Since we had two little kids with us, we were very conscious in picking out family appropriate activities that they would enjoy. A majority of our day was spent poolside, so we just needed to entertain them in the evenings. This review is a combination of our activities from our two Vegas trips: taking place pre and post our Orlando vacation.
We took Zoe and Felix to three different shows. The first is probably the most obvious as far as kid-friendly shows on the strip: Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur hotel.
Tournament of Kings is a dinner show that's very similar to Medieval Times. We had planned to do Medieval Times in Orlando, but since Florida has such an abundance of kid-friendly activities, we opted to do this type of show in Vegas. Tournament of Kings and Medieval Times are so similar, it just wasn't worth doing both. There is only so much staged jousting that one can handle in a vacation. If I had to pick, Medieval Times is the superior experience, especially with its pre-show activities like viewing the stables and walking through an exhibit of medieval torture devices. Medieval Times just gives you more for your money.
Tournament of Kings was approximately 55.00 a ticket and we purchased them on the same day without any problems. I believe the show has been running since Excalibur opened. I know I saw it in the early 90's. The arena is split into sections named for different countries. We were seated in the Hungary section, rooting for the Hungarian knight; who did not win, but was a "good knight" and performed admirably.
Dinner consisted of things that could be eaten without utensils. We had tomato soup in a faux metal bowl, a Cornish Game Hen, potato wedges, broccoli florrets, dinner rolls, and for dessert, an apple pastry. I learned on the official website that Excalibur is the largest purchaser of Cornish Game Hens in the world! Take that fact for when you compete on Jeopardy. The adults thought that the food was okay, but the kids picked at it. They were not impressed. I had read that there was a kid menu, but when we asked, we were told there wasn't. I think the kids only ate the potato wedges and bread. It was okay though, because they were given sodas in cups with flashing lights and they were enthralled by the show.
The show is silly, but you just have to get into the spirit of it. You need to cheer for your knight and boo for the bad knight. You have to participate. The more we were into it, the more the kids loved it. I thought I was going to be hoarse from cheering.
We got to meet the queen and the "evil knight" after the show.
The following night, we took them to their first Cirque Du Soleil show, The Beatles: Love at Mirage.
The Beatles: Love is probably the biggest production show that they have seen. Dan and I have both seen it multiple times, and it's by far, my favorite Cirque Du Soleil production. Zoe and Felix loved the high-energy parts, especially the rollerskating bit. They were wowed by the costumes and stunts. It's impossible to not be awe-struck by this show. However, sitting next to them, I noticed the slower parts of The Beatles: Love. It was never slow enough to completely lose their interest, but I could feel them getting antsy. They were only six and eight at the time, so I think if they had been a few years older, it would have been a better experience. As a bonus, they both loved the music and sang, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," repeatedly for the remainder of the vacation.
Staying at Luxor, we were inundated with advertisements for Blue Man Group. Zoe and Felix were very curious about the show: Why are they blue? This is another show that Dan and I had both already seen, but Blue Man Group is always evolving with new acts. I had previously seen maybe half of bits.
Blue Man Group was the best of the three shows for Zoe and Felix. It had very few slow moments and was mostly very-high energy. The kids love music and music is a huge element of Blue Man Group. The end feels like a rock concert, which the kids really loved. The sound is extremely loud, so make sure to ask for complimentary ear plugs. They are needed. I think the weirdness factor (They're blue and they don't speak), kept the kids entertained. This show is a multi-sensory feast.
Beyond shows, we also took Zoe and Felix to one of our favorite Vegas places, The Pinball Hall of Fame. The Pinball Hall of Fame has pinball and arcade machines from as early as the 1920's. The best part is you can actually play the games and the money that they collect is given to charity. It was funny to see the kid's reactions to the old games. I think they were curious, but also confused. Technology is such a huge part of their lives, that it's hard for them to grasp even games from our childhood.
We also love the Bass Pro Shop in Las Vegas. Bass Pro Shops are always over-the-top, but the Vegas location takes it to another level. The kids had never been to a Bass Pro Shop ( they're from Sweden and there is nothing remotely like this in Sweden )and I think it might have been the most outrageous spectacle that they witnessed in Vegas.
We didn't have time to squeeze it all in, but if you're planning a family trip to Vegas, I highly recommend venturing off the strip to Red Rock Canyon or The Valley of Fire. For older kids, The Atomic Testing Museum is part of the Smithsonian and a great place to learn about an important part of our History. Bodies: The Exhibition at Luxor is also a good pick to give your kids a physiology lesson, as long as they're not squeamish! These are just a few ideas. Although I realize that the push to make Vegas a family destination never caught on, it is still filled with plenty of kid friendly activities and it's easy to avoid those geared towards adults.