Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Teach them while they're young

I was intrigued by Steve Friess' recent Las Vegas Weekly article, arguing against the idea that Vegas failed to become a family-friendly destination.

His article talks about the efforts to market Vegas as an option for family vacations during the 1990s, a strategy that has been almost universally deemed a failure. While there are signs that the effort failed, the reality is that even after the demise of a few of the marquee attractions that offered family fun, there are plenty of ways for families to spend their time in Vegas all these years later, and Friess details that.

I'm not a parent, and I'm not a prude. But at the same time, I question the wisdom of turning to Vegas as the vacation destination of choice by parents with children in tow.

Yes, there are plenty of family-oriented things to do in the Vegas area today. And there are plenty of low-cost options for families that cannot afford an elaborate vacation to Orlando. Vegas seems like a great alternative to the expensive Disney vacations and other tourist traps that gouge you at every turn. But Vegas is still an adult playground, and it saddens me to see children introduced to it.

You can't venture up and down the strip, or many other places, without seeing the excesses of alcohol on display. And it won't be long before you expose your children to the tantalizing world of prostitution. If you don't walk past porn slappers passing out handbills for busty young babes that make me tingle below the belt, your children are going to see a rolling billboard featuring a sex kitten with a come-hither look, promising she'll come directly to your room. And probably for the low, low price of $69.

Unless you're staying at a timeshare property away from the strip, you had better be prepared for your children to be exposed to young adults with alcohol-soaked morals and few sexual inhibitions if you try to use the pool during the mating season. This assumes you're not staying at a property that has managed to market its pool as a "day club." If that's the case, forget the pool.

For every Mac King magic show there are dozens of walking, talking examples of decadence and hedonism. Don't get me wrong, I love a good smoke show as much as the next guy, but kids don't need to see loose morals on parade. Life is challenging enough. Why give children a taste of adults behaving mischievously while they're still trying to cope with the fact that they're growing hair in places they've never had it?

Friess' article points out that families can see and do many things away from the strip, and come and go while avoiding the trappings that have made Vegas an adult playground for decades.

Perhaps I'm not giving parents enough credit. I'll try to remind myself of that the next time I see a young woman, young enough to be my daughter, carrying an infant through the Orleans food court at 2 a.m., or walk behind a couple with children in tow on the Vegas strip at 1:30 in the morning.

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