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YOU WENT WHERE? VEGAS! (WITH KIDS)

When planning our first family road trip to Viva Las Vegas; my cynical kids (and a few grownups) asked “Are kids allowed?” “What is there to do?”

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We hopped off The Big Bus at the Historic Las Vegas sign!

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED…
The mission we accepted was to find something memorable for each of us that we wouldn’t find back home in Southern California.  …Oh, and swim, people-watch and eat!  Where to start?

NOTE:  This trip was not swayed by sponsors – only my pennies!  I did graduate-level research on “Vegas for kids” and visited Groupon, Goldstar, Yelp LasVegas.com to find details and deals!  Here is my Vegas with Kids thesis – I swear it’s more interesting than my Master’s thesis. (Full extended reviews of each stop found here: Vegas Road Trip)

WE STARTED WITH A SPLASH!
We started by deciding what pool we’d want to play in, the room was secondary. We checked out everything from lazy rivers to sandy beaches but the Shark Tank pool at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino won. You can slide THROUGH the shark tank!

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Shot from the hotel’s website because my phone/camera isn’t waterproof!

THE ITINERARY FELL INTO PLACE…
FREESTYLE FREMONT STREET:
We timed our arrival to coincide with the electric evenings of the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Vegas!  We immediately headed towards SlotZilla ziplines to get a birds-eye view of the fun below under a video screen doubling as a technicolor sky!  I’d checked the weekend music schedule beforehand, reserving our zip time to soar during a rockin’ Bon Jovi song!  

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No really, it’s night!

My daughter and I flew, I screamed while praying that my son (waiting on the ground) wouldn’t get lost for the few seconds apart. He didn’t. He was stunned still by the circus that is the Fremont Street Experience!  It’s an amazing experience to bounce between multiple stages featuring different bands, while soaking in nostalgic old Vegas steaming with brand new, colorful energy!  

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Biff Tannen’s Pleasure Paradise Casino & Hotel (Back to the Future 2) 

DAY STRIPPING:
To really take in the Strip, without wearing out our feet, Groupon sold me on a deal for the Big Bus Tours!  

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They picked up near our hotel and we hopped on and off again at many different locations including the photogenic Las Vegas sign, Circus Circus (also a transition point between two routes), and Everything Coca-Cola store (they’re not lying). Here we treated ourselves to flight of soda floats featuring Coca-Cola drinks from around the world in a variety of cola and fruity flavors!  

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Between us we were really full after sharing 1 flight of 8 mini floats!

TAKE PAUSE:
After dressing for the evening, we chilled at a coffee shop.  I sat on the sidelines sipping my cappuccino while my kids played chess.  When the older challenged the younger on a rule, only then were phones brought out to settle the disagreement. My younger daughter emerged victorious! My older accepted defeat gracefully – even giving her kudos.  That NEVER happens at home – call it vacation magic.

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NIGHT STRIPPING:
The kids were dazzled by casino lights and sounds as we walked through on our way to see the Blue Man Group!  Booking seats through Goldstar provided upgraded floor seats so we felt like part of the action (though not close enough where ponchos were needed)! We embellished ourselves with bright yellow strips of paper which later translated into a fantastic part of the show! As the show really got rocking, my kids’ senses worked overtime!  My 14 year old son felt like this was the closest thing to a rave he’d experienced!

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After pouring out of the theatre and matching the pace with the stream of people walking through the pulsing lights and music on the Strip, we decided late dinner was a must! The Hard Rock Cafe never disappoints and this location had a club pumping while we ate. We all loved our meals and probably even dream about them in between trips.

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THRILL OF DANGER:
Despite a late evening, the kids jumped out of bed the next morning to meet the Humvee chauffeuring us to Battlefield Vegas!  Groupon provided a great first-timer package for my son. Not the first time he’s shot at a range, just the first time he’s shot large guns.  The driver explained that Battlefield is run by ex-military and police officers who all know and respect firearms.  They impressed me with the lengths they go to prepare and protect you before entering the range.  Afterwards, we strolled around the tanks, helicopters and other vehicles in the yard!  We hoped someone would flatten a car with a tank – but we have to save something for next time!

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We returned to the hotel to finally slide through the shark tank!  One little girl had the right idea and slowed herself down in the tunnel so she could actually see the sharks – otherwise it’s a funtastic blur!  We splashed around the pool, and floated with our noses pressed against the glass of the huge shark tank!  We followed the sun as the afternoon progressed. Though tempting, I didn’t do any pool-side gambling.

As darkness took over, we headed to KISS Glow golf!  It totally rocked!  The kids enjoyed the rock-n-glow with the signature KISS obstacles on the course such as platform boots and guitar axes. The music rocked, but their collection of rock and roll memorabilia (from all sorts of rock bands) available for purchase impressed me even more! I really hoped someone would get married so we could witness a Vegas wedding in the chapel of KISS.

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WTF: (Whatever Teen Face) This IS my son’s face when he’s having fun.

 

The next day, we met my folks (who also happened to be in town) for a casual breakfast and then hit the road home.  The kids slept the whole way dreaming of what else to see next time! Not only did we blow the challenge out of the water, but so many things remain for us to return and discover!

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This is their old location, they’ve since relocated to the RIO!

What about you?
Have you had a great adventure in Vegas that you think we ought to try?  Let us know in the comments!
Anything only a local would know about?
Anything for even younger kids?

 

#GoldenNugget #FremontStreetExperience #CocaCola #EverythingCocaCola #Soda #Floats #MiniGolf #Glow #KISS #SharkTank #Pool #BattlefieldVegas #ShootingRange #Humvee #BlueManGroup #BigBus #Tour #RoadTrip #Vegas #LasVegas #TheStrip #Teen #Tween #FamilyFun

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TEEN & TWEEN EASTER FUN!

For the first time, neither my family, nor my kids were with me Easter morning. While I enjoyed the rare slow morning, I appreciated the extra time to think up something eventful for my children’s older, wiser tween and teenage years.

The note in the egg read “Hoppy Easter! More eggs hidden in your room!”

 The Easter Egg hunt underwent an upgrade and personalization! I hid 21 eggs of various sizes in each of their rooms. I only hid eggs with candy, no hard-boiled, as I anticipate this hunt may continue all year – or, until we move out.

Some hidden in plain view, some hidden under piles!

My train of thought:

  • Older Kids: My tall son and nearly-tall daughter stand out at Easter Egg hunts, though they could “help” either their younger niece or sister. This incorporated the fun of the hunt while allowing them privacy to enjoy it.
  • Late Start: With them not arriving from their Dad’s until evening, I wanted the fun to last – but not get interfere with usual Sunday homework routine. My daughter went to work immediately and found 10 before homework and 17 by bedtime. My son only located 2 by bedtime (partially thanks to his teen blindspots, partially his homework load).
  • Clean Room: I intentionally hid eggs underneath piles that remained untouched since we moved in. My son saw right through my plan and complimented me – (and, I quote): “Ingenious!”

He walked past 2 obvious ones and dug madly for any others!

Easter treats received an upgrade as well! PEEPS traditionally appear in their baskets, but with all the new flavors and fun stuff PEEPS offered, I wanted to improve upon their favorites. Thankfully the Peeps-a-licious* cookbook arrived to my door a few weeks ago with over 50 creative ideas! I wanted to challenge myself so I picked a recipe I knew the kids would love, PEEPS S’Mores Milkshake – thickening the milkshake with Peeps.

This very sweet shake tasted like a real S’More!

I also picked one I usually love – my favorite, PEEPS Crème brûlée. This required PEEPS cooked into and on top of the Crème brûlée. Plus I got to try using a flame thrower – I mean cooking torch.

WTF: Wow, Toasted Flavor!

Both recipes proved to be super simple to pull together and so decadent for PEEPS!

Although the holiday time reduced to fit within a few hours, the impact of the delicious flavors and hunt will be unique enough to remember ongoingly!

*I received a free copy of the Peeps-a-licious cookbook from the publisher but the opinions are my own. Here is the link to the Crème brûlée recipe on the creator’s website. The other recipe (and 48 more year-round recipes) can be found in Peeps-a-licious! #Peepsalicious #Quartoknows