Sunday, June 28, 2009

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat - Review

For an entertaining diversion that will keep you away from the casinos for awhile, taking a trip to see the animals at The Mirage is a great way to spend a couple of hours of a day - or even a full afternoon. Losing track of time is easy to do while you're a visitor at the habitat.

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is completely contained on The Mirage's Strip property. Nestled in a tranquil and quiet area just off the Strip, you will find yourself completely immersed in a world of land and sea mammals that seems a hundred miles away from anywhere. No outside traffic noises invade the habitat, and you can forget that you're only a couple hundred yards away from a bustling casino and pool area, too.

The cost of admission to the habitat is not overly expensive, and guests are welcome to come in and tour the dolphin pools and animal enclosures at their own pace. After paying the price of admission, guests follow a winding path past The Mirage pool area to the habitat entrance. Once inside, a brief introduction is given, along with some safety tips regarding the animals, and everyone is encouraged to meander about the areas at their own pace.

Guests are left on their own at the dolphin pools, and it's a great starting point for a tour of the habitat. At different times during the day, trainers are with the dolphins in the pools, and it is entertaining and relaxing to watch. While there is no "show", the trainers take the dolphins through several learned tricks at different times during the day. The times vary so that the dolphins don't find themselves "performing" for the public, and the result is an impromptu experience that's never the same. Occasionally, someone who has purchased a "trainer for a day" pass will also be in the water with the dolphins, and the trainers will assist them with 'teaching' the dolphins how to do certain tricks. There are benches and picnic tables all around the area, and I spent quite awhile just sitting and watching the unscheduled 'performance' before I moved on to see the rest of the animals.

Meandering through a virtual rain forest of vegetation, you come upon Siegfried & Roy's famous white tigers, llamas, Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, lions, and exotic birds, just to name some of the animals in the habitat. They are at turns lounging, eating, playing, cleaning themselves, or staring straight back at you. Because they are behind fencing that's only a few feet away, it's probably the closest most people will ever get to these incredible and magnificent creatures, and photo ops abound. As with the dolphins, you can take your time and even sit on a bench and relax while you watch the big cats and their friends at play (or just watch them sleep). It's an inviting area, and the tree cover offers a lot of shade during the majority of the day.

There is the inevitable souvenir shop near the exit of the habitat, but this one is slightly different; if a white tiger cub is available, photos of you with the white tiger are available for purchase for about $25 each. A very unusual souvenir for your trip if you are so inclined.

I visited the habitat in March, and the weather was beautiful and perfect: partly cloudy skies, and temperatures in the mid 80's. I spent over four hours there, going back and forth between the dolphins and the other mammals, watching them all and enjoying this oasis in Sin City. It was a truly enjoyable afternoon.

Rating on a scale of 1 to 10 for Vegas attractions, I give Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat a 9.5.

The habitat is open 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. on weekends.

Admission is $15 for adults, and $10 for children ages 4-10 (kids under 3 are free with an adult admission). Discount coupons can be found in various Las Vegas magazines (ones that are provided free in your hotel room and taxis), so check for coupons before you head to the habitat.
Group tours and birthday parties are available, as well.

Trainer for a day passes can be purchased separately at The Mirage and are available on a limited basis. More information is available here:


  1. I was looking into some daytime activities for when I am in Vegas next month and came across the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. Somewhat skeptical about a small zoo in the middle of this city (worried about noise, mess etc) I was happy to come across your article, it was very happy and I now look forward to visiting! Thank you!

  2. Look who's blog I found. The secret gardens and dolphin habitat are a little oasis in the middle of the desert. As you said it's a great way to escape the casino for a few hours.

  3. I was surprised at how clean, quiet, and serene it was when I visited, too. Very, very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to doing it again.

    VW, I'm so glad you 'found' me! Miss you...


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