Calling all animal lovers: Did you know that Las Vegas is home to a host of exciting ways to meet a variety of critters? From sloths to dolphins and even camels, the Las Vegas area boasts a diverse group of animals and opportunities to get up-close-and-personal with them. As an added bonus, several of these options are free of charge. Read on for our complete guide to animal encounters in Las Vegas, including cost, location and what to expect if you go.
The Lion Habitat
Located near the M Casino in Henderson, the Lion Habitat ranch is home to 35 Barbary lions, ostriches, parrots and Ozzy, the only giraffe in the state of Nevada. Visitors can enjoy seeing the lions interact with trainers or even feed the animals as part of an experience package.
Cost: $25 adult, 1 child under 14 free with an adult ticket
Location: Henderson, NV
Las Vegas Sloth Experience
Would you like to hang with a sloth? Get up close and personal with Winchester, a two-toed sloth at Friends of the Wild in Downtown Las Vegas. You can enjoy the experience of feeding him, petting him and, of course, taking lots of photos while you learn fun facts about sloths from a handler during your visit.
Cost: $295 for about 45 minutes – depending on Winchester's mood, you will be able to snuggle, feed and take pictures with him. The fee is for small groups of up to 4 people.
Location: Private encounters are hosted in the Downtown Las Vegas Arts District.
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
Since 1990, Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat has been allowing visitors to come face-to-face with some of nature’s most majestic creatures. Guests to the Secret Garden can explore, learn and play in the world of Bottlenose Dolphins, White Tigers, White Lions and Leopards.
Take your experience to the next level with exclusive adventures that can’t be found anywhere else in Las Vegas. Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat offers behind-the-scenes tours and up-close encounters, including Trainer for a Day, Painting with the Dolphins and Yoga with the Dolphins.
Cost: An All-Day Adventure Pass is $25 adults and $17 for children ages 4-12. Children ages 3 and younger are free with an adult.
Location: This attraction is located at the Mirage, close to the pool entrance.
The Shark Reef
Journey through a slowly sinking temple overcome with by some of the most dangerous predators on earth: sharks! The Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay is an aquatic experience like no other. The aquarium is home to 100 sharks as well as exotic fish, reptiles and sea turtles. More than 2,000 animals live in the 1.6 million gallons of water. Get a diver’s view of life when you walk through the tunnel exhibits.
Cost: Adults $25. Children ages 4-12 $19. Children 3 and under are Free.
Location: The Shark Reef is located at the Mandalay Bay near the convention center.
Ride a camel in the desert, hang out with a sloth or visit with armadillos at the Camel Safari. Camel Safari is a 176-acre farm is situated between the picturesque Virgin River and the vast mesas of the Great Basin, sporting spectacular views of the Virgin Mountains. This unique Las Vegas attraction is home to more than 50 animals that you can meet.
There are many animal encounter options, depending on what you’re up for, including an actual Camel Safari. You can also skip the trek and just meet with camels, experience life as a zookeeper or even enjoy a cookout.
Cost: Experiences begin at $40
Location: Located in Mesquite, about 75 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.
MoNA Nature Sanctuary
MoNA stands for the Ministry of Natural Alignment, and when you visit you will learn from what is considered the best teacher: nature. MoNA welcomes all nature lovers to its private sanctuary in Las Vegas.
Enjoy an hour-long tour across 2 acres of natural terrain, where you will meet with free-range pet chickens, ducks, geese, goats, turtles, frogs, fish and more. During the tour, you will learn about naturalist philosophies, as well as how to work with nature.
Light snacks, such as garden-grown fruits and veggies, homemade teas, soups and baked goods will be provided. Wear closed-toed, durable shoes to allow you to walk the terrain. Expect to spend about two hours at the sanctuary.
Cost: $25 per person
Location: South Las Vegas
The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat
Home to a flock of Chilean flamingos, the Flamingo Wildlife habitat is a 15-acre lush paradise. Ring Teal ducks, Sacred Ibis, swans, ducks, koi fish and turtles all make the habitat their home, in addition to two brown pelicans who arrived from a rescue in 2012. The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is open daily from dawn to dusk, with pelican feedings twice a day at 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Location: The Flamingo
The Aquarium at the Silverton Casino
Named the “Best Free Attraction in Las Vegas,” the aquarium at the Silverton Hotel contains more than 117,000 gallons of water and is home to thousands of tropical fish. In addition to the fish, you might just catch a mermaid swimming around, if you plan it right.
Pro Tip: Walk next door to see the 18,000 galloon freshwater aquarium at Bass Pro Shops.
Thursday: 12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., 5 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Friday: 12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., 5 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m. – 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., 5 p.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 1:10 p.m., 2 p.m. – 3:15 p.m., 5 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
*Note: 15 minute intermissions between individual swims.
Interactive feeding shows:
Daily: 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Big Horn Sheep in Boulder City
If you’re headed to the Hoover Dam or Lake Mead, or just looking for a drive and a nice view, head to Hemenway Valley Park. The park is a popular gathering place for local Desert Big Horn Sheep.
In addition to a chance to see Desert Big Horn Sheep up close and person, the park also offers a playground, basketball area, horseshoe pit, plenty of grassy fields and a spectacular view of Lake Mead. Dogs are not permitted at the park.