Southern Nevada reaps its harvest of fun

By Stephanie Van Aken

Autumn in Las Vegas means time to get back outdoors again and enjoy the comfortable temperatures while exploring the Las Vegas Valley has to offer. Take in the apple-crisp warm air and indulge in one of the most beautiful times of year in the desert. You can gather the family for some of the most fantastic cultural experiences available in Las Vegas.

McKee Ranch Las VegasMcKee Ranch: Looking for the perfect pumpkin patch this fall? Look no further than McKee Ranch; open to the public and dedicated to educating on all aspects of Western life and the Native American culture. Join Cowboy Max from sunrise to sunset for horse rides, hay rides and feeding the farm animals. During the month of October, McKee Ranch takes on a festival atmosphere, and all families, no matter the size, can enjoy the pumpkin patch for $20 per family. Price includes all rides and a pumpkin.

Las Vegas Natural History MuseumLas Vegas Natural History Museum: Visit the mysterious lands of Egypt, explore the savannahs in Africa and rainforests in South America and travel back in time to the pre-historic age of dinosaurs all under one roof. A remarkable facility to keep little ones’ minds engaged and older children learning. Weekend Science with Critter Connections, along with hands on science labs and aquariums filled with sharks, tropical fish, snakes and insects are sure to intrigue every family member.

The Lion Habitat  Ranch Las VegasThe Lion Habitat Ranch: Ever wonder what happened to all the lions living at the former MGM Grand Lion Habitat? They found a new home at The Lion Habitat Ranch, a 7-acre facility located in the Southern part of the Las Vegas valley between St. Rose Parkway and Bermuda Road. All ages are invited to visit and observe the 40 lions up close and personal. Paved walking paths make the facility stroller and handicapped accessible. Party and VIP packages are available for behind the scenes opportunities. Keep up on Facebook as hours may change daily based on weather.

The Wizard of Oz Las VegasThe Wizard of Oz: For one week only, Sept. 10-15, Dorothy will definitely not be in Kansas anymore. She will be performing in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of “The Wizard of Oz” at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. The production is based on the classic MGM screenplay featuring beloved characters, iconic moments and musical score, including new songs from Tim Rice and Mr. Lloyd Webber.

Gilcrease Orchards Las VegasGilcrease Orchards: It is time for apple picking and gourd gathering at Gilcrease Orchards, a family fun activity to visit the 60 acres of orchards and agricultural land. This is the chance for you and your family to pick your own produce to create all those comforting fall recipes. Be sure to visit their website for the best time and months for the best selections. Definitely try their most famous fresh pressed apple cider from a variety of apples picked straight off the trees.

red rock canyon las vegasRed Rock Canyon: Discover the desert and help your child become a Junior Explorer through a program established by the Bureau of Land Management. Obtain the Junior Explorer book at the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center to start a grand adventure through the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The program is divided into four age-appropriate sections, which introduce children to the history, animals and plants found in the area. Once completed, children will be sworn in as Junior Explorers and given a certificate.

Stefanie Van Aken - @RockStarMomStefanie Van Aken, a Las Vegas native, writes about her 5 star adventures with her little entourage at As a luxury family travel and sophisticated lifestyle blogger and freelance writer, Stefanie contributes to local and national publications sharing stories about visiting Las Vegas and other fabulous destinations all over the U.S. and the world. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @RockStarMomLV.