Las Vegas with Teens: A Perfect Family Day
"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" may be true for adults, but spend a day with your teens here and you'll have a hard time getting them to stop talking about their experience. There is so much family fun to be had in the City of Lights. Take your cue from the list below and plan a perfect family vacation day in Las Vegas with teens. Your kids will have such a blast they might actually think you are cool.
Nothing will help your teen wake up faster than biting into some freshly baked pastries from Bouchon Bakery (3355 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, 702-414-6203), located inside the Venetian Hotel. This Parisian-style bakery offers up scrumptious breakfast bites such as croissants, muffins, eclairs and a variety of breads. Make sure to treat yourself to a chocolate bouchon. It opens daily at 6AM, but in Las Vegas, with teens, you're unlikely to be getting there so early.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area. Pink Jeep Tours will take your family on an exciting 13-mile, 4-hour family adventure through Las Vegas's nearby geological wonder. The knowledgeable guides will show you first hand the beauty and color of some of the canyons, rocks, plant life and animals that inhabit this part of the Mojave Desert. You will even get to enjoy a little off-roading.
A stop at the visitor's center will allow you to browse some exhibits, learn the history of the area and do a little shopping at the gift store. A jeep tour is a family travel experience none of you will forget. Tours start at 8AM or 1PM and are priced at $94 per person, teens and children included. The office is based at 3629 West Hacienda Avenue, Las Vegas, and reservations can be made online or by calling 888-900-4480.
Exploring Las Vegas with teens is best done on a full stomach, so when your crew gets hungry, it's time to grab lunch at Café Rio (4680 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, 702-987-3600). This award-winning Mexican grill prepares your food right in front of you using fresh ingredients. Menu choices include burritos, tacos, enchiladas, tostadas and salads. The sweet pork "barbacoa taco" served in a flour tortilla is especially tasty. Check the board for daily specials. Prices are very reasonable, with most main dishes priced under $10. Good news for cash-strapped parents on a family vacation in Las Vegas with teens who always seem to be hungry.
A short drive from Café Rio you will find the Atomic Testing Museum (755 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, 702-794-5161), one of the most interesting things to do in the Las Vegas area. Teens (and some adults) know very little about the atomic testing that occurred in the desert just outside of Las Vegas. Let this museum educate your family with artifacts, unique displays, videos and pictures dating from the early 1950s to the present. Don't miss a visit to the "Ground Zero" theater to see what it was like to witness one of the nuclear tests.
The museum is open 10AM-5PM Monday to Saturday and noon-5PM on Sundays. Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $9 for children and teens aged 6-18, $9 for seniors, and free for children under the age of six.
Taking a family vacation in Las Vegas with teens presents the unique challenge of finding enough interesting activities to keep everyone occupied without visiting an endless stream of museums. Luckily, at CSI: The Experience (3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, 702-891-7006), inside the MGM Grand Hotel, you can put your teen's brain to work and let them try to solve a crime. They will be presented with one of three crime scenes that they must help solve as a real investigator would.
In this educational (and fun!) experience, participants will collect evidence, test their findings in a lab and try to solve the mystery. Your teenager will learn about DNA, fingerprint analysis and much more in this hands-on experience. Purchase tickets in advance online or by calling the ticket hotline. The exhibit is open 10AM-10PM with experiences starting every ten minutes and lasting approximately an hour. Admission prices are $30 for teens and adults and $23 for children aged 4-11.
When it's time for dinner, your family can travel back in time to King Arthur's Court and enjoy dinner at the "Tournament of Kings" inside the Excalibur Hotel (3850 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, 702-597-7600). Kids, teens and adults will enjoy a three-course meal with authentic period food such as roasted hens and potatoes. Get caught up in the action as you cheer on your jousting knight or witness fire-breathing dragons in this fun and engaging dinner show.
Shows are offered Tuesday and Thursday at 6PM, and Monday, Wednesday and Friday-Sunday at both 6PM and 8:30PM. Tickets are $56.95 per person (children aged three and under are free if they sit on an adult's lap and share their meal). Reservations are strongly recommended.
At this point, if your teens still have energy to burn, check out the Stratosphere Hotel (2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, 702-380-7777), a resort and casino with the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. For adults, this is the place for the ultimate view of Las Vegas. With teens, however, a vacation isn't complete without a stop at an amusement park. The Stratosphere Hotel takes thrill-seeking one step further with some of the scariest rides in town, like the Big Shot, which shoots passengers straight up 1,081 feet above Vegas, or the X-Scream, which dangles riders 27 feet over the edge.
The observation tower and rides are open until 1AM Sunday to Thursday and until 2AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $15.95 for adults and $10 for children aged 4-12, with an additional cost for individual rides. Check the hotel's website for current prices and packages. There is a height requirement of 48 inches for all rides.
From off-beat museums to interactive experiences to off-road adventures, there are plenty of things to do in Las Vegas with teens that will leave your family begging for the next vacation!
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