The Entertainment Capital of the World does in fact offer educational and student-friendly fun. And while it might seem impossible to conquer the city of glitz and glamour on a budget, adding a few of these free attractions to your itinerary will add a dash of excitement to your trip before you even open your wallet.
Aquarium at the Silverton Casino
Sit back and relax as over 5,000 exotic fish serenely glide back and forth through the balmy waters of the 117,000-gallon reef aquarium located in the heart of the Silverton Hotel. In addition to an incredible array of marine life and complimentary admission, the Silverton takes the aquarium experience to a whole new level by adding “mermaids.” Watch as the underwater performers put on an aquatic show full of twirls and flips, then see a live stingray feeding as divers share facts about the aquarium and answer all of your students’ questions.
Ethel M. Chocolate Factory and Gardens
What do caramel, cream and cacti have in common? At Ethel M. Chocolate Factory, all three are combined with chocolate to create one of the most unique free experiences that Vegas has to offer. Tour the chocolate factory and watch 35,000 gallons of gooey, melted chocolate transform into world-class confections that have been enjoyed for almost 50 years. End your Wonka-esque journey with a few mouth-watering samples then stroll through the three-acre garden located next door to burn off the calories. Get up close and personal with a wide array of prickly cacti, spotted aloe and other succulents before swinging by the Chocolate Store to snag a box of goodies for the road.
Five times a year, the gardeners at the Bellagio Casino use over 10,000 trees and flowers to painstakingly convert a 14,000-square-foot space into a botanical wonderland. The exhibits run for 10 weeks, changing to reflect the seasons and holidays, but your students will love wandering through the expansive indoor gardens no matter when they visit. Whether they’re getting up close and personal with exotic plants flown in from around the world, skipping across stone bridges or marveling over the many fountains and miniature ponds that the Bellagio carefully maintains, students of all ages are sure to enjoy the sights and smells of the best gardens Vegas has to offer.
Spend an afternoon marveling over death-defying stunts at Circus Circus, the world’s largest permanent circus, on the Vegas Strip. Hold your breath as high-flying acrobats and daring trapeze artists zip through the air then enjoy awe-inspiring routines by speed jugglers, silk artists and roller-skaters that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The free performance is one of the most famous and well-loved shows in Vegas, so don’t let your students miss out.
Fall of Atlantis
Discover the centuries-old tale of King Atlantis through a fire, water and animatronic display located inside the Forum Shops at Caesars. The shows run every hour starting at 11 a.m. so your students are guaranteed to get close to the action no matter when you find time to stop by. Watch the nine-foot tall statues of the king and his children interact with the elements and tell the story of their ancient kingdom, and enjoy an animatronic dragon with a 20-foot wingspan. Have time to kill before the show begins? Check out 300 saltwater fish cruising around the 50,000-gallon tank that sits directly next to the Atlantis display.
Volcanic Eruptions at the Mirage
Just because your students can’t drink or gamble doesn’t mean there’s nothing for them to do in Vegas after the sun sets. Head over to the Mirage Resort and enjoy crisp nighttime breezes, lively Indian-inspired music and an exhilarating volcanic explosion that will blow your students’ minds. The volcano erupts every half-hour after the sun goes down, and the famous spectacle includes fire, lava and explosions so loud they can be heard for miles away.
Las Vegas might have an expensive reputation, but it also offers plenty of attractions that won’t bruise your bank account. Strolling through exotic gardens, meeting mermaids, tasting globally-renowned chocolates – it doesn’t matter which complimentary experiences you choose. Adding a few of these stops to your Sin City game plan is guaranteed to leave you with more incredible memories and fewer holes in your wallet.