It’s no surprise to the locals that Las Vegas is a great place for families come summer. With everything from saltwater shark reefs to secret gardens in the city, air-conditioned options abound when temperatures start to rise. The best spots to spend a summer day boast family friendly memories that’ll last a lifetime.
746 Snowden Ranch Road
Moapa Town, NV 89025
Price: $10 donation
Zoos are some of the happiest places on earth; there’s just one problem: You can’t cuddle the animals. Roos-N-More fixes that. Feed emus, pet a wallaroo — an insanely cute marsupial — meet a goat with an eye for exploration and a sloth who just likes to hang around. This ed-zoo-cational experience, approximately an hour outside of Las Vegas, started with one kangaroo and now boasts more than 160 animals. While there are a few open zoo days per month, it’s best to book a private tour.
The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Price: $18 for adults/$12 for children ages 5 to 12/free for children younger than 4/$15 for Nevada residents/$10 for children
The country’s only predator-based aquarium, The Shark Reef offers 14 exhibits ranging from a 2,500-gallon saltwater tank filled with jelly fish to a 2,000-gallon freshwater piranha tank. Watch the Komodo dragon, or touch the stingrays and horseshoe crabs in interactive touch pools. Before you leave, view the Shipwreck, where sharks, endangered sea turtles and sawfish will swim all around you while you stay safe and dry.
Related: Family Guide To Lake Mead
333 S. Valley View Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89107
Prices: $9.95 adult Nevada residents/$8.95 for seniors, students and military/$4.95 for children 5 to 17 years old/free children younger than 5/$18.95 for non-resident adults/$17.05 for seniors, students and military/$10.95 for children 5 to 17 years old
An oasis in the middle of the desert, Springs Preserve offers hiking trails, botanical gardens, live animal shows and interactive science and nature exhibits. The Desert Living Center promotes sustainability and education. Children may enjoy the Compost Crawl and Garbage Truck Theater while adults learn about sustainable homes, gardening and smart shopping. The Gardens Center features roses, cactus, vegetables and fruits, and an herb garden as well as cooking demonstrations showing you what to do with the herbs.
Lied Discovery Children’s Museum
833 Las Vegas Blvd. North
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Prices: $9.50 for adults/$8.50 for children and seniors
With demonstrations and programs to delight the senses, children are encouraged to touch more than 100 interactive displays at Lied Discovery Children’s Museum. Don’t cry over spilled milk during chemistry lessons in Milk Madness, and prepare to be shocked by all you’ll learn about electricity in Electrifying Encounters. Sign up your little scientist for summer camps or host his next birthday party right in the museum.
Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
3400 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Prices: $19.95 adults/$14.95 children 4 to 12/$16.95 resident adults/$14.95 children
Imagine being transported to a lush jungle in the center of the Las Vegas Strip. When you visit the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage, you will be greeted by a variety of majestic animals such as panthers, white tigers and white lions. The dolphin habitat houses a family of friendly bottlenose dolphins. You can even take part in the Trainer for a Day experience and get hands-on time with these gentle sea creatures.
Sheryl Greenblatt is a Long Island, NY native who has been living (and thawing) in Las Vegas for approximately four years now. She writes mystery novels, works as a freelance writer and is the proud mother of a six year old Beagle/Yellow Lab rescue named after Anne Rices Mother of all Vampires. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.