Any vacation to Las Vegas will include nonstop lights, action and chaos all around you, which isn’t always a good thing, especially if you have one or more toddlers in tow. Having a couple of kids, however, shouldn’t deter your plans because although Las Vegas is known for the action of the Strip it is also one of the most kids-friendly towns I have ever been to! This list of places to go in Vegas with toddlers contains only a portion of the amazing kid-centered attractions in town and most offer something to entertain the parents as well!
Discovery Children’s Museum
Location: 360 Promenade Place Las Vegas, NV
This is not your typical “home-grown” children’s museum. It offers a lot more than a pretend kitchen and some puzzles. The 58,000 square foot facility boasts three floors of fun, interactive and age appropriate activities for the whole family. There are roughly ten different exhibit spaces themed for every interest a child may have. Little kids will be delighted to spend an easy hour in Toddler Town, which has a climbing structure, working coal mining system, specialized arts, crafts, books and even a “nursing nook” for moms who would like a little more privacy to feed little ones without hiding in a bathroom stall.
Older kids will enjoy bouncing from the pirate and castle themed fantasy land, water works (prepare to get wet), many different medias in the art room, and the many different locations of Eco City( think mechanic shop, airport, constructions zone as well as sponsored Smiths grocery store and even a Jamba Juice. The third floor is geared toward the oldest kids and boasts a detective like experience. Admittedly, I have spent the vast majority of time on the first two levels with all ages of kids and never felt like I was only accommodating the younger age bracket.
Pros: This center is meant for kids of all different types and I am sure your kids will be thrilled with the experience. Everything is meant to be interactive and I have never struggled to find a staff member to help me. Parking is simple with a complimentary parking garage right next the facility (it says it is paid parking, but it is actually free as of 2018), although you do have to exit the facility and walk next door to find the entrance. Each exhibit is in its own space, so setting guidelines for the kids is easier.
Cons: There are a few! This place can be totally overwhelming with a large number of children. It is meant to be explored and sometimes that means the kids will explore in all different directions, without telling you, and before you realize it. Do not expect to veg out while your kids play-I have a few other recommendations for that later. At the entrance there is a large climbing structure that climbs up the entire facility, which makes it easy for kids to get lost. The facility does not offer any food services. They do have a room where you can eat a sack lunch, but the room is small and feels crowded very quickly. Finally, this place is not cheap. The price is roughly $15.00 for everyone, ages 1-99. If you are local, it is worth the investment of a year membership and if you are visiting then the price is typical of what you are seeing in the hotels anyway.
1525 E. Sunset Rd #7 Las Vegas, NV
Usually around day three of any vacation, my “Mom Guilt” sets in as I realize I have been dragging my kids from place to place so that I can do/see everything I want to. They are tired and grumpy and so am I. That is when I start looking for somewhere that is totally kid friendly. In Las Vegas, that means finding a quality indoor playground like Kangamoo. I have tried dozens of indoor playgrounds in Las Vegas and this one is my favorite.
Located in a business park, this is a McDonald’s Play Place on steroids. The 3- story climbing structure has a ton to keep the kids entertained while parents take advantage of comfortable couches, tables and even complimentary massage chairs. While the climbing structure will get the wiggles out, there is also a smaller imaginative play area, art area and even a place to paint nails. The staff does a great job of watching the kids and making sure the chaos stays on the positive side, turning struggling kids over to parents for snuggles or sometimes a firm talking to. They offer free internet so as the kids play, you can surf the internet, get some work done or plan out the rest of the day’s activities.
Pros: You can actually relax a little! The facility is large but there isn’t really anywhere for kids to get lost. The staff is really friendly and helpful. The facility does offer healthy sack lunch styled garb or you can pack a lunch and eat in their party room.
Cons: It is on the spendy side. Normal price is $10 per child (parents are free) or you can by a 10-visit punch pass for $75 (making it $7.50 per child). Personally, I buy the pass and then keep if for a rainy (metaphorically, of course(Las Vegas doesn’t get rain!)) day. Kangamoo can get busy, like really busy, but I have never felt overwhelmed by the amount of kids present. Final con, the facility can feel well-loved at times. From time to time, one of the massage chairs will not be working up to par, or a toy will look worn. This does not extend to the facility, which I have always found to be very clean and well maintained despite the number of kids running wild every day. This doesn’t bother me because kids are rough on toys, especially ones they love, but I would be remiss to not mention it.
Wetlands Nature Center
7050 Wetlands Park Ln, Las Vegas, NV
I have found that the wetlands are a little known gem, even among the locals. It is exactly what it says: a wetland. This is the largest park in all of Clark County and it was created as a way to help control the runoff from the basin area, but for the average Joe, this is a scenic water way in the middle of the desert. There are miles and miles of cement and dirt paths that are great to walk or ride bikes along. There are also many outlets to stop and play in a creek or jump from branches on low hanging trees. This is not the place for an avid hiker, it is better for a family who is hoping to spot a couple of cool birds, a rabbit and maybe even a snake.
Once you are finished walking, sometimes that is only 5 minutes later depending what your kids are up for, it is worth hitting up the nature center on site. It is perfect for kids and adults of all ages. It is usually pretty quiet, but has lots of things from interactive cameras that let you spy on fake desert life to smelling stations, to even identifying the various types of scat animals produce. This is interesting enough to keep everyone’s attention. Along with the different displays is an art area, book area and a decent sized play area. My girls will spend up to an hour jumping from the giant bird, to the giant frog, to the giant bunny making slides and stories the whole time.
Pros: This is a small treasure that so few people know about! The views are great for family pictures and the nature center is a great way to relax and have fun in a free and welcoming indoor facility. My girls can get a little wild, but the staff has been so kind, helpful and informative. They obviously understand their audience and strive to make everyone feel welcome. Best of all, everything here is free and you won’t have to deal with crowds, two things that are not common in Las Vegas.
Cons: If you don’t enjoy nature walks, this probably isn’t for you. The nature center is a great activity but it won’t hold a child’s attention for longer than 90 minutes at most.
333 S Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas, NV
If you need a break from the concrete jungle that is the Strip, try a trip to Springs Preserves. It is a desert botanical garden with a lot more to offer. The large compound has the hiking trails and authentic desert landscaping you would expect. If you aren’t into looking at desert brush (it’s not really my thing), then you will enjoy the travelling exhibit hall, touring the eco friendly “tiny house,” learning more about water management in a desert or visiting the new Boom Town which gives you an inside look at what Vegas looked like at its inception. They also have some great shows you want to get to early for a good seat. If you are here in the spring or fall make sure to check out the butterfly house, where you can enjoy hundreds of butterflies all around you. If you go towards the end of the season, the butterflies aren’t as concerned with flying and will spend a lot of time resting on anyone present, which can be enchanting and a little scary for the kiddos.
Pros: There is a lot to do, in fact we don’t even attempt to do it all in one trip. There is a pretty awesome playground where my kids will play for an hour or more without even thinking. They offer a lot of little things (at additional costs) like train rides, crafts and other little shows. They do have a restaurant that you can grab lunch at. I always plan to try it out when we visit but it does get busy and it hasn’t been worth it to wait around. The food, however, looks pretty delicious. The compound is really kid friendly. The staff is really welcoming and does a great job of making my crazy kids feel totally welcome.
Cons: This compound is large, make sure to wear walking shoes! I also wouldn’t visit without a quick trip to their website. They offer so many complimentary and small cost activities that I like to plan ahead. It is a little spendy, especially if you aren’t a Nevada resident so make sure to spend enough time there to make it worth your wild.
Natural History Museum
900 N Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV
The Natural History Museum is perfect for a morning outing. This is a new discovery on my part, but one that has served us well every time we visit. There are rooms dedicated to dinosaurs, aquatic animal life, desert animals, ancient Egypt and so much more.
One of the reasons this made the list is because there are more than just things to look at. Most of the rooms have an interactive area, but the dinosaur area is by far the best with an excavation pit as well as much more that has had the hubs and I neglecting our kids to play (for like 30 seconds until they realize we aren’t totally focused on them!). There are rooms with stuffed (taxidermy, not toys) animals, which I thought my kids would find boring, but they have an awesome time pointing out the animals they know and taking turns guessing the ones they don’t! There is currently a travelling Egypt exhibit about King Tut. Overall, this place is a gem worth visiting. It also has a great little play area with different things that have kept my kids entertained for more than an hour at a time.
Pros: It is a small facility so you don’t have to worry about losing a kiddo or having your feet hurt. It is also close to the strip so if you are staying there, you won’t struggle in finding your way there. The cost is really affordable. Every time we have visited, they have offered some little craft for the kids. It has never been something I have been blown away by, but my kids seem to love doing them anyway. I enjoy the trips because I am a nerd who loves to learn and I always walked away with something to look into or a new factoid to annoy my friends with.
Cons: This is a smaller facility, which means you probably won’t spend hours here. This museum will be most suitable for kids who can already read as it has a lot of plaques and information to be absorbed (although, my kids can’t read and still love it). There is a no food option available, which is always a bummer because hungry kids are a danger to us all!
SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium
3528 S Maryland Pkwy #340, Las Vegas, NV
Welcome to the world of corporate aquariums! This aquarium is situated inside the Boulevard mall, so if your GPS drives you up to a large shopping center, there is no mistake. This aquarium opened a little over a year ago and was a little uninspired when it first opened. A year later there is a total difference! There are tons of aquatic and land animals to suit anyone’s tastes and the animals all look happy and healthy. With multiple touch tanks, a large string ray and shark room, as well as several staff members holding various lizards and snakes for you to touch, this will be a fun distraction for any day of your trip. They even have a pretty neat play and picnic area where you can take a break and relax, while the kids run wild. There are a lot of places where you can purchase food to feed the animals, but the tokens are spendy, so choose carefully who you want to feed so you don’t waste your money. Our kids generally like feeding the sting rays best. They can be really fun, just make sure they are eating before you buy as it can be boring if they are not hungry.
Pros: The facility is well laid out with a lot to do for kids and parents. They do have a snack bar, but it is crazy expensive and with a food court close by it has never even tempted me. The animals are really the stars of the show and the staff does a great job of helping you experience them first hand. There is a lot more to do near the aquarium. The aquarium is next door to a new family fun center with go karts, rock climbing and mini golf, and a Jon’s Incredible Pizza (think Chuck-e-Cheese, but more expensive) so you can easily spend a few hours at the mall.
Cons: This is a corporate aquarium and they are in the business of making money, so although the admission isn’t outlandish, the extras add up. The Boulevard mall was a dying mall that is currently changing to become less about retail and more about experiences, but like any area that was declining, you may see some less than glamorous things. That being said, I have never felt unsafe, even when it is just me and a couple of kids. There aren’t too many things to be concerned about so I am just trying to set your expectations appropriately.
Article written by Mallory Huntley. Don’t forget to join our Facebook group, Photography and Travel, to share tips, favorite locations and questions!