Explore the Sierra with fun for the little ones.

By Heidi Bethel

For the first 15 years that I lived in Reno, I did not have children. Sure, my wonderful nieces and nephews (there are nine of them) came for visits and several even spent a few years living nearby, but a majority of the time it was my husband and I adulting away in the Biggest Little City. That all changed three years ago when we welcomed our son, Rowan, into the world. Now, we have another little squirt on the way and I can tell you the way we experience all that is Reno/Tahoe has completely changed. We still enjoy date nights and going out with friends, but this area is made for the kiddos. If you happen to have a few from your brood in tow during your visit, there are some great places catering to them where they’re sure to have an absolute blast … I suspect you’ll have a little fun, too.

Tahoe take over

Spectacular views and inspired serenity aside, Lake Tahoe is a mecca for amusement. With two shops in South Lake, Shoreline Bike Rentals lets you get around with ease on a variety of pedal-powered contraptions and excursions. For a day indoors, Kidzone Museum is filled with stimulating activities. If it’s the trees you seek, take a gondola ride to the ropes course atop the mountains at Heavenly Lake Tahoe. Or, head to the Squaw Valley Treetop Adventure Park for beginning and intermediate treks accompanying exciting vertical climbing elements. Get way high in the sky with Tahoe Helicopters and HeliTahoe — each provide truly memorable flights above the lake. shorelineoftahoe.com; kidzonemuseum.org; skiheavenly.com; tahoetreetop.com; tahoehelicopters.us; pnh-us.com

The Discovery (Matt Morning)
Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (Matt Morning)

Running Reno

In the city, you and the fam will find all sorts of fun, quirky and creative entertainment. Race around the track at Need 2 Speed and experience the new Hologate, a virtual reality attraction like no other. Inspire little minds at the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum. For outdoor frolic, Idlewild Park features several play areas, a duck pond, rose garden, even a train ride looping around the area. Basecamp at Whitney Peak Hotel is a climbing experience like no other, with boulders to fit all ages (even those toddling around) this is a must do! need2speed.com; nvdm.org; reno.gov; basecampreno.com

Master of the surrounding areas

Located 20 miles north of Reno, Sierra Safari Zoo is home to several rescued animals including lions, lemurs, monkeys and more. Headed south? Stop by Bowers Mansion Regional Park off Highway 395 where you’ll find a great pool, playgrounds and plenty of picnic spots. Visit the V&T Railway and Nevada State Museum in Carson City. In Genoa, grab your suits and drop in 1862 David Walley’s for a dip in several natural hot springs and a geothermal-heated pool. sierrasafarizoo.org; washoecounty.us; vtrailway.com; nvculture.org; davidwalleys1862.com

V&T Railroad (Jeff Dow)
V&T Railroad (Jeff Dow)

There’s nothing quite like experiencing this area through the eyes of a child. Here, you are sure to make great memories that will last a lifetime!