Yes, I know Las Vegas is not the most kid friendly destination. However, sometimes you have to fly in and out of Vegas in order to get to your destination (the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks, etc.). Unfortunately, you don’t even have to walk out of the airport before you’re bombarded with the sultry advertisements for casinos, hotels, and gentlemen’s clubs and shows. I have two daughters that I am trying to raise in a very sex driven and provocative society. It is not easy to try to instill confidence and self-esteem in your girls when most of what they see in society shows women being sexual objects. I’m no prude, but just seeing their eyes widen when reading the signs made me want to flee the city.
I’ve been to Vegas before so I kind of knew what to expect when bringing the kids. I knew they’d be exposed to some of the adult content, but I didn’t expect it would be so plentiful. Has the Sin City gotten more ‘sinful?’
A few years ago, my family flew into Las Vegas for a spring break in southern Utah and northern Arizona, and we decided to spend one day in Vegas with the kids. We stayed at Circus Circus, mostly because of their Adventuredome, but that was a giant mistake. Bad elevators, not enough stairwells (safety issue!), poor service and mediocre food in their restaurants, wild kids running around unsupervised, expensive rides in the dome (purchased individually, each ride was at LEAST $6!), and unimpressive lodging ruined our stay.
So many people talk about the things to do with kids in and around Vegas. And yes, there is plenty to do, but you’ll still have to subject your kids to the sins of the city. There is plenty of female skin, drunkenness, and indecent behavior, which for the most part, you can avoid if you are avoiding the seedy areas of the strip. But not always.
God forbid you walk your kids through the Paris casino up to or away from your room after 8 pm. After 8 pm, dancers in the “party pit” on the main casino floor provocatively dance on tables in skimpy lingerie, garter belts, and stockings.
We walked through Caesar’s once and my younger daughter asked me why there were human-sized bronzed cages around. How do you answer that? My older daughter didn’t ask. She just looked on in horror.
One day at lunch, we were fortunate enough to get an upper level patio seat at a local restaurant. We loved looking down on the strip and enjoyed the March sunshine. Then, a truck with “Girls, Direct to You!” on it drives by. And yes, we all saw it. Needless to say, I tried to ignore it. A few minutes later, the truck passed by again, this time going the other direction. This time I resigned myself to explain the truck to the girls and what it was soliciting. As we continued to eat our meal, we saw the ‘Girls’ truck pass by about four more times, eliciting a look of disgust by each of my daughters each time it drove by.
Don’t walk the strip at night with your kids. After dark, men and women wearing brightly colored shirts stand on popular walkways and street corners. They attempt to pass out ‘cards’ or leaflets to those walking by and they’ll even flick these cards to get your attention. These cards have information on escort services or adult shows and usually feature a VERY graphic photo on them. What makes it worse is that they will thrust these cards in anyone’s face or hand and will sometimes be very persistent. Eventually, the sidewalk gets littered with these graphic images when people toss them aside. Not something I need my daughters to see.
If you think you’ll have more luck at Fremont Street, think again. Street performers line the streets looking for tips by offering a photo op. Sure you’ll have the SpongeBobs, a generic-looking Spider-Man, and movie characters, but there are also men and women half-naked in costumes. For the performers, the more shocking you are dressed, the more money you’re likely to make. Women in pasties and g-strings and men in thongs line the sidewalk. Nighttime is much worse than the day, but whenever you go, you’re taking a chance.
Sure, there are gondola rides, roller coasters, magic shows, zoos, choreographed fountains, shows, and great pools for kids to experience. But as a parent, just know that you will have to explain a lot of mature topics with your kids if you travel here. Kids are like sponges – they soak up everything around themselves. They may not understand all that’s going on around them, but they will likely remember Vegas, and not necessarily for the reasons they should.