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Are We There Yet? Free (Almost) Family Fun in Las Vegas – yes, Vegas

Every time I go to Las Vegas, I’m surprised how many people bring young kids. During last ten years, I’ve noticed significant changes: Sin City has cleaned up – at least along The Strip – except for gambling, it’s almost sinless. However, it is expensive.

Yes, what was once land of the $4.99 buffet is now pricey.

If you’re considering the journey, here’s a list of worthwhile free entertainment, good values, and popular options to avoid.

First, make sure to visit the free, picture-perfect gardens inside the Bellagio Hotel. It’s a perfect way to spend an afternoon, plus with the floral theme changing four times a year, you’ll never see the same thing twice. Coordinate your visit so you step outside minutes before the ‘dancing waters’ fountain show starts. The two-song presentation is an ideal length to hold short attention spans, especially in the heat.

Next, select a hotel with a decent pool. Las Vegas hotels add a daily ‘resort fee’ at check-in, so make use of the facilities you must pay more for. The Excalibur is good family value for its location, but the pool is small and crowded in the summer. The Mirage is beautiful, and the nightly free volcano show captivating.

However, The Mirage’s Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden dolphin and tiger habitat is not worth the admission. Save the $22 per person for a real zoo. Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, however, is worth the payout, especially if people are scuba diving with the sharks. Be sure to see the beautiful aquarium inside The Forum at Caesars Palace. And, with the free animatronic show that bursts into flames on the half hour, it’s an even sweeter deal.

Sherri Telenko is a freelance writer and blogger living in Southern Ontario. Sign up for travel ideas at www.dogtrotting.net or follow her on twitter @SherriTelenko.


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