Lion Habitat Ranch just outside Las Vegas, NV is a family friendly, hidden gem you do not want to miss visiting!
Last fall, my family and I went to Las Vegas, NV. Having been there many times before, we wanted to try and do a few things we had never done before. So I started looking and found a place called Lion Habitat Ranch. After clicking through to the site and reading about it, we made plans to go.
What is Lion Habitat Ranch?
Lion Habitat Ranch is a sanctuary for lions, a few exotic birds, 2 emus, 2 ostriches, a couple turtles and Ozzie the giraffe. It has been around since 1989 but only opened up to the public in 2011. This is because the MGM Grand Hotel had a contract with the ranch up to that point. The location was to be kept secret so that people visiting the hotel would pay to see the lions and interact with them there. When the contract ended, the ranch opened up as a way to continue sharing about the lions with the public.
Today, you can visit the sanctuary and get up close and personal with the 25+ lions that live there. Whether you do the general admission experience or go for something more unique, like hand feeding the lions, you will leave with a sense of awe at these beautiful creatures.
What You Need to Know Before You Go
The Lion Habitat Ranch has limited hours and the days they are open will vary depending on the time of year. They close when it rains heavily. Be sure to check the website before you go to make sure they are open.
The cost of admission ranges from $18-25 per person, but there is also a family group rate that makes the experience more affordable. Ages 3 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased online or when you get there. You will also need to sign a waiver when you arrive.
*NOTE* The entire ranch is run by volunteers so the fees go towards taking care of the animals.
The entire experience is outdoors so dress accordingly. (When we went in November, it was a sunny day and we only needed light jackets.)
What to Expect When You Get There
The entrance to the ranch isn’t very obvious but there is a sign. The parking lot is dirt and big enough to fit 30-40 vehicles. To get into the ranch, you will go into the small ticket booth area which is where you will purchase the tickets (or show proof of purchase if you bought online) and sign the waiver.
When we first walked in, they had a couple of smaller enclosures with the tortoises, emus and ostriches. They also had a few animal statues that my kids had fun climbing on while I took pictures.
Walk a little further in and you’ll see the front half of a jeep positioned in front of a large plexiglass window with a platform behind it. This is the prime place to get a picture taken with one of the lions. One of the volunteers will feed the lion so that he stays up on the platform and will be in the pictures. They do this once an hour and you can always ask a volunteer when the next feeding will be so you can be there for it.
The sidewalks are paved but they are dusty because the lion enclosures are dirt and when the wind blows (as it does in Vegas), the dirt gets on the walkways. There is a railing that borders the walkway to separate you from the enclosures. At some of the enclosures, there will be volunteers who can answer pretty much any question you have about the ranch and the lions. They are all extremely friendly and willing to talk with us. The fact that they are volunteers means they really want to be there and truly care about the animals.
At the end of the left walkway, you will find Ozzie the giraffe. Because Las Vegas doesn’t have a zoo, this is the only place in Las Vegas where you will be able to see a giraffe. Ozzie does short demonstrations where she paints on canvas, t-shirts and other items that are then sold in the gift shop. You can feed Ozzie for $10.
As you wind around past Ozzie’s enclosure, you will see many more lions. Some sleeping, some pacing. If you’re lucky, one lion will start roaring which often causes the others to start up. It’s an amazing (and also a little unsettling) experience.
In all, you probably won’t spend more than an hour to an hour and half there.
Our Experience at Lion Habitat Ranch
My kids absolutely LOVED the whole experience. Seeing the lions up close as they interacted with the volunteers was so unique. I don’t know of many other places where you can have this type of experience at such an affordable price.
If you are looking for something different to do while in Las Vegas that is also family friendly, I highly recommend visiting the Lion Habitat Ranch.