Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Trip Story: Vegas, Baby (and Preschooler)

Let me just say this upfront, with apologies for anyone I offend: I don't really think Vegas is a family vacation destination. To be more precise, I don't think the Vegas Strip is a family vacation destination. For all I know, there are wonderful family attractions in and around Las Vegas. There are families living in Las Vegas, after all, and I doubt that they all wander the strip with their children on weekends. Still, when I think of Las Vegas as a tourist destination, I think of the strip. And once I got over my "WTF? Are you joking?" reaction to Hubby's suggestion that we spend a night in Vegas on our way back from our visit to Zion National Park, I had to admit that there were some things on the Strip that Pumpkin would probably like.

Our original plan had been to fly in and out of Salt Lake City, and take the opportunity to explore Utah a bit. However, we burned through a lot of paid time off during Petunia's bouts of recurring fevers, and I just couldn't spare the extra days that the drive to and from Salt Lake City would add to the trip. So we decided that we'd fly in and out of Las Vegas.

We had one afternoon and evening in Vegas- and that was just enough. We decided to stay in the Excalibur, because we thought Pumpkin would like staying in a castle. And she did. Unfortunately for us, the hotel is far nicer on the outside than the inside! To be fair, we opted for the base room, not one of the recently remodeled rooms. And we only paid about $40. Of course, the sign on our wall said we should have paid far more:

Which was pretty funny, since the room literally leaked when it started raining that night. Luckily, we had a cheap cooler we'd bought for our trip to Zion:

But you don't go to Vegas to stay in your room, right?

We walked down the strip to the Bellagio to show Pumpkin the fountain show. She liked it, but was a little freaked out by the big whooshes. Petunia was pretty fascinated, too.

Pumpkin also likes trains, so we rode the monorail back from the Bellagio (well, actually from Bally's, across the street) to the MGM Grand, where we had dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. Pumpkin was impressed by the animatronic elephant near our table ("It's a REAL elephant, Mommy!") Hubby and I enjoyed the drinks.

Pumpkin wasn't impressed with hers. Too much banana. She prefers Mommy's smoothies. (Awwwww.) Personally, I think it was Petunia who got the worst deal. Pumpkin also didn't care for the fake thunder and lightening. She declared that that was scary.

After dinner, we went back to our castle....

 ... and Petunia and I went to bed.  Hubby and Pumpkin went out to see some more sights.

She was pretty impressed with the Luxor, too.

Interestingly, she also liked the real thunder and lightening associated with the storm that blew in that night. THAT wasn't scary.

All in all, our brief visit to Las Vegas with kids in tow was a success. I wouldn't go with a child much older than Pumpkin, though (she's 3.5 years old). The sleaze that covers the strip didn't even register with her. She didn't notice the rows of "magazines" at her eye level advertising girls, girls, girls or the big poster in our hotel advertising the Thunder from Down Under. She can't read yet, so she didn't notice the lewd t-shirts for sale in the souvenir shops.  The only thing I had to explain is what all the adults were doing at those machines, and that came up when we deplaned at the airport upon arrival.  Still, I think that for the most part, we'll leave Vegas to the grownups. Next time we visit a castle, it will probably have a big mouse outside.....


  1. Anonymous8:52 PM

    I'm not a huge Mouse fan, but it is definitely more suited to kids than Sin City.

    I am glad you had a good trip and were able to enjoy some of the sights!

  2. I love Vegas - I'm a major foodie and lover of warm weather. But not with kids - I totally hear you! My DH and I are in the middle of an email exchange with some old friends of ours about when we are all going to meet up again & where. The idea being thrown around currently is Vegas, sans kiddos. DH said "You never need an excuse to go to Vegas. Asking why Vegas is like asking "why should I drink beer or why should we have sex tonight?" I find him funny and charming, what can I say?

  3. We took our 8-9 yo to Vegas several times, coincident w/ work travel. She had a blast.

    We probably do more outdoorsy stuff than most families. We went hiking. We went to museums (Liberace, Atomic Testing, Hoover Dam). We went to Cirque and Penn and Teller. We went out for fantastic ethnic food and brunch buffets. We then had to hike some more to work off the calories...

    My DH spends a few weeks near Vegas every year for work so he knows where to go. That really helps us enjoy it better.

  4. I think there is a very good chance that you were in Vegas at the same time I was (Oct 15-18). If so, I was the one switching off between limping and carrying my shoes and walking barefoot, because I did not bring a single pair of sensible shoes to wear.

    I admit it. I love shoes. So much that I sacrifice comfort. Normally this would not have been a problem, had I been working and my feet had been used to being in heels all day. But they've gone soft in the 10 months since I stopped working and my feet have still not healed since we were in Vegas.

    Anyway, sounds like you did a lot of the same things we did. Loved the water show at the Bellagio and took some video just to show Rosie, who loved it too. :)

  5. @Melba- we missed you by a day! We were there on the 19th.

  6. Thanks to share with us this whole trip story. Basically my fiancĂ© and I will go there in the Christmas vacation. I heard that it’s famous for Sin, but you picture show the little truth that it’s not completely sin city.

  7. Sounds like a good time, and just the right length of time and just the right age for the kids. We went pre-kids, and though I could see that there were some things that kids would enjoy, the feel of the place (especially the strip) is just not something I want to explain to older kids.

  8. Anonymous5:30 AM

    Cloud, this is totally off-topic, but I have a question for you. I'm a frequent poster over at Moxie,and I remember a while ago (maybe even a year or more) you posted something about not being good at crafts & then recommended a book for doing crafts w/ your kids. I couldn't re-find the post. Was that you? Do you have any recommendations? We aren't crafty & are trying to prepare for winter for our 2.5 year old.
    - Erin

  9. @Erin, that was me, but the recommendation was just the Mother of All Toddler Books by Ann Douglas- and it was just general ideas, not specific projects.

    We're not crafty, either, and I generally just let day care do the crafts!

    Melba ( IS crafty- maybe you can head over to her blog and ask her for advice!

  10. I love stories about successful vacations with kids. Gives me hope. :)

  11. Anonymous8:42 AM

    @ Cloud, thanks!

    @mom2boys - we just took our 2.5 mo & 26 mo old sons on an extended (15 day) car trip across country that was like 5000 mi (round trip) w/ overnight stops to visit family & friends in 4 states. They did *beautifully* & even though hubby & I were unbelievably exhausted, we had a fantastic time. And there was no dvd player/tv in the car! Am I crazy for thinking this? But I feel like toddlers can be easier to vacation w/ than older kids.



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