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Vegas 1 day stop with kids mid December.

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Vegas 1 day stop with kids mid December.

We have to stop in Vegas for a day on our way to Phoenix and we have a toddler and a 9 year old. We're driving in on a Friday morning and leaving Saturday noon. We have a choice between MGM and Mandalay bay (both offer free parking and Mandalay has free internet as well) I'm an avid photographer and would love to take pictures at night but I've read that the strip is no place for younger kids at night (by night I mean after 7 pm)

Any places I should avoid/see? We're planning on seeing the Shark Reef in MB, roaming around MGM, arcades at Excaliber and a brunch buffet at Ceaser's (are there long lines, should we make reservations ahead?) Also, is there a tram service that runs the length of the Strip?

Thank you!

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1. Re: Vegas 1 day stop with kids mid December.

The footbridge between Trop and Excalibur (also NYNY and MGM) is a great spot for Strip pictures at night. However, day or night you will have panhandlers on the footbridges, some assertive, some passive. Some drunk, some not. A life lesson you may or may not want to expose your child to at this age.

Further south on Tropicana is a Pinball Museum. It's just a warehouse with old (and some more-recent) pinball machines, takes quarters, a fun (albeit noisy and chilly) place to hang out with your child for an hour.

MGM has Rainforest Cafe restaurant, fun for kids.

I am not a fan of Excal - it's always seems dirty and dingy to me, so I doubt I'd bring my kids to their arcade.

Perhaps your family would like to explore the Secret Garden/Dolphin Habitat at Mirage? A gondala ride or ice skating at Venetian? The holiday decorations at Venetian and Bellagio are up and lovely to visit.

Edited: 06 December 2012, 18:27
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2. Re: Vegas 1 day stop with kids mid December.

No free internet at Mandalay. It is included in your daily resort fee that they charge upon check-in. Mandalay is probably your best choice of the 2, since the rooms are larger and will fit the 4 of you much better.

Also, Mandalay has one of the best views for taking photos, day or night. Head up to the Mix lounge atop the hotel for an incredible view of the entire Strip. You'll also want to see the Eiffel Tower, Bellagio Fountains and Conservatory, Mirage volcano, St. Mark's Square at Venetian, Brooklyn Bridge at NYNY, to name a few.

The Shark Reef is ok, not great. The arcade at Exclaibur is your standard mall arcade, stuffed in the basement. There is the Secret Garden at Mirage if you'd like to see the dolphins, lions, tigers, etc. and a habitat at Flamingo with flamingos, turtles, ducks, etc. I'd recommend the M'n'M World store next to MGM too.

Caesar's buffet is popular because it is new. I don't believe they take reservations, so you would have to wait in line.

There is a monorail down one side of the Strip, but it is rather inconvenient since it is at the back of all the properties. It is not free. There is a free tram that connects Monte Carlo to Crystals and Bellagio, and a separate tram that connects Mirage and TI.

Hope that helps some.

3. Re: Vegas 1 day stop with kids mid December.

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