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Things to do on New Years Eve 2011 - 2012 in Las Vegas for Kids!

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Where better to ring in the New Year than Fabulous Las Vegas - The Entertainment Capital of the World! But in this minefield of adult-orientated hedonism, how do you organize a fun night with the kids?

We sent out our researchers to scour the Las Vegas Valley in search of family fun - And although it wasn't easy we found plenty of New Years Eve activities for kids of all ages.

The main New Years Eve attraction will be the fireworks display along The Strip. You’ll be able to cheer alongside thousands of others as the casinos welcome the new year with a bang. But would being on The Strip itself be the best vantage point to take it all in?

Shows and restaurants are old Vegas staples for those looking for family entertainment. But lots of shows contain content you’d perhaps wish you’d avoided. We’ve gathered a list of appropriate shows both you and your kids will love, from magical wonders to medieval banquets.

There’s no need to stick to The Strip either. We found plenty to do away from the obvious hotspots so that you can enjoy your night without having to fight through the crowds.

But whatever you decide, make sure you read our 'Be Smart. Safety First.' guide to help you enjoy the night with peace of mind - written by a real Las Vegas local.

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bullet Safety Tips
bullet Attractions
bullet Fireworks
bullet Shows
bullet Resturants
bullet For Teens
bullet Getting Around
bullet Itineraries
bullet New Year Day Activities

Be Smart. Safety First. New Years Safety Tips.

Like any popular city, Las Vegas attracts huge crowds during the New Years celebrations. It's an evening for letting go and having fun--for both children and adults so it's vital to make safety priority one. Being safe mostly means that you'll be able to keep in touch with your kids even when caught up in the fun fuelled party.

Rule #1: Have your cellular phone with you (and on) at all times when away from your children

Rule #2: If you child is old enough to use a phone it's not a bad idea to have a cellular phone for him/her and program your phone number as a quick dial number on the keypad.

Rule #3: Never walk the Las Vegas Strip without either holding your child's hand or making sure they are in view. With The Strip turned into a huge pedestrian party you’ll need to keep a close eye on kids at all times. Las Vegas Boulevard or "The Strip" will be insanely busy and the last thing you want is to chance your children getting swept into the crowds whilst to looking up at the lights/volcanoes/attractions and not where they are walking.

Rule #4: Pick a meeting point that’s clearly visible in your area, so that if you do get split up you can re-group. Try the MGM Lion statue, the Eiffel Tower or another tall landmark.

Rule #5: Only use hotel recommended babysitting services. If you are going to hire a sitter or child care service in order to have some alone time with your spouse, partner, friends, or yourself, be sure to hire hotel recommended and licensed child care services. It's not only a good safety move but will provide you with peace of mind.

Rule #6: If you hire a babysitter to go out on the town, never go out past 1am. We don't know why but it seems like the Vegas scene changes after 1am, from fun to sinister, maybe it's that all the crazy party animals come out at about that time but you don't want to get sucked into that scene when you've got kids waiting for you--do that when you travel alone.

Rule #7: Don’t forget that as the clock strikes midnight EVERYONE decides to get on the phone to call loved ones and friends. The cellular phone lines invariably freeze under the strain of thousands of calls. Make sure your kids are aware of this in case you do get split up around this time and can’t contact each other.

Rule #8: Keep your valuables safe. Of course you’ll want to capture the magic of the night on camera, but keep all these precious items in zippered pockets or your may be bidding farewell to them as well as 2011.

Rule #9: Temperatures drop considerably at night in the Las Vegas Valley, so make sure everyone wraps up nice and warm. Sweaters and jackets will be essential kit for keeping everyone happy all night long.

Rule #10: Plan how your going to get back to your hotel or home in advance or you’ll end up trapped on The Strip. Check the Getting Around section (page 2).

In a guide telling you what’s on for New Years Eve you’ll forgive us for including a section on what’s Not on. But in a city that gears itself towards entertainment for the over 21’s there are a few places that will be strictly out of bounds to families on New Years.

Throughout the year The Strip holds a 9pm curfew on unaccompanied minors (under 18’s). That doesn’t mean kids can’t be out at all, just that they have to be accompanied by an adult after this time.

Under 21’s are also never allowed to loiter on casino floors. They are allowed to pass through the casino’s though, on their way to shows, restaurants or attractions. So there will be no hitting the slots while your kids watch on.

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BEWARE: some Las Vegas family attractions also turn into adult only events on New Years Eve.

The Stratosphere - usually a kid favorite with it’s sky high rides - is off limits to those under 21 in the evening of the 31st.

The Fremont Street Experience turns into one heck of a party on the 31st December. But that’s an Adult only event with ticket entrance fee and strictly over 21’s policy.

Best New Years Attractions for Kids

Here’s our pick of the best things to do for New Years Eve; from spying on sharks, to late night arcades.

The Adventuredome at Circus-Circus is America's largest indoor theme park featuring the world's only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster, The Canyon Blaster. Set in a Grand Canyon-styled motif, this place packs a lot of entertainment into its glass-domed five acres.

Other top attractions include the Rim Runner boat ride, which features a 60-foot water plunge at its climax, or visitors can experience the latest motion simulation technology in the IMAX RideFilm Cineplex.

The Adventuredome also has attractions suitable for younger children including the traditional Carousel. There is also carnival-style games, clown shows, and an arcade.
Kids need to be from 42" to 54" to be allowed to ride the rides. Kids must be accompanied by a parent.
Location: Circus-Circus Hotel
Times: 10am to 10pm
Phone: 702-734-0410

Located next to the MGM Grand hotel and below the M&M Factory store, Gameworks is a shrine to arcade gaming and old fashioned games of skill. New Year's Eve promises to be extra special but you'll want to get there before 9pm as Gameworks is putting on it's most festive atmosphere for the holiday. Cost of entry into Gameworks is the purchase of a game card which at minimum will cost $7 per person. However, if you and the family intend on spending some time here you'll want to consider purchasing the $37 per person day pass which offers unlimited games (with some restrictions). All children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and there is no minimum age so long as this rule is observed. Gameworks closing time is 12am.
Location: Next to MGM grand
Cost: $7 and up per person

The world's largest permanent circus is a perfect family choice for a trip to Las Vegas. Highlighting the center stage of the carnival Midway, Circus-Circus presents world-renowned live circus acts free every day. The Midway itself is a large open circle overseeing the casino, and provides a good spot for checking out the performers.
Circus-Circus Hotel
Age Restrictions: No Minimum age
Times: Last show at Midnight
Phone: 702-734-0410

MGM Lion Habitat draws more than 12,000 visitors per day. The Habitat is a 5,000 square foot showcase of lofty simulated jungle complete with waterfalls, enclosed in 240 degrees of floor-to-ceiling protective glass that enables the public to view a variety of lions at play and leisure.
Location: MGM Grand hotel
Times: Closes at 10pm

Step right up and stimulate your senses at Circus Circus' famous Carnival Midway, designed to supremely thrill kids and adults of all ages! If you're game, we've got plenty to keep you entertained with our invigorating selection – all of which surrounds a circus stage and promises premium prizes for winners. Also on the Midway is our pulse-pounding Arcade energizing players with 200 of today's most popular and yesterday's most classic games.
Age Restrictions: Kids under 15 must be accompanied by adult.
Location: Circus-Circus Hotel
Times: Closes at 10pm
Phone: 702-734-0410

Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is not your typical aquarium. It is a total sensory experience designed to transport visitors to an undersea ocean of fantastic sights, sounds and encounters. Featuring dangerous and unusual aquatic animals and fish from the world's tropical waters, Shark Reef will take visitors on a journey through an ancient temple that has been slowly claimed by the sea.
Location: Mandalay Bay and kids Age
16 and under must be accompanied by adult.
Cost: Adults $16.95, Children 12 years old and younger $10.95, Children 4 and younger admitted free.
Times: Closes at 10pm
Phone: 702-632-7777

Games of chance are for adults, but arcades are for kids and New York New York has over 10,000 square feet dedicated to arcade gaming. In our opinion the top dog of arcades is the New York New York arcade which is located above the Il Fornaio Italian restaurant. It’s huge in size and has a combination of arcade and skill games that appeal to all ages. And winning is the name of the game in this arcade because the games of skill dispense tickets that can be exchanged for prizes ranging from candy to large stuffed bears and toys.
Location: New York New York Hotel
Times: Closes at 2 am

Located on the lower level--below the casino area--the Excalibur Midway is where you can test your skills at carnival style games and arcade games alike. Set any young boy or girl free here and you'll be a hero for the day!
Location: Excalibur Hotel
Times: Closes at 2am

Climb aboard the SpongeBob 4D Special FX Ride, now open on the Fantasy Faire level! Join SpongeBob as he desperately pursues a runaway pickle in his heartfelt desire to serve up the perfect Krabby Patty.

Through the magic of Digital 3D projection and 4D Special FX, riders are transported down to Bikini Bottom for the adventure of their lives. Wind, bubbles, and scent are just a few of the 4D FX that create this extraordinary experience.
Location: Excalibur Hotel
Restrictions: Must be 42" tall to ride
Cost: $12.99 for one, 15.99 for two rides
Times: Closes at 11pm
Phone: 702-597-7777

New York New York Hotel features the Manhattan Express Rollercoaster which takes white-knucklers on an exciting ride that twists, loops and dives around and through the hotel. With heights of 203 feet, drops of 144 feet and speeds up to 67 MPH, this attraction adds new meaning to the phrase "let it ride!" It features the world's first "heartline" twist and dive maneuver, allowing riders to experience the thrilling force of negative g's! Simulating a barrel-roll in a jet fighter, it rolls 180 degrees, hangs 86 feet in the air, then dives back under itself - promising dizzying excitement and white-knuckle thrills!
Location: New York New York Hotel
Restrictions: Kids must be at least 54" in height with out shoes
Cost: $14 per person. Second-time riders can purchase an additional ticket for $7. Both tickets should be purchased at the same time. The All-Day Scream Pass is $25. The "Flight-for-Four" package is available for $56 and includes admission for four as well as two souvenir photos Please call for special group rates.
Times: Closes at 10pm
Phone: 702-740-6969

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Where to See Fireworks in Las Vegas and Hendeson

A Strip-wide fireworks display take place each year as Las Vegas hosts "America's Party". Fireworks are launched from a few of the big Strip hotels. Best views of the fireworks show is very likely away from the Strip--it's easier and safe too boot!

Great views can be had from Green Valley Ranch hotel (or just nearby at The District).

Russell road opposite McCarren airport stays open during New Year's Eve celebration. Park anywhere along Russell and the airport for fantastic views of the Strip fireworks..

The Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas hosts a New Year's Eve party each year. "Fireworks" are displayed on the light show canopy that spans Fremont Street. Minimum age is 18 years old.

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Kid-Friendly New Years Eve Shows

You’ll be surprised to hear that many of the children friendly shows take the night off for New Years Eve, leaving adult only shows running. But there are a few options that will still delight the kids.

Looking for some stimulation? Cirque du Soleil will satisfy with more than you could ever imagine at Mystère! Adventure into an entirely different world where fantasies are played out in vivid color right before your very eyes. Come, be part of the dream!

Location: Treasure Island
Show Times: 4:30pm and 7pm. Please call for possible changes to show times
Age Restriction: No minimum age

LOVE Cirque du Soleil celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles through their timeless, original recordings. Drawn from the poetry of the lyrics, the show explores the content of the songs by performances from a cast of 60 international artists. A youthful, raw energy is channeled through aerial performance, extreme sports and urban freestyle dance.
Location: The Mirage
Show Times: are 4pm and 7pm. Please call for possible changes to show times
Age Restriction: 5 years and older

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Where to Eat in Las Vegas for New Years with Kids

And of course you’ll want to enjoy a great dinner. Try these restaurants where the kids will love the venue and you can enjoy great food.

The 33,000 square foot ESPN Zone facility features: More than 165 television monitors throughout the facility (including more than a dozen in the restrooms so you never miss a moment of action).
Location: New York New York Hotel
Cost: $$

One of the largest brewpubs in the nation, the Monte Carlo Pub & Brewery features six styles of Monte Carlo-labeled beer, including Las Vegas Lites, Winner's Wheat, High Roller Red, Silver State Stout, Jackpot Pale and Brewmaster Special. Here you’ll be able to enjoy a nice cold beer in a restaurant that welcomes kids too. The menu compliments the selection of beers. Items include a vast selection of things kids love like freshly baked brick-oven pizzas, gourmet wraps and a full line of salads and sandwiches.
Monte Carlo
Cost: $$$

Il Fornaio is an authentic Italian restaurant that includes wood-fired rotisserie chicken, homemade pasta, grilled fish, steak and chops, pizza from the wood-burning oven, and fresh seasonal salads and soups. Great for sophisticated teens to pretend they’re adults.
Location: New York New York Hotel
Cost: $$$

The NASCAR Café (CLOSED) offers a unique entertainment and dining experience located on two levels. This 400-seat NASCAR Cafe features exciting stock car racing entertainment and includes giant projection television screens equipped with surround sound featuring NASCAR racing.

The Cafe displays nearly 20 authentic NASCAR stock cars and is founded on two levels. The Cafe features the Carzilla Bar, the world's largest stock car, a Pontiac Grand Prix that weighs more than three tons. It measures 34 feet long and 12 feet wide and is mounted on a platform. Carzilla was designed by Bob Campbell, who designed for Dale Earnhardt.
Location: Sahara
Cost: $$$

In the era of castles and gallant knights, kings would gather the nobility for fanciful feasts and tournaments of valor in celebration of important events. Those days still exist inside Excalibur hotel during its “Tournament of Kings” dinner show. Everyone can let their hair down and eat with their hands as they watch Knights jousting before them.
Location: Excalibur Hotel
Age Restriction: No minimum age
Nudity factor Men topless in one segment of show
Cost: $$$$

At the Rainforest Café you can dine at a table surrounded with vegetation, cool mists, cascading waterfalls and creatures indigenous to the rainforest. Thunderstorms will crash overhead. And fish watching is a must with the 10,000 gallon double archway saltwater aquarium. This is part restaurant and wholly entertaining.
Location: MGM Grand hotel
Cost: $$$

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Las Vegas New Years Eve for Teens

Vegas is a city that tends to forget it’s teen population, even though it has one of the largest school districts in the country. In fact Vegas only has one teen night club. But that said, it’s got to be the hippest teen night club we’ve seen, and is great for those kids who are convinced they’re already adults.

While the world is getting ready for the New Year this club decided this would be a great time to celebrate the year that is now coming to an end.

FroZEN75 Teen Nightclub is Las Vegas' only under 21 nightclub and lounge and it's all that adults are used to without the alcohol. Frozen 75 has strict dress requirement so you'll want to check those out on their website listed below.
Location: 4427 E. Sunset Road, Henderson, NV
Telephone: 702-364-4444

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Getting around on New Years Eve with Kids

This takes some serious planning. The entire Strip is closed to traffic making it one enormous pedestrian walkway! This makes it a great playground for your new years festivities, but a complete nightmare when trying to organize transport.

You'll find the taxi lines snaking miles into the distance and don't even bother trying to flag one down in the street - that's illegal in Las Vegas.

If you park your car in one of the Casino parking lots you can expect it to stay there until the early hours whilst complete gridlock brings everything to a stand still until at least 3 am. Yes, you'll have become a prisoner to the Party On The Strip until it chooses to let you go.

Our top tip is to choose your hotel wisely. Look at the attractions listing in this book and decide which ones you'd like to spend time at, then pick a hotel nearby. Hotel rooms can seem expensive on paper, but when you think of all the hassle you'll avoid, it may be worth every penny.

But if you do want to travel up and down The Strip you'll just need an action plan. Getting from one end to the other can be nearly impossible. Not only is the walk dauntingly long for little legs, but you'll also have to battle past plenty of drunk college students celebrating the new year with less than desirable language and splashing beer in all directions.

So when trying to cover longer distances why not use the Las Vegas Monorail as a quick and easy way to avoid the crowds.

When you consider the number of people that will be in Vegas partying, surprisingly few will use the Monorail. That's because it's tucked away behind the casinos on the eastern side of The Strip - and not many people even know it's there. Traveling at up to 50mph it will whisk you past the crowds getting from one end of the Strip to the other in 15 minutes or less.

The Monorail tickets are valid up to one year from purchase so you can buy them in advance at the stations or even online. Even better, children five and under ride free (they must be able to be carried through the fare gates, accompanied by an adult passenger who has a paid fare).

Strollers are permitted, as are wheelchairs, walkers, mobility scooters and motorized scooters that assist those with a disability. All Monorail stations also have accessible elevator service to all levels.

Below is a list of Monorail stops. Individual stops, although named after only one or two resorts, usually serve four or five which are all well sign posted.

Sahara Station
Las Vegas Hilton Station
Las Vegas Convention
Center Station
Harrah's / Imperial Palace Station
Flamingo / Caesars Palace Station
Bally's / Paris Las Vegas Station
MGM Grand Station
Times: Closes at 3am
Price: Single Ride $5, multi-trip and day passes available, Children 5 and under ride free.

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When you plan your night, try to group activities together. We’ve made some sample itineraries we think you’ll love.

If you want to be out on The Strip: The intersection of the Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue can be a stunning place to start. At night it’s illuminated on all four corners by flashing neon lights, and the casinos on this southern end of The Strip hold plenty of activities for families.

Best for 4yrs - 7yrs:
The Circus Acts and games at Circus-Circus Hotel are sure to be a winner for younger kids. They'll love the colorful circus tents and being able to run around and play. Try to keep them awake late enough to see the fireworks, or get a room with a Strip view so you can watch them with a glass of wine from the comfort of your room.

Best for 7yrs - 11yrs:
Start your evening with dinner at the Tournament of Kings., before hitting the Arcades in the Excalibur or New York New York Hotel next door. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get out onto the Strip to watch the fireworks at midnight. Let them stay up extra late as a special treat with the extended hours in the Arcades - But only if they’re good!

Best for 11yrs - 15yrs:
Montelago Village could be the answer if your coming to Vegas with your little princess. You can enjoy a whole evening of fun for free with ice-skating and fireworks, as well as it being the location of great restaurants and bars that you’ll enjoy. The Strip will always be there the day after when the crowds have passed.

Best for 15yrs+:
Let your kids enjoy Vegas like an adult. Start the evening off with a nice family meal in a more sophisticated restaurant, that doesn’t have a hefty price tag. Try Il Fornaio at the New York New York. Then drop them off at FroZEN75 (for 15yrs+) or Fremont Street (for 18yrs+), and let them party with their friends. They’ll think they’re having all the fun when in fact you can enjoy some grown up time too.

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Things to do on New Years Day

You can keep the action rolling after the late night, fireworks and all the fun with some fun happenings in and around Las Vegas.

How about some ice skating at the floating ice rink at Lake Las Vegas. Prices are $15 per adult and $12 per child from 3pm to 9pm
Location: MonteLago Village, Lake Las Vegas, NV
Telephone: 702-564-4766

Hike Red Rock or drive the Scenic Loop road. Take the dog with you too!

If you're really adventurous hike Seven Tunnels at Lake Mead. Simply visit the Lake Mead Recreation area and ask a ranger how to get to the start of the hike. It ends up at Hoover Dam.

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