Since you’re going to hear these from friends and family, people on the airplane, and while you’re promenading down the Strip, I thought you’d want a comprehensive list of why it’s a bad idea to bring your kids to Vegas. More after the jump.
- Traveling is a hassle. A few years ago, it was easy. On the spur of the moment, you could just hop in your car or score a last-minute airfare deal, pack a few things in an overnight bag, and in a few hours you’d be exploring another city. Now, everything has to be organized…and organized some more. If you’re renting a car, you need to either schlep your own car seats along with you or roll the dice on whatever the car rental company is passing off as clean, safe child restraint systems. You’ve got to pack clothes, possibly diapers, possibly a Boppy, snacks, meals, and entertainment. You’ve got to schedule your daily plans around naptimes and bedtimes. It sucks the spontaneity out of travel, which means you’re missing most of the main point, doesn’t it? This goes double for Las Vegas. Most of the attractions are geared towards adults, and you really have to pick and choose your spots if you want to enjoy yourself with kids. It can definitely be done, but it’s not easy.
- The smoke. It’s been said that Nevada is California’s smoking section. Remember when restaurants had smoking sections? Well, smoking in restaurants is now forbidden in Nevada, but smoking in casinos is still A-OK. So even if you’re not planning on sitting at a slot machine (see reason 4), you’re going to be subjecting your kids to what may be, depending on the age of the building and the quality of the HVAC system, copious amounts of cigarette smoke.
- The drinking. There’s lots of it going on. People who vacation in Vegas have been pitched the idea that “What happens here, stays here,” and that, as long as they don’t break any serious laws or hurt other people, they can do pretty much whatever they want. For a lot of people, that means getting absolutely hammered, sometimes starting with the first rays of dawn. If they’re doing it at home on a regular basis, they probably need help. But, Vegas being Vegas, you can’t fault them for doing it here. Drunks have strange reactions to children. They may love them, which, depending on how demonstrative they are, could be a problem (it’s not easily to politely pull your kid away from a happy, slobbering drunk). They might get combative. And you probably don’t want your kids to see adults doing things that aren’t very adult-like, like peeing their pants or passing out in an elevator lobby (it happens)
- The gambling. Kids automatically associate bright, flashing lights and loud beeping noises with fun stuff: games. It’s hard to explain to them that the thousands of blinking and beeping and flashing machines you’re walking past around toys for them to play with, that they’re toys for grown ups. Having seen more than one little one (not my own) looking rapturously at a Hangover slot machine, I can say that exposing your kids to gambling at an early age isn’t necessarily going make you Parent of the Year material.
- The distances. Vegas casino resorts are huge. Really huge. If you’re staying in one, you might have to walk the equivalent of a city block (well, a short one) to get from your room to the elevator. Once you’re on the ground level, you’ve got a few dozen more acres to muddle through before getting to where you want to be. Strollers can be bulky, and carrying your kids can get tiring. So far, we’ve just gotten from your room to the buffet—we haven’t even tried to walk from one casino to another or wander around shopping malls like the Forum Shops. In the movies, people just glide from blackjack table to restaurant to fancy store to hotel room with no effort, but in the real Vegas, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, and if you bring kids, you’ll be dragging them along too.
- Adult-themed ads. This can range from PG ads for relatively mainstream shows like Peepshow, the Holly Madison extravaganza at Planet Hollywood, to mobile billboards (i.e., trucks that aimlessly drive up and down the Strip) with nearly-naked porn-posed women advertising “Girls Direct to Your Room.” this isn’t the easiest concept to explain to kids who’ve learned to read for themselves, to say the least, and, again, this isn’t what you want to expose your kids to, is it? They’re everywhere, and, thanks to the pornslappers who kindly offer cards with naked women (well, naked except for strategically-placed stars and hearts) to everyone from rowdy frat guys to grandma—including you, your significant other, and your kids, even at ground level.
- It’s Vegas, baby. And not in a family-friendly way. Sure, there are plenty of things to do here with your kids. But most of the really fun stuff is for adults. You can’t gamble, hang out in bars, eat at gourmet restaurants, see risque shows—in general, do the things that make Vegas…Vegas. Unless you hire a baby sitter, but then you’ve got to worry that your kids have outsmarted the sitter and are now roaming Las Vegas on their own. What’s the fun in that?
Those are just seven reasons. If we thought about it, we could probably think of several more. And, no matter how compelling they are, there’s always going to be one great reason for you to bring your kids to Vegas, whether it’s to take part in a family event or something else, that will override them all.
On this blog, I want to help you have as good as possible a time in Las Vegas with your kids despite all those reasons not to.