After receiving emails requesting this topic, I am revisiting it to include more venues. This article will include places where kids eat free, either with or without the purchase of an adult meal, and some really excellent places where families can go to have fun on a budget. If the places are more pricey, I’ll indicate that as well. * Please double-check cost and availability before visiting any site – things in this town tend to change with next-to-no notice. * So here we go on a kids’ whirlwind tour of Las Vegas….
PLACES WHERE CHILDREN EAT FREE:
- EXCALIBUR: a source tells me that at the Regal Italian Restaurant, kids eat free between 5 pm and 7 pm, with the purchase of an adult meal.
- SWEET TOMATOES: another source informed me that kids under 4 eat free every day, all day
- CHEVY’S FRESH MEX: same source mentioned that kids eat free here on Tuesdays
- TONY ROMA: up to 2 children eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.
- DENNY’S: at select locations (approximately 10 of them throughout Vegas) on TUESDAY & SATURDAY, between 4 pm and 10 pm, children eat free with the purchase of an adult meal
- The LONE STAR: on TUESDAYS, children aged 12 and under eat free from the kids’ menu
I am sure there are more, but these are the places that sources recommended. Please double check whether the offers are still valid before you head off for dinner.
PLACES TO GO, THINGS TO DO ON A SHOE-STRING BUDGET:
- THE GARDENS AT THE FLAMINGO: 733-3111, The Flamingo Hotel on the Strip. This is one of those hidden treasures that is totally amazing. Here, you can find lush gardens, 3-story waterfalls, African penguins, Chilean flamingos, Mandarin ducks, koi and so much more. More than 300 birds! Absolutely beautiful setting in a town starved for water. FREE http://www.vegas.com/attractions/on-the-strip/wildlifehabitat.html
- ETHEL M CHOCOLATE FACTORY & BOTANICAL CACTUS GARDEN: 735-2655 (Henderson). This is one of the coolest places to visit any time of year, but truly magical at Christmas, when all the cacti are decorated with lights. You can saunter through the gardens, admiring all the varieties of cacti and trees, and then stop in for a taste-test at the chocolate factory. Of course, you can visit the M&M shop and buy a supply of candy, too, or visit the gift shop and stock up on their amazing chocolates that are made on premises. It’s interesting to watch the chocolate production as well, but that ends early in the afternoons, so go during the late morning for that experience. The tour and taste-tests are FREE. Purchase is optional (but oh so delicious!)
- M&M WORLD: 736-7611, on the Strip. EVERYTHING M&M for the kid in all of us! Different items on each floor and a wonderland of M&M stuff. Amazing. Of course you’ll end up spending some cash here, but at least you can control the amount (sort of….)
- RIO: FREE SHOW IN THE SKY! Here you can see floats that literally seem to float along tracks in the ceiling of the casino. Upstairs is a great vantage point (along the railings). Well worth the visit!
- TOWN SQUARE: 6605 Las Vegas Blvd S.http://www.townsquarelasvegas.com/. You can find not only shops of all kinds with an “old world” flair (cobblestones, etc) but also a great Children’s Park, complete with a 2-story Tree house, hedge maze, stage and picnic area for families. Another one of those grand shopping areas (much like The District) unique to our town.
- MGM Casino/hotel LION HABITAT: 891-1111. You can watch lions interact with each other and their trainers through a 1 1/2 inch pane of glass! Obviously the closest you will come to these critters in most any venue. It’s FREE and a great opportunity to view these amazing creatures. When not performing, they are housed at a ranch not far from the hotel, and I have been told that sometimes they don’t want to go home! Humane treatment – limited time exposure and animals rotated on a regular basis.
- SECRET GARDEN & DOLPHIN HABITAT @ the MIRAGE: 791-7188. ok, definitely not free, but for the price of admission (children free under 3), you get to see both attractions. Here you can see 6 different species of lions: black and white, pure white tigers, snow panthers and leopards. All thanks to Siegfried & Roy. The Dolphin Habitat houses dolphins (obviously) and has an underground viewing area to view these playful critters. This also serves as a research facility to educate people about dolphins (shhh, don’t tell the kids!) An amazing place to visit, well worth the cost.
- SILVERTON AQUARIUM, Silverton Casino. Blue Diamond Rd. FREE. This amazing HUGE salt-water aquarium “will transport you to a tropical oasis where you can admire more than 4,000 tropical fish, and three species each of stingrays and sharks. Interactive feeding shows are scheduled daily at 1:30pm, 4:30pm and 7:30pm.” AND there’s a mermaid swim, too! www.silvertoncasino,com
- SPRINGS PRESERVE: 333 South Valley View Blvd, 10 am – 6 pm. Where Vegas “sprung” from. http://www.springspreserve.org/ This natural habitat (180 acres!) celebrates the birthplace of Las Vegas. Local fauna and flora are the backdrop to an amazing site within our city. On Feb. 27th, young artists can enjoy art classes for kids; on March 5th and 6th, The Springs celebrates Nevada reading week with a celebrity reader and scavenger hunt. The Preserve features museums, galleries, outdoor concerts and events, colorful botanical gardens and an interpretive trail system that meanders through a scenic wetland habitat . DEFINITELY worth a visit.
- WORLD’S LARGEST PERMANENT CIRCUS: where else but CIRCUS CIRCUS: 734-0410. Friends told me that here you can see a FREE circus, every half hour, from 11 am to midnight. Jugglers, unicyclists, trapeze artists and acrobats. Please call to verify.
- CIRCUS CIRCUS ADVENTURE DOME: rides are NOT free but what an experience! Marvin the Martian (a personal favorite) 4D special FX theater, IMAX ride, thrill-rides and games galore. THE place for kids of all ages! Call for hours of operation, reserve for birthdays or private parties/groups. This place is overwhelming! I had to include it.
- GAMEWORKS: 432-4263, 3785 Las Vegas Blvd. 10 am to midnight (weekdays), 10 am to 1 am (Saturdays). Thanks, Steve! The games start at $1.00 and you can buy hourly cards. This is a joint venture of Sega Enterprises and Universal Studio and has 200+ interactive games, racing, arcade games, pinball, air hockey, shooting games, virtual dance stations, sports-oriented games. Whew. There’s a casual dining area plus a bar for adults on the 2nd floor. And apparently Virtual Bowling is REALLY big here! Definitely not free, but a real experience!
- THE PINBALL HALL OF FAME: 3330 E Tropicana. I am not sure if this is still open, but friends have recommended it as a must-see, so it is included in this list. This place features vintage and retro games – al lour old favorites from the 1950’s to ’90’s. Play costs 25 cents + and since it’s “not for profit,” and excess revenue is donated to non-denominational charities. Well worth a check-it-out!
- CCSN PLANETARIUM & OBSERVATORY: 651-4SKY. 3200 E Cheyenne Ave, Ste. 1A. NOT free but very reasonable! Here you can “visit the stars” with fascinating children’s programs and shows. Call for program times and selections. WONDERFUL! (Cash or checks only) www.vegas.com/attractions/off_the_strip/planetarium.html
- The ZOO: ZOOLOGICAL-BOTANICAL PARK.: 647-4685. 1775 N Rancho. www.lasvegaszoo.com/ You can’t mention attractions without mentioning our Zoo. This is a place NOT known to everyone in Vegas, by any means but it’s really outstanding, according to children. It’s home to the largest collection of swamp wallabies in NA, as well as the last family of Barbary Apes in the US. It features Mowar, the Indo-Chinese tiger; NEW Canadian River otters with an underwater viewing area; fossas, the largest predator on Madagascar (link between cats/civits/mongoose); 40 endangered species; an alligator exhibit; a reptile exhibit; birds of all kinds, including conures, cockatoos, macaws and ostriches!; lions; picnic tables and concession stands.
So there you go! So much to see and do in our great city, some free, all reasonable. So enjoy the sights, and don’t forget to check out those deals on kids’ meals too! Bon appetit!