I’m an animal lover at heart. Sometimes, I think I even like animals better than humans. So I’m a sucker for animal attractions in Las Vegas–the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, the Flamingo habitat at the Flamingo, the Lion Habitat at MGM Grand, and Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage. The surprising thing for me is that although I have visited the dolphin habitat three times now, I only just visited the Secret Garden for the first time in September. What was stopping me before?
Well, I used to be able to see the white tigers in that smaller habitat just off the people-mover entry to the Mirage. Why pay for the Secret Garden, I figured, when I could see them for free? Well, the Mirage caught on to that, obviously, because they got rid of the free habitat–it’s a burger joint now–and now you do have to pay to see their animals.
But I felt like practicing my photography on the big kitties and happy little dolphins during this last trip, so I ponied up the admission fee of $19.95 (for the love of God, Mirage, why not just make it $20 even?) and spent about an hour and a half wandering around. This attraction may not be everyone’s shot of whiskey in Vegas, but I found it a great escape from the traditional Strip scene. I can’t even complain too much about paying an admission fee, because it does go to a good cause. The main purposes of both habitats is conservation, research, and education. You can learn about their efforts in these areas while visiting.
The dolphin habitat allows for above water and below water viewing thanks to an underwater observation area. You can also see the trainers interact with the dolphins. One was particularly talented at breakdancing (the dolphin, not the trainer), as you can see from the photo below.
This time out, I was lucky enough to see a recent addition to the dolphin family, baby K2, who was swimming beside what I can only assume was his mother, Dutchess. They were incredibly adorable together.
Hard as it was to drag my eyes off the dolphins–they really are amazing creatures–I did want to see what I had come here for, the white tigers. There were actually more felines in the habitat than just white tigers, though. There were lions and leopards and even a black panther. It’s funny how even though they’re wild animals who could rip a human to shreds in seconds, they still have the same mannerisms as the domesticated felines. I know, I lived with one for almost 18 years.
For instance, even the big kitties like scratching posts:
And sitting in the sunshine:
And playing a little too rough:
And of course, sleeping 23 hours a day:
If you’re an animal lover or just looking for a break from the gambling, shopping and drinking, this is a worthwhile attraction for people of any age. The Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat can be accessed at the back of the Mirage’s property, by the pool area. It includes the two habitats, plus a gift shop, and a snack stand.