Family vacations in Las Vegas can be rewarding experiences or absolute disasters -- it all depends on pre-trip homework. To make planning easier, we've done all the preparation. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on traveling with children, here are recommended attractions for those planning Las Vegas family vacations.
See where all those old glittery Las Vegas signs go to retire at the Neon Boneyard, part of the Neon Museum Las Vegas. The Neon Museum's collection contains more than 150 donated or rescued neon signs. The majority of these signs are housed in the Neon Museum Boneyard, a two-acre outdoor dirt park. Tours and photo shoots (by advance appointment only) allow guests to see part of the Boneyard's collection. You won't see these old signs light up, but you will see colorful signs representing motels, casinos and businesses that date from the 1930s to the 1990s.
Address: 770 Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Hours: Tours are conducted Tuesdays through Saturdays at 10 a.m.
Price: $15 per person
Ethel M Chocolates Las Vegas Chocolate Factory Tour
Who doesn't love chocolate? Ethel Mars started creating her chocolates in her own kitchen in 1911, and Forrest Mars, Sr., continued the tradition, making Ethel M chocolates when he founded the factory more than 25 years ago. Take a free self-guided tour of this factory just outside Las Vegas in Henderson, Nev. Find out how the chocolates are made and get a free sample, then check out the adjacent Ethel M Botanical Cactus Garden, which features more than 300 species of plants.
Address: 2 Cactus Garden Drive, Henderson, NV 89014
Phone: 702-435-2655, 702-435-2608
Hours: The factory store and cactus garden are open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The chocolate factory tour hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Price: The self-guided factory tour is free. Admission to the cactus garden is also free.
Lied Discovery Children's Museum
With more than 100 hands-on exhibits representing nature, sciences, music, the arts and humanities, Lied Discovery Children's Museum is an exciting and engaging environment for kids of all ages. There are also traveling exhibition galleries, an early childhood pavilion and an eight-story science tower. The interactive exhibits and playful learning environments offer fun for kids from toddler to teen as well as for adults, which is why Lied Discovery calls itself "Nevada's best family museum."
Address: 833 Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas, NV 89101
Hours: June 1 through Labor Day, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 pm.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; General museum hours, Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed on Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
Price: Adults, $9.50; children ages 1 to 17 and seniors, $8.50; children under 1, free
The iconic Stratosphere Tower, rising 1,149 feet into the Las Vegas skyline, is the largest freestanding observation tower in the United States with the "world's highest thrill rides." You can take your pick from four rides meant for the adrenaline junkie: SkyJump, Insanity, X-Scream and Big Shot.
Address: Stratosphere Las Vegas Hotel Casino, 2000 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89104
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. In case of extreme weather conditions, schedule is subject to change
Price: Tower Tickets: Adult, $16; child, $10; senior, $12; Nevada resident, $12. Rides: Big Shot, $13; X-Scream, $12; Insanity, $12; SkyJump, $99 and up
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
Star sightings, whether breathing or not, abound at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Las Vegas. To drop a few names, how about Captain Jack Sparrow, Gwen Stefani, Tiger Woods, Shaquille O'Neal, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Oprah, Britney Spears, Elvis Presley and Barack Obama? Join the A-list of more than 100 celebs at Madame Tussauds, located at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. Its newest and scariest attraction is "Scream! One way out." The attraction is Las Vegas' only permanent scare maze. Go inside it if you dare, but you must be at least 12 years old.
Address: 3377 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 2001, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hours: Open daily, year round. Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The last ticket is sold at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. The last ticket is sold at 10 p.m. Madame Tussauds sometimes closes early for special events, without notice. Call before your visit
Price: Adults, $25; seniors, ages 60 and up: $18; children 7 to 12, $15; kids under 6, free; Online Pass Special: Adults, $20; seniors 60+, $14.40; kids 7 to 12, $12; Under 6, free
The Adventuredome Theme Park
The Adventuredome Theme Park is "five acres of indoor fun" on two levels at Circus Circus Las Vegas. There are 25 rides and attractions to appeal to all ages (large rides, junior rides, family rides and premium rides). Young children will enjoy attractions featuring such characters as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora and Diego, and Mumble of Happy Feet. Older children can ride "the world's only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster," Canyon Blaster. A Las Vegas Review-Journal Poll honored the theme park with "The Best of Las Vegas" award for 2010.
Address: Circus Circus Las Vegas, 2880 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Phone: 1-866-456-8894 or 702-794-3939
Hours: General hours are 10 a.m. to midnight daily. But on some dates the hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check Adventuredome's hours page, http://www.adventuredome.com/general_information.aspx#hours. Or call 702-794-3939 for up-to-date park hours
Price: All Day Ride Passes: A Junior Wristband (under 48 inches tall) is $16.95. A Regular Wristband (48 inches and taller) is $26.95. You can also purchase individual rides
Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage
At Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel, you can get an up-close look at white lions and tigers, panthers, leopards and a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. See the dolphins leaping out of the outdoor pool or watch them swim underwater through glass windows below. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, guests can join the "Trainer for a Day" program, which costs $550 to $595 per person and includes souvenir apparel, photos, a continental breakfast and a three-course lunch.
Address: 3400 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89109
Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The last admission is at 6 p.m. Hours of operation are subject to change due to special events or inclement weather.
Price: Adults, $17; children ages 4 to 12, $12. Children ages 3 and under, free when accompanied by an adult. There are discounts for hotel guests and Nevada locals.
What's your favorite family vacation spot in Las Vegas?
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