Christmas and New Years in Las Vegas!

Christmas in Vegas for kids can be an amazing time. There is so much to do and, in many cases, going out on Christmas in Vegas doesn’t have to cost you a dime! For example, Sam’s Town on “The Boulder Strip” offers up a an attraction called Mystic Falls. Normally, this attraction is a year-round sight-to-see. But on Christmas Mystic Falls features a thirty-foot Christmas tree decked from top to bottom in beautiful lights.  On Christmas Day Mystic Falls will feature a free fifteen minute show at 6, 8 and 10 p.m.   As a safety note try to valet park if possible. Sam’s Town is a great casino but the area can be a little rough after nightfall.  If you chose to self-park then pick a well-lit area, especially around the holidays.

Another Christmas-ish attraction in Vegas for kids is Scuba Santa.  This underwater and real Santa Claus is featured at The Silverton Hotel and Casino on the south end of Las Vegas Blvd.  This attraction is also free and visitors can take pictures of Santa waiving to the kids in all of his cheery scuba gear!  Santa is onsite from 10am until 1pm on Saturdays or Sundays, so catch him the Sunday before Christmas for some pre-holiday  merriment.

Sticking with actual Christmas Day in Vegas events,  check out Rao’s at Ceasars Palace. This is the ONLY hotel / restaurant in Las Vegas that is offering the feast of the Seven Fishes.  This feast has been featured previous on The Food Network and it is a must for any families or visitors from the east-coast.

Now, for New Years. It is true that New Years’ past in Vegas was only for adults. But this fact has drastically changed and is now a myth. New Years in Vegas with kids is now accepted! The party on Las Vegas Blvd. can be too much. The crowds are massive, security can be a little aggressive (and rightfully so with all the partiers), and parking is always a headache if you aren’t staying on The Strip.

A wonderful and family friendly alternative is going to Lake Las Vegas, which is a thirty-minute drive outside of Vegas.  This year Ravella at Lake Las Vegas has a New Year’s Eve celebration for only $25 dollars  per child (ages 6-12 yrs) and $65 dollars per adult.  Ravella gives families the chance to enjoy  fireworks, live music, Italian cuisine and a view of the beautiful lake without the headache of rowdy crowds.

Another great, an inexpensive, way to enjoy the Las Vegas Blvd.’s  fireworks , without actually going on to The Strip, is to park at the airport.  On Sunset Blvd., between Eastern Avenue and Las Vegas Blvd., there is a designated parking area that has a perfect view to watch both planes take-off and land, as well as view The Strip’s grand hotels and the fireworks. There is no charge for parking but get there early. Lots of long-time Vegas locals know about this hidden treasure spot and the parking spaces are very limited.

Lastly, if you do chose to take your children on The Strip for New Years’ Eve then note it gets cold and loud.  The Strip is shut down to traffic around five p.m. and the Blvd. becomes filled with party goers. Also, there is no open container law in Las Vegas. So, keep the kids close to yourself and a major hotel. Try not to get too deep into any crowd and, most of all, enjoy New Year’s Eve in Vegas!

Suggestions for the Weekend of December 8-9

The weekend of December 8th is an exciting time for kids in Las Vegas.  Parents too! There are a ton of free Las Vegas events that tie in holiday cheer.  For example, Ethel M® Chocolates will be hosting its annual light festival at its Vegas based candy factory.

That’s right, over a half of a million lights will adorn the cactus garden that sits next to Ethel M® Chocolates’ candy making factory.  The factory is on the border of Las Vegas and Henderson and it is a must see for those who haven’t been. Normally, people are able to tour the candy making process at Ethel M® Chocolates’ factory. The free tour is informative and every man, woman and child receives a complimentary sample of chocolate at the end of the tour. But, on December 8th the factory is offering extra special accommodations for visitors. The tour is still free but so is the viewing of the holiday lights!

 

On December 8th and 9th, Santa and the lighted garden tour start at 5pm and goes until 9pm.  Even though the event is outdoors, pets are not allowed. So, if you love Christmas lights and chocolate…for FREE… then visiting Ethel M® Chocolates is a must! The address is 2 Cactus Garden Drive. Henderson, NV 89014.

Another free Las Vegas event on the weekend of December 8th and 9th is the Lake Festival of Lights. This event takes place on the west side of Las Vegas, just off of Sahara Avenue. The lake at Lake East Drive and Lake Sahara Drive is turned into an all-day holiday event / car show.  Santa Claus will be on hand and so will be a petting zoo, crafts for kids, food (this is the only cost associated item) and an electric boat parade. The event starts at noon and goes to ten at night.  Greg at 702-256-9998 is able to provide specific details, if needed.  Note, locals know this event is popular. There is a City bank nearby that allows the pubic to utilize its parking space.  There isn’t parking anywhere else, that is close to the actual event anyway. Most of the houses surrounding the lake are within a gated area with no access to the public for parking. Another suggestion is to park at the Smith’s Grocery store on the corner of Sahara Avenue and Durango. Once parked, the walk to the Lake Festival of Lights event is less than ten minutes.  Make sure you stick to the crosswalk if using this method, this intersection is known for speeding drivers.

Another cool event for Las Vegas kids, or those visiting, is provided by Music 4 Life® Wellness & Education Center. The center provides music therapy, music medicine and drum circles for kids of all ages.  The main program is managed by licensed music therapist Judith Pinkerton, MT-BC/L. However, Music 4 Life®  is hosting its KIDS RHYTHM CLUB at 9:30am on Saturday, December 8th. The event will take place at 2975 S. Rainbow Blvd. in the 89146 zip code.  The fee has yet to be announced, but parents and visitors are free to call 702-889-2881 for specific information.

Lastly, if you are looking for something over the top in Vegas for the kids then try out The Venetian’s Ice Skating Rink. Yep, even with temperatures still in the 70’s, The Venetian has outdone themselves again by bringing winter in Venice to the Vegas strip! The best part? Children 7-12 years of age are free with a paid adult admission ticket. The adult admission ticket is $14.95. The rink has 30-minute skating sessions on a synthetic ice rink adjacent to the resort’s outdoor gondola rides. The only negative side to this experience is that reservations must be made on the morning of the day you want to skate (which starts at 11 am), and competing with the hotel guests and other locals for a ticket can be tricky- so get in line early and plan to stay on property.  Also, skaters must be at least 7 years old and there is a limit of three children skating for free per each adult.

If you do plan on going to the ice rink at The Venetian, check out the Grand Lux Café. It is located on the main level of the hotel and casino and has over-sized entrees that cater to family budgets. Eighteen inch pizzas run about twelve dollars and the adult shrimp Fra diablo Pasta is under fifteen dollars.

Las Vegas is a wonderful place for children the weekend of December 8th and 9th of 2012. Even better, parents can survive the entire weekend’s events for under one hundred dollars, meals included, for a family of four.