Planning a vacation with children at times may be puzzling. One has to keep a list of things ready that children generally enjoy. Welcome to Nevada, a place filled with some of the greatest family vacations in the Silver State. The spirit of discovery runs deep in Nevada. Whether it’s our miles of wide-open spaces to explore or something a little more communal like Burning Man, Nevada is filled with a variety of activities which you can enjoy with your family and loved ones.

Ballooning in the Biggest Little City

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A total signature event of the Great Reno Balloon Race, a small group of balloons rise into the dawn sky to divvy up an unmatched light show. As temperatures drastically change as the sun rises, this stunt is a risky one, and requires the expertise of master pilots who trot the globe to show this impressive skill off. Not only do the balloons glow, challenging the changing morning light, but are also are synched to choreographed music, making for a can’t-believe-its-real show.

You might be waking up super early on a weekend, but the beauty of it all is that you can wear your PJs in public. Plus, theres even a best bed-head contest if you really want to knock it over the fence. Winning!

Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center at the University of Nevada, Reno

The Fleischmann Planetarium is part of the University of Nevada in Reno and enjoys the distinction of being the first planetarium in the world to project full-dome movies in its unique theater. Officially known as a “hyperbolic parabaloid,” the theater has a 30-foot diameter, state-of-the-art digital star projector, large-format film projector, advanced surround sound system and seats for 60. The unique building is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

As enjoyable as the Fleischmann Planetarium is during the day, it’s even more interesting at night. On select evenings, stargazers can get an up-close-and-personal look at those amazing constellations with public star observing courtesy of the Astronomical Society of Nevada.

Safe Haven Rescue Zoo

Safe Hevan Rescue zoo

Safe Haven Rescue Zoo is a non-profit wild animal sanctuary located on 160 acres in Imlay, Nevada. They work with the USDA, state and local authorities and many national organizations to offer permanent housing/care and rehab/release programs for orphaned, injured, or confiscated wild animals. The zoo is currently home to bobcats, cougars, African lions, tigers, African servals, foxes and more. Many of the animals have arrived from illegal breeding sites or abusive conditions. Medical care is provided for all animals to provide a better life. Their captive animal enrichment program has been consulted by other national and worldwide sanctuaries. Among its many rehab/releases, the zoo has successfully raised and released orphaned bear cubs into the high Sierra. This release was filmed for Nevada television. Daily tours of the facilities are offered by appointment. (775-538-7093). Visitors may view and enjoy our animals from the safety of the perimeter fencing. Educational tours and programs, outreach programs are also available. Guest often says that their visit to Safe Haven was one of the highlights of their Nevada vacation.

Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museums

The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (The Discovery) is northern Nevada’s newest and most exciting place for kids and their families. The museum is home to more than 120 hands-on exhibits, three birthday rooms, kitchen facilities, a picnic area, flexible programming space and a museum store. Conveniently located in downtown Reno, The Discovery is ideally situated to serve local and visiting families as a much-needed center for learning and discovery.

The Discovery’s 67,000 square-foot, world-class facility currently offers eight galleries, full of educational and fun exhibits for children of all ages. Climb the clouds on 45-foot Cloud Climber. Explore Truckee Connects – an exhibit that shrinks Nevada’s water cycle into a size small enough for children to play in, but large enough to convey real science. Dig for artifacts, load a wagon train, and explore a mine in Nevada Stories. Use alternative energy to light the Reno Arch in Build It! and prepare for an outdoor adventure in Under the Stars. Fire a catapult, paint on Clear Canvas, and discover the engaging world of art, science, and fun in Da Vinci’s Corner. Parents will relax as the museum’s youngest visitor’s roll and creep, look and feel, pile and build, experience and grow in Little Discoveries.

Borges Sleigh and Carriage Rides

What better way to enjoy Lake Tahoe’s magnificent terrain than on horse-drawn sleigh ride? With Tahoe as the ultimate adventure land for outdoor enthusiasts, wind down after a day on the slopes and kick up the relaxation a notch with an unforgettable tour with Borges Sleigh and Carriage Rides. Located in both South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village, the Borges family has been contributing to unmatched outings for couples and families alike for decades.

Visitors can select a small sleigh for two, or opt to bring the whole gang and take a ride in a 20-passenger sleigh. But, the options are far from over there. Reserve the Victorian Visa-Vies carriage, take a ride on the Hay Wagon and get down on some tasty BBQ, or reserve a carriage for your wedding day. Private rides with lunch and dinner specials are available, as well as miniature horse rides for the young buckaroo’s out there. And don’t forget to bring Fido along for the ride, as the Borges Sleigh and Carriages Rides are pet friendly.

Children’s Museums of Northern Nevada

With a dual focus of providing education and entertainment to children and families, the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada in Carson City is a fantastic place to spend the afternoon. The museum offers a range of thoroughly kid-friendly displays and exhibits that encourage interaction and self-paced fun for children of all ages.

In addition to its permanent and temporary exhibits, the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada offers a range of programs geared toward infants and up. The well-rounded programs include sign language workshops for babies and toddlers, music and movement classes for parent and child, a reading and craft hour, children’s cooking class and introduction to astronomy in the portable StarLab Planetarium. The exciting and entertaining programs and exhibits at the Children’s Museum are all based on Nevada education standards, kinetic movement, or historical and current culture. They also feature an emphasis on arts, sciences and humanities.