Family Friendly Vegas

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 7:21
Posted in category Field Trips, Reviews, Travel

Remember when I posted this back in March, promising to follow up on the other cool things that we did while in Las Vegas (namely a certain chocolate factory, yum!).  Well I am finally delivering.

(And in the interest of full disclosure, we did not choose to take our kids to Las Vegas just for the fun of kids experiencing Vegas.  We were in the city on business, and tried to find things that would help us avoid the filth and focus on the fun.  This is not a place we take the family to without a really good reason.)  So without further ado, here are a few things that we did in Vegas with our kids!

image: Paris

Our business necessitated us to be on the strip.  And while there are a ton of pretty ridiculous things about the strip (crazy traffic, inappropriate ads, more traffic, more inappropriate ads, etc), there are also some really cool things to distract wandering eyes as well.  I snapped the above picture out the Jeep window as we sat in some (you guessed it) traffic, but there are some other great architecture and themed resorts as well that the kids were fascinated with (like the MGM Lion, roller coasters right above the sidewalk, the Statue of Liberty replica, etc).  The Bellagio Dancing Fountains were on our to-see list (they play every 30 minutes from 3PM – 7PM, and every 15 minutes from 7PM – midnight) as well as the Mirage Volcano (which plays on the hour from 6-11 PM).

image: Circus Circus Room

We ended up staying at the Circus Circus, which is on the “non-cool” side of the strip, but that was JUST FINE with us.  We decided on this hotel because it was well reviewed, it had kid friendly entertainment, and because the price was one of the lowest we could find (because we’re cheap like that, lol).  The price was ridiculously good (just $24 a night! yes!) but be warned that there is a small resort fee when you check in.  If I remember correctly it was $7 or so a day.  I think that this is pretty common among hotels in the area, though.

As you can see above, our room was clean and well updated.  The walls are well decorated (loved the art!) but are super thin (you get to know your neighbors by name since you can hear them so well, lol… or not so lol as the case may be…).  The housekeeping was great and while the carpet was slightly worn in high traffic areas (such as near the doorways), it was well maintained and much cleaner than I expected.  I let Zu roam the floors without much worry at all.  The room floor was one of my high priority items when choosing a hotel, because we had a crawler.  :)

And speaking of Zu, the poor kid got sick on the drive to Vegas.  He was a trooper though!  We spent most of the first day in the hotel room, and we had to find ways to occupy ourselves.  Since he was slowly getting better, I finally let him indulge in a lollipop.  He loved it and got it all over his face.  As I first took it away to get him cleaned up, I got this sad puppy dog face.

image: Sad Zu 1

Which was soon followed by an all out wail.  Stupid me, taking candy from a baby.

image: Sad Zu 2

He soon forgave me though.  Thank goodness! ;)  But back to the hotel…

image: Circus Acts

I’m really glad we chose to stay at Circus, Circus since we ended up spending so much time there.  The kids loved the circus acts on the main level (you do have to walk through”green areas” of the casino to access this level, just as a heads up if that bothers you) and seeing the other exhibits like the Chuck Jones Experience (we didn’t pay to get in, we just did the free stuff outside) and meandering through the Adventuredome, which is the hotel’s indoor theme park, complete with rides and midway games.

image: Giant Tops

After spending WAY too much time on hotel property, we were finally well enough to venture out.  We checked out the Cactus Gardens, which I talked about earlier, and the adjacent CHOCOLATE FACTORY (!!!!) by Ethel M Chocolates.  I’ll be honest, I was expecting a bit more of an “experience” (like the Jelly Belly factory in California- I totally recommend that tour!) and less of a “viewing hallway,” but it was still interesting nonetheless.  They had some super good info on the walls and the staff was extra friendly and nice.  And you can’t complain about free chocolate, right?!?

image: From Cocoa Beans to Chocolate

I was excited to see this information on the first wall of the “tour.”  It fit along perfectly with the Magic School Bus episode we watched in preparation for our excursion, “The Magic School Bus in the Rain Forest,” which helped us learn about chocolate in the real “making of” sense- straight from a rain forest bean.  They also had maps of where each type of chocolate bar is made (3 Musketeers v. M&Ms, etc) and other interesting trivia along the way.  Two educational thumbs up from this happy mama.

image: Chocolate Factory

And to keep with our chocolate theme (and to search out the ever elusive “M&M Lightsaber” for J-Zee, which they did stock, thank goodness!) we headed back closer to our hotel and toured the impressive M&M’s World back on Las Vegas Boulevard.

image: M&M Wall

We had missed the free 3D movie, but did get to see the wicked awesome Wall-o-M&Ms, the personalized M&M printing machine, and the M&M Nascar Car they had on the top floor.  Not too shabby for a gift shop, lol.  :)

image: Race Car

Overall, a pretty awesome field trip!  Check out Life’s Adventures for other ideas from around the globe!  And be sure to leave other ideas of things for us to do in Las Vegas with little kids, as it seems like we might just be making it a habit of going there.  Yay?

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