How often do you see lions roaming around in Vegas?
Don't worry -- these furry felines are safe and sound at their 8.5-acre ranch, located about 12 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. On the weekends, you can watch these lions romp, play and rest. You might recall these lions at their former habitat inside MGM Grand. For 11 years, owner Keith Evans brought his big cats from the ranch to the hotel on a daily basis. They never spent the night at the hotel. Although the old location closed in January 2012, visitors can now enjoy them once again: See these stunning African lions play, groom and, of course, nap.
Evans, an exotic animal trainer with more than 40 years experience with lions, owns the ranch with his wife, Beverly. For his Henderson location, he built glass enclosures and safety barriers to house approximately 40 lions. Among the cats are seven cubs, born in two separate litters in November 2012.
As you walk around the area, you'll learn fun and fascinating facts. For instance, did you know that female lions do all the hunting, as well as share in the newborn's care? Or that African lions eat together like humans do? And while they can sleep up to 20 hours a day (lazy lions!), these wild kitties can run up to speeds of 40 miles per hour and jump as high as 13 feet. If you're curious about what the lions eat, they munch on protein-packed meals like horse meat and beef steaks. These are just a few of the tidbits you'll discover during your visit.
And if you find yourself wondering how these lions look so well-groomed all the time, they do get a little bit of help. To make sure the lions look their best, the trainers shampoo their fur with baby shampoo, followed by a blow-dry treatment.Talk about being the "mane" attraction! If you thought giving toddlers a bath is eventful, imagine giving a bath to lions weighing anywhere between 300 and 600 pounds.
If you are lucky, you'll see the trainers hand-feeding the lions or joining in on some playtime. And starting at $800, visitors can get three- or four-hour training sessions with the lions.
-- Review by Jeannie Garcia
(Photo courtesy of Lion Habitat Ranch)