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Vegas activities for the under-21 crowd

They can't gamble. They can't drink. You can't bring them to the club or a famed Sin City show. Those pesky children and teens will certainly ruin all your Vegas fun, right? But before you beg family members to watch the kids while you steal away for a weekend, be aware that Las Vegas offers a swath of G- and PG-rated spectacles underage travelers will enjoy this winter.

For kids

The Discovery Children's Museum features 58,000 square feet of interactive learning exhibits dedicated to science and art. Ahead of the holidays, the museum will let little ones to re-create "The Nutcracker." From Dec. 20 to 26, children can design costumes and a functional performance space for the holiday classic.

Kids can pay a visit to Santa -- and all kinds of sharks -- when St. Nick makes a cameo at Mandalay Bay's Shark Reef Aquarium. Kids can pose for a picture and make any last-minute wishes before exploring more than 2,000 creatures of the deep swimming around the 1.6-million-gallon aquarium.

For teens

Teenagers can get up close and personal with the many "celebrities" at Madame Tussauds, which features 100 wax replicas of A-listers from Madonna to Lady Gaga. The long-standing attraction at the Venetian recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation to include a Marvel exhibition featuring likenesses of comic book all-stars.

Or, go retro at the Pinball Hall of Fame, which boasts 100 pinball machines dating back to the 1950s. For a couple of quarters, teens can play all kinds of games and think about how different life must have been before iPads. Teens feeling lost will find solace in machines inspired by films "Iron Man" and "Avatar."

For families

Families seeking thrills can head to the Adventuredome at Circus Circus, featuring five acres of rides including kid-friendly bumper cars and carousels and El Loco, the theme park's newest roller coaster that twists and turns at speeds of up to 45 mph.

During the holidays, find a wintery oasis in the desert at Bellagio's Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which starting Dec. 6 transforms into a wonderland thanks to thousands of poinsettia plants and trees adorned with 2,000 ornaments.

-Jamie Van Bergen, Brand Publishing Writer

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