifteen minutes before departure. There are restrooms on the train and the ride offers stunning views of the Nevada desert and mountains. People twelve years of age (or older) can ride for $10 dollars. Ages four to eleven ride for $5 dollars and kids three years old (or younger) ride for free.

 

After the train ride, we suggest going into town to visit the Boulder Dam Hotel off Arizona Avenue. The hotel has a great interactive museum that shows how men and women built the Hoover Dam and lived in Boulder City during its construction. The hotel itself is rumored to be haunted so if you have children interested in the paranormal don’t be afraid to ask the front desk staff about recent “sightings.” For lunch we suggest walking across the street from the Boulder Dam Hotel to The Dillinger. The restaurant offers an inexpensive children’s menu for hungry youngsters. If you do stop at either the Boulder Dam Hotel or The Dillinger, the bus stop back into Las Vegas is located in the neighboring park.

Boulder Dam Hotel off Arizona Avenue

Thanksgiving in Las Vegas with the kids

Thanksgiving in Las Vegas can be an amazing time, especially for children.  Here are a few suggestions for things to do on Thanksgiving Day for families visiting Las Vegas.

 1. Thanksgiving in Las Vegas can be an amazing time, especially for children.  But, families on a budget (and who want to avoid massive crowds) should stay away from the infamous Las Vegas Buffets. Buffets in Las Vegas tend to feature gourmet cuisine (on a massive level) and champagne prices. Plus, Thanksgiving tends to bring tourists and locals together in one very long, long, long line. Not the ideal set-up for hungry kids on turkey-day! Here is what we suggest for families visiting Las Vegas on Thanksgiving day. Ranch House Kitchen in Town Square. The menu is healthy and inexpensive. Located on Las Vegas Blvd., Ranch House is a short cab ride from most of the hotels and accessible via city bus too.  There is a mechanical bull that kids can ride. Healthy sweet potato tots and the smoked turkey breast platter are menu staples and perfect for a Thanksgiving Day feast too.

 2. Rave Motion Pictures at Town Square is a pleasant option for families in Las Vegas on Thanksgiving.  Pi in 3D opens on November 21st.  Rave Motion Pictures offers its signature large screen entertainment, raveXtreme. This special BIG SCREEN EXPERIENCE is an enormous wall to wall and floor to ceiling curved silver screen.

 3. If you really want to try a buffet on Thanksgiving,  The Palms Hotel and Casino is the best bet for an inexpensive, child-friendly option. The Palms’ buffet is located in the middle of the casino, but the main floor is small enough that it isn’t a challenge to move a family quickly through it. The Palms also has a movie theater and a KidsQuest hourly babysitting venue.

 4. Pole Position is located across from The Palms Hotel and Casino. It is also very accessible for families staying a few miles away on Las Vegas Blvd. Pole Position  is a unique,  family-friendly go kart track. The company offers an Arrive and Drive promotion or scheduled races. The downside is that children have to be a minimum of forty-eight inches tall to participate.

 5. When children visit (or even live in) Las Vegas, the large white castle sitting on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana beckons a stop.  The Excalibur has a huge arcade and carnival-like setting in the basement. But, it is the Tournament of Kings Jousting show that will entertain the entire family. The Tournament of Kings is opened on Thanksgiving night, starting sharply at 6pm.  There are two ticket options.  $44 dollars for the dinnerless show or a full-experience ticket at $59 dollars. The Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur is appropriate for children of all ages. Plus, kids who are three years old (or younger) may sit on a parent’s lap and don’t need a ticket. ** This show is not safe for adults or children who suffer from asthma or seizures because it features horses, pyrotechnics, strobe lights,  and fog effects.

 6. The Neon Museum, which recently re-opened, is an off-the-beaten path options for families seeking a little adventure on Thanksgiving Day. The Neon Museum, which is free for children under the age of six, sits on two acres of land and is located on the north side of Las Vegas Blvd. It is only accessible by cab or if you have a rental car. Note, if you do take a cab then  schedule a pick-up to get back to the hotel. Taxis normally don’t stop at the Neon Museum to pick-up tourists.  The museum allows visitors to tour old Las Vegas signs, starting with those from the 1930’s.  The only downfall to this activity is that there are no bathrooms on property. This can be a challenge with toddlers, but if your child can spend an hour touring Vegas’ past- it is worth living without a potty break!