Las Vegas with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

Las Vegas with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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Are you wondering how to enjoy Las Vegas with your tweens? A Vegas travel veteran, I've been visiting the city since I was four years old. And while a lot has changed since then, a lot has remained the same. Now 33 with kids of my own, I consider myself an expert on navigating Las Vegas with kids. Vacations here offer a wealth of entertainment that's very family-friendly. Here's how to live it up and enjoy the best family vacation in Las Vegas!


One of the things kids love about Las Vegas is its buffets, and as long as you are going to a buffet, you may as well go to the best one there is for breakfast – the buffet at the Wynn Las Vegas. Like many buffets, its options appear unlimited. Unlike many buffets, however, the food is actually good. In fact, the Wynn's buffet may be the only buffet I've visited where a waffle tasted like a waffle and not like a piece of cardboard. There is something for everyone here, even the pickiest of eaters. The kids especially appreciate the desert section, smack dab in the middle of the buffet! Adding to its appeal are the gorgeous, colorful in-season flower arrangements in every corner of the restaurant, which really make you feel as though you are dining somewhere magical.
Wynn Las Vegas
3131 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 770-7000

After breakfast, and after waiting the prescribed thirty minutes, it's time to hit the pool. In a desert town like Las Vegas, there is no shortage of pools. However, as Las Vegas has returned to its more adult-oriented roots in recent years, it is becoming harder and harder to find a pool that's appropriate for families, i.e. one where sunbathers are required to cover up. If a pool is a high priority for your kids, you'll want to consider these hotels. I highly recommend the Mandalay Bay Beach, which is a faux beach, complete with waves and where adults are sequestered away in a private area. The downside to the pool at the Mandalay Bay is that you actually have to be a registered guest of Mandalay Bay because they require that each person who enters have a room key. An alternative is the pool at the Mirage Hotel. The Mirage pool boasts waterfalls, lagoons, lifeguards and complimentary towels and lounge chairs. The MGM Grand Pool Complex features five pools and three whirlpools, plus rivers and waterfalls. Lush foliage and a meandering river create a tropical oasis.
Mandalay Bay
3950 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89119
(877) 632-7800

3400 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 791-7111

MGM Grand
3799 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 891-3086


After your tweens have played all morning, I suggest grabbing a quick lunch at one of the many cafes in the pool area of the hotel. Most of them offer reasonably-priced, tween-friendly fare, including hot dogs, burgers, and sandwiches.

For dessert and an extra treat, why not take the kids to the Venetian to enjoy a gelato or Italian ice cream from Cocolini on the shoppes level? Gelato is more sumptuous than its American counterpart, and it comes in a wide variety of flavors. There's nothing better than a cool treat in the Vegas heat.
Venetian Hotel
3355 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 414-1000

After lunch (and the gelato!), surprise your tweens by heading to the Excalibur Hotel for an afternoon of fun. The Excalibur has an entire floor dedicated to kids' activities. They can try playing the carnival games for prizes, or, if they're really daring, they might enjoy the amazing 4D rides.
Excalibur Hotel
3850 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(877) 750-5464


No trip to Las Vegas is complete without dinner and a show, and there are plenty of family-friendly shows that your tweens can enjoy. You are not limited to Thunder Down Under! One great option is the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur for those with a taste for family adventure in Las Vegas. Tweens enjoy the meal, but the jousting, knights in armor on horseback and the fireworks, not to mention the audience participation, make this a memorable family vacation outing. Las Vegas has many other options as well. For the less daring, Caesars Palace has a Cheesecake Factory at the Forum Shops. This one has one of the largest menus I have ever seen, not to mention it gives kids an excuse to order just about any flavor cheesecake imaginable for dessert!
Cheesecake Factory
3500 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 792-6888

A very popular show in Las Vegas is Cirque du Soleil's "Love" at the Mirage, which combines the music of the Beatles with Cirque du Soleil acrobatic fun. It's a win-win choice for both parents and tweens, as parents love the familiar tunes and the kids love the theatrics. And unlike many of the Cirque du Soleil shows, there is nothing that tweens and their parents will find objectionable or inappropriate for their age group.
Mirage Hotel
3400 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 791-7111

Finally, I think the perfect ending to your day is a visit to the water fountains outside of the Bellagio Hotel. The fountain and light show are choreographed to different songs, from classical pieces to pop and Broadway tunes. This free extravaganza is unique and pure Las Vegas. Kids' vacations will be filled with memories of this magical light, water and music display.
Bellagio Hotel and Casino
3600 South Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(888) 987-6667

Family travel to Las Vegas is fun with tweens. While Las Vegas, in its current incarnation, is mostly geared towards adults, one of its greatest appeals to kids and tweens is the parent-approved glimpse into the adult world. As a child, I loved the glitz – it's flashy and over the top. It's not something most people see every day, but occasionally, and in the right dose, it can be great for kids to experience. Don't be afraid to just walk around Las Vegas with your tweens. Some of the best things to do and see are in the casinos (the flower gardens at Bellagio, the miniature Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel and Casino, and the white tigers at the Mirage), and don't be afraid to let them stay up a little bit later than usual. It is vacation after all, and there's no better place to experience glitz and glamour than in Las Vegas!

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