While many people think of the casinos and nightlife when they think of Nevada, the state actually has much more to offer than just entertainment for adults. Families with kids can find a wide variety of things to see and do throughout the state, from historic sites and ghost towns to state parks and lake cruises to aquariums and zoos to trail rides and much more. Nevada is also home to an array of interesting museums, such as the Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum, and unique ranches, like the Lion Habitat Ranch.
1.Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary
The Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on 38 acres north of Reno, Nevada and is primarily home to predators native to North America, however, a few more exotic species of animals call the sanctuary home as well. Open from 10:00am until 4:30pm Tuesday through Sunday, Animal Ark teaches visitors of all ages about wildlife and ecological principles through educational tours and special programming events, and takes great care to create each animal enclosure with native vegetation, boulders, and trees that stimulate a natural habitat. The animals here are non-releasable wildlife, with many who had been abandoned or injured.
1265 Deerlodge Rd, Reno, NV 89508, Phone: 775-970-3111
2.Belmont Ghost Town
Just like several other historic cities within the state, the once bustling city of Belmont has now become one of the more iconic ghost towns of Nevada. Several minerals were found nearby after a silver strike during 1865, and as this boom continued, a number of prospectors hungry for gold flocked to Belmont. The remains of this once grand city are located north of Tonopah and include only a couple of open businesses. Visitors can explore the over 150-year-old buildings, old mill sites and miner cabins, as well as the Monitor-Belmont Mill, including its still remaining towering chimney.
SR 82, Belmont, NV 89022, Phone: 775-687-3001
3.Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
The Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park includes a town dating back to the 1890’s, preserved in an arrested decay state. An authentic Nevada ghost town, several of the original buildings of Berlin still remain. Trails take visitors through the town and share the town’s story. This unique state park also features the largest concentration of Ichthyosaur remains. This ancient marine reptile swam the waters that once covered the central part of the state more than 225 million years ago. Protected fossils are displayed inside the Fossil House. Other activities at the park include picnicking, hiking, and both tent and RV camping.
State Route 844, Austin, NV 89310, Phone: 775-964-2440
4.Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area
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The Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area is located at the southern tip of the Colorado River in Nevada and encompasses around two miles of the river’s sandy shoreline. The water here is cool and clear year-round due to the grounds being located downstream from the Davis Dam. Activities popular in the Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area include birdwatching, hiking, swimming, fishing, boating, picnicking, and camping. The wide variety of shore birds and waterfowl that call the park home include geese, herons, coots, and mallards. Visitors may also spot owls, roadrunners, hawks, and other wildlife.
4220 Needles Hwy, Laughlin, NV 89209, Phone: 702-298-1859
5.Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum
© Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum
The Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum highlights the story of the Hoover Dam, which is just as impressive today as it was when it was built back in the 1930’s. The museum explores the stories of the brave people who dealt with the isolation of the southern Nevada desert, undeveloped back then, in order to construct the massive dam. Inside the museum, visitors will find a number of three-dimensional, interactive displays and exhibits describing both the actual dam construction and the social and economic forces that surrounded the 1929 stock market, along with the following Great Depression.
1305 Arizona St, Boulder City, NV 89005, Phone: 702-294-1988
6.Carson City Ghost Walk
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The Carson City Ghost Walk is a family-friendly activity in downtown Carson City, Nevada full of historical folly and supernatural entertainment. Visitors and locals alike can take a stroll through the historic district of the city with Madam Curry, who theatrically shares the fascinating, rich Victorian era history of Carson City, including gossip, paranormal and haunted stories, lingering spirits, and more. The Carson City Ghost Walk typically runs from the beginning of June through the middle of October and people interested in joining one of these unique tours can get tickets online or in person.
310 S Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-348-6279
7.Cowboy Trail Rides Inc
© Cowboy Trail Rides Inc
Cowboy Trail Rides Inc is a professional, family-owned and operated horseback company located in the scenic Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, just minutes away from the busy, light-filled Las Vegas strip The company offers several different options for trail rides that range from one hour to five hours and provides a great outdoor activity for families with kids over six years old. The Coyote Canyon Ride in particular is great for families looking for a short, fun ride through the desert, taking guests past ground squirrels, quail, and adorable cottontails, as well as through unique Joshua Trees and prickly cactus.
4053 Fossil Ridge Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89161, Phone: 702-387-2457
8.Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park
© Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park
The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park is one of the first ranches of the state of Nevada, and unless it’s closed for an event, the park is open to the public every day of the week during daylight hours. There a number of historic buildings throughout the grounds that visitors can explore when they are staffed, which is generally Wednesday to Sunday. Visitors to the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park who would like a guided tour of the historic Dangberg Ranch can make a reservation year-round, and the grounds also host special events and activities from May to December.
1450 Highway 88, Minden, NV 89423, Phone: 775-783-9417
9.Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center
© Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center
One of the world’s first planetariums to project full-dome movies, the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center sees as many as fifty thousand visitors every year who come to experience the fascinating wonders of the universe. Operated by the University of Nevada, the Fleischmann Planetarium is open daily to the general public, offering digital planetarium shows inside of its dome theater every day, as well as observatory viewing at the university’s Redfield Campus. There is also an Exhibit Hall featuring a variety of immersive permanent exhibits and interactive, hands-on changing displays, further extending the planetarium experience for visitors.
1664 N. Virginia St, Reno, NV 89557, Phone: 775-784-4812
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10.Lake Mead Cruises
© Lake Mead Cruises
Aboard the famed Desert Princess, Lake Mead Cruises takes passengers on a relaxing cruise along the blue, clear waters of the picturesque Lake Mead, just minutes away from the lights of Las Vegas, surrounded by beautiful scenery. Guests can also tour the impressive Hoover Dam, an authentic Mississippi-style, three-level paddlewheeler that provides a spectacular sightseeing experience. Lake Mead Cruises offer a number of different tours for visitors and locals alike to choose from, including the Mid-Day Sightseeing Cruise, the Champagne Brunch Cruise, and the evening Dinner Cruise. Each of these tours lasts somewhere between ninety minutes and two hours.
490 Horsepower Cove, Boulder City, NV 89005, Phone: 866-292-9191
11.Lion Habitat Ranch
© Lion Habitat Ranch
Over two dozen lions call the Lion Habitat Ranch home, ranging from infants to elders. This unique facility has been owned and operated by Bev and Keith Evans for over twenty years, providing a safe place for rescue lions, as well as those that were born at the facility, with a great environment and plenty of care. Visitors at the Lion Habitat Ranch can participate in a variety of programs, ranging from the simple self-guided tour to being a “Trainer for a Day.” The ranch can be found just outside of Las Vegas in the desert of Henderson, Nevada.
382 Bruner Ave, Henderson, NV 89044, Phone: 702-595-6666
12.National Atomic Testing Museum
© National Atomic Testing Museum
The National Atomic Testing Museum is a national history and science institution that shares the story of the nuclear weapons testing program of the United State at its Nevada Test Site. This unique museum is also the only place where a nuclear reactor that was used in developing the nuclear rocket, as well as the first air-to-air missile, can be seen. The museum uses the lessons from the past and present to provide a better understanding of the effect that nuclear testing had on geo-political history and worldwide nuclear deterrence. Many rare artifacts are also on display at the National Atomic Testing Museum.
755 E. Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, Phone: 702-794-5151
13.Nevada Bugs and Butterflies
At Nevada Bugs and Butterflies, children can get an up-close and personal experience with many insects native to the northern Nevada area, watching their movements and how they live. The mission of the facility is to make science more accessible and empower children to learn about the world outside by providing a place where kids can be excited about science and the environment around them. Nevada Bugs and Butterflies consists of a beautiful walk-through butterfly house with colorful caterpillars and butterflies native to the state, an outdoor science center, and an organic garden full of nature, science, and art.
413 Matterhorn Blvd, Reno, NV 89506, Phone: 775-200-8774
14.Nevada State Railroad Museum
© Nevada State Railroad Museum
The Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City showcases northern Nevada’s rich railroading heritage. Located in the heart of the state’s capital city, the museum features an impressive collection of railroad artifacts, documents, and equipment, along with related exhibits highlighting how the railroad changed the once hostile territory into an important contributor to the growing United States during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. The Inyo locomotive is the signature piece of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, one of the nation’s oldest operating steam locomotives and has appeared in several movies and on television.
2180 South Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-687-6953
15.Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park
The Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park is the first non-native permanent settlement established within the Las Vegas Valley, featuring the historic ruins of the 1855 adobe fort constructed by Mormon missionaries, built along a spring-fed creek. This creek was the only free-flowing water in the area, providing irrigation for orchards and fields and helping the small outpost serve as a way station for many weary travelers. The Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park today is home to numerous historic artifacts, as well as a visitor center with photos and exhibits illustrating the site’s history.
500 E. Washington Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89101, Phone: 702-486-3511
16.Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Visitors can get face-to-face with some of the most majestic and exotic animals at the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage, a magical world of leopards, white lions, white tigers, and bottlenose dolphins right in the backyard of one of Las Vegas’s most well known hotels. A great attraction for people of all ages, Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat also offers a number of different exclusive experiences unable to be found anywhere else in the city, such as Yoga with Dolphins, Painting with Dolphins, Trainer for a Day, and behind-the-scenes VIP tours.
3400 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 702-791-7188
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17.Shark Reef Aquarium
The Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas isn’t the typical aquarium. It’s designed to be a complete sensory experience that aims to transport guests to an undersea world of amazing sights, encounters, and sounds. Home to unusual and dangerous creatures from the tropical waters of the world, the aquarium takes its visitors through an ancient temple to explore 14 different exhibits devoted to aquatic predators. The massive shipwreck is the largest exhibit, featuring nearly a 360-degree view through the acrylic tunnel. There is also a Touch Pool with horseshoe crabs, rays, and sharks.
3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, Phone: 702-632-4555
18.Shark Tank Tour
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The Shark Tank Tour is another unique attraction families with kids can do during a visit to Las Vegas, Nevada. This interesting experience includes a guided tour of the amazing 200,000 gallon shark tank aquarium at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas. These tours are led by one of the marine biologists on staff and take visitors behind-the-scenes to explore about the inner workings of the Shark Tank, as well as the marine life that call it home. Guests can watch staff feed the sharks and learn about the various species. Shark Tank tours are offered on Wednesdays and Sundays.
129 Fremont St, Las Vegas, NV 89101, Phone: 702-386-8339
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19.Sierra Safari Zoo
While the Sierra Safari Zoo isn’t exactly a rescue facility, it does provide a home for many animals that wouldn’t have one otherwise. Established in 1982, the zoo is now home to over two hundred animals making up over forty different species, including primates that climb atop the trees in their own private habitat or a liger prowling its habitat with the lion pride. While many animals at the zoo roam in open exhibits, the more dangerous ones stay within enclosures with roofs. The Sierra Safari is open seven days a week from April through October, and weekends from November through March.
10200 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89506, Phone: 775-677-1101
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20.Television City at the MGM Grand
The Television City at the MGM Grand provides visitors with free screenings of television show currently in production from Nickelodeon, MTV, CBS, and other Viacom television networks, offering the opportunity to give their opinions on them afterwards. The facility includes a 3D perception center where guests can view cutting edge uses of 3D technology from major players, such as Playstation and Pixar. All people have to do to participate in the screenings is pick up a ticket in front of Television City and register at the center’s front counter. Then, simply line up around ten minutes before the scheduled time.
3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Phone: 702-891-5752
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21.The Aquarium At The Silverton
The Aquarium At The Silverton is considered to be one of the best free attractions in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Home to thousands of colorful tropical fish, the reef aquarium contains over 117 thousand gallons of water and transports visitors to a tropical underwater world, complete with multiple species of both sharks and stingrays. This unique water attraction of The Aquarium at The Silverton is also home to “mermaids” that often interact with guests. The Mermaid Lounge includes two large jellyfish aquariums as well. Guests of all ages can also ask marine biologists questions during the marine life feeding show.
3333 Blue Diamond Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89139, Phone: 702-263-7777
22.The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada
The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada boasts itself as Carson City’s only “family-oriented indoor destination” where children can safely play, explore, and learn. The museum’s miniature sheriff’s office and Capitol building are the perfect size for smaller visitors, while older children can have fun with the room-sized virtual reality metaField Maze, which is a recreation of traditional marble maze games. Other popular activities among kids at the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada are the shadow box, distortion mirrors, trivia and fact board, and dress up costumes. The museum also includes a number of collections, such as HO Trains and mineral rocks.
813 N. Carson St, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-884-2226
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© The Discovery
The Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas is three floors of interactive exhibits designed to promote culture, art, and science, as well as excite children and foster learning through play. Nine themed exhibit halls entice kids of all ages through a well-rounded variety of fun learning experiences. The 13-level, 70-foot tower known as The Summit consist of jungle gym-like features, such as climbing tubes and slides, along with hands-on experiments centered around light, electricity, magnets, air pressure, machines, and more. Other exhibit areas include Water World, Toddler Town, Fantasy Festival, Eco City, Young At Art, and Mystery Town.
360 Promenade Pl, Las Vegas, NV 89106, Phone: 702-382-3445
© V&T Railway
The V&T Railway is an attraction for people of all ages and an exciting thing to do with kids. This immersive excursion brings the past to life during a unique round-trip train ride through the area’s rich history, featuring routes running through the scenic valleys and mountains of northern Nevada. The all-day, relaxing journey along the V&T railway from Carson City to Virginia City takes passengers through the historic location of mills and mines on the Comstock, traveling through mining towns, canyons, and tunnels. The train ride travels twenty-four miles round-trip and includes 3.5-hour stop in Virginia City.
4650 Eastgate Siding Rd, Carson City, NV 89701, Phone: 775-291-0208
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25.Valley of Fire State Park
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The Valley of Fire State Park is renowned worldwide for its forty thousand acres of red Aztec sandstone outcrops in tan and gray limestone. The park is also home to ancient petrified trees, as well as petroglyphs that date back to over two thousand years ago, and the visitor center contains exhibits about the area’s history, ecology, and geology. Other activities at the Valley of Fire State Park include hiking, picnicking, and camping, including group areas and RV campsites. The park is also host to the Annual Atlatl Competition, a test of skill with ancient spear replicas.
29450 Valley of Fire Hwy, Overton, NV 89040, Phone: 702-397-2088
25 Fun Things to Do in Nevada with Kids of All Ages
- Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary, Photo: Seymour/stock.adobe.com
- Belmont Ghost Town, Photo: Rebecca/stock.adobe.com
- Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, Photo: Janis/stock.adobe.com
- Big Bend of the Colorado Recreation Area, Photo: Benjamin Willett/stock.adobe.com
- Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum, Photo: Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum
- Carson City Ghost Walk, Photo: Rex Wholster/stock.adobe.com
- Cowboy Trail Rides Inc, Photo: Cowboy Trail Rides Inc
- Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, Photo: Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park
- Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center, Photo: Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center
- Lake Mead Cruises, Photo: Lake Mead Cruises
- Lion Habitat Ranch, Photo: Lion Habitat Ranch
- National Atomic Testing Museum, Photo: National Atomic Testing Museum
- Nevada Bugs and Butterflies, Photo: Dominic/stock.adobe.com
- Nevada State Railroad Museum, Photo: Nevada State Railroad Museum
- Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park, Photo: Omega/stock.adobe.com
- Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Photo: Douglas/stock.adobe.com
- Shark Reef Aquarium, Photo: natasnow/stock.adobe.com
- Shark Tank Tour, Photo: Creativa Images/stock.adobe.com
- Sierra Safari Zoo, Photo: EdNurg/stock.adobe.com
- Television City at the MGM Grand, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- The Aquarium At The Silverton, Photo: Kolevski.V/stock.adobe.com
- The Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, Photo: andov/stock.adobe.com
- The Discovery, Photo: The Discovery
- V&T Railway, Photo: V&T Railway
- Valley of Fire State Park, Photo: jon manjeot/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Prin/stock.adobe.com