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  • No registration required.  Most casinos let you play for free with fake money, but there's a catch: They make you register an account first.   That's not just a hassle: after you register you can expect them to badger you by email trying to get you to deposit real money.  But Bovada lets you play right away without forcing you to register an account.  Just close any registration boxes that appear, and then you can play without registering.  Here, try it.
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  • Works on Macs.  The play-in-browser games are MacOS compatible!  Before Bovada, Mac users were pretty much out of luck for gambling online, even for free-play.  Not any more.

Bovada's not perfect, but there's no better site serving most of the U.S.

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Things for Kids to Do in Las Vegas

Last update: November 2021

First off, know that Vegas is not a great place for kids, because the sexual themes are in your face everywhere and impossible to avoid:
  • Ad trucks.  They drive up & down the strip constantly for no other reason to display large photographic ads for call girls and sexy shows.
  • Scantily-clad casino workers.  In the casino, which you'll have to walk through to get to the hotel elevator, you may see models in lingerie dancing on the bars or even dealing the games.  And at some casinos the cocktail waitress outfits leave little to the imagination.
  • Nearly-naked street performers.  Along with the street performers dressed up as various characters who let the tourists take pictures with them for a couple of bucks, there are women whose costumes are something like Sexy Cop or Sexy Showgirl, often completely topless except for a small piece of tape over the nipples.  These performers walk up and down the strip and throughout the downtown area and you're almost certain to see them.
  • Ads on the street.  People stand on the sidewalks with a stack of picture ad cards for call girls and hand them out all day.  Passersby take them, not knowing what they are, and then when they see the ad and they're not interested, they rudely just throw the cards on the ground rather than throw them away properly, so the ads litter the sidewalk, and are very easy to see by kids.  There are also kiosks everywhere offering free ad magazines advertising call girls.
That said, if you must bring your kids, here are some things for them to do.

Area 15

Area 15 is a massive art and entertainment complex near the strip.  Prices below are for adults, kid pricing is often cheaper.  Offerings include:

...and more.


Thrill Rides & Roller Coasters

There are so many thrill rides and roller coasters on the Vegas Strip that we have a special page about them.  But here's the summary:

On top of the Stratosphere Hotel Tower (see the Strat's ride info page)

  • Big Shot.  Shoots you straight up at 4G's, while the Earth disappears below you.  Probably the most popular ride in Vegas.  Minimum height 48".  All the Strat's rides are $12, except the SkyJump which is $99.  You'll also pay $10 to $16 to get to the top of the tower.
  • Insanity.  You go around in circles like a merry-go-round, except that while that happens, you're being dangled 1000 feet above the Vegas Strip.  Minimum height is 48".
  • X Scream. A seesaw-like contraption that takes you out over the edge of the tower, hovering hundreds of feet over the ground.  Height requirement is 48 to 80 inches.
  • SkyJump.  Sky dive off the tower to the ground, using braked guide wires instead of a parachute.  Pricey at $99, but what an experience.  Age 14-17 need a parent or guardian signature.
Downtown:
  • Slotzilla Zip Line.  Ride a zip line right under the Fremont Street Experience—800 feet at speeds up to 35mph.  Buy tickets here.
Circus Circus (see Circus Circus' ride info page)
  • El Loco.  An awesome coaster with a 90-foot drop and 1.5 G's, drawing roller coaster enthusiasts from all over.  Replaced the Rim Runner.
  • Canyon Blaster is the only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster on the planet.  It drops 90 feet and hits 55mph over a 2,000 foot long track, and lasts 1:45.
  • Chaos is a three-dimensional tilt-a-whirl, tilting, spinning, and flipping riders at the same time.  No two rides are the same. (review at Vegas.com)
  • Inverter keeps you upside-down and staring at an upcoming wall of concrete for a full four seconds before turning you right-side up again.  The ride is a generous two minutes during off-peak hours. (review at Vegas.com)
  • Sling Shot is Circus Circus' answer to the Stratosphere's Big Shot, shooting you straight up a column at 4 G's.
  • Rim Runner is the only indoor flume in the world, featuring a 60-foot drop which will soak you but good.  Closed in 2013.
Other roller coasters on the Strip:
  • Big Apple Coaster at New York New York.  Casino Player magazine says: "At two minutes and 45 seconds, it's easily the longest-lasting ride in Las Vegas. Top speed is 67 mph and the biggest drop is 144 feet, but what keeps everyone coming back for more is the insane 540-degree spiral, not to mention the fact that it takes place over a pretty solid replica of New York Harbor.  If this ride doesn't put you in a 'New York State of Mind', nothing will."

Game Centers

  1. Rex Center.  Mini golf, Go karts, Laser tag, Rock Climbing, Axe throwing
  2. Round 1Arcade, bowling, billiards, darts, karaoke, ping pong, indoor sports.
  3. Battle Blast Laser Tag
  4. HyperX Esports Arena:  30,000 square feet, $15/hr., $50/day pass.
  5. Press Start Gaming, e-gaming center
  6. John's Incredible Pizza Co.  Admission gets you access to the pizza buffet and rides.  Games are à la carte.  Reviews are mixed, and website is a mess, especially for the lack of pricing.

Traditional Video Arcades & Pinball

The best place is the Pinball Hall of Fame (4925 Las Vegas Blvd. South), with over 150 pinball games and over 50 arcade games.  Here's an incredible virtual walkthrough of the floor.

Game Nest's games are all on free-play, pricing is per hour (e.g. $10/hr, $30/day).

Below is my dated (2010) list of video arcades.

Video Arcades

Number of games at each place


Where is it?
Video
Games
Pinball
Coin-op
Carnival &
Novelty Games
Carnival Games
w/live attendant
Air Hockey
Virtual Reality
Notes
Circus Circus
North Strip
116
5
83*
28
6
0
Free 10-minute circus shows every 30 minutes.  Also has the original Space Invaders and Qix.
Excalibur


South Strip
44
1
67*
18
5
1
Also has the Big Apple roller coaster next door.
New York New York
48
1
73*
1
0
1
Cheapest video game is 50¢.  Others cost $1 or $2.  Note that the Sporting House Grill also in NYNY sometimes sets their games to free-play, call 702-740-6766 to check. The NYNY coupon books sometimes has a coupon for $10 of free games at other times.
GameWorks
Shopping center 3mi. S. of strip 130

0
69*
0
3
3
Also has bowling + billiards. All games work on gamecard credit.  You can get "all-you-can-play" cards. Check the website for deals, & Google "GameWorks las vegas coupons" to find the ever-changing offers.
* Earn tickets to redeem for prizes.  •  Survey conducted November 2010.  Identical units of the same video game count towards the total, but identical carnival games don't.

Get pictures with Spiderman, Sponge Bob, etc.

There are a number of street performers on the strip dressed up in costumes who take pictures with tourists for tips.   A dollar or two is a standard tip.  But be warned, some of them are dressed as characters like Sexy Cop or Sexy Showgirl, being essentially topless, with just a small piece of tape over the nipples.

The best place to find the street performers is near the giant Coke bottle, just north of the MGM Grand.  You never know who's going to be working, but today there was Spiderman, Sponge Bob, Buzz Lightyear, Pikachu, and, because I made a rare appearance, the original Willy Wonka.


Children's Park in Town Square 

Children's Park in Town Square

Free park features a tree house with slides, a hedge maze, pop-jet fountain, merry-go-round, children's theatre for storytelling, and more.  It's about a mile south of Mandalay Bay, and both the Deuce and Strip/Downtown Express buses go straight there.  See their website.


Lied Discovery Children's Museum

From their website: "Features over 100 hands-on exhibits in the arts, sciences, nature, music and humanities, traveling exhibition galleries, an early childhood pavilion and an eight-story science tower.  Our mission is to provide a vibrant and engaging environment, through exhibits and programs, where children and families from economically and culturally diverse backgrounds actively participate in playful learning environments."  $9.50 adults, $8.50 children.  In downtown at 833 Las Vegas Blvd. North.


Free things to see, not kid-specific

I've got a page of 97 free things to see in Vegas. They're not specific to kids, but there are lots of things there that are interesting to both kids and adults.  See that page for the full list, but here are some of the highlights:

Bellagio Fountains.  The best free entertainment in town.  A water fountain system in the pond in front of Bellagio shoots water into the air in a variety of patterns, choreographed to music.  Shows begin at noon on the weekends and 3:00pm M-F.  The show happens every half hour until 8:00pm, and then every 15 minutes through midnight.

Mirage Volcano & Rainforest.  "Every fifteen minutes from dusk to midnight, flames shoot into the night sky, spewing smoke and fire 100 feet above the waters below and transforming a tranquil waterfall into streams of molten lava. The volcano at The Mirage has been Las Vegas' signature attraction ever since the resort opened in 1989. The show is free to the public.  And inside The Mirage's front entrance, you'll find a lush and verdant indoor rainforest housed under a 100-foot-high dome. Palm trees reach 60 feet above cascading waterfalls. Lagoons meander through a forest of rich tropical flora including bird of paradise trees, orchids and bromeliads. Woven into this waterscape is an artist's palette of beautifully colored, delicately arranged tropical flowers enveloped in natural sunlight. Water mists the area lightly throughout the day to enhance the atmosphere and help keep the plants cool. Six full-time gardeners spend over 240 hours each week to maintain the more than 100 different types of plants in the atrium. Over 300 fresh orchids and 1000 bromeliads grace the walkways." (from the Mirage's website)

Moving statues at Caesars Palace.  At the very end of the Forum Shops at Caesars is a free show with large, moving statues acting out a short play, running every hour on the hour.  It's nothing to write home about but it is free, and the kids will probably like it.

Viva Vision overhead video show.  In downtown Vegas there's a huge metal canopy over Fremont Street which is essentially a massive video screen, over five football fields long, and filled with over 12.5 million computer-controlled LED lights.  There are free animated shows every hour on the hour, starting at sundown and ending at midnight.  It's easy to find: just go to Fremont Street and look up.  If you're on the Strip just hop on the Deuce or Strip/Dowtown Express bus which goes straight there.  There are also free bands playing on Fremont Street, and some of them are pretty good.  (Visit the official website.)


Things to do, not kid-specific

I have a massive list of things to do in Vegas, sorted by price.  It's not kid-specific, but there's lots of stuff there that kids of all ages will enjoy.


Kids can't even watch gambling in the casino

Note that casinos don't want any kids on the gaming floor, even though they force you to go through the casino to get to your room.  So basically, when the kids are in tow, just keep moving.  They can't even sit down at a slot machine, even if they're not playing, and even just standing around in the casino is frowned upon.  And incidentally, the gaming age in Vegas is 21, so young adults on the floor can expect to get carded.


Babysitters

When you need some time away from the kids, check out my babysitter page.


Did I miss something?  Let me know!


Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

You can play Bovada's games (below) right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's the mean reason Bovada is the only online casino that gets advertising space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.

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