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Please don’t take your kids to Vegas

Sometimes the answer to the ever-present ‘is it kid-friendly?’ question should be ‘no, it’s really not’

Every year, my husband and I take a trip alone, without our three children, often heading to that paradise in the desert: Las Vegas.

Vegas fits our needs for many reasons. The weather is always perfect, so we spend our day having drinks and lounging by the pool. We spa. We enjoy dining out and Vegas has terrific restaurants. We’re both poker players and Vegas has an abundance of poker rooms. I dress way up, in outfits I might not wear back home (I have some high, white leather boots that only get worn in Vegas) but that don’t cause a stir in Vegas at all. Most importantly, the atmosphere of the city is very grown up. For parents on a break from their kids, it’s exactly what we need.

But in the last few years, we’ve noticed a troubling trend. For some reason, people are bringing their children to Las Vegas.

Please stop doing this.

For one thing, Vegas may be beautiful and luxurious but there is certainly an air of danger. The crime rate in Las Vegas is among the highest in the country. And it’s not kept away from the tourists, either.

The Wynn has not one but two Chanel shops in it (average handbag price: $4,000), because what kind of piker hotel only has one, and yet I’ve seen multiple incidents of security guards chasing people through the lobby of the hotel. Men in handcuffs, on the ground being arrested, is a fairly standard occurrence at five-star hotels on the Strip.

I’ve seen a guy grab a hundred dollar bill off a poker table at the luxe Venetian hotel and make a run for it. He didn’t make it far, but that’s not really the point.

These are hyper luxurious hotels. The smell of wealth is in the air. But the fanciness doesn’t make it safe. Take your kids to a fancy hotel in some other city that doesn’t have this criminal element.

Another argument against bringing children to Vegas: on any given trip you’ll see women being pushed along in wheelchairs, holding a bucket because they’re too drunk to walk. The city is one big happy hour and, well, some people just can’t handle their Vegas. There’s nothing wrong with that right up until little Madysyn asks why that man is puking in a fountain. And she will ask.

Even if you manage to keep your kids away from the criminals and the drunks, the Vegas strip is a little too sex-orientated for the grade school set. Trucks drive by advertising ‘Girls to your room.’  Scantily clad ladies in showgirl outfits solicit pictures (and more) all along the strip. People hand out advertisements for prostitutes like it’s legal (it’s not).

When I’ve made this argument to parents before, they tell me that they would like to enjoy all the things that I do about Las Vegas but, unlike me, they don’t have amazing in-laws with whom they can park their kids for a weekend. I get that. But then maybe Vegas is not the place for you.

I support your right to get loose. Even if you’re a parent. Especially if you’re a parent! You can be one of those too-drunk people for which Vegas is known. But why do your kids have to see this?

I’m not unreasonable. Sometimes there will be a good reason to take a child to Vegas. Maybe it’s someone’s wedding or both parents have to go for work and don’t have a sitter. A smattering of children is understandable. But as a family destination? No.

If it must be a family trip, go anywhere else. There are plenty of cities that can fit the bill of a safe, fun, relatively inexpensive trip. Go to San Diego, Orlando or some other city set up for family fun.

Beyond the fact that Vegas is not good for children is the fact that adults deserve to have a place to go that is mostly kid-free. Why shouldn’t we have a city for grown-up fun? Must everything be sanitized for the eyes of children? Sometimes the answer to the ever-present ‘is it kid-friendly?’ question should be ‘no, it’s really not.’ Leave Vegas for the adults.


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