When our two oldest children were only six-years-old and nine-months-old, we had to make a move from California to Rhode Island, courtesy of the United States Navy. I might add that our third child was on the way, due just weeks after our youngest was to have her first birthday. Thankfully, the Navy gave us more than a month to make the trip. They packed up our belongings and gave us plenty of money with which to pay for gas and stay in hotels along the way. We decided that a fun way to begin our move across country was by making an initial stop in sunny Las Vegas. It was early October, and we knew we were heading toward cold temperatures and a long winter in New England. This could be sort of a last hurrah for us and our children as we basked in the sun and enjoyed the pool and the many attractions in Las Vegas. To top it off, my parents met us there, so not only did we have a bit of a mini-family reunion, my husband and I also got some much needed time alone while the grandparents baby-sat our children.
Las Vegas is primarily known as an adult playground with its casinos, bars, clubs, and nighttime shows; yet if they avoid these places, there are still plenty of things to do for families with small children. We decided to splurge and stay at the Mirage Hotel and Casino.
At the time, the Mirage was famous for the Siegfried and Roy show with its white tigers, as well as the Cirque de Soleil. We took our children to see both these shows and they were delighted. We also found the hotel to have several restaurants, many of which were kid-friendly, and a variety of shops, fountains, and other things to see. Each room in the hotel was brightly decorated with jungle animals, flowers, and other colorful objects on the bedspreads and curtains. But outside the hotel in the rear courtyard were an amazing array of pools, fountains, waterfalls, and palm trees. Tables, lounge chairs, and umbrellas were everywhere, as were small areas of perfectly groomed grass, and of course, flowers. There were flowers around every corner; tropical flowers such as birds-of-paradise, hibiscus, and gardenias. The color was almost overwhelming to the senses. We spent hours out under the umbrellas, playing in the pool, napping in the shade, basking in the sun. It seemed that every few moments or so, a waiter would come to see if we would like something to eat or drink. We ordered sandwiches, sodas, pina coladas and ice cream. We stayed in the sun until the end of the day, and then we visited the dolphin pools nearby where a dolphin had just given birth. We were able to stand and watch the mother dolphin as she swam with her baby.
During the day, when were were not walking along the strip, wondering in and out of the world famous hotels and casinos, we visited many of the stores, from major department stores to small specialty shops. We were amused that nearly every establishment, from the exclusive stores to fast food restaurants and convenience stores, all had slot machines. We made our way down the strip and found Circus Circus, where we ended up spending the remainder of our time. Circus Circus is a hotel and casino, but it also has an ongoing circus above the crowds below. There are trapeze artists, tight wire walkers, and clowns who perform antics for anyone who might be watching. There is a safety net between the gymnasts and the crowd below. On the second floor, which is open, so visitors can still watch the circus, children will find countless booths for playing games and winning stuffed toys and games. We found that unlike most of the fairs and game halls we had visited, Circus Circus wants its customers to win. Our six-year-old son won an armful of stuffed animals before our time that day was finished. When it was time to leave Las Vegas, our car was fuller than it had been upon leaving California!
All in all, Las Vegas can be a fun spot for children of any age!