I’ve heard it one too many times. “Why in the world would you want to raise your children in THAT city?” Well, today I thought I would answer that question.
Though I am from Las Vegas I have traveled extensively. I have lived in other parts of this country and have visited all of the 50 states including Alaska and Hawaii. I have seen Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. And yet I still can’t find a better place to raise my children. I’m not saying there aren’t other nice places to raise a family but I am a little partial to the Las Vegas Valley. Here’s why:
There is so much to do in with your little ones. Discovery Children’s Museum is an incredible place to spend the day with children. This recently renovated attraction is one of the greatest little spots in all of the city. The Springs Preserve is absolutely beautiful in the Springtime. Your children will learn a great deal about the desert, Native American history, and conservation. The Natural History Museum of Las Vegas is also must if your children happen to like dinosaurs.
9. The Weather
Wow! It goes without saying that Las Vegas has some incredible weather. Last week I flew from Las Vegas to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I left behind a sunny 73 degrees and arrived in a place where the high that day would be 39 degrees. My son is able to play baseball nearly year round in Las Vegas. We never experience tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms, mudslides, wildfires! I have lived here for over 33 years and never remember feeling an earthquake. Does it get hot here in the summer? Yep! And it makes it a perfect time to jump in the pool or head over to one of the water parks. By the way, I lived in the South for several years and I don’t miss the humidity.
8. The Nature
Lake Mead is filled with potential memories with your children. Fishing, waterskiing, boating, and more all await the family who is adventurous. Don’t forget to stop by and see the historic Hoover Dam. Redrock Canyon and Mount Charleston are two wonderful places to take the family hiking! Both have moderate trails to allow children of all ages to experience the beauty of God’s creation. In the wintertime you might miss the snow. If so, you can drive a short 45 minutes up to Mount Charleston and play all day. Skiing, tubing, and sledding are all waiting for your family, and when you’re done, you can leave all the snow up in the mountain. Do you want to build a snowman? You can do it here.
.7. Theme Parks
The Adventuredome is an attraction they built while I was a child growing up in Las Vegas. This completely indoor amusement park includes thrill rides, roller coasters, 4-D rides, and much more. Wet & Wild is a brand new water park located in Southwest Las Vegas. In Las Vegas there is just so much to do with your children.
6. Centrally Located
Heather and I like to take little trips with our children. We are only a 4 hour drive to Southern California! With Disneyland, Knott’s, Six Flags, Sea World, the beach, and many other family destinations within day trip distance. We have Death Valley to the north and the Grand Canyon to the east. All within a few hours drive. Also within a three hour drive is the beauty of Utah. We love to go camping in Zion and drive up to Bryce Canyon. We’ve even had the opportunity of checking our the Shakespearean Festival with the kids in Cedar City.
5. The Schools
Our schools seem to get their share of bad publicity. However, I personally know many teachers and educators in the Clark County School District. They are fine people who work diligently with our children to advance their academic standing and prepare them for life. The teenagers I know being educated in these schools are intelligent, well-mannered, and headed toward college. In Las Vegas we also have fantastic private schools. My children attend Liberty Baptist Academy on Lake Mead Blvd. This is an exceptional school that provides a high-class education for a surprisingly reasonable price.
4. The People
The people in Las Vegas are not often of Las Vegas. We are a melting pot with people from around the world. When we first moved back to Las Vegas I remember reading something from our Chamber of Commerce that stated only 3% of the people who live here are actually from here. This all brings a very interesting dynamic, which I really love. Friends are made easily because everyone is new to town. The ethnic diversity is inspiring. I love raising my children in a place where they have friends from Africa, the Philippines, South America, and Europe. Other parts of the country can still feel very segregated. I love that our city is a virtual kaleidoscope of ethic diversity.
3. The Parks
We have BIG parks like Floyd Lamb State Park, Sunset Park, and Bonnie Springs Ranch. We have really nice neighborhood parks like Exploration Park in Mountain’s Edge. If you have not yet taken your children to these beautiful parks you are really missing out. Enjoy the outdoor life in Las Vegas by taking advantage of our beautiful parks.
2. The Churches
Our churches are incredible. God is worshiped and the Gospel is preached throughout this entire city. I know what most people think of when they think of Las Vegas. But I also know what God thinks of when He thinks of Las Vegas. He thinks of the many wonderful houses of worship that continue to teach His Word and reach people with His truth. I am the pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in SouthWest Las Vegas. The 650 people who gather here on a weekly basis are genuinely my favorite thing about this city. I’d move here just to be part of this wonderful church… in fact… I did.
1. Parents Raise Children, Cities Don’t
This last thought is really more philosophical than the others. When people say to me with an upturned nose, “How could you raise your children in a city like that?” I always respond, “Parents raise children, cities don’t.” Understand, your children will not “turn out right” because they were raised in an ideal location. Timothy McVeigh was raised in a small town in Upstate New York. Charles Mason was from the Midwest. Even Darth Vader grew up in the quaint village on Tatooine (i’m kidding).
Seriously, Las Vegas is a wonderful place to raise your children. If they turn out “right” it might have to do more with the parenting than anything else. My parents raised 5 civic-minded, church-going, kind people who happen to be raising their own children here. Again, I believe Las Vegas is a wonderful place to raise your children!
Do you have family or friends that are “concerned” about your children growing up in Vegas? What is your favorite aspect of living in Las Vegas? What is your favorite attraction for children in Las Vegas? What school does your child attend and what is your favorite thing about that school? What church does your family attend and what is your favorite thing about that church? Please comment below:
NancyApril 1, 2014 at 11:45 am
After 62 years (came 4/2/1952) I still love the desert. I am surprised being the foodie you are, you didn’t mention being able to thwart a BigMacAttack anytime of the day or night. What other city 300 miles inland has a porpoise sanctuary or a tiger environment or a bird santuary in the middle of the city. No other place has the displays of the huge atrium in the Bellagio.
Joshua TeisApril 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm
Hey Nancy! WOW – 62 years is incredible! You are right there are incredible animal habitats to see here for the kids as well
James PfeifferApril 1, 2014 at 11:52 am
I love Las Vegas! When I moved here 2 years ago, I didn’t know what to expect as I’d never even visited prior to taking a job here. Actually, that’s not entirely true – I flew in for an interview and left on the same day; so no time to see the sights or truly visit! I have to say though that I’ve fallen in love with the city. There is so much to do and see here that has nothing to do with gambling, boozing, or any of the other seedy activities people associate Las Vegas with. I grew closer to God here and I also met my lady here so there’s that!
I’m not sure how long I’ll be here as I simply have just too many roots back home but I have no desire to leave any time soon.
Joshua TeisApril 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm
There’s that! It really is a nice town for certain. Honestly, James, if and when kiddos come into the picture – Las Vegas might eb the best place to raise them – all things considered.
James PfeifferApril 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm
I’m certainly keeping it in mind!
Deb McMullenApril 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm
I can’t wait to relocate from Florida to Las Vegas. My reasons for moving has so much to do with Southern Hills Baptist Church. My son Steven Miller is an assistant Pastor at the church. When the opportunity presented itself for him to move to Las Vegas to serve at Southern Hills, it wasn’t just about him, the decision also included his wife Becky and son Marcus. They were strongly seeking God’s guidance and praying about moving to LAS VEGAS!, I know I wasn’t so sure Las Vagas was an ideal place to raise children, but then it wasn’t my decision to make. They felt the Lord asking them to trust Him so they packed up and moved. Looking back, I don’t know why we fret over such things. God did all the work in changing hearts and minds! .I know for a fact that there is no place they would rather be raising their children, serving and worshiping than at Southern Hills Baptist. (I now feel the same way too) Give God all the glory!
Joshua TeisApril 1, 2014 at 4:41 pm
Looking forward to having you here Deb!
CharityApril 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm
Darth Vader grew up in the quaint village on Tatooine…haha!!!
Faith GelsthorpeApril 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm
That literally made me lol 😉
Faith GelsthorpeApril 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm
Thanks for writing this! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the response, “Parents raise children, not cities!” I’m so going to use that! Thank you 🙂
Joshua TeisApril 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm
You’re welcome Faith. Parents in Las Vegas must unite!
Navi BolaApril 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm
Great article Josh! I can also remember having done so much while I spent my summers there in LV.
Great comment on “Parents raise children, cities don’t” Only you can come up with that!
I’ve even heard preachers preach against LV, but you saw the need and did something about it! Amen!
Joshua TeisApril 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm
Thanks Navi! I guess we both understand what it is like to live in misunderstood places.
kennyApril 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm
To some degree I agree…… My best memories are from church outings. picnics, New years, men’s retreat and the many other times we’ve gotten together… I admit this has been the only place I never really felt like home…after 13 years still doesn’t… It may be since this town is so transient and I’m use to the same ol people for years being my neighbors. I definitely grew closer to God and his people…so much that I don’t hang out with anyone who’s not from church maybe cause we are all seeking the same thing “GOD”… I was born in Brooklyn NY… And when enlisted I transferred to Puerto Rico to better understand my culture… I regularly think about my 5-6 years there and hope to go back, it’s kinda hurts a little knowing I can’t live there. I miss it soooo…
Joshua TeisApril 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm
I can see your angst Kenny. I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to live in PR or Brooklyn, NY. Both of these places are known for their incredible sense of community.
However, I will say that Las Vegas will never truly understand that kind of community of we continue to be so transient. If we allow our roots to grow deep and choose to bloom where we have been planted we will see a deeper sense of community than our city has ever seen. Personally, I am committed to living out my days here in this beautiful city and making dear friends within our church and in our surrounding community. I know you stand with me my dear friend. And I am thankful to have you there.
AnonymousApril 1, 2014 at 6:39 pm
the concern most people have is not that the city is raising the children, its that in a city like there are so many temptations that both the parents have the children are exposed to that they may not be expose to in other cities.
Josh TeisApril 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm
Dear anonymous, I understand that it is difficult for those who don’t live in Las Vegas to understand what it is like to live here. Before my dear heather moved here from Alabama she imagined a dank little apartment across the street from a casino. After moving here she realized that living in Southwest Las Vegas, Summerlin, North Las Vegas, Spring Valley, Seven Hills, Alleante, or Henderson is like living in any other beautiful suburb across the country. Does our fair city have a dark side? I suppose it does like any other American city, village, town, or metropolis.
Paul OatsvallApril 2, 2014 at 3:42 am
What a great article! I know Katie would definitely agree as do I. I remember someone that came out to our wedding in Vegas had this to say, “When I got off the plane I could feel the sin all over me”. I think that is ridiculous! God is doing great things in Las Vegas. I love to hear how he is blessing Southern Hills and next time Katie and I are in Vegas we will have to stop in for a visit.
Joshua TeisApril 2, 2014 at 8:52 am
Thanks Paul. I’m glad to know that someone like Paul was willing to go to a city like Corinth and someone like Peter was willing to go to a city like Rome. MY father once told me that we are not Lot is Sodom but Jonah in Nineveh. Good to hear from you.
Mae KohApril 2, 2014 at 6:42 am
I came to Vegas to start a business just over 10 years ago. For 8 months I commuted every other week back to LA to attend my church while searching for one here. In July of 2004, 2 Summer Missionaries came to my door and invited me to attend the opening of a new church called Southern Hills Baptist Church pn the first Sunday of August. Because of this church, Pastor Josh, his family, (who I spent my first Thanksgiving with.) I decided not to move back to California and make my home here in Las Vegas.
Pastor Josh is an incredible man of God! His youth was all the more impressive when I heard his first sermon and forgot about the heat and lack of all that we presently have. I was so impressed that I stayed here in this amazing city because of him and this church even though my business and everything I worked for here failed. This is where God told me I would be at my best for him and do the work He is calling me to do.
And when I’m asked by family and friends why I stay here, I tell them that I love it here for many of the reasons that Pastor Josh gave but especially the wonderful church that God and his family is growing. It is now my home and I know that God still has work for me to do here! You, too, will be blessed by him and the church if you stay and join Southern Hills Baptist Church.
Joshua TeisApril 2, 2014 at 8:54 am
I am humbled by your post Mae. We consider you family and are thankful for our relationship that has now almost spanned a decade. I too am thankful that the Lord has planted this wonderful church in this amazing city.
Kristen SellApril 3, 2014 at 9:07 am
Pastor Josh, thank you so much for doing this one. I have had so many people ask me what it was like growing up in Vegas, and why I love going back home when I can, and this explains exactly what I mean. I love the good entertainment that is easy to find, the church family I have grown up with, and the beautiful scenery. 🙂 God blessed Vegas with so many great things for His people.
Joshua TeisApril 8, 2014 at 10:08 am
Thanks Kristen. I totally agree
Heather LeibyApril 5, 2014 at 9:12 am
Some people say, if there’s a bright center to the universe, Tatooine is the planet that it’s farthest from. It’s no wonder Vader had issues! =P Personally the Forest Moon of Endor seems like it would be quite a nice place to live, the locals are friendly and cute. However, I most heartily agree that parents raise children, not cities or villages. Great write up Pastor!
Joshua TeisApril 8, 2014 at 10:09 am
Heather, You are correct. I guess Tatooine was a bit of a stretch.
BarbaraApril 6, 2014 at 5:40 pm
Enjoyed reading this article. Interestingly people voiced similar concerns about us raising our children in Switzerland. I’m glad a wise Pastor told us that what matters most is what we, as parents, live in front of our children and teach them every day, among other things, in family devotions. To me, you and your siblings are proof of that! I think people who are scared of certain locations because they forget that God is everywhere and that the Bible works no matter where you live. As you wrote, it is fun to explore where God has planted you, wherever that may be. and one’s children greatly profit from the many different experiences, cultures, languages, food, etc.. Thanks for writing this and for following God’s leading to start Southern Hills Baptist Church. I am very thankful that God ‘moved us’ here. He truly knows best and we can ALWAYS trust Him.
Joshua TeisApril 8, 2014 at 1:37 pm
Thanks for your thoughts Barbara!
IanApril 8, 2014 at 9:52 am
Very enjoyable read.
My brother and sister-in-law actually also asked me about raising children in Las Vegas. Yes, there are a lot more in-your-face temptations here, but like you said, “Parents raise children..” as I told them too.
A long time ago when I was growing up in Southern California, I used to tell my friends from out of town where else can you go to the mountains and ski or go to the beach in summer, or go to amusement parks within an hour or two. Well now it’s not a hour or two anymore drive time. The traffic in Southern Californian was one reason I moved here over 10 years ago.
Joshua TeisApril 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm
Often those who are most concerned are family members who genuinely love their nephews, nieces, and grandchildren. The idea of Las Vegas can be alarming in such cases. It is important for those of us raising our children in this city to assure these dear family members of our love for God and our dedication to raising them in the faith.
ElizabethMay 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm
I have been so blessed by this post. My husband has orders to Nellis, and so we’ll be moving to Las Vegas in about a month. While it’s a good move for my husband’s career (and I prayed that if it was God’s will that he’d get the assignment), since finding out Las Vegas would be our next home I’ve been apprehensive about moving to “Sin City” and wondering what in the world God’s plan was for us to spend the next four years there with our little girls. While I’m still nervous (my only experience with Las Vegas is Hollywood portrayals and one few hour long layover at LAS) and probably will be until I can see with my own eyes that my husband’s right that once you get out into the suburbs away from the Strip it won’t be any different than anywhere else, you’ve given me hope that it won’t be quite as bad as everyone seems to think.