Kid Friendly Vegas

Jim had a conference in Las Vegas, so we decided to head out with the kids and enjoy some time together. I had a blast entertaining the kids during the day, and enjoyed dining and sightseeing with Jim in the evening. We were very lucky to find a great babysitter to come to our hotel & watch the kids at night. Las Vegas turned out to be an amazing family getaway.

The Hard Rock Hotel

The Hard Rock Hotel is one of our favorite hotels. Rock and Roll blaring though out the entire casino and pools. Everywhere you look, you’ll find all kinds of music memorabilia like signed guitars on the walls and displays of outfits the stars wore at their concerts. Marissa (10) loved Cee Lo’s Swarovski crystal covered jumpsuit and Jessie (4) couldn’t stop looking at Axl Rose’s motorcycle with flames on it.

Our hotel room was very nice and modern. The beds were so comfy. Seriously, it was like sleeping on a cloud. Now I want a memory foam layer on our bed at home and pillows just like the Hard Rock. The view from our window of the main pool was entertaining. Young adults in their bathing suits, dancing all crazy. I think they were doing a mating dance. I was afraid to take the kids down there at first, unsure of what they might see. Then we noticed other pools surrounding the main pool that looked less crowded. Our bellhop arrived with our luggage and ice chest. Yes ice chest. Which brings me to some good road trip travel tips…

Travel tips:

Drinks, Snacks & Pool Floaties — Bring an ice chest! Pack your own drinks & snacks. Don’t bother touching the honor bar, unless you want to pay $6.00 for a small bag of potato chips. We brought bottled water, Capri Suns, soy milk, Gogurt, bananas and cereal. No need for a pricy breakfast. I also brought Odwalla green smoothies since I’d be without my blender for 3 days. Whenever we’d head out for the pool we would pack our snacks and drinks so we didn’t have to order anything. Huge money saver! If it’s hot out, I suggest pretzel sticks, goldfish or granola bars. Try not to bring anything with chocolate because it will melt. Keep the kids hydrated with lots of water. I let them alternate between water and Capri Sun Roaring Waters. They love that stuff. Bring extra ziplock baggies to take small portions of snacks on the go. Pool floaties! We brought 2 water noodles for the kids to float with. The gift shops will have inflatable rafts or tubes, but they’re expensive.

Pool #1: Water slide pool at the Hard Rock

I love the sandy lagoon pools at the Hard Rock. I was a little worried for Jessie at first, since this was her first time on a water slide since the baby slides at Wild Rivers in Irvine 2 years ago. (Sadly, that water park is gone now.) I should have known she would take on the slides with no fear. She’s my little daredevil. She went right up the stairs to the slide with her big sis and didn’t even look back at me or Jim. They giggled all the way down the slide as their little bodies gently plunged into the cool water. Moments like this are just priceless. I can stare at them all day with those big smiles.

Notes: You must be a registered guest to visit the pool at the Hard Rock. The pools are intended for young adults. You might see guys and gals dancing “pretty close to each other” and the music may have explicit lyrics. The hotel staff will encourage guests with children to stay away from the main pool and enjoy some of the other less crowded pools and the water slide. I suggest you stay at the water slide pool. It’s a lot of fun!

Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas
4455 Paradise Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89169
(800) 693-7625

Pool #2: Shark Tank Water Slide at The Golden Nugget

This was the pool the kids were most excited to visit. A few days before our trip, we looked at the Golden Nugget’s website and saw photos of the water slide that went though the shark tank. Wow! We had to go here. The kids went right up the long flight of stairs to the top of the water slide without a care in the world. Even my little Jessie, late in the afternoon without a nap… had no problems getting to the top. Jim waited in the pool, at the bottom of the slide for them. Both of our girls couldn’t wait to slide down the tunnel and experience the tank. More giggles all the way down the slide. You can hear their happy squeals echo though the tunnel as they landed into the pool and swam towards Daddy.

Jim and Jessie at the Golden Nugget shark tank pool.

Notes:  You don’t have to be a registered guest at the Golden Nugget to experience the Tank swimming pool. The pool is open to the general public for a $20 fee. I really love how this hotel is away from the Strip. It’s less touristy and the vibe is more casual. Although we didn’t stay here this time, I would definitely consider staying here next time! The hotel has a very inviting atmosphere for families.

The Tank. Photo Courtesy: Golden Nugget Las Vegas

Golden Nugget Hotel Las Vegas
129 E. Fremont St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(800) 634-3454

Pool #3: Mandalay Bay Beach

Mandalay Bay

Our 3rd pool to visit was at the Mandalay Bay Resort. Such a gorgeous property. There are 3 swimming pools, a wave pool with sand and lazy river, spread across 11 acres. Our first mission was to hit the waves. There was a 48″ height requirement and no floaties allowed at the wave pool, so Marissa took off on her own while I watched Jessie. There is a kiddie pool connected to the wave

Mandalay Bay Wave Pool

pool, so I was able to keep an eye on Jessie to the left and glance over to the right and see Marissa in the distance, enjoying the waves. Ahhh, the joys of being a mom of 2 kids with a 5 1/2 year age gap. Both kids in the water, neither of them within my reach. I stayed closer to Jessie since she was the smaller one. She splashed around and danced to the music. I was confident that Marissa would be okay. There were lifeguards all over the place, too. I heard them blowing the whistle at kids for all kinds of penalties. No floaties allowed in the wave pool, no running, no swimming right where the waves break. Safety was clearly a priority at the Mandalay Bay. The lazy river was super fun! We brought our water noodles to float with and Marissa enjoyed a tube. There are 2 waterfalls that dump water onto your head. The kids laughed equally hard every time they got to the waterfall. I couldn’t stop laughing with them. I don’t know why, but it was funny every time. What a fun day. Memories that will last with us forever.

Lazy River at Mandalay Bay

Notes: You must be a registered guest to visit the pools at Mandalay Bay. This hotel is very family friendly. There’s even a Shark Reef Aquarium with a clear tunnel that moves you though the shark tank. It’s open to the public. The kids will really love seeing this. $18/per adult and $12/per kid age 5-12.

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
(877) 632-7800

3 Pools in 3 Days:


Other places the kids might enjoy:


The hotel lobby has beautiful glass art on the ceiling. It’s a chandelier called Fiori di Como by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. This piece is composed of over 2,000 hand blown glass blossoms. The kids stared at the ceiling with amazement.


Botanical Gardens – The Spring 2012 garden display is breathtaking. You’ll see beautiful flowers, a working carousel, a sailboat, and bumble bees and hot air balloons hanging from the glass ceiling.

Botanical Gardens at Bellagio

Bellagio Fountains – The kids will love the water fountain show! It’s spectacular. The fountains shoot up in the air so high and moves gracefully to the music. Such a sight to see and it’s free. The shows play every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes at night.

3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(888) 987-6667

Sugar Factory at the Paris Hotel

Get your sweet fix at the Sugar Factory. It’s located in the front of the Paris Hotel. A huge assortment of candy, cupcakes, cake pops and other baked goods. They also have gelato and coffee beverages. Their tee shirts are super cute too. Who wouldn’t want a tee shirt with a bling’d out cupcake on it? Of course I had to get one for Marissa. I picked out a cute cupcake shirt for Jessie that said “Hot Mess” on it and it smelled like cupcakes, too.

The kids at Sugar Factory

Sugar Factory at Paris Hotel
3655 Las Vegas Blvd.
South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
(877) 796-2096


So much to do in Las Vegas! We were so lucky to find a great babysitter so I could get out in the evenings with Jim. The kids really loved spending time with her. Contact me if you want to know more about her. You really CAN take kids to Vegas! We’ll definitely do another road trip there again soon.

The Wendt Family on the road!

Special Thanks to:

Hard Rock Hotel
The Golden Nugget
Mandalay Bay Resort
LifeProof – my waterproof iPhone case!




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  • Michelle

    Thank you for this it was very helpful. My husband and son want to go and my first reaction was Vegas really? But I think we can do this just wondering how hot it is in July?

    • purpleways

      Hi Michelle! July is typically the HOTTEST time of year in Vegas. We’ve been in July and it can get in the upper 90’s and even 100’s! How old is your son? Maybe stay indoors during the day and enjoy walking in the hotels, swimming as early as the pool opens. At night it can drop to the 80’s and you can enjoy the sights outdoors at night. Hope this link works.. here’s some monthly averages in Las Vegas >>

  • Alejandra

    Hi, Thanks for taking the time to write this blog, it is really useful. I was wondering if there is a hight requiriment to ride the shark slide at Golden Nugget. I have a 6 yr old and a 3 yr old. Both under 48″

    • Hi Alejandra! Thanks for visiting my blog! You will have so much fun at the Golden Nugget! It’s still one of our favorite pools in Vegas and our kids are now 13 and 8. I’m pretty sure your 6 and 3 year old will be fine. I don’t remember the lifeguard at the top entrance of the slide checking height. As long as they are brave and strong swimmers they’ll be fine! My husband waited at the bottom and grabbed our younger one after she came out of the slide. She was 4 at the time and was a pretty good doggy paddler. If you want to know for certain before booking your stay maybe you can call the hotel. I just checked the website and didn’t see any written info. Have fun!! –MaryAnne

      • Maswa

        Thank you for this post. We have a 3 year old and 5 year old, and already booked Mandalay bay, not realizing the wave pool was off limits. Such a disappointment! Is the kiddie pool zero entry, and near the sand?

        • hi Maswa thx for visiting my blog! There is a shallow area for the little ones to hang out in. It’s a total bummer they aren’t allowed in the wave pool but the waves get pretty big! We are going this Saturday! I’ll post a new blog with info. It’s been a while since our last visit. Will post more on lagoon entry of the pool for small swimmers! 🙂

  • Sara

    Was your four year old tall enough to do shark tank slide at Golden Nugget? I read that kids have to be at least 48 inches tall?? My 6 year old is only about 46 inches and she would be ticked if everyone else got to go without her…

    • Hi Sara! 46″ is only 2 inches shorter than 48″ — I’m pretty sure your 6 year old will be fine. It’s usually teenage lifeguards up at the top of the waterslide working. Hopefully they won’t care too much. No guarantees though, if they uphold their rule. Our little one was only 4 at the time, and I remember reassuring them that she was a strong swimmer and they didn’t care. Maybe tip the lifeguard? Isn’t that the secret to Vegas LOL! I say go for it. She’s 6! 🙂

  • Shawnna

    Thank You for this, I’m taking our 3 year old in 3 weeks. I would love the contact info for the babysitter that you used.

    • MaryAnne Wendt

      Hi Shawnna! Hope you enjoyed your time in Vegas with your family! Sorry for the late reply, this post is quite old and I don’t have that exact sitter’s contact info anymore. Hopefully you found a reputable agency. We’ve used some a various places we’ve traveled and it’s worked out so we can get a date night in. Cheers! 🙂