Living so close to the Mohegan Sun casino, I have overheard comments and opinions from hundreds of people regarding it’s pros and cons. Several times, I have overheard people commenting on how outrageous it is that anyone would bring a child there, how it is inappropriate for children to be in a casino for any reason. Each time I hear this, I feel a small twinge of guilt, and take offense personally. My four-year-old loves the casino. As in, when we drive past it, as we do several times a week, he yells, “Casino, casino!” and asks when we can go again. Let me just specify that he does not wander around with his eyes half closed at midnight. I do see that all too often, and do not condone that in any way. But for an occasional night out, it’s something we do on a regular basis.
We originally began bringing him there to see the CT Sun WNBA games. This is an excellent opportunity for a night out, and can be affordable as well. The music and energy of the crowd , as well as Blaze, the big orange teddy bear mascot, entertained my son before he even paid attention to the basketball. Now, he cheers for the Sun in addition to dancing, looking for Blaze, and trying to catch a t-shirt during time-outs. With the giveaways and pre-game activities in the concourse, it’s a fun night out for a family with kids of any age.
As for dining, the Mohegan Sun offers many, many options, several of which are child-friendly. At the top of the list for my son is Johnny Rockets, a 50’s style burger joint, complete with 5 cent table-top jukeboxes, retro décor, and a menu of burgers, fries and milkshakes. Maybe not so health-conscious, but the food is good, the atmosphere is fun and casual, and the service is undeniable quick, which is a huge plus with hungry kids in tow. Right next door is Geno’s Fast Break, owned by the legendary UCONN coach Geno Auriemma. Genos has several food counters, ranging from Italian, to Mexican, Asian, and a deli. The food is pretty basic, and I’ve heard mixed reviews, but again, the service is reasonably quick, and there is something for almost anyone to choose from. A third option is one of the two buffets. These are more pricy options, in the $15-$20 per person range, but a buffet can be fun for older kids, and kids under 3 are free. Finally, the newest addition to the casino is Margaritaville, the Jimmy Buffet themed restaurant, which is a must see for any Parrothead, as well as lots of fun for anyone else. We’ve only eaten there once, since it just opened, and the food was mediocre. I’ve heard the burgers are quite good though, and the atmosphere is an ongoing Jimmy Buffet experience. It’s loud, but the kids loved the watch the hurricane, the larger-than-life margarita glass being filled, and the people on stilts who made them balloon hats and danced to some of Jimmy’s bigger hits. Even with the less-than-perfect food, it was a hit with us.
As much as I don’t hold video games in high regard, the arcade, Kids Quest, is usually a stop for us as well. My son is perfectly happy to get $5 on his card, and use most of it playing us in air hockey, or playing skee ball. He doesn’t care so much about the tickets he wins, and so we let them accumulate on his playing card. Last summer he had enough to get himself a boogie board. It can get very crowded, mostly with teens, on the weekend evenings, so it is more difficult to bring younger children here on these nights.
During the summer, the casino hosts a party every Wednesday night on the rooftop of the Riverview parking garage. These parties have live music, a car show, food, and a farmer’s market, ending with fireworks every time, and are targeted to families, though there are always many teens strolling around in groups as well.
A concern I have heard from many people is the cigarette smoke. Although smoking is allowed nearly everywhere in the casino, the air is circulated quite well, and I have never come home smelling like smoke. For the most part, if you stay out of the gaming area, and keep to the restaurants and shops, you hardly notice the smoke at all. As far as exposing children to the “gambling environment,” the same holds true. If you stay in the area of shops, restaurants, and the arcade, it almost feels more like being in a shopping mall than a casino. In general, evenings and weekends are obviously more crowded, as well as when there is a big show at the arena. However, there are family-friendly options at the Mohegan Sun, and it can be a fun, affordable night out for families with children of any ages. You can check out jasabola88 to know about the best kids places at Mohegan sun