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Help. Las Vegas trip with kids.... what to do? eat? stay? Added: Sticky situation, details inside...Final Update in OP for those curious


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So not my pick of places to go, but we will be spending a long weekend in las vegas next month. Long back story, yes I have to go and take the kids with. Last time I was there was pre kids. People I've talked to say it has gotten worse. Anyways, the person we are going there "for" wants to see the hotels and their sights, etc. So going outside LV to the nature sites will not work. This person is visiting from a long distance and is relative to hubby. They are not a "nature" person. 

I am trying to mitigate the cost.

They wanted to stay in one of the "big" hotels (ie on the strip like Venetian or Bellagio), but with so many of us we would need 2 rooms, and they are $$$$$. If someone knows how to get 2 rooms for $100@ a night or less on a weekend, please let me know  <insert hysterically laughing emoji here>. The kids and I could claim tired and chill in the hotel and watch movies as they walk the strip for part of the day. I am looking at an AirBNB, but that will require driving to the strip. Do they still charge $$$$ for parking? Any tips on free parking in the area?? Do they still have that tram on the strip?? In the heat I am not looking forward to walking all that.

Things to do that are kid friendly?? And NOT $$$$$$$? I was not planning for this trip and while we can afford some, I was saving for our big trip in Dec to Berlin and Istanbul....

Some of the shows or "activities" at the big name casinos are like $25-30 per person and up!! So I want to have stuff to do so that we can steer away from those things. Because this person is the type who will think nothing of saying "Oh look.. let's _________". And even $25 x 7 is $175 !!!! 

Restaurants? Any suggestions that are not $$$ but would have vege or seafood options, kid friendly also and yet fulfill this persons desire to "dine" in the hotels?

If we get AirBnB I can do breakfasts hopefully there and I will pack a bag of snacks and my backpack. Is that an issue carrying a backpack into these casinos?I mean people are carrying suitcases through there, but jrather be safe than sorry. Would I be better off with a large messenger style "purse" bag???

I am planning to try to steer us to the Bellagio conservatory (still free right?) and fountain. Does Ceaser's still have the free show and aquarium? Walk through the Venetian? I saw the Chocolate Factory, but it seems it is M-TH and we won't arrive till Thur night and leave Sunday. The M&M store maybe? Any other things like that?

Thanks for any tips, help...

As you can probably tell by this post, so many other things I rather be doing right now.....

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So final update for those curious: We ended up not going (YAY!) but because visitor got ill......She has other family here in other states, so she spent a few days with us here, then was going to go to family and then come back here to stay with us for another 4-5 days to go to vegas, but she never came because she got sick (I think food poisoning) and she has returned back home....

But thanks for all the tips , I will file away for the next visitor who wants to do vegas, I had managed to avoid the other times DH took people, because I was either pregnant or twins were little, etc....

 

Edited by Um_2_4
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I don't have a lot of advice, but I would say eat where they have buffets.  That way there is something for everyone.

Just walking through the various hotels in the daytime may be interesting enough for the kids.  They are all decorated so nicely.  There are also [family-friendly] performers on the streets.  We went a few years ago, and it was not particularly racy in the daytime.  We didn't go out at night.

I don't have any suggestions about the shows.  Possibly you could opt out claiming "not family friendly" so just your dh and his relative would attend.

One more thought - all else being equal, see if you can find a hotel with a pool.  The one we stayed in didn't have a pool, which was quite a bummer for the kids.

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Hotels: I don't believe you can get anything on the strip on a weekend for under $100/night. The one or two I can think of that you possibly could (Circus Circus being one) I would *not* stay in, especially with a family. You will likely have better luck off strip.

Parking: most of the casinos on the strip now charge parking. There are still some that do not.  I am not sure if this list is up to date but I believe the Venetian still doesn't charge. No idea about the others. http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-tr-las-vegas-free-parking-20170413-story.html#

Food: Nothing in the hotel/casinos is going to be cheap. Some are worse than others of course.  You will likely find the cheaper options in the mid-tier locations. Without a specific meal budget it's hard to give exact recommendations.

Activities: The activities at the Bellagio and Caesars are still free. You can also visit the Mirage Volcano and Circus Circus has various circus acts/carnival type activities. I think part of the Chocolate Factory tour is open daily. There is also a wildlife habitat (mostly birds and fish, maybe some reptiles but I can't remember for sure) at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

In the past we could walk around with a back pack and carry snacks, but you may want to double check as security has changed since the shootings.

SKL is correct - a location with a pool would help tremendously and could provide an easy early evening activity each night.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, happi duck said:

Can the person insisting on Vegas pay for everyone? Or at least pay for the hotel?

(I know this is a stretch but worth a shot maybe?)

 

I wish! LOL!!! That is not usually how it is done, culture wise, host pays. Now if it were us visiting them (which we did a little while ago) we would pay for everything when we go out together, that is how hubby and I would do things. But this person is coming from a place where average monthly income is $500-800 USD. Now they sent a child to university here, but in a Low COL area and the child did not have a family to support. By their view, All Americans are rich (which we are by their standards, even if you make $20000 a year), but they don't realize how $$$ stuff is here in CA. It is sticky like I said. We could pay these prices, and we won't be homeless or skipping meals, but it was not in the plan, in fact I had other plans for that $ and hubby will go along with it because he does like this person and sees them like 3 times in the last 10 years. I will go along and not let it show, I'm just a planner and trying to find ways to unobtrusively save $$ if that makes sense.

1 hour ago, SKL said:

I don't have a lot of advice, but I would say eat where they have buffets.  That way there is something for everyone.

Just walking through the various hotels in the daytime may be interesting enough for the kids.  They are all decorated so nicely.  There are also [family-friendly] performers on the streets.  We went a few years ago, and it was not particularly racy in the daytime.  We didn't go out at night.

I don't have any suggestions about the shows.  Possibly you could opt out claiming "not family friendly" so just your dh and his relative would attend.

One more thought - all else being equal, see if you can find a hotel with a pool.  The one we stayed in didn't have a pool, which was quite a bummer for the kids.

 

I will check for deals on buffets.... the kids would like that.

Maybe I will do a photo scavenger hunt, they are doing photography in 4H and each have their own cameras, so that would help! Thanks for the mentioning the decorations inside, that started an idea brewing!

If they insist on shows, I might just do that and they could uber back to the AirBnb.

.

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3 minutes ago, ChocolateReignRemix said:

Hotels: I don't believe you can get anything on the strip on a weekend for under $100/night. The one or two I can think of that you possibly could (Circus Circus being one) I would *not* stay in, especially with a family. You will likely have better luck off strip.

Parking: most of the casinos on the strip now charge parking. There are still some that do not.  I am not sure if this list is up to date but I believe the Venetian still doesn't charge. No idea about the others. http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-tr-las-vegas-free-parking-20170413-story.html#

Food: Nothing in the hotel/casinos is going to be cheap. Some are worse than others of course.  You will likely find the cheaper options in the mid-tier locations. Without a specific meal budget it's hard to give exact recommendations.

Activities: The activities at the Bellagio and Caesars are still free. You can also visit the Mirage Volcano and Circus Circus has various circus acts/carnival type activities. I think part of the Chocolate Factory tour is open daily. There is also a wildlife habitat (mostly birds and fish, maybe some reptiles but I can't remember for sure) at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

In the past we could walk around with a back pack and carry snacks, but you may want to double check as security has changed since the shootings.

SKL is correct - a location with a pool would help tremendously and could provide an easy early evening activity each night.

 

 

 

Thanks! I found some AirBnB with pools, so we'll see.

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If it has to be Vegas, I would absolutely insist on taking the kids on at least to Hoover Dam one day.  It's ridiculous to go all that way and not see it.

But I would try to switch to Reno.  It's less expensive--for instance, they still have $5 single deck blackjack tables and free parking.  The casino restaurants have gotten very pricey, though.  But Reno is a full on city, with other restaurants (cheaper) and art museums and historical sites nearby, and also it is just one hour from gorgeous Lake Tahoe.  Also, actually, if you switched your focus to Reno you could rent a condo at Lake Tahoe and get the whole group into one place.  Ridge Pointe is really nice, high up and quiet, with big two bedroom/two bathroom equipped condos with a full kitchen and also a washer/dryer to use.  

 

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I have never been to Las Vegas (unless you count inside the airport), but DS went last month with his boxing club.  They stayed at the LaQuinta and said it was nice.  They were able to walk to the strip from the hotel; these are very in-shape males in their late teens through 20's, so I am not sure what it would be like to walk with kids in tow.  His coach had found what looked like some good deals at some of the fancy hotels, but then found out there were resort fees and other costs that would be tacked on that started to add up.  

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I was in Vegas a couple of years ago and stayed at Marriott's Grande Chateau. It is right off the strip and has suites with free laundry and kitchens. It may be a little more than you were planning to pay, but you could cook some of your own food and that would save you $$$$. Most restaurant meals in Vegas now run $15-20 per person and most buffets (even the ones downtown) are on the high end of that. The hotel is nice and has a pool. They also have some free activities for kids.

https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/lasvg-marriotts-grand-chateau/?scid=bb1a189a-fec3-4d19-a255-54ba596febe2

 

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Excalibur is very family friendly - they have a whole arcade level and are very inexpensive for the rooms, by Vegas standards.  There are some great museums and such that aren’t too expensive either - driving to the Hoover dam, the national atomic testing museum (surprisingly excellent), etc.

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It is really really hot right now and will stay hot through Oct. I'm not sure how much walking you really want to do. It will be between 108 - 112 degrees this weekend and even hotter on the strip. I'd take the airbnb with the pool and hang out there with the kids. Groupon has a ton of activities and food discounts. Buffets are not cheap anymore. I'd pick up some food at the grocery store if you are staying at an airbnb and then plan one nice meal as a treat. 

I always recommend Springs Preserve, there are some indoor museums there, but there's still a lot outside. With that many, I'd get the family membership and you could spend a day or two there with the kids while they walk the strip. The NV state museum is there along with kids exhibits and shows. They have a restaurant to eat.

Casinos have bowling, movie theaters and arcades and they are air conditioned. You do have to put up with cigarette smoke if you walk through them. 

https://www.groupon.com/browse/las-vegas?category=things-to-do&amp;category2=kids-activities

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We used to go to LV a couple of times per year, before the 8th grader got too busy with his activities.  I'm assuming your children are under 10.  We always stayed at the Golden Nugget.  Downtown, just off the strip. Nice old school hotel.  But, the best pool for children.  The pool wraps around a large shark tank.  1/2 the pool is covered (so shaded).  A water slide runs through the shark tank.  Free parking. an occasional special that waives resort fees. Attached to a covered pavillion for free music and light  show.  Easy to freeway.   

For things to do: Take a tour of Hoover Dam, or the history museum.  Red Rock is something I would like to do, but it probably to hot this time of year.  There is an inter-hotel tram that is very cheap and entertaining for young children.. another option for housing is the Stratosphere.  It is kind of beaten up, but can get a  Suite (two rooms, two baths, dining table) for the same or a little more than a suite at Bellagio.  But the casino is a little run down, and I would not walk outside the casino at night.

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Well, this relative is coming and wants to "Do Vegas". Already did Disneyland. Most everyone who visits from overseas, after seeing Hollywood, and Disneyland want to head to Vegas.

But the heat might help me to reroute this... No way all of us are going to traipse through LV in 110+ temps...

We can beg off on my health. Over 80F and I have hard time breathing. So that might help and I can rearrange stuff. 

If we get an airbnb, We could go early in the am to see some stuff, I'll have to check the times. I found a couple inexpensive breakfast buffets. Then head back to house to relax, maybe use the pool, and head back out later in the day, maybe even hubby could take relative to see something (show or the like) and the kids and I stay in and watch a movie. Several of the condos have like netflix included or something. I can grab some popcorn and treats and they'll be happy.

I might try to fit in Hoover Dam. Like I said this person is like the opposite of outdoorsy, nature type, but the temps may preclude that stuff anyway. And not a history,/museum person either. Think more cafes, shopping, fancy restaurants person. 

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4 minutes ago, Um_2_4 said:

Well, this relative is coming and wants to "Do Vegas". Already did Disneyland. Most everyone who visits from overseas, after seeing Hollywood, and Disneyland want to head to Vegas.

But the heat might help me to reroute this... No way all of us are going to traipse through LV in 110+ temps...

We can beg off on my health. Over 80F and I have hard time breathing. So that might help and I can rearrange stuff. 

If we get an airbnb, We could go early in the am to see some stuff, I'll have to check the times. I found a couple inexpensive breakfast buffets. Then head back to house to relax, maybe use the pool, and head back out later in the day, maybe even hubby could take relative to see something (show or the like) and the kids and I stay in and watch a movie. Several of the condos have like netflix included or something. I can grab some popcorn and treats and they'll be happy.

I might try to fit in Hoover Dam. Like I said this person is like the opposite of outdoorsy, nature type, but the temps may preclude that stuff anyway. And not a history,/museum person either. Think more cafes, shopping, fancy restaurants person. 

 

 

The year I was there, it was May and already so hot I could barely handle walking from place to place on the strip. All of the concrete and reflective surfaces make it super duper hot. I would try for a different US location or no vacation at all.

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LOL Well hubby just finished a meeting and called me. I mentioned that if they want to do this we need to reserve as places are getting booked up. Then off handily mentioned the temps there.....

Now DH is thinking to maybe just take them for a day... it is 2 hours one way from here. Leave early, drive them to strip, see a few of the big hotels , eat dinner and drive home.....LOL

I suggested San Diego, Sea World or something....gotta be cooler than LV!

So thanks to whomever mentioned the temps !!!

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Lol, the nighttime low isn't even 80 degrees right now. I consider this time of year to be like a Minnesota winter where I might as well be snowed in because there is no way I'm going out right now. Anytime between Nov and April is usually cool. 

If you are only looking for stuff he would like, then the Bellagio, the Venetian, Container Park and Fremont Street would all be places he'd like. There's a couple of fancy restaurants in every casino. There's the Fashion Show mall and premium outlets on the north side. 

 

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We were just there with our family as part of a road trip. I *hate* Vegas, mostly because of the smoke (cigars are the worst!!), but the scantily clad ladies, etc. aren't great either. I wouldn't have added it to our agenda, but dh sold me with the Hoover dam. Our stay ended up getting extended because we had to "flee" Yosemite due to smoke from the nearby wildfire. Anyway, I definitely recommend Airbnb, preferably with a pool. It was SO hot!! Even quick walks from the car to a store were brutal, let alone all the walking involved on the strip. I found a great list of things to do with kids, but the free ones were either mentioned above (note that the fountains at the Bellagio and the Fall of Atlantis shows happen infrequently during the day and we missed both) or $$. We did do the Hoover dam tour. If the tour is too pricey, you should at least go see it if possible. There is a really cool playground that I considered because it has a splash pad. A Google search for Vegas with kids listed it. I would look it up and link it, but I'm in the car. 4 more days of our trip to go! Oh, and the bus (the Deuce) is pretty affordable and it stops in much more convenient locations than the trams. There are a few lots with free parking. We parked behind Circus circus. The downside was walking through it. They had a huge arcade for kids, which just felt like a grooming ground for future gamblers, considering all the casinos everywhere, but I realize I was jaded by the Vegas atmosphere. I have no issues with arcades normally.

I hope you can find ways to make the best of a trip you'd rather not do!

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I have a child who needs my attention, so I haven’t read the thread, but that chocolate factory was a joke.  We walked down a tiny hallway that had a window to where the workers were working for us to look at, but no one was there except for one guy at the far end of the room rolling a trashcan around.  It was tiny, dinky, and beyond disappointing.  It wasn’t a factory.  It was a single room with a window and no one doing anything. 

But it led right to the shop where the chocolate was $$$$$.  We could only afford a small bag of chocolate that were like flat Hershey’s kisses.  Major disappointment for the kids.  Major.  It was supposed to be a Big Day at the factory.

I hated Vegas for kids.  The one hotel had an arcade in it for kids (a hotel that looked like a castle or something), and it was smoke filled in the arcade and expensive.  The kids hated the buffet that cost us $120 for the four of us and one boy only ate a dinner roll.  The next day, we ate breakfast and lunch at McDonalds and Pizza Hut for dinner (had to drive a few minutes from the casinos.)

 

I’m sorry.  I’m not helpful, other than to avoid the factory and drive off-strip for food.

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Yes, the temperatures ... I took some folks from India there (in the summer) and it was too hot even for them.  I forgot about that as the last time I went was in November.

 

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1 hour ago, Um_2_4 said:

 

Now DH is thinking to maybe just take them for a day... it is 2 hours one way from here.  

 

 

Definitely push for this! It's crazy to spend all that money for something 2 hours away that you don't even want to do. Even if they stay late and get a hotel on the way back home, it will be hella cheaper than all of you going for a long weekend. 

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My family went to Vegas when I was in middle school, on the way home from the Grand Canyon. We went on a trolley tour of the city, which was a nice air-conditioned way to see some family-friendly stuff. The Hoover Dam was better, from my point of view. Honestly, I don't remember much other than being hot and miserable, but that may have been due to lack of planning; it was meant to be a side trip, not a "do Vegas" trip. Good luck!

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Might be moot, but we were just there in May. We ended up staying only 1 night instead of 2. We stayed at Circus Circus as we really only needed a place to crash. We weren't even in the room 12 hours. It was a room in the tower, $60 for the night. I booked through Vegas.com  They had good prices. FYI the Bellagio fountains don't run all day, but do run more on the weekends. We were bummed to have missed those. The conservatory there is free as well as looking at the Dale Chihuly glass sculpture ceiling. We did have to pay to park when we drove further down the strip(but didn't at Circus Circus). We liked the New York New York arcade and ate in their food court we found. We had a fast food style family fish meal for about $22. We did an AirBNB in Pahrump when we first got there because we were heading to Death Valley the next day. If you need a referral for them, I can give you one. I think it would be fun to do the big eye ferris wheel at night, but I don't know ticket cost.  

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I've never done Vegas, but Circus Circus in Reno does have 2 room suites available, and often has pretty good deals.  If Vegas is set up similarly, it may be worth considering. You might have to bring airbeds, but there would be enough room for a pretty big family. The Buffets aren't a cheap option unless you gamble and get comps. Get a room with a refrigerator and go to WinCo and at least eat Breakfast in the room.

 

In NV, our two go-tos for good fast food are El Pollo Loco (good roasted chicken, broccoli that isn't overcooked and mushy) and Del Taco. Both are inexpensive.

 

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LOL - well update, family member still wants to go to Vegas, even knowing the heat ?

So I am looking for a nice Air BnB that we can chill in from like 10-4pm.

They don't gamble or drink, so it is just to see the sites and shop and eat.

I mean we have huge outlet malls near us we could hit.

But whatever, it looks like they are not going to commit to dates, so we can just say "booked" sorry, and do a day trip!

I have been looking at the tram or bus they have so hopefully we could avoid walking as much as possible.

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Do you watch the show Tanked? I've heard that tour is worth it. It's 70 minutes long and sometimes the guys from the show are there and take pictures with you. We don't watch the show, so we haven't checked it out, but I've heard good things. 

Boulevard Mall (not the greatest store-wise, but close to the strip) has an interactive aquarium, a magic show and a 3D Art Museum that is Instagram worthy that everyone might like. It's also all indoors.

http://boulevardmall.com/events/headz-up-is-open-now/

http://boulevardmall.com/boulevard-magic-show-dixie-dooley/

http://boulevardmall.com/the-boulevard-seaquest-aquarium-is-now-open/

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4 hours ago, Plum Crazy said:

Do you watch the show Tanked? I've heard that tour is worth it. It's 70 minutes long and sometimes the guys from the show are there and take pictures with you. We don't watch the show, so we haven't checked it out, but I've heard good things. 

Boulevard Mall (not the greatest store-wise, but close to the strip) has an interactive aquarium, a magic show and a 3D Art Museum that is Instagram worthy that everyone might like. It's also all indoors.

http://boulevardmall.com/events/headz-up-is-open-now/

http://boulevardmall.com/boulevard-magic-show-dixie-dooley/

http://boulevardmall.com/the-boulevard-seaquest-aquarium-is-now-open/

 

Thanks! That mall looks like it would be perfect after we "see" the hotels from the outside. And A/C!!! YAY!!!

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You're way nicer than I am. I'd tell the person to jump, cuz I wouldn't spend my vacation money to do a town that wasn't a vacation for me, mercy. 

As for Vegas, well we didn't get quite that far, but we did the small town at Hoover Dam. You might see if you could stay in Boulder City instead or head over there. The shops are charming. We did this tour which was WONDERFUL Hoover Dam River Tours | Hoover Dam Tours From Las Vegas | Black ...  You can also tour Hoover Dam, if someone in your party is into that. But yeah, the Black Canyon River rafting tour would work for all your family. It's non-strenuous, hits things like The Great Unconformity, and includes a delicious lunch. 

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I've done Vegas with kids quite a few times - my parents work and live there.  Yes, the heat is hot but hey, it is a drrrryyyy heat.  We've never stayed in the hotels so I can't help in that department but a few things to consider - yes, shows are expensive but there are a few magic shows that have been there for ever that are wonderful.  Not sure if Penn & Teller are still doing their show but that is a good one.  Most of those shows are family friendly and the only tricky part is finding and getting to the location for the show - walking through the casino.  Very important that kids stay on the "path" of the carpet.  They can not come over to a gambling machine to "just watch."  Security will be there.  Over the years they've had tragic problems with kids so the hotels have really cracked down and enforce those rules to keep them safe.  One show that truly was family fun was the Knights of the Round Table.  Very fun for kids and something they'll remember.  All of the hotels have various themes - Bellagio and gorgeous flowers, Treasure Island has the pirates, etc.  Caesars has a very neat, very COOL, underground shopping experience (you said they wanted to shop).  Live statues.  Beautiful underworld.  There is a big outlet there but it is all out doors and that was probably the only place I hated because it was hot - no matter how fast you ran from store to store.  I will say the buffets are great but can be expensive.  They give discounts to those who gamble and stay at their hotels so sometimes it can be more than going to a restaurant you are most familiar with.  There is a Gordon Ramsay restaurant and Buddy Valestro has a great restaurant that my parents will typically take visitors to because the food and service is consistently good.  The biggest challenge, when traveling with kids, is truly walking the sidewalks because there are people out there trying to hand out flyers for "services" but we, over the years, just kept the kids sandwiched between the adults so access was harder and moved along.  Did the M&M thing but not memorable.  That location is little more trashy shall we say - the closer you get to Freemont Street - that is old Vegas and at night you sure do get an eyeful!  People go to do the zip line but be sure to bring bleach cups for your eyes.  ?  There is a hotel a little off the strip - the Flamingo - that used to have (not sure if they still do) a parade of floats that are suspended from the ceiling and they throw Mardi Gras beads to catch.  If you go to that stay upstairs, away from the gambling floor - neat to see/experience.  There is great fun in the bowling alleys in the hotels - look for one close to your bnb.  Having a pool at your home is great but keep in mind - kids should swim early in the morning and later in evening (after 6).  I also suggest swim shirts for added swim protection because the heat/sun is extremely strong there.  My kids, even with loaded sunscreen and special shirts still got sunburns.  I have found the sun much more hard to deal with then the heat.  Refillable water bottles are helpful, too.

Hope this helps - just a little.

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With kids I really enjoy the Flamingo. It's a little more affordable than other strip hotels because its older but they have beautiful grounds with flamingos and turtles that kids really enjoy. It's an easy way to entertain first thing in the morning without going anywhere. The pools are also very nice and more family friendly than some. 

Definitely go with buffets. For kids that can be a lot of entertainment in itself. The medieval knight show at the Excalibur is cheesy but fun.

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Been going to Las Vegas since it was a very small city and I was a boy.    Lived in Reno.

First rule is that you MUST NEVER enter Casinos with Minors. The Nevada Gaming Commission is extremely strict and the Security people will be all over you if you enter a Casino with children.

Secondly, never having been in an AirBNB, that wouldn't be something I would consider, but possibly it could work out well for your group.

My suggestion would be to consider renting a Timeshare, which is normally for seven (7) nights, but renting one where they will permit you to only use part of it. In this case, checking in on Thursday.   One that would have a Fully equipped kitchen and then you could cook some of the meals (not something my wife wants or likes to do when she is on vacation, but she cooked a quick Breakfast for us 6 of the 7 mornings we were in a Timeshare in Orlando and some late night snacks, after we "got home").  Saved lots of time and money.

We rented the one we stayed in on eBay from magicalholiidays which is the eBay store for SkyAuction.com    Everything with the transaction and the Timeshare was fine.   We had a small 2 bedroom Timeshare, but they have them up to 3 bedrooms. 

There are lots of things children can do in Las Vegas. It is now a major metropolitan area and there are many kids among the residents.

You probably don't have time to get and read the "Unofficial Guide" to Las Vegas, or the one for kids, but you can probably Google and find lots of things kids can do in Las Vegas. Hopefully some of them will be low cost.

We stayed at the Rio which isn't on the Strip and I really didn't want to be on the Strip.  The big hotels usually have big Buffets and we ate Breakfast in one of the hotel coffee shops and if we were there at Lunch time, ate the Buffet Lunch. The first time we were at the Rio, we were lucky and were upgraded to one of their largest Suites, which was quite an experience. The next time we were there, we were in one of their low-end rooms, which was fine and their rooms are probably much larger than the typical hotel room in Las Vegas. However, for a large party, you would, as you wrote, need at least 2 rooms and it wouldn't be as nice as having a timeshare or a Suite where you could cook some of your meals and save time and money.

ETA: After posting this I read the post above mine. I have stayed at the Flamingo. The Lunch Buffet at the Rio had a Desert area that was overwhelming to me, someone who LOVES sweets and ice cream. So incredibly hard to decide on what to select, when they have dozens or hundreds of things to choose from!

Edited by Lanny
added ETA
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https://vegas.eater.com/maps/great-cheap-eat-restaurants-las-vegas
Dona Marias Tamales is on LVB and Charleston. They have a good deal for a dozen tamales. Normally I'd advise not going past the Stratosphere, but if you are headed to Fremont and the Container Park, this is on the way. Definitely don't go further north on LVB than Fremont, it gets worse from there. 

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