Traveling with kids - Pools/Hotels for Kids

Pools for Kids:

There are some great pools in Las Vegas, some of them cater to fun and family.

MGM Grand

Mike at MGM let me know about the new 6.5 acre ShangriLa pool complex. It has 5 pools (including one that is only 1.5 feet deep for little kids/toddlers). There are also three Jacuzzis, a giant waterfall a little waterfall and a lazy river ride full of squirting water jets to get you wetter on the way. For more info and pictures, go to their website here. Their website currently offers operating hours, a map and information on what pools are open.

Mandalay Bay

This is the new kid on the block. Mandalay Bay is the latest hotel from the Circus Circus folks (now Mandalay Resorts). This pool is fantastic. The biggest feature is the wave pool. This is a big beach area with a mechanism that creates waves for body surfing and splashing around. It's really something you've got to see to believe.

In addition to the wave pool, Mandalay Bay's pool area boasts a sandy beach, 11-acre tropical lagoon, water gardens with lush foliage and waterfalls, and three pools. They also have a 1/2 mile jogging track surrounding the lagoon, Surf Shop, and Surf Cafe areas. For an "overview" picture see here. It's not a very good picture. I have more pictures of Mandalay Bay and its pool area here.

Monte Carlo

The Monte Carlo offers a similar experience to Mandalay Bay with a lazy river to float in and a wave pool. It's a little bit quieter at Monte Carlo merely because it's not the latest addition to the strip. Also, the price can be rather steep at Mandalay Bay on busy weekends. This might be a good alternative if Mandalay Bay is out of your budget.

If you have Quicktime installed (or are willing to install it) you can see a 360-degree view of the wave pool and part of the lazy river float here.

Mirage

Despite all the new buzzers and bells at the newer casino hotel pool areas, I still think this is the most amazing pool area in Las Vegas. The Mirage says that they have "over one quarter mile of shoreline" in their pool area. The Mirage's pool meanders around the 11 acre pool area and everywhere you look there is a beautiful waterfall cascading into the pool. This property also has three waterslides into the pool measuring 75 feet, 22 feet and 20 feet. . Last time I checked, the Mirage also offered water aerobics classes if mom & dad want to work out while keep ing an eye on the kids in the pool area.

If you're willing to spend a little bit more money and plan on spending a full day by the pool, you can rent one of the nineteen cabanas by the pool so you can get out of the sun a little bit. Each of the cabana rentals comes with complimentary soft drinks, juice, snacks, fruit, newspapers, rafts and a color TV. Call the Mirage directly for rates as they seem to fluxuate a bit depending on the season. For pictures and information about the pool area, click here.

 

Hotels for Kids:

Some hotels are definately not catering to kids. I'd include all of the Downtown properties as well as Bellagio and the Steve Wynn properties (Treasure Island and Mirage). There are hotels where kids will have more fun than others. I hope this helps.

Circus Circus

The original "kid-friendly" hotel/casino. Circus Circus has a (drumroll please) Circus theme! (Were you surprised?) Above the casino is a circus arena where circus acts (trapeeze acts, motorcycle death riders, etc) perform on a regular basis. This area also has a midway/arcade area where your kids can do some gambling. There are the standard carnival midway games (break a balloon, win a stuffed animal, 3 darts for a dollar kind of games) as well as video games and other games of chance for the kids. In addition, Circus Circus has the Adventuredome (see activities page for more information) Theme Park for rides and more games.

I have to admit that I stayed at Circus Circus on my first trip to Las Vegas. We stayed in the Manor Rooms. We were there in October, the same week as the rodeo and it was expensive. I believe we paid $89 per night for the room and we were lucky to get it. The buffet at Circus Circus is terrible. Avoid it at all costs, even if you end up across the street at McDonalds instead. But the rooms are clean, comfortable and usually inexpensive. They advertise $29 rooms on a regular basis. If you pick up the Casino Perks book, there is a 2 for 1 room coupon that will save you the cost of the coupon book with just 2 nights in town.

Excalibur

Another Circus Circus property with many of the same amenities. However, this one is done in King Arthur style. The hotel is a giant castle with Merlin sparkling over the building from his tower every night. Inside there are strolling minstrels and themed restaurants, stores and games. I really like this theme. I have a good time when I'm there and I make a point to visit on every trip to ride the (very inexpensive) motion simulator rides in the midway downstairs. Like Circus Circus, there is an extensive arcade/midway area. It can get expensive, but what a great way to spend some fun time with your kids.

Hard Rock (for older teens)

I'm sure that every teen has at least one Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt in their collection. This is a hotel and casino attached to yet another of the Hard Rock Cafe chains. There is loud rock and roll music in the casino and guitars and clothing from rock musicians that mom and dad won't know, and those that your kids won't know. It's an interesting place that has just undergone a huge renovation. The pool area is full of young people listening to the music that is piped into the pool area. If you've got 17-19 year old kids, this is the place they'll want to hang out. Just keep an eye on your daughters.. Hard Rock can be sort of a meat-market.

Luxor

I hesitate a bit more in recommending this hotel as a kids friendly place. It is another Circus Circus property and with the Imax movies and Sega Arcade, there is a lot for a kid to do here. But it just doesn't feel like a kid place to me. However, if your child is interested in Egyptology, mummies, pharoahs, etc. this might be a good choice for you. There's a King Tut museum in the hotel that is moderately interesting. (I live near an amazing museum dealing with "all things Egyptian" so I'm hard to impress in this arena). The pool isn't anything special and it's just a little far for little kids to walk to the Showcase Mall for Gameworks/CocaCola/M&M museums.

Mandalay Bay

The new kid on the block. It is the newest of the Circus Circus family properties. The pool area is the main selling point of this hotel recommendation for kids. With the lazy river and the wave pool, it should be fun if you're going to be spending most of your time by the pool. Lots of things here could cater to teens as well, especially the House of Blues concerts if mom and dad can stand it. It's the furthest south of all the properties and across the street from nothing much. It is connected to Excalibur and Luxor by a monorail, so there are other choices for restaurants and activities without having to have a car, or get the rental car from the garage.

MGM Grand

This hotel is huge. I mean gargantuan huge. The hotel has an excellent childcare program, great pool area, and amusement park in the back. It's a good location for families. The only drawback is the size of the property. There are 5005 rooms at MGM and it can sometimes be quite a maze to get from one place to another. If you don't mind hiking from your room to the pool to the coffee shop, then MGM is for you!

Monte Carlo

With their good location near Gameworks, NYNY and the Coke Museum and their EXCELLENT POOL. They make a good choice for families to stay in. The hotel is nice, small and relatively quiet, but offers the amanities one would look for on a strip property.

Mirage/Treasure Island

I am aware that I'm contradicting myself with this one. The Mirage properties are trying to dissuade kids from being in their hotels/casinos. There are signs at the entrances that strollers are not allowed. And at the Bellagio, there is a strict policy that nobody under 18 will be allowed in unless they are a hotel guest(and can show a key) or have reservations at a restaurant or in the art gallery. That said, Mirage and Treasure Island are located center strip and have a number of activities that kids would love! (see the activities list for more information)

 


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