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I go in roulette wheel-like circles about whether or not I want to expose my children to Las Vegas. On the one hand, it’s Las Vegas. On the other, who better than a child to appreciate the flamboyance?
You know what else is tempting? Prices. Average daily hotel rates in Vegas are the lowest in the nation this fall, which makes me wonder if I want to look past the fact that that flamboyance exists as an enticement for me to gamble and shop away my kids’ inheritance.
"Vegas, at its core, is really a playground for adults. That's not to say a traveler can't find kid-friendly options because they do exist. It might just take a little digging to find them,” says Genevieve Shaw Brown, senior editor at Travelocity. “And right now, Vegas is such a tremendous value that families on a budget might be more likely to consider it as a destination than in the past."
These values might include hotel deals at on-the-strip favorites. Through the end of the year you can save up to 59 percent off regular room rates at Planet Hollywood, whose entertainment programming includes “Peepshow” starring Holly Madison as well as its polar opposite, the far family friendlier Comedy Pet Theater featuring juggler Gregory Popovich and specially trained cats and dogs.
For a thicker veneer of family values, Circus Circus is advertising a deal beginning at $23 per night through January, on top of which, for each grown-up who purchases the buffet at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, a child 4-12 will eat free. Circus buffet costs are reasonable anyway, ranging from $10.49-$13.49 for adults, $7.49-$10.49 for kids 4-12. Circus also has the indoor theme park Adventuredome (all-day wristbands $24.95 for those taller than 48”, $14.95 for anyone shorter) with high-octane lurching thrill rides as well as family rides including a carousel and Ferris wheel. Movies with the likes of Dora and Spongebob are also available in 4-D.
While it costs roughly a dollar a minute – a relative bargain compared to what you’d spend trying to outwit a video poker machine – the gondola ride at the Venetian is a family favorite at $16 per person, with kids two and younger riding free. The indoor ride through the Grand Canal Shoppes area is around 15 minutes while the outdoor ride along the “vibrant Venetian streetscape” is slightly shorter.
While it’s hard to beat the abundance and value of the Circus Buffet, you’d be foolish to pass up what is reverently called The Buffet at the Bellagio, free for kids under three and for all other kids as well as adults at $15.95 for breakfast, $19.95 at lunch and $27.95 at dinner. While it’s a splurge, go for the latter. Dads will delight in trying to eat their weight in crab claws while young ones likely will run out of time trying to sample every colorful dessert. And while you’re on site, check out one of the best values in town – the free five-acre, painstakingly curated botanical garden in the hotel’s lobby.