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saacnmama Jan 2nd, 2009 02:08 AM

Vegas conference with child
My 6-yr-old is coming with me to a conference at the Riviera March 22-27. I need advice from folks who know Vegas and kids.

The Riviera is too expensive for us. I'd like to be in walking/ monorail distance and under $100 / night. Carriage House sounded good at first, but rooms look boring, I'm not sure there is an actual table to sit at for meals, and they'll have construction noise. Comments re: Circus Circus on too many websites say it's getting rundown and "ghetto", whatever that means. Doesn't sound like the happy little environment for my son. We love waterparks and I'd be happy to slog the extra distance to/from Mandalay Bay, but it's beyond our budget--signing up for their club online hasn't brought anything.

Suggestions of things for the little one to do with his sitter while Mama's away would be appreciated too. We probably need 4 good free or cheap activities. I've heard the Children's Museum is good, and we'll probably use the Bellagio fountains as a meeting point. I've heard mixed reviews on TI pirate show--he's getting into pirates lately, but I don't want sexiness. I would love to get him to a nature program--are there any that are accessible by public transit?

Thanks for your help!


J62 Jan 2nd, 2009 05:41 AM

You may want to consider renting a timeshare apartment. We stayed at one at the South end of the strip, next to Hooters (The Desert Rose) this last summer - 2br for ~$100/night was perfect for family of 4. No need to schlep out for breakfast every day. Full kitchen, 2br, living rm, etc. It's not a fancy property like one of the casinos, but more like an apartment complex setting.

I see on google maps there's a timeshare called Royal Resort right near the convention center. I know nothing about them.

capxxx Jan 2nd, 2009 07:00 AM

The back yard of the Flamingo is free and is a very nice nature park with goldfish in the ponds and flanmingos and other birds walking around.

There is also the Sigfied and Roy nature park (more like a zoo), but we found it too pricy.

I was at Circus Circus last year and think it is ok for a kid. It is just looking a little tired, compared to, say, the Venician. But the circus acts are fun.

It could be fun to take a monorail ride to the southern end of the strip and walk around inside the lobbies: Visit the Lion Habitat in MGM. Ride the slanted elevators inside Luxor. Excalibur has, on its lower level below the lobby, a little ``midaeval town fair'' kind of thing. There are games like ring toss and throw the ball to knock down the milk bottles, and jugglers and fortune tellers. They also had a dinner show where you watch a real joust with horses, which is great fun.

The Bellagio fountains aren't continuous (I think it is once every hour, or every half-hour), so pick a good meeting time. You don't want to hang around waiting for something to happen.

Somewhere there is a Sponge-Bob Square Pants ride.

saacnmama Jan 2nd, 2009 10:26 AM

Great--thanks for the tips. Is Excalibur hotel in pretty decent shape? It has really cheap rates right now (though I'd have to check if it's close enough to the monorail or convention).
I definitely want to cook at least breakfast in the room every day, which I can do with a fridge and a coffee maker or microwave.

FainaAgain Jan 2nd, 2009 10:50 AM

Excalibur is a hotel/casino. None of those would have a coffeemaker in the room. They want you out of the room to gamble.

Is your 6-year-old a swimmer? You may want a nice pool. Check Tropicana that is on the monorail side. By the way, have you check monorail prices?

longhorn55 Jan 2nd, 2009 01:06 PM

We were at the Excaliber a couple of years ago. It wasn't fancy, but it was clean and well-maintained. There was nothing in the room that would allow for cooking, but there's a McD just down the street and they actually do a decent breakfast at a good price--e.g. scrambled eggs or pancakes or English muffin with low-fat milk.
BTW--No, No, No on the pirate show at Treasure Island for a 6-year-old.

saacnmama Jan 2nd, 2009 01:47 PM

no coffeemaker in the room? Isn't that against some bill of travelers' rights;-)
Honestly, I have a whole repertoire of things I "cook" in hotel coffee makers, from instant oatmeal for breakfast to boil-in-bag rice or condensed soup for supper, so that is a very important heads-up for me!
We love pools/swimming/water parks! Mandalay Bay will let you in just for the day; will Tropicana?

saacnmama Jan 2nd, 2009 01:48 PM

no coffeemaker in the room? Isn't that against some bill of travelers' rights;-)
Honestly, I have a whole repertoire of things I "cook" in hotel coffee makers, from instant oatmeal for breakfast to boil-in-bag rice or condensed soup for supper, so that is a very important heads-up for me!
We love pools/swimming/water parks! Mandalay Bay will NOT let you in just for the day; will Tropicana?

FainaAgain Jan 2nd, 2009 01:52 PM

"I have a whole repertoire of things I "cook" in hotel coffee makers" - oh, this is a money saver! And for me, a life-saver in the morning, I need caffeine even before shower.

There are different things on the market, from the coil to boil water in a cup to an electric pot, lightweight, that you can fill up with things for it not to take up space.

Check hardware stores and pharmacies for cheaper varieties. For me it's not longer a problem :)

DancingBearMD Jan 2nd, 2009 02:11 PM

May be somewhat above your price range, but you might check on for private rentals at MGM Signature. It's a non-casino property with it's own pools, plus use of the MGM Grand's pools. Rooms are studios including kitchenette. Right on the monorail.

The Excalibur is on the monorail line which goes down to Mandalay Bay, and across the street from the monorail heading north.

Your 6yo would probably like the shark reef exhibit at Mandalay Bay.

Schnitzel Jan 2nd, 2009 03:20 PM

I went along with my husband to a convention in Las Vegas in November, and not being either a gambler or a drinker, found myself with lots of time to kill. Some things your son might enjoy -- The lions on display at the MGM Grand (Unfortunately, the only one that was free), the white tigers, llamas and dolphins at the Secret Garden at Mirage, the sharks at Manadalay Bay, maybe a ride to the top of the Eiffel tower at Paris or a ride in the gondola at the Venetian.
As far as hotels, try I requested a week in March and got several nice hotels on the strip for around $110. Or you might even try Hotwire or Priceline.
Our room at the Manadaly Bay was huge, but I only saw a handful of kids all week. I don't know if their wave pool is open in March, but it is gorgeous. Although it looked to me like you had to pay for cabanas or shade.
If you decide to stay at the Excalibur, there is a (free)tram that goes from there to Mandalay Bay - not to be confused with the for-a-fee Monorail.
Lots of places to eat, but be prepared to walk long distances.
Good luck. Hope you gave a good time.

Schnitzel Jan 2nd, 2009 03:23 PM

Yikes! That's Mandalay, not Manadalay. Sorry -- two finger typist here.

SiteC_er Jan 2nd, 2009 03:59 PM

The Riveria is too expensive??? It's one of the lowest priced hotels (not too mention run down) on the strip. FYI- prices could be inflated due to Spring Break & March Madness...

saacnmama Jan 3rd, 2009 08:38 PM

I haven't checked other dates, but yes, during the time we need to be there, the Riviera is too high-priced for me. Might have something to do with 5000 Geographers looking for a room.

FainaAgain, thanks for your suggestion that I check out monorail prices--yikes! Looks like I need to be concentrating on the area around the conference hotel.

The lions at MGM--great--sounds like a good alternative to paying $$ for Sigfried and Roy's.

SiteC_er Jan 3rd, 2009 09:11 PM

Try Expedia, Orbitz, or Priceline. While 5,000 people is a lot to most cities, that is a small convention to Vegas. The convention I recently attended in Vegas had 18,000 attendees and there was another convention at our hotel (Venetian).

DancingBearMD Jan 4th, 2009 06:10 AM

This article that appeared in this morning's Washington Post may be helpful to you:

bethmac Jan 4th, 2009 01:35 PM

My four-year-old had the most fun at Circus Circus on our vacation a couple years ago. It's not fancy, by any means, but local folks should be able to better advise you on it's safety or seediness. We have a timeshare between the strip and Hard Rock Casino, so we stayed there. It is nice to have a kitchen with little ones. Good luck!

ltr Jan 4th, 2009 10:22 PM

I am in Las Vegas several times a year for conventions and I don't recall any of the hotels on the Strip having coffeepots or refrigerators. They don't want you to stay in your room.

I would not stay at Circus Circus. It is really not in very good shape.

I have stayed at the Carriage House and it is ok. Nothing to get excited about, but for under $100 you won't get a great room anyplace. The rooms are not bad. They do have a table, refrigerator, cooktop and microwave, as well as dished and pots and pans. The pool area is no better than a Motel 6. There is no on site restaurant. I am not sure what construction you are talking about, but there is construction all over the strip and usually the noise is not a problem.

I would look at some of the other hotels. I saw some good rates for MGM, Bally's and Excalibur on Travelocity. Check out their websites to see if they have some specials. I would book directly with the hotels because if they come up with a better deal closer to AAG you can call them back and get the new rate, which you cannot do by booking with Travelocity.

There is a trolley shuttle you can take instead of the monorail. I noticed this statement on their website:

"For you business travelers you can purchase a Convention Pass for $6.50, which includes transportation to and from your hotel or one close by going to the Las Vegas Convention Center."

A Day Pass is $4.25 so I assume this special rate would be for the duration of the convention.

If the monorail is available at your hotel, it will be located at the back of the hotel, and you would need to walk through the entire casino and shopping area and hallway to get to the monorail.

I usually take a cab.

saacnmama Jan 9th, 2009 04:24 AM

Well, I mentioned to my dad that the Marriott has a children's activities center, that I can't afford it, and I wondered if he could get it through a timeshare swap. He has now reserved us a 1-bedroom suite at hte Villas at Polo Towers. They do not have child care, or a cool pool, and are not close to the conference hotel. Someone who's been there please reply: am I going to hate it, or am I just being a spoiled child? It's too late to change it, but I might be able to find another conference-goer who wants to stay there for half of what I'd pay elsewhere. What do y'all think?

GoTravel Jan 9th, 2009 05:32 AM

I think I'd get a car rental if I were you.

They are pretty cheap in Las Vegas.

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