The name ‘Las Vegas’ brings to mind casinos, gambling, neon lights, parties, and nightlife. Pop culture and movie references are to blame here. Las Vegas is an exciting city that oozes energy. However, its loud energy is bound to be overwhelming at times.
That’s when you know it’s time to escape to nature, that is, checking out zoos in Las Vegas
1. Why Visit Aquariums, Zoos, and National Parks?
Connecting with animals brings emotional well-being. Watching them in their natural habitat brings joy and comfort.
In vibrant cities like Las Vegas, zoos let you experience nature up close. Further, these encounters remind us of our connection to nature and fill us with wonder.
Despite debates, zoos play a crucial role in wildlife conservation and education. Additionally, they protect endangered species, ensuring proper care and hygienic conditions.
Zoos also study animal behavior for better protection in the wild.
Now, let’s explore the educational programs Las Vegas zoos offer. They teach about wildlife conservation and foster appreciation for the natural world. Below are the top zoos and animal sanctuaries in Las Vegas.
2. Best Aquariums and Zoos in Las Vegas
2.1. Shark Reef Aquarium (Mandalay Bay Resort)
Address: 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, United States
The Shark Reef Aquarium is accredited by the AZA in the state of Nevada. It is the first of its kind. We can be sure of ethics and guidelines being followed. Shark Reef is located in Mandalay Bay Resorts and, you guessed it, Casinos.
The aquarium houses over 2,000 animals, including sharks, rays, and fish. You can observe them in their natural-looking habitats.
Shark Reef offers a thrilling tunnel where you walk through the ocean with sharks and other marine life swimming around you. Moreover, the interactive touch pool allows you to feel some of the sea animals, like starfish and rays.
People also often spot divers on their routine checks. Visitors can interact with the marine creatures in the saltwater touch pools. These pools host rays and other reef life.
Among the most remarkable exhibits at Mandalay Bay Resort is the 4.9 million-liter shipwreck. The exhibit includes a tunnel that provides an unparalleled underwater view.
This allows visitors to observe marine creatures up close. It is home to rare and vulnerable species of animals, including golden crocodiles, green sea turtles, and black piranhas. The Green Sawfish is another critically endangered species under the care of the aquarium.
Another exciting feature of the Shark Reef is the eight-foot-long Komodo dragon. These dragons have a population of only around 3000-4000 in the whole world. These dragons belong to the Indonesian Islands.
The group includes the Rintja, Padar, and Flores, as well as the island of Komodo. Surprisingly, since the 70s, not a single one has been seen on the island of Padar.
2.1.1 A Unique VR Experience
Further, there is another option for those who want to experience the marine world without getting wet. The Shark Reef offers a 5-minute virtual reality educational experience. Visitors can swim with whales and sharks, all within the comfort of their 360-degree motion chairs.
You can use handheld controllers to point at things, like the fish or coral, and learn interesting facts about them.
The Undersea Explorer VR Experience is suitable for people of all ages.
2.1.2 Location and Accessibility
The pricing for the Reef starts at $29 for adults if booked in the timed window and $36 otherwise. The Shark Reef aquarium is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.
Conveniently, it takes about 12 minutes to reach via I-15 S from Las Vegas city center.
2.2 Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary (Grand Teton Dr.)
Address: 8103 Racel St, Las Vegas, NV 89131, United States
The Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary in southern Nevada provides a haven for animals rescued from various situations. Established in 1979, the sanctuary identifies itself more as an Animal Protection Organization than a zoo. It houses over 150 rescued residents, including parrots, reptiles, exotic birds, pigs, donkeys, and many more.
The Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary spreads across 500 acres of land. Further, it promises to offer the utmost love and attention to its animals, with health and safety as top priorities.
The animals at Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary are popular on social media. For example, George the Pig, Gronk the Tortoise, and many other residents have become social media stars.
2.2.1 Educational Programs
At Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary, visitors have plenty of entertainment options. The most popular is the Guided Group Tour, where you can learn about the sanctuary’s history and mission.
You can also enjoy other animal and activity-specific tours.
Each tour varies in price and lasts 1 to 2 hours. Secondly, the sanctuary also hosts various events. These include fundraisers, gift shop events, adoption days, and even animal birthday parties.
These events let visitors share their passion for protecting animals. It’s a great place for enthusiastic people to support a good cause.
2.2.2 Location and Accessibility
The prices start at just $1 for children ages 3 and above and $5 for adults. The opening hours are described as 9 am to 2:30 pm, Wednesday to Sunday. Furthermore, the sanctuary also offers parking at its very own facility at 8103 Racel St, Las Vegas, NV 89131.
Additionally, the facility is easily accessible from Grand Teton Dr. at 4.8 miles via the W Grand Teton Dr.
2.3. Flamingo Wildlife Habitat (Las Vegas Blvd)
Address: 3555 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, United States
Nestled within the vibrant and bustling city of Las Vegas lies a hidden gem that leaves all its visitors in awe – the Flamingo Wildlife Habitat.
Located within the grounds of the Flamingo Hotel, this attraction promises to provide a home for a diverse range of wildlife. Right from Chilean Flamingos to Brown Pelicans and some of their local songbirds. Besides, admission to this oasis is entirely free of charge!
Chilean Flamingos rule the grounds, and visitors can spot multiple species of exotic waterfowl, Brown Pelicans, and some of their local songbirds. The place can be best described as a bewitching oasis of waterfalls and greenery.
The flamingos, known to be quite evasive, often hide out along the maze of walkways. However, their distinctive pink hue makes them quite easy to spot.
Furthermore, the habitat also proudly houses the strikingly beautiful hooded merganser.
Additionally, another major attraction is the yellow catfish which is known for its longevity.
2.3.1 Location and Accessibility
The visiting hours are listed as 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The facility offers a four-acre garden with meandering streams, waterfalls, turtles, and fish. The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat is located at 3555 Las Vegas Blvd Las Vegas NV 89109 (Southern Nevada)
2.4. SeaQuest Las Vegas (Maryland Pkwy)
Address: 3528 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89169, United States
Located inside the Boulevard Mall, SeaQuest is an exciting educational center that houses over 1200 animals, with 300 different species.
Additionally, visitors at SeaQuest can explore different themed exhibits. Each theme here represents a particular habitat.
The Egyptian Desert, Amazon Rainforest, Mayan Jungle, Caribbean Cove, and many more exotic creatures. People are allowed to touch and feed the animals at this great petting zoo here in Las Vegas.
Sea Quest Las Vegas offers to get into tropical waters to snorkel with stingrays, sharks, and tropical fish! This is a fantastic experience that viewers will never forget. In addition, the waters are approximately 70 to 76 degrees. However, wetsuits and snorkeling gear are provided. The staff are helpful and tell you cool facts about the animals.
2.4.1 Educational Programs
SeaQuest is unique in training animals for their healthcare. Visitors can learn about the animal crew’s work and even work alongside them if they’re lucky. Moreover, lucky visitors can spend a few minutes learning about the different aspects of zookeeping.
This includes checking on the animals, designing their diet plans, and learning the ins and outs of cleaning the animals’ exhibits.
Another exciting feature of Sea Quest Las Vegas is the option of feeding tokens. Conveniently, these allow visitors to serve dessert to the animals. You can feed stingrays, play with otters, and see small sharks. This is an excellent way for visitors to learn more about the animals’ dietary behaviors. SeaQuest also offers various educational programs and presentations.
These help provide opportunities for visitors to learn more about these beautiful animals.
Further, the fish spa also promises a hygienic arrangement of fishy kisses.
2.4.2 Location and Accessibility
SeaQuest is open from 11 am to 7 pm. It is located on the 1st Floor of Boulevard Mall at 3528 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89169. Conveniently, it is just opposite the 24-hour laundromat.
2.5. Springs Preserve (Valley View Blvd)
Address: 333 S Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89107, United States
Springs Preserve is just a quick drive (4.8 miles or 7.7 km) away from the strip. The Preserve offers a welcome change from the usual glitz that is Vegas.
Springs Preserve is often called the ‘Birthplace of Las Vegas’. The Preserve spreads across a massive 180-acre land! Additionally, it includes aquariums, zoos, galleries, a botanical garden, and a dolphin habitat.
Springs Preserve also has historical exhibits that teach about the past of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas. Further, you can learn about the Native Americans and early settlers.
One of the highlights is the indoor exhibit called “Boomtown.” The experience is described as stepping back in time to see the vintage Vegas.
Families love visiting Springs Preserve because it’s family-friendly and offers many activities for kids.
The preserve hosts various events and activities throughout the year. From seasonal festivals to workshops, there’s always something exciting happening.
The staff at Springs Preserve are known to be friendly and helpful.
By visiting Springs Preserve, you support their efforts to protect and conserve the natural and cultural heritage of Las Vegas.
2.5.1 Educational Programs
The Preserve offers an educational program called ‘The Teaching Garden’. Further, this serves as an active, outdoor learning laboratory. Moreover, it is designed for students and educators.
Second, there are programs for those who wish to learn how to garden. These programs consist of using natural elements, classes, and workshops. In addition, these sessions help guide individuals to plan, plant, and maintain a healthy garden. Naturally, it also instills an appreciation for gardening.
2.5.2 Location and Accessibility
The Preserve is located at 333 S Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89107, and is just a short bus ride (4.8 miles or 7.7 km) from the Denny’s Las Vegas Blvd.
2.6. Silverton Aquarium (The Silverton Hotel)
Address: 3333 Blue Diamond Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89139, United States
The Silverton Aquarium, situated inside the Silverton Casino, takes visitors on an exciting journey with a large tank brimming with tropical fish. Interestingly, what sets this aquarium apart from others is the captivating mermaid show. Project Mermaids presents the show. The project is devoted to creating awareness for the ‘Save Our Beach’ Foundation.
Furthermore, the women who portray the mermaids come from diverse backgrounds. These include synchronized swimmers and ballet dancers. With their skills, they beautifully embody the grace and fluidity of these mythical creatures.
The show is fun and educational. The people talking during the show tell interesting facts about the fish in the tank, making it interesting to learn while having fun.
The Mermaid Show happens many times a day, so everyone gets a chance to see it. Each show is about 15 to 20 minutes long and is full of exciting things to see.
Around the aquarium, there are nice shops and places to eat. Families can spend a whole day there, having fun and exploring.
In addition, the aquarium’s mermaid lounge offers a VIP experience. It is enhanced by beautifully lit LED lights that surround the 500-gallon tank aquariums. This adds to the magical ambiance, providing an immersive visit for all guests.
2.6.1 Location and Accessibility
The Silverton Aquarium is located in The Silverton Hotel. Conveniently, it is just opposite the TA Truck parking lot. Naturally, a car or public transportation allows easy access to the casino. In addition, there’s ample parking available at their parking lot.
2.7. Lion Habitat Ranch Inc.
Address: 382 Bruner Ave, Henderson, NV 89044, United States
Lion Habitat Ranch Inc. in Las Vegas is an amazing place where you can see and interact with real lions. It’s an exciting experience for visitors of all ages.
At the ranch, you can watch the lions up close. Also, they have spacious habitats where the lions can roam freely.
Visitors can take guided tours to learn interesting facts about the lions and their behavior. The knowledgeable staff makes the experience educational and fun. Further, the tours are well moderated keeping the safety of visitors.
A highlight of the Lion Habitat Ranch is the chance to feed the lions. It’s a thrilling opportunity to get even closer to these incredible animals.
The ranch is involved in conservation efforts to protect lions and their habitats in the wild. By visiting, you are supporting these important initiatives.
Further, Lion Habitat Ranch Inc. also offers other unique and memorable experiences. These include wedding packages and private events with the Lions. That is, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for special occasions.
People love the ranch because it gives them a chance to see lions in a respectful and caring setting. It’s an unforgettable encounter with these magnificent creatures.
The ranch is family-friendly and promotes a positive message about wildlife conservation.
2.7.1 Location and Accessibility
The Lion Habitat Ranch is located at 3799 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, Southern Nevada. The pricing for this enchanting world starts at 25$ for people out of Nevada state and 20$ for locals.
2.8. McKee Ranch Foundation – Zoo in Las Vegas with Farm Animals
Address: 8982 Dean Martin Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89139, United States
The McKee Ranch is a Las Vegas zoo that features exhibits mostly farm animals. In addition, it is a family ranch that encourages you to bring your animal friends too.
They have cute animals like goats, chickens, and horses. Further, visitors get to pet and feed them. The ranch also teaches kids and adults about nature and farming. Many events and activities are held here. Families enjoy the pumpkin patch and holiday celebrations.
The McKee Ranch Foundation in Las Vegas is a fantastic place. Also, it brings happiness to the community. If you want to have a good time and learn something new, this is the perfect spot to visit.
2.8.1 Location and Accessibility
The ranch is located at 8982 Dean Martin Dr, Las Vegas, Nevada 89139. Moreover, it sits at 15 mins from the freeway. It is open all week. Conveniently, the pricing starts at just 20$ per family.
2.9. Siegfried Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat (now permanently closed)
The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat of Siegfried Roy was at the Mirage Hotel. Interestingly, it had the only bottlenose dolphins in all of Las Vegas. Other animals included were white lions and white tigers. White lions are a vulnerable species, and white tigers don’t exist in the wild at all.
However, the habitat recently closed permanently. All the animals were moved to the San Diego Zoo.
These are some of the best zoos you can visit with your animal friends in Las Vegas.
In conclusion, Las Vegas is exciting, but there’s more to see beyond the lights. There’s another side of the city that loves nature and animals. Zoos here have animals from all over the world. Secondly, they work hard to protect endangered species and teach about nature.
So, the next time you visit Las Vegas, don’t forget to explore this wild side. Further, this will help us discover the wonders of nature beyond the bright lights.