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/