Smoky casinos, massive crowds and bass-thumping nightclubs. Glittering lights and the 24-hour dazzle of the world-famous Strip. That’s one side of Sin City. But not far from the Strip is a very different side of Las Vegas: suburban communities with sprawling parks, winding walking paths and bike trails made for exploring. Vegas has a small-town feel and sense of community that I appreciate, and the mild weather, sunny skies and affordable cost of living make it an ideal place for families.
I’ve called Las Vegas home for most of my life and my own memories of growing up here are sweet: roller skating, swim parties, county fairs and family trips to Mount Charleston to play in the snow each winter. After my husband and I had kids — three-year-old Simone (whose social calendar is busier than my own!) and three-month old Mason — I realized that Vegas is still a great place for children.
Here are some of our favorite Vegas to-dos with little ones in tow:
Indoor play – It can get pretty hot in Vegas in summer, but that doesn’t stop my children from being active. Vegas has lots of indoor play gyms. We like Saturday mornings at Run Plus Fun, an indoor gym in the nearby suburb of Henderson. It’s got slides, a ball pit and a dozen other things that require sprinting, jumping and diving, plus comfy couches, a wide-screen television and free Wi-Fi for parents. Simone runs wild with her preschool friends, while I catch up with other moms over coffee or browse the Net. Similar options that also get a thumbs-up from Simone are Child’s Play on the west side of town and my personal favorite, Rock & Roll Kids, which combines play and exercise with pulsing Top 40 music.
Outdoor shopping centers – In Vegas, most outdoor malls are family- (and pet-) friendly. Some also have play areas with carousels and splash pads. Town Square, a local’s favorite, is high on our list. Simone loves movie matinees at the theater and the playground is the hottest ticket in town for the five-and-under crowd. A new option is the weekend Farmer’s & Artisan Market at Tivoli Village in Summerlin, less than 20 minutes from the Strip. At The District, Simone watches movies in the park and goes trick-or-treating at the annual Halloween extravaganza.
Learning fun – A massive two-story structure called the Multi-Generational Center offers affordable classes, ranging from mommy-and-me cooking to swimming and computer lessons (drop-in classes, too). Simone is a regular here — she most recently took a tumbling class — and little Mason will be starting a Gymboree class soon. The Springs Preserve has museums, galleries and seasonal events focused on sustainability. Then there’s the Lied Discovery Museum in historic downtown. Simone’s usual: encasing herself in a giant bubble with the help of a museum staffer! The museum is such a Las Vegas staple, that I went there on field trips when I was a kid.
Read more about Las Vegas in Four Seasons Magazine.
Erica Johnson-McElroy is Director of Public Relations at Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, where she oversees public relations and social media for the property. Erica earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Spelman College and a Master’s of Journalism from the Northgate Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Four Seasons, she worked for R&R Partners, an integrated communications agency, and as a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun Newspaper. Erica lives in Henderson near Las Vegas with her husband, Tim McElroy, and their children, Simone and Mason.
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