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Late-night Toddlers in Vegas: The Ultimate Buzz-Kill

Spencer Spellman

There’s nothing like the sight of a toddler in a casino at 2 a.m. to ruin a perfectly good night in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way this week here in Sin City, where I’ve been since Sunday on a number of assignments (including this fun one for Expedia).

Every night after dinner, as my buddy and I have walked (er, stumbled?) from casino to casino and bar to bar, we’ve seen almost as many toddlers as poseurs in Ed Hardy t-shirts. The vast majority of these sightings have occurred between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. And in most cases, the toddlers have been wide awake, running or jumping or skipping or whining around as Mom and Dad take in the sights.

Look, I love Vegas. I think it’s a great place for families during daylight hours. And I’m all in favor of experiential parenting; I plan to bring my toddler here (en route to Zion National Park) before she starts kindergarten.

That said, bedtime for my daughters on the road always is within a few books of their bedtimes at home. More important, nighttime in Sin City is no place for a child.

Seriously—what are these parents thinking? Do they really think the brood is going to gain anything from being out and about in the wee hours? Are they just bringing the kids to avoid leaving them alone in the hotel room?

Set aside the fact that the late-night scene in most Vegas casinos (largely) is a smoke-infested mix of drunk partiers, hard-core gamblers and prostitutes of every sex and shape and size. Even then, these moms and dads have their kids out AFTER MIDNIGHT. In a foreign environment. (Oh, and did I mention the smoke?)

The bottom line: Seeing little kids in Vegas after midnight kills my buzz every time.  It’s not family travel, people. It’s a form of family abuse. And if you’re guilty of this negligence, you fail.