Don’t let the heat spoil your kids’ summer fun. Get active at these high-energy hot spots that’ll still keep them cool
Pools are the classic refuge for summertime frolic. “Marco?” “Polo!” has echoed across backyards for generations, but reapplying sunscreen in triple-digit weather every half-hour doesn’t always make for the perfect summer day. With excessive heat outdoors and vacation-hyped children afoot, it’s nice to have options that don’t require a sun-protection factor. Seeking water may be your first instinct when the heat hits, but this guide will remind you that the air-conditioned great indoors offers just as many worthwhile adventures.
“Museum” may not evoke the same fun as “wave pool,” but how about “Water World?” For those of you too young to immediately imagine Kevin Costner adorned in drenched leather, Discovery Children’s Museum (360 Promenade Place, discoverykidslv.org) capitalizes on H2O’s appeal with the aptly named exhibit that includes hands-on experiences such as air blowers and boats. It’s a compromise that still allows for splashing a little brother or sister. Plus, this summer the museum hosts the Clifford The Big Red Dog traveling exhibit. If cartoon canines are not quite your idea of museum material, peruse the achievements of Ancient Rome with your brood through September 11 at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum (900 Las Vegas Blvd. N., lvnhm.org). Maximize your investment by visiting on Tuesday or Thursday at 2:30 p.m. or Saturday at 2 p.m. to catch a live shark feeding. Do not fear. It’s more Dory than Jaws, which means little hands are safe. For the kiddo who aspires to an exhibition of their own, Henderson is home to Create (1570 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway #170, createhenderson.com), an arts and crafts studio that offers Craft & Play, a featured craft project, plus unlimited play in their indoor playground for younger than 7, as well as open crafting for all ages. This summer they’re hosting several camps, including an entire week dedicated to Star Wars. Sew-bi-Wan Kenobi may or may not make an appearance.
Romp ’n’ roll
While galaxies of glitter make noteworthy playgrounds, the local roundup of indoor romper rooms deliver surprises of their own. It’s not every day you see an octopus carousel, but the octopedal-go-round is front and center along with plenty of slides and ball pits at Adventure Indoor Playground (5693 S. Jones Blvd. #114, adventureindoorplayground.com). For the smallest of tykes, Fidgets Indoor Playground (7835 S. Rainbow Blvd. #15, fidgetslv.com) has a dedicated pre-walkers area, and recently started providing something special for adults with children at play: adult yoga on Thursdays from 9-10 a.m. If downward dog is not your forte, just bring your laptop and tap into the free Wi-Fi. Three levels of mega-jungle gym are the centerpiece of Kangamoo Indoor Playground (1525 E. Sunset Road #7, kangamooplay.com), and the indoor track ensures that parents can make laps, keep cool, and observe the little ones at play. Or you can leave hyperactivity to the young at heart and kick back in one of the shiatsu massage chairs instead.
If your offspring has graduated from bounce houses, the valley has several trampoline parks for more sophisticated aerials. In addition to wall-to-wall canvas, FLIPnOUT Xtreme (4245 S. Grand Canyon Drive #111, flipnoutxtreme.com) houses the only indoor zipline in town and Laser Tag Warehouse Wars — four words that are long overdue as a compound phrase. As implied by its name, Rockin’ Jump (7200 Montessouri St. #160, lasvegas.rockinjump.com) provides both rocks and hops, which may sound dangerous, but there’s no need for concern. The rocks appear in a rock-climbing obstacle that allows competitive spirits to race to the top. Rockin’ Tots jump time ensures smaller folk (children younger than 6) will not be trampled Monday through Thursday from 9-11 a.m. and Saturdays from 8-10 a.m. For a true family affair, Gravady (7350 Prairie Falcon Road #120, gravady.com) has a flat rate for the entire family on Monday nights 6-9 p.m. Be sure to take a swing on their trapeze to get the full experience.
Bouncing off the walls is really a thing in North Las Vegas at HKPK Las Vegas (3680 N. Fifth St. #130, hkpklv.com), the largest parkour facility in the United States, with 20,000 square feet of parkour structures, trampolines, a spring floor, a 60-foot tumble track, plus dozens of modular obstacles. In case you’re not familiar with parkour, it’s a sport that involves moving through a city by jumping, leaping, and running off of and through buildings and structures; probably easiest if you Google it to see what your kids are getting into. Or, you can sign up for one of their summer camps (for ages 7 and older) or training classes in parkour, trampoline, tricking (a combination of kicks, flips and twists), or aerial silks. Sign your 3- to 6-year-old up for the Little Ninja Class.
Balls and boards
Virtual aerials greatly reduce the risk of bumps and bruises and increase the rate of pizza consumption. This law of physics is appreciated by Press Start Gaming Center (1550 E. Tropicana Ave. #7, psglv.com), as demonstrated by their monthly lock-ins that allow all ages to game all night and consume bottomless boxes of Italian pies. Or, you can just stop in to play their consoles and library of games on one of their 40-plus stations. You can make a day of it and wander across the parking lot to the Pinball Hall of Fame (1610 E. Tropicana Ave., pinballmuseum.org) where a fist full of quarters buys access to 10,000 square-feet of flippin’ old-school fun.
Speaking of old school, even electricity is not required to partake in the board game wonderland that is Meepleville Board Game Cafe (4704 W. Sahara Ave. #2, meepleville.com). The self-proclaimed “second happiest place on earth” has a library of more than 1,000 board games, and you don’t have to worry about deciphering long instruction manuals, as the staff is happy to help you learn and master any game. Also on the west side, Game Nest (4545 W. Spring Mountain Road #104, gamenestlv.com) is a pay-by-the-hour arcade which earns you unlimited access to free-play arcade games. In addition to DanceEvolution, Fighter, Puzzle and more arcade games, they have six console stations with the choice of XBox One, Playstation 4, or Wii-U. If you’re wondering, “Why battle imaginary foes?”, Battle Blast Laser Tag (8125 W. Sahara Ave. #200, battleblastlv.com) answers with a multi-level arena, phaser packs and an unfolding drama of hide-and-seek, tag, and capture-the-flag. For the summer, Battle Blast is offering all-you-can-play specials and special theme weeks. You may get psyched for “I love the ’80s” week, but you will probably end up at “Potter-tastic” defending Hogwarts with at least two of your favorite kids.
The great escapes
Being locked in a room with your family may not be magical, but the escape rooms in town give you an opportunity to try it out. The idea is simple: you are locked in a room with a group and you have a set time to solve a series of puzzles to “escape.” Each location has specific age restrictions and several rooms to choose from, so do your research before rounding up the family. Here are some of our favorite themes: At Lockdown (3271 S. Highland Drive, lockdownrooms.com) you can engage in a simulated hostage negotiation for the release of your best friend. Perhaps a bit less stressful is the Sherlock Room inspired by Holmes himself at Countdown Live Escape Games (2959 Westwood Drive, countdownescape.com/lv). At Live Escape Adventure (6376 W. Sahara Ave., liveescapeadventure.com) everyone can live out their Indiana Jones fantasies with a visit to the room of Pharaoh’s Curse. Finally, the name may be a tad extreme, but the family that escapes a zombie virus together stays together at Escape or Die (3064 W. Post Road,
Bull’s-eyes, home runs and rock walls
Your inner grandpa may be asking, “What happened to good old fun? The kind without zombies?” Fair question, and although arrows could be handy during the apocalypse, Pacific Archery Sales (4084 Schiff Drive, pacificarcherylv.com) does not require the undead for a grand old time. You can take a shot on one of their indoor archery lanes, take a lesson, or go all Robin Hood and sign up for a summer league. Speaking of summer: Baseball. You may have thought it was impossible to swing, batter, batter in sub-100 degrees here in town, but behold Extra Innings (7200 Montessouri St. #190, extrainnings-lasvegas.com), an indoor batting cage facility where you can walk right in and use token-operated baseball and softball batting cages and tunnels. Bows and bats are not required at Nevada Climbing Centers (3065 E. Patrick Lane #4, nvclimbing.com). With just two firm grips, you and the crew can navigate 27 top rope walls, a 30-foot, 45-degree inverted climb, and a bouldering cave. In Henderson, Origin Climbing and Fitness (7585 Commercial Way, originclimb.com) provides similar adventures but in technicolor. The 23,000-square-foot climbing, yoga and fitness center offers kids’ climb time Saturdays and Sundays; it includes rental equipment and an Origin Instructor to guide and belay your child while you run out for a frappuccino. As you sip that refreshing beverage, remember that frozen treats and water features are not your only respite this summer. Stuff this handy guide in your glove box for easy reference, and stay cool by seeking out the great indoors.