Roadtrip: Raves for Reno!


Reno, Nevada makes for a great, long weekend getaway from the Bay Area! You’ll have a beautiful drive through the Tahoe area, and end at what claims to be the “biggest little city in the world.” I’m not sure about all of that, but there’s plenty to keep everyone happy: children and adults, alike.

We stayed at the Grand Sierra Resort and Hotel. It proved to be an excellent choice, especially with a child! It’s a casino, movie theater, bowling alley, driving range, arcade, bounce house, restaurant, wedding chapel, salon, spa, fitness center, and nightclub all in one. And my husband pointed out that the rent is cheaper. Why would we ever care to leave?!


Upon arrival, we immediately took our son to the bounce houses and slides, as he needed to run off some energy after being cooped up in the car for 4 hours. The cost is $10 per child, but gives you daily in/out privileges. He had a blast climbing and sliding through the large jungle gym, as well as jumping and sliding in the bounce houses. If your kids are in to arcade games, there are PLENTY of those to fill an afternoon, too. As with most, they earn tickets which can then be turned in and redeemed for prizes. I also noticed that they have a “safe place” sticker with a phone number to call if the location is closed. I was curious, and upon researching, found out Safe Place is a national youth outreach and prevention program for young people in need of immediate help and safety. What an awesome resource!

Although we didn’t get a chance to partake during our visit, the Grand Sierra Resort & Hotel also has a 24/7 bowling alley, plus $4 movies throughout the day. I really wanted to do both, but just ran out of time with our other (pre-planned) activities. And c’mon…you don’t really take a vacation to stay at the hotel all day…right? During our stay, we had an aerial view of a real working construction site, aka pool renovation titled “The Beach”. It looks like it will be fantastic once completed; yet, we were happy for the free toddler entertainment! IMG_2279

Reno Family-Friendly Favorites:

  • Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum: My son still talks about the fun he had at this museum. We’ve been to many science and/or children’s museums, and this is one of our favorites! It is the perfect size, as we never felt overwhelmed, or even crowded, for what it’s worth. Plus, we got in free with our ASTC reciprocal membership. A few highlights:
    • The two story cloud climber is really neat, and very unique; I’ve never seen anything similar. It’s essentially a huge jungle gym. Very fun, although I did have to rescue my 2 year old, as it’s a bit challenging. The bottom level includes a water area representing the Truckee River and connecting waterways. This area has plenty of places to splash in…and is basically a large water table.
    • The Science Underground room was also a favorite, complete with blue building blocks (my son’s choice,) Electrosketch (my husband’s choice,) and a walking piano. Although every museum offers those blue blocks, this is the first time I’ve seen an Electrosketch, which was pretty cool.
    • B was also into the build it room, as he was quite focused on building a bridge.
    • And to this day, he still mentions building a vacuum with his father. Anywhere that has large hoses and a switch that blows out air is where you’ll find my son. EVERY TIME.


  • Rancho San Rafael Regional Park: This is an expansive park with your standard playgrounds, multipurpose fields, and picnic areas. It also includes a museum and arboretum. Yet, we came for the dinosaurs. That’s right. There’s a dinosaur themed park in which you can swing from the neck of a dinosaur, slide down the back of a dinosaur, and climb on top of these giant sized creatures.


  • Circus Circus – Reno Edition: Catch free circus acts every 45 minutes! While we visited, a trapeze artist that had to be 60+ years old, and in amazing shape, glided above us. They also have a fully remodeled midway, with circus games galore. My advice is to always go for the balloon toss. We’re now proud owners of an orange stuffed snake named “Snakels.” And although we weren’t able to attend, check out the Laugh Factory and Cirque shows if in session.


A few other ideas for you to consider: The Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center, Nevada Art Museum, Sierra Safari Zoo, and a whole list of adventure parks, fun zones, and additional options that can be found here.

On our way back, we stopped along North Lake Tahoe, as well as in Truckee. We didn’t have too much time to explore, but look forward to a dedicated visit upon our return. We did enjoy some fun in the sun (with amazing snow-capped mountain views) in King’s Beach, California.


Now, it’s your turn…where should our next adventure be? 



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