The longstanding reputation of Las Vegas as an adult playground is probably here to stay, but for families in the know, it is also a child’s playground. If you are planning a trip to Las Vegas with your kids, one place that should be at the top of your list is the Adventuredome.
The Adventuredome is one of the largest amusement parks in the country and the only full scale one of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip. Hotelonline.com ranks it among the top 30 indoor amusement parks and family entertainment centers in the world. Five acres of clean indoor fun await you and your family, including some 25 thrilling rides to choose from plus a slew of other activities to get your adrenalin rushing like bungee jumping and rock climbing. The Adventuredome also offers also plenty of tamer activities like arcade games, miniature golf and two 4D-theatres, in other words, something for everyone. Still not convinced? Read what some recent visitors on tripadvisor.com had to say.
Anna Wendt: "One of the top amusement parks in the country! The rides are seriously wicked good! Prices are a good value for a few hours of fun for almost any age."
Trippyhappy: "A place for kids to go wild and enjoy the rides"
Jeanette B: "Your kids and your adult kids will not be bored. There is so much to do, see and experience...You can spend hours entertained in the Adventuredome."
BarnettShelton: "A must do on a family trip."
The Basics. How to Get to the Adventuredome
The Adventuredome first opened to the public in August 23, 1993 and has been a big hit with kids ever since. Getting there is easy, too, because it is conveniently located in the back of the West Tower of the Circus-Circus Hotel and Casino at 2880 South Las Vegas Blvd. on the North End of the Strip. If you are staying at a different hotel, Circus-Circus can be easily reached by Deuce Bus or taxi. But forget about walking there because, in order to gain access to the park, you first have to walk through the entire Circus-Circus Casino. Then you will be doing a lot more walking in the Adventuredome itself. Wear comfortable shoes.
Hours of Operation: The Adventuredome is open 365 days a year, but not 24/7. The park opens daily at 10 a.m. Closing times vary, either 6 p.m., 9 p.m. or 12 a.m. Check online or call (702) 794-3939 for the exact hours on the day you plan to visit.
How Much Will it Cost? Like many other non-free Las Vegas activities, a trip to the Adventuredome can be either affordable or expensive. Admission to the park is absolutely free, but obviously, the rides and most of the other activities aren’t. So you need to be careful or at the end of the day you could wind up spending a lot more than you intended, especially if you have several kids in tow, all screaming that they want to do everything. A little advance planning will solve the problem. First, you need to decide how long you plan on spending at the Dome and whether you and your family expect to be going on just a few rides or many. If you are only going to be there an hour or two, it makes more sense to buy tickets for each ride or other activity separately. If you plan on being there a half-day or longer, you will save a lot of money springing for the all-day pass. You also get a wristband which conveniently allows you to leave the park (i.e., for lunch) and return later that afternoon or evening.
The cost for individual rides varies. The El Loco and Canyon Baster rollercoasters each cost $12, while premium rides cost $8 each, and junior rides (designed for kids under 48” tall) cost $5 each. The all-day ride pass costs $29.95 for each adult or older child, and the all-day junior pass costs $17.95. Nevada residents get an additional $2 off on the all-day ride pass Monday-Friday
Save time and purchase your tickets online. (If you don’t want to commit yourself before you leave home, wait till you get to Las Vegas and do it from your hotel room. Also, be sure to check for discount coupons online, in your hotel lobby and in the free guides to Las Vegas you can pick up all over town. For military discounts, call 702-652-2193.
Planning Your Day
Realistically, especially if your kids are very young, you probably won’t be able to do everything at the Dome. Here are a few of the zaniest rides, if your kids are old enough and brave enough.
These might be too scary for young kids. For them, we suggest the junior rides like Miner Mike, a mini-roller coaster, or join your kids on Canyon Cars (bumper cars), Sand Pirates (a swinging ship), or a family ride like the Circus Carousel. Follow the adventures of SpongeBob Square Pants or Dora and Diego in 4D in the FX Theatre or enjoy “Happy Feet” in the Extreme Theatre. Then try your luck in the arcade and midway games. And don’t forget the free clown shows on the main stage daily at noon, 1 p.m., 3p.m. and 4 p.m. (Additional evening shows are offered on weekends.)
A Dozen Dos and Don’t’s for a Fabulous Time at the Adventuredome
Do take advantage of the discount coupons for the Adventuredome that are readily available both online and all over Las Vegas.
Do go on weekdays, preferably in the morning, when the crowds are reasonable and the lines for rides are short or nonexistent. You also won’t be in a rush to get somewhere like a show, so you are free to spend as little or as much time at the park as you like. The park starts getting much busier after 1 p.m. Avoid going on weekends and holidays when the place is packed.
Do bring along plenty of bottled water or a thermos of lemonade to prevent becoming dehydrated. (Whenever you play in the casino, order a bottle or two of water and tip the cocktail waitress a dollar or stock up extra water at Walgreens.) Otherwise, you will wind up paying top dollar buying water and other refreshments at the concession stands.
Do bring snacks to munch on in case anyone in your family gets hungry. The food at the Dome is overpriced, too.
Do bring a sweater or light jacket. It doesn’t matter if outside it is 110 degrees. The Dome is air conditioned.
Do bring your camera so you can take lots of pictures of your kids when they go on the various rides. One of the park entrances might have a long line of people waiting to have their photos taken, but you can save time and money and use a different entrance and take your own photos.
Do take along extra change. You will need it for the arcade and midway games.
Do pay attention to the height restrictions on some of the rides. They are designed with your children’s safety in mind.
Do watch your children and belongings closely at all times. If possible, go with more than one adult, so while one you accompanies your child on a ride, the other can hold the family’s belongings. You are not allowed to take to take personal stuff with you on the rides, so if there is no one to watch it, you will wind up being nickeled and dimed over and over again, paying $1 extra for a locker every time.
Don’t go on rollercoaster or other wild rides either immediately after a heavy meal or on a completely empty stomach.
Don’t eat in the theme park restaurants. There are other places you can go that are not far away where the food is cheaper and better. If you purchase an all-day pass, you can always leave for a lunch or dinner break and return later.
Don’t feel like you have to spend the whole day at the Adventuredome or go on every ride even if your kids say that is what they want. Know your energy and budget limits and don’t overextend yourself. Don’t feel pressured to give into all of your children’s demands if you feel they are being unreasonable. Of course, you want your kids to have a good time, but so should you.
Where to Eat Near the Adventuredome
When your kids get hungry, you have other options besides eating at the Adventuredome itself. One of the most convenient is the McDonalds near the main entrance to the hotel. Or try one of these places inside Circus-Circus Hotel and Casino.
- Pizzeria (food court on casino level) Affordable pizza made to order with a wide choice of toppings
- West Side Deli (in the Westside Casino) This 24/7 family eatery has a just for kids special (ages 10 and under) that includes a hot dog, chips, and small beverage for $4.99. Older kids can get a hot dog or cheese dog (regular size or foot long) or tacos from the regular menu and, for $2.49 more, get chips, coleslaw or potato salad and a regular size fountain drink. Soups, salads, and sandwiches are also offered.
- Circus Buffet (casino level) Affordably priced breakfast, brunch, or dinner is served daily.
- Garden Grill (Promenade level) This restaurant, which has a special kids’ menu, is open from 4-11 p.m. Your kids will love getting their own little pizza to put the sauce and toppings on and bake. To finish their meal, they can mix nuts and other treats into a slab of ice cream.
There are many other reasonably-priced places to eat near Circus-Circus. Here are a few of them.
- Fashion Show Mall Choose from California Pizza Kitchen, Johnny Rockets, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, Panda Express, and Wendy's
- Treasure Island Hotel and Casino A walkway will take you straight from the Fashion Show Mall to Treasure Island, home of Little Richie's, the best place in town for hot dogs with chips or fries prepared Chicago style. Frozen custard, either a cup or cone, costs a mere $3.50
- Mirage Hotel and Casino Your kids will surely enjoy taking the free tram ride from Treasure Island to the Mirage. There is another branch of the California Pizza Kitchen at the Mirage or have a mouthwatering sandwich at the Carnegie Deli. While you are at the hotel, the whole family can also enjoy the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.
Staying Safe at the Adventuredome
Don’t panic if you hear your kids and other kids screaming while riding the rollercoaster. They are not going to fall out and nothing is going to happen to them. The rides are scary, but they meet all of the standards for safety.
At the same time, a few common sense guidelines are in order. You know your children better than anyone, so go with your gut about which rides and other activities you think they would enjoy and which would be best skipped. Also, if anyone in your family has a heart condition or a medical problem, such as diabetes, there may be restrictions on the type and amount of activity, so plan accordingly. If anyone in your family takes prescribed medication, take it with you. You might be in the park longer than you anticipated.
On the off chance your child gets sick, hurt, or lost while in the park, you should be prepared. So the first thing you should do upon arriving at the Adventuredome is take a moment to inquire, in the unlikely case you need to know, where you can get medical assistance for anyone in your party, if necessary, and how to report a missing child. You should also set up a meeting place for you and your kids just in case you get separated. The Adventuredome is fully prepared to handle unforeseen emergencies should they arise. However, if you plan your children’s activities sensibly and keep a close eye on them so they don’t wander off, in all probability, your day at Adventuredome will not only be problem free, but a fun-filled time for the whole family.