Our spring kicked off with a trip to Las Vegas just us three, my husband, myself and our two and a half year old. Visiting a city as busy and as adult-centric as Las Vegas, we prepared our itinerary a little more rigid than we normally would. As a couple who had frequented Las Vegas often prior to becoming parents, we knew a couple of things to avoid once we had our little guy in tow. Those things we avoided namely being -
Now that we’ve covered a couple of the things NOT to do with a toddler in Las Vegas, let’s talk about all of the things you CAN do. We visited Friday through Monday and we still didn’t do EVERYTHING that was available to us. We had a packed, fun-filled four days. You just have to know what’s available. Below are our favorites and extra suggestions!
This was by far our favorite. I know, I know, you should save the best for last but I wanted to start our trip here because I knew it'd be epic to Grey and so I found it fitting to start the post here too. If you have any Marvel fans or pirate fans in your brood, you'll want this at the top of your list.
- Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N
Located inside Treasure Island hotel and casino, this has to be one of the most well done attractions on the Strip. Disney quality, clean, interactive and SO fun. It was worth the higher end ticket price.
- Pirate Ship
No longer a show, it's still cool to take the kids outside to see the massive pirate ship in the water on the property.
- Pirate Shop
Grey LOVED perusing this shop and we ended up purchasing pirates gold, a really cool faux leather treasure chest and pirate guns for play battle that he enjoyed doing with daddy throughout our entire trip.
Showcase Mall, NYNY Hotel and Casino (and all the sugar)
- M&M World
When I asked Grey what he wanted to do when we went to a Las Vegas, he replied with "get a candy treat". We don't do much sugar at home, so he knows when we travel he normally gets to choose something. Boy or boy was it an OVERLOAD of options. The four story, 28,000 square foot M&M World has ENDLESS candy and merchandise options to please any age 1-100. Grey walked away with a small cup of multicolored milk chocolate M&M's and a lollipop.
- Hershey's Chocolate World
As if that wasn't enough of a toddler sugar high, Hershey's Chocolate towers over the strip directly across the street inside the famous New York New York Hotel and Casino. It boasts a S'Mores bar, milkshake shop, cookie counter and sections devoted to all of their famous candies. Since little man had gotten to choose M&M's, we opted for daddy and Grey to share a chocolate covered strawberry here. For us with dairy intolerance, there was one option by a high end Hershey's partner that was high quality dark chocolate and dairy free! So I was pleased to see that. The NYNY Hotel is also home to a thrilling roller coaster fun for the older age kids.
We headed into Caesar's at the end of day 2 for dinner because there is a Smashburger for us gluten free and dairy free travelers! A tip: Download the Find Me Gluten Free App, it lets you know of safe Gluten Free restaurants in your area and shows you real time reviews. After dinner we strolled through the Forum Shops and found the following attractions to be great for kids.
- Caesar's Palace Fall of Atlantis Animatronic Show
This was under construction on this trip, but we have seen this before and Grey would have LOVED it. A perk? It's free!
This giant 50,000 gallon aquarium is also a free way to relax, take in the shops and let the kids watch the colorful fish swim while you get a breather.
- Trevi Gelato
This gelato stand, located by the Forum Shops replica of the Trevi Fountain, offers many dairy free flavors! We enjoyed bowls of strawberry gelato after a scrumptious dinner and all of our walking.
An oasis in the desert, when I think Mandalay Bay I think of sun, water and great shows. For littles the thing to do here is the aquarium!
Shark Reef Aquarium -
With over 2,000 species of fish and animals this aquarium is a must see. You can even interact by feeding sting rays, shark or turtles in their Aquarist for a Day program.
Another favorite! We were blessed with a beautiful 75 degree sunny day and it was the PERFECT day to see animals, enjoy some iced drinks and let Grey run out energy in the sunshine.
Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat -
Created by Siegfried and Roy (who we got to hang with in the garden on our last trip!) you can come face to face with nature's most beautiful and intelligent animals in this serene habitat. Grey LOVED seeing the lions and got to see a tiger roar, which basically made his day. The multiple gift shops also helped us grow our animal and book collections, haha. A plus: they sell Usborne books IN the park! We LOVE those!
The Volcano! -
Seriously cool and one of Grey's favorite memories, the Volcano erupts each night at 8, 9 and 10. A little late for little ones, but we caught the earliest show post dinner and headed back to bed after. It only lasts a few minutes, is located in the waters outside the Mirage Hotel and Casino and is seriously worth getting a good spot for.
All the fun of a day at the circus. Grey didn't end up wanting to do as much here as we had thought, but we still spent about two hours here after naptime and got to fill part of an afternoon!
With games and rides for all ages, the Adventuredome is a large indoor theme park. You can see a lot of the Adventuredome in our highlight video. The best rides for tots? The plane ride, carousel and our favorite - the hot air balloons!
The Midway -
A bit pricey per game, it was fun to choose our favorites and play traditional boardwalk style games!
Circus Acts -
Another free activity, the midway level of Circus Circus presents live acrobats, jugglers and more throughout the day! Grey loved sitting in the stands and taking in a short show tailored for shorter attention spans.
I wanted to book end the post with two great locales, especially you boy mamas. All things castles and knights, this was the first place that made Grey gasp in excitement when we arrived to the Strip. He's in a knight and dragon phase and he couldn't wait to explore the big white, blue and red castle. He's now asking if our next vacation can be visiting a REAL castle. So we're working that out, haha.
Tournament of Kings -
One of the coolest dining experiences on the Strip, and one of the most kid-friendly, Tournament of Kings showcases knights on horses, jousting battles and delicious fare you eat with your hands. And a plus? They can make the entire meal gluten AND dairy free if you speak to them about your allergies while making your reservation.
The Fun Dungeon -
Similar to Circus Circus' Midway, we preferred Excalibur's Fun Dungeon between the two arcades. It felt cleaner. And while the games were just as pricey, Grey was able to play two games on his on where he won stuffed animals, thus making his night!
The rest of our trip was spent shopping the Grand Canal Shoppes of the Venetian, playing with our new toys at the resort and taking in the lights as we drove back to our resort each night.
Have you visited Las Vegas with little ones? What DO's or DON'T's would you add?
Mr. Charming and I have visited Las Vegas many times. Especially last year, when we spent almost the entire month of September there for our Anniversary and the Food Allergy Blogger Conference. It's also where we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. It's only a four hour drive from our house and provides tons of entertainment.
Although we arn't drinkers or gamblers, (I know a lot of you are thinking, what else IS there in Vegas?) we enjoy seeing the fun themed hotels, the shopping, (oh the shopping!) and all of the yummy eateries. There's actually a lot to see and do, even if you aren't into traditional "What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas" antics.
Initially, finding restaurants here that are Paleo or gluten-free proved to be more difficult than some of our other West Coast travels, but I have picked out some of my favorite places, as well as some of my favorite sight-seeing spots that can take you away from the "sin" side of the city, and more to the fun, innocent side of it. (OK, innocent may be reaching, but you know, it's Vegas, so always proceed with caution, haha)
Since we take Route 66 part of the way, we usually stop off at some of the BEST antique stores. Right before getting into Las Vegas there is a strip of stores that always has fun "Old Vegas" memorabilia. As far as accommodations, we always opt for a time-share type resort, as it's best to have a kitchen when staying in Vegas. I don't trust the buffets, (although I'm sure some are fine) I don't do it. So I try to plan my breakfasts in the hotel room and find safe eateries for lunches & dinners. And there is a Whole Foods Market at the end of the strip which has been a life saver for me on many trips when I needed to stock up on extra supplies or snacks!
For a sweet, refreshing treat, Caesar's Palace has a yummy gelato stand that offers dairy free options. I went with a strawberry sorbet, and although they aren't sugar free, it was my one splurge vacation treat. For in room meals we usually bake turkey or chicken breast with veggies, and breakfast is usually eggs or oatmeal with fruit and healthy fats like coconut or avocado to give us energy. The strip is A LOT bigger than you may assume, and it is A LOT of walking. So wear comfortable shoes and pack snacks!
I was pleasantly surprised to see Buddy V's (as in Buddy from Cake Boss) restaurant inside the Venetian had gluten-free options when I was craving Italian food. The restaurant is really cute & I think that's the main reason why I wanted to go. It reminded me of Italy and was hidden away from the busyness of the casino.
There is an incredible amount of things to see and do in Las Vegas. Some of our favorite sights include:
Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay - It's inexpensive and I love sea creatures. It's a cool & relaxing walk-through to give you a break from being out in the sun or walking through smokey casinos.
Paris Hotel - You can take a ride up into the Eiffel Tower, giving you a 360 degree view of the Strip. It's best at night, and don't forget your camera!
Venetian Hotel - This and the Palazzo are some of my favorites for shopping. Or browsing, since some of the stores have the top designers in the world, such as Gucci and Jimmy Choo. But it's fun to play Carrie Bradshaw and browse. The architecture here is also breathtaking and it's romantic to take a gondola ride. They are pricey but worth it. You can choose outdoor or indoor, we prefer doing the indoor, as I didn't feel like the outdoor ride with the traffic of Las Vegas Blvd. felt like Italy. haha. Our gondolier sang us a love song as well and we got to kiss under the kissing bridge. (cue the collective "awwws" or gagging noises. Whichever. I don't care that we are nauseating sometimes. haha)
Caesar's Palace Show - Inside the hotel, aside from the MASSIVE shopping mall, there is an animatronic show that is a MUST SEE, starring the Greek God's having a battle. It's one of Mr. Charmings favorite things to see. It's what we usually sit and watch while enjoying our aforementioned dairy-free gelato.
One of the MANY shows. - Las Vegas is known for it's shows. We prefer the music or comedy shows or the epic Cirque Du Solei shows. Again, quite pricey, so we only opt for this on big splurge trips or if we are traveling with others. We usually keep our Vegas trips on a budget since it's like a stay-cation for us, being so close to home.
Siegfried & Roy's Dolphin and White Tiger Habitat at the Mirage - This is one of my FAVORITES and we go here each time. It's small, but still worth the money because it's very interactive. You can have up-close dolphin encounters for an extra fee, and sometimes you can see the baby white tigers and lions. When we took my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Siegfried was there and we got to talk to him about how the habitat came to be and get our photo with him.
Other Places To Eat:
Margaritaville at the Flamingo Hotel - They serve Udi's Gluten Free Buns with their burgers and use a dedicated fry fryer.
Hecho En Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel - The chef's daughter has Celiac, so they use good practices and offer a gluten-free menu.
Yardbird at the Venetian - Upscale, southern, gluten-free goodness.
There are also PF Changs, Pei Wei, Sammy's Woodfire Pizza and BJ's nearby for more options.
What are your favorite tastes and sights in Las Vegas? I'd love to hear from you!
Nosh & Nurture was born of this journey I am on to better the health of myself, my family and those around me. What started as a simple compilation of recipes has grown to a all-around lifestyle journal with ways to incorporate organic products into your home, pantry and beauty cabinet. I also include stories on pregnancy, new motherhood, travel, Proverbs 31 marriage, and spiritual health, as I am a Christian who couldn't do any of this without my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. For more of my story you can click here.
All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free with a lot of soy-free, grain-free, sugar-free options.