05/15/2015 05:29 pm ET | Updated May 18, 2016

Why You Should Take the Kids to Las Vegas

Flickr/Moyan Brenn

When planning your family's summer vacation, don't be discouraged by Las Vegas' adults-only reputation. The city offers plenty of surprising activities for kids, from a three-story children's museum to the world's largest ferris wheel.

Consider these reasons why it's a good idea to take the kids to Las Vegas this summer:

Family-Friendly Museums

Child at the Discovery Children's Museum (Courtesy Discovery Children's Museum)

Believe it or not, Las Vegas is home to several excellent family-friendly museums. Spend the morning at the Discovery Children's Museum, located next to the art deco-inspired Smith Center. Learn and play in this interactive, three-story museum that includes a water-themed area and a pirate ship. Next, check out Las Vegas' popular Springs Preserve, which features indoor and outdoor fun focusing on the history and ecology of Southern Nevada. In the evening, consider a guided tour of the Neon Museum, where vintage signs recall the city's glittering past.

Budget-Friendly Attractions

Families seeking free activities in Las Vegas have several options. On the Strip, stop by the Bellagio to see its fountains dance. Then, head indoors and take a stroll through the Bellagio Conservatory, which showcases seasonal flower displays that are impressive in their complexity and size. Another free attraction on the Strip can be found at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino. Walk to the resort's courtyard, where you'll find a flock of flamingos and other birds.

Inexpensive attractions include the charming Clark County Museum in nearby Henderson, which features indoor exhibits detailing the history of Southern Nevada, several historic homes, a ghost town and Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort in Downtown Las Vegas. The fort (which includes an accompanying museum) is the site of Las Vegas' first permanent building, a small adobe structure built in 1855.

Both attractions are educational and reasonably priced. Admission to the fort is $1 per person, and children ages 12 and younger get in for free. Admission to the Clark County Museum is $2 for adults and $1 for children and seniors.

The World's Largest Observation Wheel

The Vegas High Roller (Flickr: Daniel Ramirez)

When it was built in 2014, the High Roller became the world's largest observation wheel. During the 30-minute journey, enjoy spectacular views of the Las Vegas Strip and the nearby mountains. After you disembark, check out the LINQ shopping and dining district, which the High Roller calls home.

Unique Hotels, Many of Which are Budget-Friendly

Las Vegas is all about unique hotel options. Enjoy a taste of the Big Apple at NY-NY, visit a slightly smaller version of the Eiffel Tower at Paris Hotel and Casino, or spend a night under the big top at Circus Circus. If you're seeking quieter accommodations, consider a stay at an off-Strip property like the Westin Lake Las Vegas or the JW Marriott Las Vegas, both of which offer beautiful resort-style pools.

The Great Outdoors

Red Rock Canyon (Flickr: Bureau of Land Management)

Situated in the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas is a great place from which to explore the outdoors. Drive west to Red Rock Canyon where you'll find hiking, picnic spots, and a nice visitor center. If your itinerary includes a visit to Hoover Dam, which is located in nearby Boulder City, stop along the way at Lake Mead for a hike or an afternoon lake cruise. Nature-themed day trips from Las Vegas include Death Valley National Park and Valley of Fire State Park.

If you're looking to extend your Las Vegas vacation with an overnight trip to another desert destination, venture to the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park, or Sedona, AZ.

Sarah Vernetti contributed this to MiniTime. When she isn't writing about travel and the family-friendly side of Las Vegas, she's busy crafting short stories and flash fiction.


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