The largest city in northern Nevada, Reno is often associated with bright lights and gambling, but there’s more than meets the eye in this expansive city. Situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Reno has picturesque views and many activities for families.
The Wilbur D. May Center (no website; 1595 N. Sierra, Reno; 775-785-5961) is not only a museum, but a botanical garden and arboretum, too. It features rare artifacts collected by May during his travels around the world. With objects such as dioramas of polar bears and aardvarks, and ponds and waterfalls in the botanical garden, kids and adults will enjoy visiting the museum. Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (nvdm.org) was designed with kids in mind. Children can explore exhibits that encourage educational play. From learning about the water cycle and clouds to playing in the water at the Truckee River exhibit, families will have a blast playing, exploring and touching at this museum. For automobile lovers, head over to the National Automobile Museum (automuseum.org) in Reno. Voted by AutoWeek Magazine as one of the nation's five greatest automobile museums, the National Automobile Museum has more than 200 vehicles on display, from rare cars to race cars.
Science and Nature Activities
Fleischmann Planetarium & Science Center (planetarium.unr.edu) is an educational, fun experience for the whole family. Public star shows, changing exhibits, a large theater with star projector, a 6-foot globe, a 6-foot rotating moon and a working model of the solar system are just a little of what you’ll see at the center. Kids can touch a 30-pound meteorite, watch videos of NASA projects and missions and explore all aspects of space at this sprawling planetarium. Animal Ark (animalark.org) is an education center and wildlife sanctuary in Reno. The facility houses abandoned, nonreleasable and injured animals. Families can tour the grounds to see wolves, coyotes, foxes, cheetahs, bobcats, tigers, owls, raccoons, black bears and falcons. With 38 acres of grounds, Animal Ark provides nature trail tours and a variety of educational programs throughout the year.
Family Fun Centers
Fun Quest at Grand Sierra Resort and Casino (grandsierraresort.com) is on the lower level of the resort and has more than 40,000 square feet of attractions and games for children and adults. It has a 9,000-square-foot laser tag facility and a play area for smaller children, a bounce house and a climbing structure for kids. Arcade Xtreme at Peppermill Casino (peppermillreno.com) features more than 100 games and a large prize center. From shooting and driving games to easier games for little ones, Arcade Xtreme has something for everyone. Boomtown Fun Zone (boomtownreno.com) at Boomtown Casio and Hotel is a 30,000 square feet family-fun center with games for all ages. A flight simulator, 3-D motion theater, covered wagon Ferris wheel, bounce house and carousel are some of the other family friendly features found at this expansive facility.
Sports and Recreation
Head over to Magic Carpet Golf (magiccarpetgolfreno.com) for a game of miniature golf. With 66 holes and novel, hand-made structures, families will enjoy a good time outdoors hitting the ball on the green. An indoor arcade with video games and prizes is also on-site. RockSport (rocksportreno.com) is an indoor rock climbing facility with more than 7,000 square feet of terrain. Whether you’re a skilled rock climber or a novice, there are varying degrees of difficulty based on your experience and expertise. RockSport also offers Kids Climb Time where trained staff is available to help children and beginners with the sport.