I understand that Las Vegas doesn’t exactly top the lists for family friendly destinations. However, it can be a great place to visit with kids on a road trip or for a few days as a family escape. This article will focus on experiences we had in the greater Las Vegas area. If you want to see what we did on the Las Vegas Strip read this article instead.
Ethel M Chocolates
Just a 20 minute car ride off the Las Vegas Strip is this chocolate oasis. Ethel M is a small batch candy factory with a three-acre cactus garden and a self-guided tour. Take a peek through the windows at Ethel M to see the inner workings of the factory.
Both the cactus garden and self-guided tour experiences are free and fun when visiting Las Vegas with kids. During our visit we watched cooled caramels being cut and caramel apples given their final decorative coating of chocolate.
I also called ahead and scheduled a chocolate tasting for our group. Although the chocolate tasting cost $15 per person when we went, I felt the experience was well worth it.
In the tasting, you learn how cacao is grown, harvested, processed and turned into our beloved chocolate. In addition, you are taught how to properly taste chocolates and go through the tasting process with four samples. The tasting took about 45 minutes, and we had a lot of fun learning something new.
The Pinball Hall of Fame
The Pinball Hall of Fame is less museum and more old school arcade. Don’t let the sketchy outside appearance deter you from making this stop.
There is no fee to enter, change machines abound, and there are more pinball machines and cabinet video games than you can imagine. Elizabeth played several pinball games from the 1960’s to some more current machines.
For me, the most fun was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cabinet where all four of us got to play together. Four of us played games for over an hour on $12 in quarters. We could have easily stayed longer, but we had to catch our flight home.
A Note About Downtown Las Vegas With Kids
The Neon Museum and Container Park are both places I felt comfortable taking Elizabeth in our rental car during the day. However, some of the surrounding areas are not places I would suggest exploring on foot without being very aware of your surroundings.
The Neon Museum
Old casino, restaurant, and motel signs from Las Vegas’s early days are the stars on this hour-long tour given several times per day. Tickets routinely sell out ahead of time, so I highly recommend purchasing them before you go.
Learn all about the history of Las Vegas, how neon signs were made, and the art of sign restoration from your well educated tour guide. If you have a budding photographer, they will especially love the potential photo opportunities in the neon boneyard.
A forty-foot-tall praying mantis statue greets you at the entrance to Container Park. At night the mantis emits flames up to 6 feet high in sync to music.
Inside Container Park is a small square of re-purposed shipping containers. These containers are transformed into restaurants and boutique shops at this downtown Las Vegas spot. In the center of the shops and restaurants is a large playground where older kids can run wild while you grab coffee or a drink. Or if your kids are younger, you can join the fun on the playground and grab something to eat after.
Final Thoughts On Family Friendly Downtown Las Vegas Activities
Las Vegas and the surrounding area have a surprising number of family friendly activities if you know where to look. My daughter had so much fun on our Las Vegas family vacations she keeps asking when we can go back. If you are looking for more ideas for your Las Vegas family vacation check this article with family friendly activities on the Las Vegas Strip.
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