By Steve Beauregard (Updated June 2017)
In a city designed as a playground for grown-ups, there’s at least one family-friendly zone on the Las Vegas Strip where kids (and their parents), can run and play without having to worry about drunks, racy fliers, or being shooed away by casino security guards.
It’s the Adventuredome theme park at Circus Circus Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.
The air-conditioned oasis at the back end of the resort is five acres of fun, all under a large pink glass-enclosed dome.
The Circus Circus Adventuredome sees over 3 million visitors a year
Opened in 1993 at a cost of $90 million, the Circus Circus Adventuredome welcomes over 3 million visitors each year.
Adventure Dome Rides
As for attractions? Circus Circus says the park has 25 attractions.
While true, there are only 17 rides which are “free” or included in your unlimited pass. (More on that below). The other 8 attractions cost an additional entry fee. Here we’re talking about attractions like the Batman laser challenge or miniature golf course.
The Canyon Blaster roller coaster at Adventuredome
The 17 “free” rides include everything from the standard carnival-style mild carousel, to an Ice Age 4-D movie, to the wild El Loco roller coaster, in which riders are inverted, while experiencing 1.5 vertical G forces.
In addition to spinning-type rides, there is a sling-shot ride, bumper cars, and one of those large fake boats that swing back and forth way up in air.
Perhaps the most popular ride is the Canyon Blaster roller coaster, which reaches speeds up to 55 miles per hour. Circus Circus promotes this as, “the world’s only indoor double-loop double-corkscrew roller coaster.”
Of course, many of these rides are for the older (and braver) among us. Those of you with young kids, (9 or under in my book), may wonder if the Adventuredome is worth it for little ones.
The Adventuredome has rides for the little ones too
I believe it is, as there is plenty for the 9 and under set to ride. A couple of the mini-roller coasters (The “Road Runner” and “Miner Mike”) are fast enough to put smiles on the face a smaller child, yet without the big drops that can make a ride frightening.
Overall, between the four “Family rides,” the three “Junior rides” and the three different 4-D movies, your little one will have enough to do to make the admission price for a child’s unlimited pass worthwhile in my view.
Speaking of which….
Circus Circus Adventuredome Ticket Prices
There is no admission fee to get into the Adventuredome. You simply walk right in, although you do have to sidestep one of those photographers who wants to take your picture behind a backdrop then sell it to you for a very high figure.
You only pay to use the attractions and go on rides. As such, there are two ways to buy tickets at the Adventuredome:
(1) All all-day pass
(2) Buy a ticket for each ride
As most places the all-day pass option is usually better value, and that’s true here as well. Buying the all-day pass will be a better value so long as you go on four or more rides, which you’ll probably do as most rides don’t last very long.
The all-day pass ticket prices are as follows:
Junior Wristband: $18.95 (Must be under 48 inches tall)
Regular Wristband: $32.95 (48 inches tall or more)
Toddlers Under 33 inches tall: Free (with paying adult)
Even if your child is just, say, five years-old, you’d have to pay the full price if they happen to be 4 feet tall or taller.
Also note, that you can purchase tickets in advance online at the official Circus Circus website, however you will have to pay a $2.65 per ticket “convenience fee” to do so.
If don’t want an unlimited ride pass, and you wish to buy individual tickets instead, you should know they start at $6 for junior rides, going up to $12 to ride the two roller coasters. “Premium rides” which include the 4-D movie experiences, cost $9 per ticket.
Guests staying at Circus Circus often receive a coupon packet at check-in, good for Adventuredome discounts, Midway game discounts or both.
If you’re not staying there, you can find these same coupons that people put up for sale online. As an example: for $3.80, (including shipping), we recently purchased a coupon on Ebay that entitled us to $4 off an all-day pass (one coupon is good for up to four people.)
In other words, buying this one $3.80 coupon on Ebay reduced our ticket expenses by $16 total, since we had four people in our family.
El Loco at Circus Circus
I’ve also seen “2 for 1 all-day pass” coupons for sale on Ebay. However the ones I have seen are only good Monday through Friday. Still, if you plan on visiting the Adventuredome during a weekday, these 2 for 1 coupons would be a better deal than the $4 off coupon.
One other money-saving tip:
On a recent visit, my 5 and 8 year old were able to go on the kiddie rides alone, but were either too short, or unwilling, to go on the more grown-up rides. In this scenario, you can save a lot of money by not even purchasing adult tickets.
That’s what my wife and I did. We sat on benches in the air conditioning, taking a little break, watching the kids go on rides, while saving almost $66 in the process. Of course, I blew that $66 and then some on the Wheel of Fortune machine later, but that’s not the point.
Circus Circus Adventuredome Hours
Opens: Always at 10 AM.
Closes: The closing time varies on the time of year, however for most days in summer, it closes at midnight. Other times it stays open until 9 PM.
One of the 17 rides included in admission
Monday – Thursday:
Opens at 10 AM or 11 AM, varying on how busy Las Vegas is that particular week.
Closes: Either 6 PM, 9 PM or Midnight, depending on the week.
Friday and Saturday:
Always open from 10 AM to Midnight.
You can find the most recent calendar and hours by going to the official ticketing page: Circus Circus where you’ll see, towards the top, the “Operating Calendar” link.
In addition, you can always call the Adventuredome directly to get an update on any closures, at (702) 794-3939.
As with Disneyland, Disneyworld, Universal Studios and other theme parks, you can avoid lines by getting there early.
If you’re visiting Las Vegas during the school year, you may want to try to avoid weekend afternoons when a fair share of local residents visit the park.
Saturday afternoons are particularly busy, as you combine the typical Las Vegas tourist traffic with a plethora of birthday parties. The Las Vegas valley has a population of two million people, and the air-conditioned fun under the Adventuredome tent makes for a natural, and popular venue for local kids’ birthday parties.
Overall, I am usually pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness and value found at the Circus Circus Adventuredome.
Even if your kids are older and over 48 inches tall, a family of four will spend about $104 dollars for hours and hours of unlimited rides, all in a family-friendly, five-acre, air-conditioned setting.
And considering I can drop $104 in a Wheel of Fortune machine by myself in no time, a full day of rides for the entire family seems like a pretty good Las Vegas value indeed.
(Photos courtesy of Allie Caulfield, Josh Grenier (all roller coaster photos), and Austin Nguyen via Flickr.)