As summer settles in, along with the scorching, dry heat that Las Vegas residents all know and dread, locals and tourists alike can escape the triple-digit temperatures by engaging in some of these cool activities here in town or just a road trip away:
MAKE A SPLASH
Keep the kids occupied by taking them out to a local park and enjoying the splash pads — a nonslip surface with various showerlike features to spray streams of water designated for younger children to play in — offered throughout the city. Most splash pads are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., such as the water play areas at Rainbow Family Park and Centennial Hills Park, but the hours vary depending on the park.
Make some waves at Lake Mead, one of Nevada’s most popular destinations, where outfitter Vegas Water Sports can help you explore a variety of ways to cool off, including wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing, kneeboarding and wake surfing, with Splash Packages beginning at $97 per person; lasvegaswatersports.com.
What better way to cool off than experiencing the thrilling rides and slides of Cowabunga Bay Waterpark, including “Wild Surf,” the ultimate water slide. With locations in Summerlin and Henderson, Cowabunga offers over 20 water slides and attractions, a wave pool and a kids area. Day tickets start at $19.99, and season passes are $99.99; cowabungavegas.com.
Take a dip at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and enjoy your favorite film, ranging from classics to modern blockbusters. Every Monday night, the marquee at Boulevard Pool turns into a massive screen with movie-themed cocktails and snacks offered to guests. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the movie begins at 8 with prices starting at $10 for locals; cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/dive-in-movies.
Minus5 Ice Experience
Cool off at the Minus5 Ice Experience locations in The Venetian, Mandalay Bay or the Linq Promenade, where everything inside the bar is made of ice. The winter-any-time-of-year wonderland includes cold beverages served in glasses made of ice and an LED light show with upbeat music. Packages including entry to the ice attraction, gloves and freshly dry-cleaned parkas start at $13 for kids and $24 for adults; minus5experience.com.
Pinball Hall of Fame
Right across from the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, the Pinball Hall of Fame displays the world’s largest pinball collection ranging from 1950s up to 1990s machines. The entire family can enjoy older pinball arcade games for 25 cents per play, newer ones for 50 cents and even a few arcade novelty games such as Pac-Man and Guitar Hero in the 25,000- square-foot warehouse that’s open every day; pinballmuseum.org.
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Home to over 10 galleries filled with fun, educational exhibits and programs, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum inspires families and patrons of all ages. Visitors can explore the treasures of Egypt, learn about prehistoric life, check out the marine life gallery, stop by the African Savannah gallery and visit other informative exhibits. The museum holds special events every week such as Science Saturdays and Shark Feeding Thursdays and Saturdays. Museum tickets are $6 for children and $12 for adults; lvnhm.org.
Throw on a coat and hit the ice in the middle of summer by taking the family to City National Arena — practice home of the Vegas Golden Knights — for some skating fun. Sharpen your skills by joining an ice hockey league or visit during the open skate time. Skates are available to rent for $3, and the open skate admission is $10. Other popular year-round ice skating arenas include the Las Vegas Ice Center and Sobe Ice Arena at Fiesta Rancho.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Ditch the hot weather and take a 45-minute drive to Mount Charleston, where the temperatures are typically 22 degrees lower than nearby Las Vegas. The mountain offers breathtaking views such as those at Fletcher View Campground, where you can indulge in relaxing picnics, camping, biking and wildlife viewing. From easy to strenuous, popular hiking trails include the Echo Overlook Trail, Mary Jane Falls, Cathedral Rock Trail and the Acastus Trail.
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Open from Memorial Day to mid-October, Cedar Breaks National Monument is a smaller version of Bryce Canyon where families can bask in temperatures below 70 degrees and indulge in a scenic drive to several viewpoints of the vast half-mile-deep geological amphitheater that makes up the monument. Enjoy the moderate nature walks offered, such as the Alpine Ponds hike and the Sunset Trail, in this national monument just three hours from Las Vegas.
Zion National Park
Less than a three-hour drive from Vegas, Zion National Park offers hiking, backpacking, camping, rock climbing and beautiful vistas, making it the perfect getaway for families and adventurers. Zion’s expansive canyon averages 2,000 feet deep, allowing hiking opportunities along its floor. Other popular hikes include Angels Landing, Observation Point and Emerald Pools, and annual national park passes start at $20.
Eldorado Canyon Mine Tour
Escape the heat and enjoy a cool, breezy tour of the oldest and most famous gold mine in Southern Nevada with Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours. Located in Nelson, 45 minutes from the Strip, the historic mine outing consists of a quarter-mile walking tour of the old Techatticup Mine, which stays about 70 degrees year-round. Prices are $10 for kids and $15 for adults; eldoradocanyonminetours.com.
Contact Maria Staubs at email@example.com. Follow @MariaStaubs on Twitter.