While Las Vegas, Nevada, is best known for exciting nightlife, world-class dining, and top-name performers, there are also lots of other cool things to do with the whole family. You can take your kids to learn about wildlife, geology, world history, or how to write a book. Check out these six fun and fascinating educational destinations in Las Vegas.

Flamingo Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo Hotel

A family of flamingos at a local zoo.

Image via Flickr by kinseikun

Flamingo birds are spectacular to see. With their long, graceful necks and legs and brilliant pink color, they delight kids and adults of all ages. When you go to the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, you can see these lovely birds as well as others at the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat. Nestled in the property’s 15 acres, the habitat features a large flock of Chilean flamingos, ring teal ducks, sacred ibis, pelicans, swans, ducks, colorful koi fish, and turtles.

The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is a great place to learn about exotic birds in a realistic setting and is a great experience for nature lovers as well as children. Be sure to have your photo taken with a brilliantly colored rescue parrot and stop by at 8:30 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. to see the pelican feedings. Visiting the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat and the pelican feedings are free of charge and open to the public daily.

Tournament of Kings at Excalibur

Learn what life was like in medieval times while enjoying the thrilling dinner show of the Tournament of Kings. Held in the large 900-seat theater-in-the-round arena at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino, knights in armor ride on thundering horses to the delight of the spectators. The show is an adaptation of the tale of King Arthur and represents valor, treason, treachery, and chivalry. The knights and horses joust in a tournament using 10 horses per show and lance tips made from titanium that create exciting sparks as they clash against each other.

During the show, eat a three-course meal using only your hands as utensils, just like in medieval days. You’ll dine on roasted cream of tomato soup, Cornish game hems, roasted red potatoes, steamed broccoli, and an apple tart for dessert. The chefs offer vegan and gluten-free options for those with dietary restrictions.

Take a Hike at Red Rock Canyon

Get outside of the city and head up to Red Rock Canyon to learn about the fascinating desert geology of the area and to see the stunning vistas of the red rocks and valley below. Hike the numerous trails and watch for wildlife, or partake in one of the workshops or events. Drive the 13-mile scenic trail that loops through the valley floor of the park. Bring a picnic, water, and your camera to take striking photographs of the unique red rock formations.

A favorite event is the Call For Artists, where aspiring artists line-draw their favorite scene from Red Rock Canyon and submit it for the chance to have it published in the Red Rock Canyon coloring book. If accepted, your name shows under the drawing. The coloring book is sold online or at the visitor’s center.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum

Learn about the world around you, both present and past, at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. Since 1991 the museum has shared its multi-million dollar collection of world-class museum specimens, artifacts, and live animals with the public.

Kids of all ages love the Engelstad Family Prehistoric Life Gallery. Be prepared for a thrilling shock as you approach the 35-foot tall Tyrannosaurus rex that lowers its head and roars at you. You’ll also see in amazing detail what a Triceratops and the giant marine dinosaur Ichthyosaur look like.

Experience an African savannah at the Gary and Matthew Primm gallery. The diorama comes complete with a watering hole and both prey and predator animals. At the marine life gallery, see sharks and rays swimming in giant tanks, and in the international gallery, view carefully mounted animals from around the world.

Take a Writing Workshop at Writer’s Block

Kids 5 to 18 can take a writers’ workshop at the bookstore, Writer’s Block. Workshops include topics like screenwriting, poetry, blogging, podcasting, and novel writing. Students work on their desired topic, and when they’re finished, whether it’s a film, a book, or a podcast, they take the project home.

Another fun educational activity offered by Writer’s Block is field trips. During the field trip, the group of students collaborate on writing a picture book, and at the end of the day, they illustrate their own copy to bring home. For high schoolers, the staff offers publishing workshops for creative writing, editing, and art as well as how to self-publish their book. The workshops and field trips are run by volunteers and Writer’s Block staff and are free of charge.

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay Resort

Surround yourself with a variety of sharks, rays, and other sea creatures as you walk through the tunnel of the Shark Reef Aquarium at the Mandalay Bay Resort. Get up close and personal with sharks when you register for the Dive with Sharks Program. Dive into the tank and swim with tiger, sandbar, and white-tip reef sharks.

During the three- to four-hour experience, you’ll get a private guided tour of the aquarium, all the gear and equipment necessary for the dive, and a certified dive guide that leads you through the shark tanks. The experience is limited to participants 18 years or older, and they must have a scuba dive certification.

Animal encounters include the stingray feed, where you get a private tour of the aquarium and a chance to touch and feed the beautiful rays. Sign up for the private shark or sea turtle feed, where aquarium staff members educate you about the animals’ behavior, feeding habits, and preferred foods.

We hope you enjoy these six interesting, educational places to check out in the Las Vegas area.