Family Events in Nevada

There was a time when many people only knew Las Vegas as “Sin City,” or considered Reno and Lake Tahoe simply to be “adult playgrounds.” Those days are long gone. Don’t get us wrong; there are still plenty of things here for you and all your adult buds. But today, Nevada brims with all kinds of fun and exciting family events—the kind that will stick with your family and friends for a lifetime. Have your kids ever taken a tour of our galaxy with an astro pro? Ridden a racing camel around a rodeo arena? Lifted off in a tethered hot air balloon surrounded by floating versions of their favorite characters? They can do it all here, along with so much more. Whatever your family is into, there are endless memories to be made at family events all around the Silver State.

Upcoming Family Events


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Virginia City’s Camel and Ostrich Races have been serving up fun the whole family can relish for more than 60 years. Before the races, check out the midway with vendors and fair treats, get in on the kids duck race, then saddle up for kids camel rides around the arena in between races. For more fun and silly animal action the whole family can get a kick out of, head for Planet Hollywood’s Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, showcasing Moscow Circus vetran Gregory Popovich and the extraordinary talents of his performing pets—and by pets, we mean 30 performing animals ranging from house cats and dogs, geese, white doves, parrots and more. 

Great Basin Astronomy Festival
Michael Okimoto

Looking to grab onto a piece of Nevada’s Wild West heritage and want the lowdown on family-friendly events near you? Slide into those chaps, cinch down that bolo tie and head straight for Elko’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Here, kids can share their own stories and jokes with other young cowboys from the West during this beloved event’s Young Buc Open Mic. Or, you and the fam can head for the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West in Reno for Kids’ Day and the Mutton Bustin’ Championship. Aspiring cowboys and cowgirls can get in on horseback rides, snag a picture with rodeo royalty and learn about the tradition of rodeo, agriculture and the western lifestyle. 

Great Reno Balloon Race
Visit Reno Tahoe

Another family-friendly event is the slam dunk awaiting you at The Lights Fest in Mesquite. An experience where thousands of friends and families gather to listen to live music, chow down on great food, and light up the southern Nevada skies with wishes, dreams and goals. Timed together, everyone torches their personal lanterns and sends them into the sky, creating a surreal ambiance. Lookin’ for a little more magic? Head for themed Polar Express Trains, found all throughout Nevada in places like the East Ely Depot and Nevada Northern Railway, or the V&T Railway in Carson City. 

International Camel & Ostrich Races

Another annual event that is sure to impress the whole fam is the Great Basin Astronomy Festival on Nevada’s eastern border. “Half the park is after dark” is the slogan at this national park, delivering ideal stargazing beneath crisp, clear skies every day of the week. Each fall, the park hosts a free astronomy festival with tons of ways to learn about constellations, planets, and nebulas from expert astronomers from all over the country. Kids can earn their deep space certificate, make special glow-in-the-sun solar bracelets, learn about Nevada’s very own star and just why Great Basin National Park is so dang special. 

Reno Rodeo

To really see Nevada, your team can float high above the most mountainous state in the Lower 48 at one of the Silver State’s many hot air balloon events in Mesquite, Pahrump, the Rubies and in of course, Reno. Kids can get in on tethered balloon rides at all four and even sport their best bed head and fave PJs at the Great Reno Balloon Race. Other events that make for some serious fun for family time overflows with action-packed high octane at Reno’s Monster Jam. Watch each monster truck tear up the dirt (and skies) with gravity defying jumps, then head to the pits to meet your favorite drivers, see the trucks up close and more. 

Polar Express on the V&T Railway

Events in Nevada

Gotta See ‘Em to Believe ‘Em

Nevada has never been a stranger to a good time. And for every world-famous event anchoring Nevada’s come-as-you-are, cut-loose culture, there are dozens more that are sure to steal your heart and fill up your camera roll. From big-ticket bashes in our two big metros to community-wide celebrations in every small town in between, find out where and when to whoop it up around the Silver State.


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A touching takeoff into a memory sure to last a lifetime✈️⚾️💭
Our Haunted Halloween Train rides start this Friday at 7pm. Come take a 2 hour ghostly train ride that you won't forget here in Ely, Nevada. 
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Nevada Day is here! We hope you enjoy the festivities, activities and fun this year. Stay safe everyone!
Camel Race Weekend!
As an International Dark-Sky Park Great Basin National Park strives to help people learn about the night sky and how to protect it. Many people can't come to Great Basin in person but we don't want that to stop them from enjoying the night at Great Basin. 

Our YouTube channel has videos about astronomy at Great Basin and our Annual Astronomy Festival.


Image: Bristlecone on Mt. Washington with a dark blue cloudy sky with Jupiter bright in the background. NPS photo
Eleven-year-old Marinna Mori, of Tuscarora, Nev., and her brother, Pete, 8, practice roping outside of the Elko Convention Center during the National cowboypoetrygathering
I'd say the 100th Candy Dance was a success yesterday.. other than we couldn't find my parents in the sea of people. I'd also say, we make some dang cute kids. 😜 #genoacandydance #candydance #homemeansnevada #momlife #auntlife #blessedlife #vscocam #vsco
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Found our favorite mural today on a walk around Reno's Midtown district! I love how walkable this city is - especially with a stroller! We spent the whole day exploring and didn't have to use our car once 🙏🏼

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