With a little research, I found quite a few activities in Las Vegas that would be appropriate for a one year old. Depending on the age of your kids, there are other options to these suggestions as well. We stayed in a hotel off the strip, but it worked just fine for what we needed. We also had our own car, because we drove to Las Vegas. I think that made a big difference in what we could do.
Take Advantage of Free Valet at the Resorts!
I would highly recommend using the free valet parking at each casino if you drive to the casinos like we did. This was especially helpful to a mom with a one year old, diaper bag, and a stroller in tow. It was so nice to pull up, get out with our son and stroller, visit the casino, and then return to a cool car. I will gladly tip the valet over self-parking with very full arms any day. I believe it can be quite a walk to the self parking in some of the casino garages. Save yourself the trouble and valet.
enjoying a gondola ride
On our first evening in Las Vegas, we visited the Venetian. It's fun how, with our one year old, we were able to experience some new things in Las Vegas. This was our first time riding the gondolas through the canals at the Venetian, and I can say it was fun for the whole family. Our gondolier was fantastic, we enjoyed the scenery, and the singing topped off a lovely ride. We enjoyed the indoor ride since outside was quite hot during our trip. If you go in cooler weather, the outdoor ride would be fun as well.
After the gondola ride, we strolled through the shops and found a place to eat that had an acceptable environment for a one year old. As badly as I wanted the Yardbird Southern Table & Bar to work, it just wasn't a great place to eat with a child. We settled on dinner at I Love Burgers. The environment worked fine, but the food was just okay. Eating with a child in Las Vegas proved to be a tad tricky. Finding a family-friendly eatery with good tasting food proved to be even trickier.
Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garndens
On our first day without dad, we explored the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. This is, in my opinion, a must-see even without kids. The gardens change three times a year, and it's always fun to see what kind of creative display they come up with at the Bellagio. The best part, you can enjoy the gardens free of charge. Just walk past the lobby area, and you'll find yourself in the conservatory looking at beautiful displays of flowers and plants.
just taking it all in...
Our one year old was in awe at the fish hanging from the ceiling. He exclaimed "wow" quite a few times while walking through the garden. We enjoyed the jellyfish, turtle, fish, and mermaid that were on display. I'd love to come back once they change the gardens for fall in September.
After visiting an attraction, we drove back to our hotel for an afternoon nap. I think visiting with small children would be more difficult without your own car, because it's very far to walk between casinos in Las Vegas. You would want to stick close to your resort if you were walking with children. If anyone can clue me in to the logistics of traveling in taxis with kids and car seats that would be eye opening!
Town Square Las Vegas
Another great spot for kids in Las Vegas is the outdoor shopping area called Town Square Las Vegas. We didn't want to tackle another casino for dinner, so we left the strip for the evening. We ate at the Yard House and enjoyed the distractions on their outdoor patio. After dinner, we burned off a little steam in their park that overlooked airplanes landing at the airport.
We only went to Town Square Las Vegas for dinner, but you could spend an afternoon at their children's park. If we go again, I know we'd pass some time there. You will find a treehouse, maze, and playhouse for your children to explore! If you have a car and can get off of the strip, you might want to try this.
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay
Another great Las Vegas attraction with kids is the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. We found all of the children in LV at the aquarium. It was definitely the place to be! There were a couple of people in scuba gear cleaning the reefs, and they were waving to the kids. I heard "wow" quite a few times while staring at all of the fish and sharks. It was a neat experience. The gift shop on the way out had some great stuff too. We left with a stuffed sea turtle to remember our visit.
Again, dining with a child in Las Vegas is tricky. Many of the restaurants with great food aren't exactly family friendly. Out of ideas, we dined at the Hard Rock Cafe. Our server was great, they had awesome crayons and notebooks for the kids, and the noise helped to drown out our one year old's yelling. However, we were disappointed by the food again. It's a great place for kids, but the food leaves a lot to be desired.
we have a future drummer on our hands...
Even with mediocre food all was not lost, because we left the Hard Rock Cafe with a new pin for my collection and a "first Hard Rock t-shirt" for our son. Again, this is a great spot to see low-flying airplanes, and that is everything to a little boy!
We survived Las Vegas with a one year old!
The Bellagio gardens (free)
Venetian gondola ride
Off of the Strip:
Town Square shopping area
For Older Kids Also Try:
High Roller observation wheel at The Linq
(they even have family pricing)
Hershey's Chocolate World at New York, New York
Big Apple Roller Coaster & Arcade at New York, New York
Tournament of Kings Dinner at Excalibur
Other Free Fun:
Fall of Atlantis Fountain Show at Caesar's Palace
Volcano eruption nightly at Mirage
If we stay in Las Vegas again with our son, Mandalay Bay looks like a great place to stay with kids. The pool area has a wave pool and lazy river. You would also be within walking distance to a few other resorts and attractions that have options for kids. That area of the south strip has Excalibur, New York, New York, and the MGM. Depending on the age of your kids, you could walk to the Excalibur dinner show, New York roller coaster, and the MGM Rainforest Cafe.
Traveling with kids to Las Vegas can be tricky, but with a little effort you can make it work. You might even find some things they will love!