Free Family Fun In Sin City: Lowball Las Vegas - My Family Travels

Las Vegas, Nevada lures visitors with freebies. FTF's no-budget columnist takes a closer look at the ones that strike gold with families.

If you think Las Vegas is one of the last places on earth to take your kids, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. This desert city, built by mobsters, offers the young and the restless an eclectic mix of child-friendly sights and sounds.

[Editor’s Note: Get great savings with the Las Vegas Explorer’s Pass: It saves you up to 50% on regular ticket prices. Choose up to 7 shows, attractions, tours and nightlife tickets for one low price!]

Many of thee sights and sounds I list are on the house. Free fun in the place where the “urge to splurge” is encouraged? You bet. So go ahead — indulge and entertain your family without opening the wallet. And without having to have a birds-and-the-bees talk afterwards.

Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
3667 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
I must begin with one of my favorite cheap eats that just opened in Vegas. Pink’s, the famous hot dog joint from downtown Los Angeles, has opened a branch in the Planet Hollywood Hotel. Almost 70 years ago, Pink’s originated in Los Angeles as a family-owned hot dog stand and evolved into the “Home of the World’s Best Chili Dog,” a title earned for the recipe specially developed by founder, Betty Pink. The hot dogs are all beef with natural casing — healthy for the kids — and Hollywood celebrities ranging from Robert Goulet to Snoop Dog have dined out there for years. Look for 14 varieties of dog here, plus alcohol served indoors or at the al fresco cafe.

M & M World
3785 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Practice idolatry in this 28,000-square-foot, four-story temple to the tasty treat. Take part in “I Lost My M in Vegas” movie at M&M Academy. Be dazzled by dozens of different M&M colors. Browse through an array of M&M memorabilia. Kids will love it too. Open 9am-11pm Sun-Thurs and 9am-12am Fri-Sat. Free: entrance, movie. The movie runs 10am-6pm Sun-Thur; 10am-8pm Fri-Sat.

Ethel M. Chocolate Factory & Botanical Cactus Garden
2 Cactus Garden Drive
Henderson, NV 89104
Forrest Mars, the candy magnate behind Mars bars and M&Ms, built this desert factory to honor his mother Ethel. Visitors are welcome to wonder around, watch the candy-making process, and indulge in complimentary samples afterwards. Outside, there’s a two-acre cactus garden containing over 300 assorted prickly plants. Kids, please note the sign: “Be careful. Cactus bite.” Ouch. Henderson is just 10 miles from the Strip. Hours: 8:30am-6pm Free: factory tour (on weekdays), samples, and cactus garden.

Pirate Battle in Sirens Cove
Treasure Island
3300 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
The city’s most spectacular outdoor show, “The Sirens of TI,” is the Treasure Island’s latest production. Here, Vegas meets Disneyland: adventure, music, dance, fire, acrobatics, and the shining eyes of children when the battle starts. Go early to get a good spot. Although the show involves much action, the attire matches the rest of the strip and may be a little too risque for some audiences. Free: 20-minute shows nightly at 5:30 pm, 7pm, 8:30pm, 10pm, and 11:30pm in Sirens’ Cove, with VIP viewing for hotel guests. Call 702/288-7206 for room reservations.

World’s Largest Permanent Circus
Circus Circus Hotel and Casino
2880 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Looking for a clean, old-fashioned family fun in the Sin City? Step right up, folks. The circus is in town, forever. The Big Top tent, over this hotel’s main casino, presents the internationally renowned trapeze artists, tightrope walkers, jugglers, clowns and animal acts. The acts alternate at each performance so the kids of all ages can stick around for more without getting bored. And after a day spent pounding Vegas’ pavements, you get to rest your feet! Free: live circus acts performed each half-hour from 11am- midnight.

The Aquarium at the Silverton Hotel
3333 Blue Diamond Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89139
Located in the Mermaid Restaurant & Lounge, the octagonal aquarium at Silverton Hotel has over 4,000 different types of tropical fish, as well as a few species of sting rays and three types of sharks. Passerbys can watch either the fish feeding times complete with a Q&A with the marine biologists or the aquarium’s daily mermaid shows. Beyond the 117,000 gallon main tank, there are a series of other aquariums mimicking the Nevada landscapes, like the final exhibit, a canyon display of 28,000 gallons, home to seven species of ducks, channel catfish, bluegills, turtles and even a sturgeon. Free: Daily fish feeding from 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The mermaid show usually runs between 2:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m., every 15 minutes (excluding fish feeding times).

Mirage Volcano
Mirage Hotel and Casino
3400 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Las Vegas’ only active volcano erupts nightly in a peaceful lagoon filled with waterfalls and crowds of stunned spectators. Recently revamped by WET Water Features, this Las Vegas landmark was completed in December 2008. The earth shakes and flames shoot into the sky 60 feet above the water creating its own ring of fire. The spectacular performance is accompanied by music, which only intensifies the dramatic show, composed by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and tabla player Zakir Hussain.  The best spots are on the Strip side, but arrive early. This is as close as you can get to an active volcano without flying lava fragments hitting you on the head. Free: shows every hour from 8pm-midnight, weather permitting.

Bellagio Fountains
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Bellagio Fountains, another WET creation positioned in the 8-acre lake in front of the hotel, is a water display that will entice visitors young and old or set the ultimate mood with the romantic lighting. With over 1,000 water displays, 4,000 individually programmed white lights, and music, this is one of the premiere locations in Las Vegas. Free: Shows Mon-Fri3pm-8pm every half hour, and from 8pm-12am every 15 minutes. On Holidays and Sat-Sun shows are every half hour from 12pm-8pm, and every 15 minutes between 8pm-12am. Weather permitting.

For more free and family friendly attractions visit:

Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.

1 Reply to “Free Family Fun In Sin City: Lowball Las Vegas”

  • anonymous

    The Bellagio has an amazing nightly water show. The fountains make the water seem to dance to classical music. The show only lasts about 5-10 minutes, but it runs every half hour during the week and every 15 minutes on the weekends. You can tell when the show is about to start as soon as the area around the Bellagio’s entrance gets packed, so be sure to beat the rush and get a comfortable viewing area.