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One More Week To See Seven Lion Cubs In The Best Show In Town

January 2, 2013 at 7:24 PM | by | ()

Time to scratch lion feeding off your bucket list. Or, playing with lion cubs. It's one of those only in Vegas, maybe once in a lifetime experiences. And, located just minutes from the Strip.

In one of the dumbest moves of 2012, MGM Grand closed the much loved, casino floor Lion Habitat to be replaced by, well.. so far, a whole lot of nothing. Rumors say a live music stage. It sounds dreadful to us. The free lion exhibit always drew a healthy crowd, but that wasn't enough for the property so habitat owner Keith Evans vacated the resort and has been working on turning his Lion Habitat Ranch into a visitors attraction.

Operating on weekends, his substantial ranch is home to about 40 lions. And, right now, seven, eight-week-old lion cubs.

The ranch is at the end of an easy to miss side road, just past M Resort on Saint Rose Parkway. Theoretically, you could walk from the resort, but it would be cheap enough to just grab a cab if you are staying at the M, or if you arrived at the resort via the shuttle bus that runs from the Fashion Show Mall. Don't let the off-Strip location deter you.

The ranch is quite large. All the cats have enough space to run. And, they will run at spectators. They seem much feistier than at MGM. For $20, you can tour the facility, watch the trainers and check out the lion cubs. Each adult female lion eats $22.20 of zoo diet every day so visitors are a necessity. The monthly budget for food tops out at $20,816.90. Your entrance fee isn't going to waste.

The cubs are currently the main attraction. And, for good reason. They are the best show in Vegas. But, BUT, they are only available to interact with visitors for one more weekend. They'll stop on January 6th. So, book quickly. The former photo sessions with the cubs at MGM were a quick snap-and-leave deal. These sessions enable you to spend some quality time with the cute critters.

The terms are simple. Up to two people, six minutes and $200. The lion cubs are chosen for their momentary friendliness and you'll get to play with them, interact and, if lucky, even feed them. If you have house cats, they fit you out with a zippered hazmat suit and booties. Germs are a natural concern.

The six mini males and one female play with their human mom when not in the spotlight. And, provide many ahhhhh moments. The visit is well worth it and something you'll not soon forget. You are looking at D.J. in our photos. We'll not forget him.

If you want to spend time with the big cats, the trainer for a day program will let you spend up to four hours with the adult lions including food preparation, feeding and help them take a bath. Plus, the cleaning of the cages. It's not all peaches and cream. Price for that really rare experience is $800.

Interested? Probably best to keep checking in with the Ranch's website as they expand and alter their available programs. The lions are healthy, happy and well taken care of. The cubs in these photographs were rejected by their parents so they are extra special to the staff. The circle of life.

This is a unique Vegas experience that we highly recommend.

The Lion Habitat Ranch is in Henderson, located at 382 E. Bruner Avenue in Henderson. Very close to the M Resort. Weekend hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Because you are dealing with live animals, it's best to check the website for updated details before you head out.

Archived Comments:

Still in Shock

I was one of those surprised when it was announced the Lion Habitat would be no more.  I'm probably biased, being the guy who always took visitors to see the MGM lions when I dragged people through what I considered to be the top draws of The Strip.  And, I don't think I was alone.  Often, when I went to visit the lions, there would be so many people around the exhibit it could be difficult to get a good view.
I still question the business decision involved in the shutdown as the lions were a great attraction - well worth the expenditures and allocation of floor space.

I hope the ranch is still open

What's the exact address so we can punch it in to our gps?

Awesome Experience!!

As a child, I played lion tamer and dreamed of someday spending time with a real lion. It was at the top of my bucket list & a few weeks ago--my dream actually came true!! In October of 2013, an article appeared in the Review Journal--The Lion Habitat, by the M Resort had been blessed with four lion cubs. The mama, Cheeto, had NO interest in her little ones, SO the cubs were being bottle fed by the owners & (for a fee!!) you could visit with them!! My wonderful children bought me a gift certificate as a Christmas gift & on January 3rd, I sat with four three month old lion cubs--there is absolutely NOTHING that can compare to the joy that's felt when you hold "the KING of the JUNGLE" on your lap. The experience was SO FANTASTIC that I actually returned to the ranch yesterday, January 20th, to spend a little more time with the cubs. I've lived in Vegas since 1994 but, I was NEVER aware of the Lion Habitat Ranch. It's definitely worth the time & short travel to visit the ranch. It's a fun & educational visit and all of the lions appear happy & healthy. I've experienced quite a few animal exhibits in my day but The Lion Habitat Ranch offers an awesome hour (or so!!) of fresh air & lion viewing in a clean & intimate environment. It's certainly a nice change from the casino, a fun place for the entire family, & the fact that the entrance fee goes to help with the lion upkeep makes the visit even more rewardable. Besides the cub interaction, the ranch offers "Feast with the Beast" & "Trainer for a Day" as well as a guided tour & individualized lion info from the very knowledgable staff. Actually, I hate to share this secret destination with anyone but, by spreading the word, people will visit and, ultimately, it will help the owners keep up their good work & care for the lions for many years to come.