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SIN CITY — Las Vegas has been used by Utah families for generations as a stopover on the drive to sunny California. But if you want to make Vegas the destination, there are plenty of fun (and appropriate) activities in the area for kids of all ages.
Here are six ideas for your next family trip to the Las Vegas area.
Just a 15-minute drive from the Strip, you'll find the Las Vegas Springs Preserve. Operated by the Las Vegas Valley Water District, this 180-acre wonderland is located at the city's historic water source. In fact, the whole place is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
At the Springs Preserve, you'll find botanical gardens, walking trails, animal shows, and lots of interactive learning opportunities. Highlights include the Boomtown 1905 exhibit, the Butterfly Habitat, the Natural Mojave Gallery, the desert canyon playground, and the 70,000-square-foot Nevada State Museum.
Get ticket information and directions at springspreserve.org.
Lost Creek Children's Discovery Trail
If you've never hiked in Red Rock Canyon, you're missing out on one of the most interesting parts of the Las Vegas area. And the Lost Creek Children's Discovery Trail is one of the most popular options in the canyon for families.
The complete route is less than a mile, so even young children will find it enjoyable. Just make sure you bring sunscreen, hats and plenty of water. Along the trail you'll see wildlife, pictographs, stunning rock formations, and at certain times of the year the lovely Lost Creek Waterfall.
Get directions and additional information at redrockcanyonlv.org.
The Neon Museum
The glitz, glitter and typography of Vegas are world-famous. But where do those iconic signs go once they've retired? To the Neon Boneyard, of course.
The Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to preserving the history and artistry behind the city's signs. You can stroll through the Boneyard and see fascinating pieces dating all the way back to the 1930s. It's a beautiful and enlightening walk down memory lane.
Get ticket information and directions at neonmuseum.org.
The High Roller
Las Vegas is a town of hyperbole, with most billboards advertising the "world's best magician" or the "world's top-rated steak dinner." But the High Roller Observation Wheel can actually back up its claim with cold, hard facts. This is, without a doubt, the world's tallest observation wheel (more than 100 feet taller than the London Eye).
It takes half an hour to make a complete revolution in the High Roller, which is plenty of time to be treated to stunning views of the city in all directions. If you want to see Vegas from a new perspective, this is definitely the way to do it.
Get ticket information and directions at caesars.com/linq/things-to-do/attractions/high-roller.
Lake Mead Cruise
Lake Mead is just a short drive from Vegas and offers plenty of opportunities for recreation. One of the most unique ways to enjoy the area is the Desert Princess, a beautiful three-level cruiser that holds hundreds of passengers.
Cruises on the Desert Princess last about 90 minutes and take you past stunning sites such as the Hoover Dam, the Arizona Paint Pots and Fortification Hill. You can sit inside, where it's air conditioned, or relax on the top deck with unobstructed views all around.
Get ticket information and directions at lakemeadcruises.com.
Historic Railroad Trail
While you're in the Lake Mead area, don't miss out on the Historic Railroad Trail. This 7.5-mile round trip is a pleasant way to get panoramic views and explore expansive tunnels. The route is left over from the railroad that was built in the 1930s to transport materials to the Hoover Dam project.
The best time to walk the trail is in the morning or evening, as the heat during the day can be intense. Make sure to bring water and sunscreen
Get directions and additional information at nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/hikerr.htm