Las Vegas with Kids Ages 12 and 7 - Butler,PA

Updated on February 24, 2014
A.B. asks from Butler, PA
11 answers

We are headed to Vegas in May with our children ages 12 and 7. This isn't just a vacation though as my husband will be seeing his paternal grandmother and Aunt for the 1st time in over 25 years. We are staying at the Stratosphere and I am wondering if those who have been there should we rent a car or just use shuttles and taxis? What are the rates for these items as well? We will be arriving late Sunday night and leaving late Friday night. Also what should we see and what are good things to avoid? My husbands aunt will be renting an SUV so that she can help us see the sights but we plan on making the most of it as well.

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answers from Chicago on

I agree with the other poster....there is a lot of walking in Vegas.

Last time I was there my husband and I drove out to Mount Charleston. It's about 45 minutes from Vegas and beautiful! Gets you away from the busyness and bright lights of Vegas.

Google it

Have a great vacation!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Las Vegas on

I live in Las Vegas and my kids are 11 and 8.
I would rent a car. There is a lot of walking on the strip, but not from Stratosphere. On the strip, go see the Bellagio conservatory and fountains. Also the Secret Garden at the Mirage. The shark reef at Mandalay Bay is neat too for kids. Off the strip, go to Red Rock Canyon, and the Hoover Dam as well. While you're at Hoover Dam, there is a train museum in Boulder City, if you think your kids will be into that. If you like Italian food, eat at Nora's Cuisine on Jones and Flamingo. I love the chicken carchofi. The kids would enjoy the oreo ball desert.
If you're into shopping, there's the Fashion Show and the Miracle Mile, as well as the canal shops in the Venetian, the Forum Shops at Caesars, and two outlet malls. The canal shops are neat because they have the grand canal running through there and you can take gondola rides. The Forum shops has an animatronic show there that is neat, plus other stuff like a classic car display.
This site has lots of other ideas:

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My family and I LOVE Vegas, we were then when the girls were 5 and 2, 10 and 7 and again at 13 and 10. Here is what we did:

Circus Circus - free big top acts every hour - indoor rides and LOTS of games (a lot of money can be spent winning tiny 'stuff")

Stratosphere - the rides on the top - depending on the "risk factor" of your kids - but going to the top just to "see" is always a pleasure

M & M Store – who doesn't want to spend an hour or 2 looking at everything M & M! And DO NOT miss the M & M wall upstairs!

MGM Grand: find out when they feed the tigers.

Treasure Island: Outdoor pirate show – check the schedule and get their early to get a standing spot up front. Bring some games to play while you wait!

Mirage – watch the water show – every 15 mins I believe.

Mandalay Bay- you can pay to go to the “beach” for the day. It is fun and the kids love the water!

The Mirage: the volcano eruption is cool!

Freemont Street: the LED roof is awesome! Best done after dark!

TIPS: driving down the strip is hard – it goes pretty slow walking or bussing it for a day is great. You can get a day pass for on and off privileges. When you drive keep in mind that when you park at a hotel, it is a LONG walk to anywhere, the parking lots are always as far away as possible.
Bring backpacks to carry water and snacks – sometimes the walking seems longer than expected and frequent breaks and stops are great.
We always had one of those fold up strollers, either the kids could take turns riding in it or we could put our bags in it.

Many people may say that Vegas is not the place for kids, I disagree, there is a lot for them to do if you look.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

If you can, get over to Hoover Dam. There is a great tour you can take!

I agree when someone suggested Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire State Park..... the scenery is amazing!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

You could splurge and take the kids to see Blue Man Group or Cirque de Solei. That would be fun. Just outside of Las Vegas is Red Rocks...a beautiful natural area. I've heard there is some part (state or national?) near there where you can go see dinosaur bones. Also, I'm sure there is an amazing water park there that your kids would enjoy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

We went as adults only but I would take my kids with me one of these times (they are 13 and 12). We did a helicopter ride over Hoover Dam but I would have liked to do the tour. We also went to the Red Rock Canyon and that was really neat. I think the kids would have liked that.

We rented a full size car from Thrifty for $180. A shuttle from the airport to mid strip cost almost $25 one way so the car was very practical for us to have. And the Stratosphere is way on one end so it would be even more.

I think the car makes sense if you want to do any activities away from the Strip or Downtown.

Do the kids or you guys watch the Discovery Channel at all? Pawn Stars is always a good stop (although the guys aren't really there-although this time we did see Chumlee), Rick's Restoration is right by there and Counts Custom is right there too.

If you are on Facebook or have a smart phone, there is a game (or an app) called myVegas and you can accumulate points to use for dinners and activities (shows, the aquariums, the monorail), It's fun and the points add up pretty fast.

I would also watch Groupon and Living Social. We had a Groupon for a nice buffet-buy one get one free- and a Living Social for some go-karting and also the helicopter ride. We did the helicopter for $170 for three people-not too bad, IMO.

Have Fun!!!!!

Oh and if you go to the Hoover Dam, you can take a self guided tour through the Ethel M chocolate factory too. I heard it's cool.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I would definitely rent a car, because some of the best adventures with kids will be outside of town. We were down there with my 9 and 12 y.o. in December, and their favorite thing that we did was the Hoover Dam. You'll need a car for that.

We also went to a Cirque du Soleil show (yes, it's expensive, but so much fun). The aquarium at the Mandalay Bay was also surprisingly good - I did not expect a casino to have an AZA accredited aquarium.

Some of the casinos have exhibit space. Check AAA and other travel websites to see whether there is anything worth seeing. While we were there the Venetian hosted an exhibit of the 50 best photos from National Geographic, and it was spectacular. Another casino was hosting an Andy Warhol exhibit that we didn't get to, but probably would have enjoyed.

While we didn't get there, I've heard wonderful things about Red Rock Canyon, and Valley of Fire State Park is less than an hour's drive from town, and supposed to be stunning. Just remember that you are in the desert. Everybody should have a water bottle, and sunscreen and hats are essential. If you're doing any hiking, wear closed toe shoes. There are some unfriendly plants and small critters in the desert.

My mother and her husband, who were there with us, chose not to rent a car because they had been told by friends that they could get around fine with public transportation. However, the friends that told them this had stayed on the strip, and we did not. My kids and I left 3 days before they did, and without me and my car they had a terrible time getting around. While there is good public transportation to main attractions around the strip, getting back to lodgings was a different story - multiple connections and long waits. And since they also arrived before us, they had to pay for a shuttle to and from the airport. According to my mom, it cost them $35 to get the 8 miles from the airport to our lodgings. A rental car would have ultimately cost them little more than they spent on transport. Traffic in Vegas can be heavy, but the parking situation was surprisingly good. Many casinos have spacious parking garages, and many are free. (They do want to make it easy for you to come and spend money, after all.)

As for folks handing out dubious advertising and such, we saw them but were never approached, probably because we had children with us. There are ads on taxis and buses and signs for some of the more "interesting" shows, but the ones I saw were PG.

To reach food and shows on the strip, you usually have to walk through the casino spaces. The cigarette smoke can be thick, and your kids might see things that require discussion later. (Mom, why are those women wearing that? What are those machines? And so on...)

If the Stratosphere has good swimming pools, that may very well be your kids' favorite part of the trip. In May the weather should be perfect for swimming. Take sunscreen and enjoy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

driving in vegas isn't any more fun than most big cities, but even with my city-driving aversion i find i can handle vegas okay. the advantage to renting a car is that you can get to some of the wonderful desert and mountain places and get off the strip.
if you want to, that is.
vegas's efforts to be more 'family-friendly' were pretty much doomed from the start. it's a town for adults. that being said, there are a lot of fun things for kids to see there. we took our 14 year old 8 years ago, and he did get grumpy at all the walking and gawking, but he was in a grumpy phase. :)
the thing to watch for is the street hawkers. every 5 feet there's someone handing out flyers for nudey shows. some of 'em were pretty explicit, and there's just no getting away from them.
the bellagio fountains, the statues coming alive in caesar's palace, the lipizzaners at excalibar, and that appalling ferris wheel in the stratosphere (if your heart can take such things) are all must-sees.
:) khairete



answers from New York on

Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon an absolute must.



answers from Washington DC on

We went to Riolite (I may have butchered the spelling) and the Borax museum in Death Valley. We also stopped at the Hoover Dam. You can also take the kids to Red Rock Canyon. We didn't stay long, but we also didn't do much on the strip. Hopefully the family members will also have info for you.


answers from Grand Forks on

I found that the three day city bus pass for $20 was by far the best value. There is a free monorail at the south end of the strip that is kind of fun, but it only serves three or four hotels. The other monorail is pretty expensive and not as convenient as the bus. There is something to see in every hotel on the strip, often for free. You can just hop on and off the double decker bus at each hotel. There are a couple of good outlet malls that are worth the bus ride too. Make sure everyone has the most comfortable walking shoes they own with them because there is a lot of walking in Vegas.

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