Enter, the perfect family, plus teen, vacation. Las Vegas, yes Las Vegas, America’s playground for the over worked and under paid. Over the years the Vegas resorts have revamped their adults only imagine ,and added a new motto “sure bring the whole family,” and have started to accommodate the younger crowd. So while mom and dad try to win big at the tables with lady luck, the kids can go off and have their own clean, safe fun.
For the Culture Teen
The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts
It’s a hidden treasure and a great place to go as a family. When you opt for the audio guided tour each person can move at their own pace. The audio tour even has a special kid/teen version that is specifically directed at younger people with cool commentary rather the boring adult version.
This quite little gallery holds some of most beautiful and priceless master pieces of the world. Usually loaned from private collections the gallery has been home to works such as Monet’s Masterworks, Faberge, the treasures of the Kremlin and Ansel Adams’s captivating photographs as well as contemporary celebrity portraits from Andy Warhol, just to name a few. Currently the gallery is home to “In the Master’s Hands: Picasso’s: Ceramic treasures from the estate of Pablo Picasso,” which features more than thirty ceramic pieces created by the legendary artist. This exhibit will be on display through January 14, 2008 and is sure to be a treasured memory for years to come.
Lied Discovery Children’s Museum
This has been a well kept secret in Vegas since I was a kid. It has recently gone through some renovations and modernizing and is now back on top as a cool place for kids to learn and have fun at the same time. Lied is a completely interactive museum, where everything is hands on and kid friendly. Some attractions include making and animating your own cartoon, plotting a trip on a space shuttle and performing surgery on “Stuffee” the giant stuffed Human. This is sure to be a grand slam with the entire family. Recommended for ages 5 to15-years-old.
Penske Wynn Ferrari Maserati Review at the Wynn Resort
Even if your not a car enthusiast, take the chance of a life time to get up close and personal with more than a dozen automobiles including some extremely rare and sought after cars worth millions. Some of the vehicles included are the 2003 Ferrari 360 Spider F1, the 2005 Maserati coupe GT and the 1995 Ferrari F50 just to name a few. Teens make sure your parents bring their check books because these cars are for sale, and who couldn’t use a Ferrari!
For the Fun and Games Teen
The Adventure Dome at Circus Circus
Where teens can just be themselves and have fun. The Adventure Dome Is a five acre indoor theme park, adjoined to the Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, with the largest space-frame dome in the United States…and its pink! Here the adventure seeking teen can go wild on rides, rides and more rides. My personal favorite is the Canyon Blaster, a double-loop double corkscrew roller coaster guaranteed to get your heart pumping. With an all day pass, the number of rides is unlimited… the record for consecutive rides is twenty-three. The Adventure Dome also houses a pretty awesome laser tag arena and motion machine. After, teens can make their way to the Midway for a hot dog and to try their luck on Vegas’s kid version of skill and chance, carnival style games with prizes.
Flyaway: America’s first vertical wind tunnel
Ever wished you could skydive without the plane and scary heights? At Flyaway no parachutes are necessary. This is the new quick fix for fun and excitement. Flyaway is new to vegas and not even many locals know about it. Learn how to, and then experience the awesome feeling of Skydiving which is sure to be a rush of a life time. Take lots of pictures…this is a very unique and fun side trip that everyone will enjoy.
‘Tournament of Kings’ at the Excalibur
The medieval themed tournament combines arena-style entertainment with a feast meant for a king. Join King Arthur at the Round Table as the tournament begins with a series of games, including a horse race, a jousting match, sword fighting and gladiator-style battles.
Dinner is served and includes an appetizer of “dragon’s blood” (tomato soup), is then followed by a Cornish hen, twice-baked potatoes, broccoli, a roll, soda and dessert. Keeping with the show’s medieval theme, no utensils of any kind are given. The meal was cooked to perfection and are quite filling.
The Tournament of Kings is non-stop fun, the battles are intense and the crowd frenzied – at times it’s impossible to hear anything over the sound of fists banging on tables. It’s a raucous good time for the whole family.
For the Nature Teen
Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
This Shark Reef is amazing and is always a huge success with kids and adults alike. Here you can come “face-to-face with some of the earth’s most fascinating creatures.” Walk by, over and through 1.6 million gallons of sea-water containing over 2,000 assorted fish and marine life including sharks of all kinds, giant sting rays, sea turtles, jelly fish and rare golden crocodiles, just to name a few. I have seen it six times and am still captivated by the beauty and mystery of these graceful creatures.
John Wayne Sunset Dinner Ride at the Sagebrush Ranch
Grab your cowboy hat and discover the cowboy within as you take a sunset ride old west style at the Sagebrush Ranch. This is a great family experience, that even your nature teen, will surely enjoy. The Sagebrush Van will pick you up at your hotel and take you on a pleasant ride north of the strip. Once you arrive you are greeted with a “howdy do” by the ranches friendly staff. They provided a short riding lesson and then it’s “off you go” out on the trail. You can almost feel the history of the trail as you walk the same path as many indians and adventurers before you. As they say at the Ranch “this is the real Nevada.” After a two hour ride you are welcomed back at the ranch to enjoy a cozy campfire and steak dinner with huge baked potato, corn on the cob, and of course dessert. Yea haw!
Spring Valley Ranch State Park
Located in the beautiful Red Rock Canyon National conservation area, surround by the breath taking Wilson range. It is a 520 acre oasis that once provided water for the Paiute Indians and Early settlers to the area. It was developed into a combination working ranch and luxurious retreat by a string of owners who have given it a long and interesting history. Past owners include Chester Lauck of the comedy team “Lum & Abner,” German actress Vera Krupp, and millionaire Howard Hughes. Today visitors can walk through this historic site and see what life on the ranch was like. Spring Valley ranch is the perfect place to bring a picnic, hike and spend the day amongst the beautiful and historic surroundings or spend and evening under the stars listening to music from rock to jazz at the summer concert series.
For the daring Teen: Unique experiences you wont find anywhere else
Madame Tussauds Interactive Wax Museum at the Venetian
Everyone loves celebrities, from Don King to Julia Roberts, Madame Tussauds displays more than one hundred intricately designed wax replicas of well-known celebrities from the world of film, sports, television and music. Each wax figure is so detailed, you’ll have a difficult time distinguishing them from the other guests at Madame Tussauds.
Recently Madame Tussauds has made her museum interactive. In a series of new experiences, guests can participate in a variety of activities, from going to the hoop against Shaq at Staples Center to performing a routine in front of American Idol’s Simon Cowell . Guests can be serenade on stage with Elvis or play “Celebrity Poker” alongside Ben Affleck, a Vegas regular. Other interactive celebrity likenesses include George Clooney, Hugh Hefner, Dale Earnhardt and the members of the blue man group. Don’t forget your camera!
Haunted Vegas Tour & Show
Here Vegas takes ghost hunting to the next level. First get introduced to your tour guides as they identify more than 21 places where paranormal activity has been documented in and around Vegas including the “Motel of Death” where more than one celebrity has died. Then grab a good seat for the hit show “Haunted Vegas” where meeting some interesting characters is a guarantee.
The Star Trek Experience at the Hilton
I know what you’re thinking…I can just see it now every teen saying “No dad I don’t want to go look at a Star Trek Museum! ” But with a little blackmail and a promise of mall money your sure to convince them and once in the door they’ll see its so much more. The Star Trek Experience is amazing! Gear up your flare for the dramatics and just have fun with it. The Experience is what they call a 4D interactive experience, immersing you into the futuristic world where you can see, feel, touch and live the 24th century. There are live actors and phenomenal special effects that really make you feel like your one of the crew members fighting against the Borg and getting “assimilated.” After, make sure to stop by Quarks Bar and Restaurant for a Hamboger and Leeta Shake. Also the Famous Ferengi Flat Bread is to die for!
For the Hungry Teen
House of Blues at the Mandalay Bay
is like being transported down south to a street somewhere in New Orleans. Watch and listen to live music and enjoy some of the best food the south has to offer only with a vegas twist. $15 or less
America at the New York New York
This is a great casual restaurant straight from the streets of New york, this is a great place to eat lunch or a light dinner. The Philliy Cheese steak and the All American burgers are the Best! price range: $15-or less
Burger Bar at the Mandalay Bay
Sit in a retro style bar where you can build your own burger as you choose the ingredients. For desert have a Sweet Burger! which are halved doughnuts with chocolate and frosting. Price range: $15 or less
Cafe Lago at Caesars Palace
open twenty-four hours surround yourself in a contemporary Italian lake setting for a great dining experience. Featuring a diverse, international à la carte menu as well as complete breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets. There is something for everyone at cafe Lago. $15 to $25.
‘Witchcraft Sandwich shop in the MGM Grand offers a mix of breakfast pastries, hot and cold sandwiches and anytime sweets. Taste sandwich offerings include classic sandwiches, such as the Reuben and the turkey club as well as some creative styles like the signature warm house-roasted pork loin sandwich. Sweets include specialties such as sticky buns, seasonal fruit muffins and scones and a variety of cream’wich cookies. $15 or less
Pasta Pirate located at the California Hotel & Casino on Freemont St. this is a local favorite with a coastal cannery setting. You can watch your meal being prepared. The homemade pasta and seafood are to die for and at very affordable prices… you’ll just fall in love too. Reservation suggested $15 to $25.
For the Sleepy Teen
The best times to be had for the whole family are in a place with the richest and coolest environment, ask any kid where they would like to stay and no doubt it will be a themed resort. And in Vegas we take theme to a whole-nother level.
Circus Circus “Welcome to the Big Top”
the largest permanent indoor circus in the world. A classic hotel & casino and a great place to bring your kids The world-famous main casino floor is always jumping. Overhead, live circus acts: acrobats, trapeze artists, clowns, jugglers, perform around the clock. A carnival midway offers games of skill and chance for all ages. This place is sure to make you want to drop everything and join the Circus.
Excalibur “The Camelot of Vegas”
With its Tournament of Kings and Fantasy Faire Midway, the Excalibur caters to the child in all of us. Arthurian touches extend to every aspect of this spectacular hotel and casino, from the numerous swords and shields adorning the walls to ornate stained glass. The spirit of the Middle Ages is alive and well, with majestic turrets at the entryway, iron chandeliers and a variety of flags bearing an assortment of family crests.
Luxor “The Newest Wonder of the World”
Located at the south end of the Strip, the Luxor prides itself on offering all the luxuries that a pharaoh could want, such as excellent restaurants, renowned entertainment, amazing attractions and even the world’s brightest beam of light. Perhaps no other hotel in existence has as mystical an air as the Luxor. The attractions floor is an exciting place to catch the latest in cutting-edge film and ride technology, featuring a motion simulator, the two-story Games of the Gods video arcade and the spectacular IMAX Theatre with a giant 68 feet screen. Following the Luxor theme, there also is a re-creation of King Tut’s Tomb.
New York-New York “Everyone Love New York”
New York, New York allows visitors to take a bite of the Big Apple and enjoy Broadway caliber entertainment and Coney Island fun. The Roller Coaster is guaranteed to thrill as it tears around the front of the casino at 67 mph. The Coney Island amusement center is complete with arcade games, bumper cars and laser tag.
All these hotels have awesome arcades and country fair style games where you can win prizes as well as bone rattling thrill rides. While the adults are busy rolling the dice the kids can play games. These places also have awesome pools areas, many with lazy flowing rivers great for tubing. This is a must for any kid or kid at heart.
Finding a vacation that everyone will enjoy is always a challenge, finding a vacation that even your teen will like… sometimes impossible. Vegas is a bright and shimmering oasis in the desert and in the town that never sleeps there is always something to do, see and taste. With the right variety of places to choose from, there is bound to be something for everyone…did I mention that Vegas has about ten malls many right in the middle or near the strip! So pack up the mini van, strap in the kids and grab the hubby and make the next family vacation, Vegas or bust!
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