A miniature train ride is available free of charge on Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The train runs from the ranch to the first parking lot on the left as you pull into the property.
Outside food and drinks are not permitted at Bonnie Springs Ranch, but food is available at the restaurant inside the attraction.
If you bring a stroller, be aware that dirt and/or gravel streets and walkways make it difficult to push them around.
Bundle up during the winter months -- it gets pretty chilly!
If you grew up watching cowboy movies or wondered what it would be like to be a part of the Old West, you'll want to visit Bonnie Springs Ranch.
Built in 1843, the ranch served as a stopping point (also known as a "tent town") for travelers heading to California. Pauite Indians occupied the surrounding area. In 1952, the ranch transformed into the tourist attraction it is today.
Located about 40 minutes southwest of the Las Vegas Strip, the 115-acre ranch is a hidden gem within the Spring Mountain Range. For those who have fond memories of school field trips, a day here brings those feelings back, but with a Western kick. At Bonnie Springs, get a taste of the Old West complete with cowboys, a gun fight and hanging reenactments, fascinating Nevada history and a huge petting zoo.
Visitors can catch a melodrama playing at Bonnie Springs year-round. Melodramas were a popular form of entertainment in the 1800s. Participate in a hiss-and-boo skit inside the saloon, then step outside and witness a staged gun fight. While the actors don't use real ammunition, you may want to cover your ears because it still gets loud. After this cowboy showdown, put your two cents in during a hanging. The criminal's fate is in your hands. Show times are Wednesday through Sunday at noon, 1:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, see a posse show at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
After the melodrama, the cowboys can take you on an informative wax museum tour. See wax figures modeled after historic figures, including President Abraham Lincoln, Jedediah Smith and Kit Carson, a famous gun fighter who spoke nine different Native American languages.
You can also visit an old jailhouse and take photos behind bars, practice your skills at a shooting gallery or explore the town's museum. Here you'll find an organ from 1880, old typewriters, boots and branding irons. The gift shop offers cowboy hats and apparel, toy pistols, stuffed animals and plenty of Western memorabilia for sale.
Make sure to stop and see the animals, located just outside the attraction.. See a variety of ducks and peacocks by the pond. The designated petting zoo area makes it fun to interact with animals -- many of them come right up to you. While there are some animals here you can't pet (like the lynx, ostrich and bull, for example), you'll have plenty of photo opportunities with goats and deer. They enjoy the attention, so make sure you show them a lot of love. With all the different animals walking around, it's almost like you've entered Noah's Ark. And these animals get along swimmingly, too. You might even see a rooster sitting on top of a goat's back. You can also feed the animals. Food is available in the center of the zoo.
Other animals include wallabies, guinea pigs, rabbits, cockatiels, kangaroo rats, burros and prairie dogs. Pony rides in the ranch are also available. For specific times and prices, call (702) 875-4191.
Fans of Syfy's "Ghost Hunters" might recognize Bonnie Springs. The popular reality TV series featured an episode on the ranch in 2010. The hunters detected paranormal activity inside the buildings including the opera house, saloon, schoolhouse and wax museum. The staff will tell you they've heard footsteps, doors slamming and odd noises. One even witnessed the merry-go-round spinning on its own. If you're all about scares and thrills, the attraction transforms to "Bonnie Screams" every October. The buildings convert to haunted houses and the live entertainment throughout the town makes this a "spook-tacular" treat.
If you have kids (or miss going on field trips), Bonnie Springs is fun for every age.
-- Review by Jeannie Borbe