Vegas Christmas fun for the whole family

Sin City might not be the first place parents think of when it comes to creating lasting memories with their children during the holiday season, but Las Vegas actually features plenty of festive holiday attractions families can enjoy together.

For those who love holiday lights, the Ethel M Chocolates Holiday Cactus Garden is just a short drive from the Strip's flashy marquees. The free attraction features more than 600,000 sparkling lights displayed throughout a sprawling three-acre botanical cactus garden.

If you'd rather escape the brisk weather (yes, it does get cold in Las Vegas), Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway lets families enjoy more than 400 animated and dazzling light displays without ever leaving the warmth of their car. Guests drive through the 2.5-mile course while listening to a radio station created exclusively for the attraction that plays nonstop holiday hits.

For those who will brave the chilly temps, the ice rink at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a hit with kids of all ages, transforming the resort's pool into a winter wonderland reminiscent of Rockefeller Center's ice skating rink. Overlooking the Strip, visitors can enjoy a playful atmosphere with fire pits and seasonal culinary offerings.

Several of the Strip's most popular shows and attractions also get into the holiday spirit, like the Fountains of Bellagio, which is currently incorporating eight different performances set to holiday songs in its rotation. Mirage headliner Terry Fator has also brought back "Terry Fator: A Country Christmas," transforming the stage into the Fator family's "living room" and singing classic carols and original holiday material.,

Even something like visiting Santa Claus is unforgettable in Las Vegas. The Fashion Show Mall is featuring a new DreamWorks Animation "Adventure to Santa" attraction that takes guests on an eye-popping journey with Shrek and his friends as they journey to the North Pole to visit Santa. Vegas is one of only seven locations in the country to feature "Adventure to Santa" -- a holiday experience that's not to be missed.

-By Heather Turk, Brand Publishing Writer

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