At 6 p.m. on New Year's Eve, the Las Vegas Strip closes down to all but pedestrian traffic, becoming a giant outdoor party until after midnight. More than 300,000 people walk the streets in costumes and silly hats, blowing noisemakers and enjoying a festival atmosphere. From 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., hotels on the strip close their doors, making it difficult for parents to find warmth and bathrooms for tired and chilly young revelers. You'll find other events throughout the city geared toward kids, though, where snacks, bathrooms and warmth are readily available.
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Start Celebrating Early
Festivities for kids in Las Vegas begin as early as late morning on December 31. Dress up with your 3- to 6-year-old, have a New Year's countdown and listen to a story while sipping sparkling cider at several Las Vegas libraries. Parties for those 11 and younger let them enjoy dancing, crafts and a New Year's Eve atmosphere. The party starts at the Enterprise Library or West Charleston Library beginning in late morning. Town Square shopping center has bounce houses, inflatable slides, rock climbing and face painting from late morning through early afternoon.
Let It Roll
Four local bowling alleys host New Year's Eve events that include food and drinks, party favors and door prizes. A per-person charge admits you to the party at Texas Star Lanes, Strike Zone Bowling Center, Red Rock Lanes or Santa Fe Lanes. The admission fee includes your bowling shoes and one lane for up to five people. If your young charges prefer to roll across the skate floor, Crystal Palace Boulder has hats, horns and glow sticks to help them welcome the New Year on wheels from early evening until just after midnight.
A Forest of Lights
Sparkling lights are part of the Vegas charm. Kids will enjoy wandering through a forest of lighted trees, towering candy canes and festive decorations at the Opportunity Village Magical Forest. Ring in the East Coast New Year mid-evening at "Times Square West," complete with live entertainment and countdown to midnight at 9 p.m. in the local time zone. Play games of luck and skill in the Magical Midway, try a round of miniature golf or enjoy rides that include an enchanted carousel, a raceway and an avalanche slide. A passenger train winds through 2 acres of lighted displays and trees adorned with twinkling lights. Proceeds from the evening benefit the disabled of Opportunity Village.
For Kids Only
Drop the kids at festivities designed especially for them and then head off to have a parent's night out. BounceU in Henderson has kids' hours from early evening until just after midnight so kids can enjoy a pizza party, New Year's countdown, movie and unlimited bouncing. If your teen wants to celebrate with peers in a party environment, clubs like FroZEN75 maintain a safe, drug-free environment. Teens 14 through 20 can dance the night away, but parents must sign a consent form for 14- and 15-year-olds. There is a pre-paid cover charge, and non-alcoholic beverages are available for an extra fee.