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The Lion Habitat Ranch: A Sense of Pride

Updated on January 7, 2014

Lion Habitat Ranch

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Entrance
Entrance | Source

Cubs!

Have you ever held a baby lion?

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Benny!

Source

Lion Habitat Ranch in Henderson, Nevada

Do animals have emotions? Are they capable of love? An old question, really that is often argued by some. I believe the answer is yes to both and, as I witnessed at the Lion Habitat Ranch in Henderson, NV, it appears lions are no exception. It was obvious to see the mutual respect between the owner and his lions. Quite amazing.

As you may have seen on the Discovery Channel or read in National Geographic, lions are the only big cats that live amongst each other and travel in groups, called prides. Out of all the jungle cats, they are the second largest and considered to be the more sociable, while others are content exercising their independence. They are certainly beautiful to say the very least.

Typically you'd find lions roaming parts of Africa and Asia, so imagine my pleasant surprise when I found out that there were some living in Vegas and that we were practically neighbors, literally a ten minute ride. Don't worry, they are not wandering the streets here!

It was an ordinary day when I was returning home from running errands and took notice in a sign I had never previously seen in my seven years of living in Las Vegas. It simply said, "Lion Habitat Ranch" with an arrow pointing the way. This was something I would've remembered because it was around the corner from my house and well, I have a deep respect and fascination with these amazing cats.

Now, I know what you're thinking and I'll put your mind at ease. I've no plans to try and adopt a big cat. Although they are breathtaking and majestic in every sense of the word, I'll leave that to the professionals. I can safely say that Mr. Evans,the owner ranch, is a professional as he has been working with lions since 1970. As for myself, I don't have any previous experience with these beautiful creatures (nor do I think my dogs would approve). I'm more than happy just admiring the wonderful habitat that Keith and Bev have created.

Since I've seen the sign, I became intrigued and knew I had to see what it was all about. My mother was coming to town that week, so I quickly added it to our itinerary of "must sees." Needless to say, she was as impressed as I was.

Since then, I've been there twice. I suppose that must mean that I enjoy it there, visiting it twice in two weeks!

Simply Precious!

Source
Loving environment for these precious cats
Loving environment for these precious cats | Source

Genuine Happiness

When many people think of a habitat, they often mistake it for a zoo. This magical place differs greatly from a zoo. It's rare that you go to any type of recreational facility and find such friendly employees with a genuine smile on their faces that say "I love this job." Each employee spoke with enthusiasm as they shared information about the environment there and were also more than helpful in explaining the mannersims of these big cats.

While working with large animals such as these, I'm sure some days must be a challenge, but experience speaks volumes and for those who love these lions, all I can say is what a wonderful experience it must be!

It is apparent by the way that they handle the lion cubs, with such tenderness and calming conversation, that they truly love their animals and provide the best possible care. In addition, from videos posted on Facebook of Keith and Bev hand-feeding the adult lions and their cubs, it is evident how much patience they have with these animals, never once raising their voice or their hands to any of them.

The lions themselves appear completely relaxed and trusting, gently taking the food from their hands and following it up with a lick of the palm once the food is gone. While there is no denying that these are giant jungle cats, and that not just anyone could walk in there and feed them, you wouldn't know it by the way they respond to their human Mom and Dad. I would bet it's safe to say that Keith and Bev have long been accepted into their pride.

View Video of Lion Habitat Ranch Las Vegas Here!

Cubs!

"I'm gonna be big one day.  Wink, Wink." ~Benny the Cub
"I'm gonna be big one day. Wink, Wink." ~Benny the Cub | Source
So cute!
So cute! | Source

How Many Lions Live on the Premises?

There are over 35 big cats there including one tiger. Each has ample room to walk around and there is an air conditioned den box in each enclosure.

The Greeter

Another friendly face
Another friendly face | Source

So, What's It Like?

When I first heard of the ranch, I wasn't sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised when I pulled into the parking lot. The owners actually live on premises in their own house, while the lions have their own separate area. The enclosures, (and I use the term enclosures lightly as they are large areas) are clean and spacious. There are two gates surrounding the lions, but you can see them and take pictures just fine. Sometimes they'll even give you a big toothy smile (but you have to ask them nicely).

Employee Bottle Feeding a Lion

Lions are handled with care.
Lions are handled with care. | Source

Feeding Time

These Las Vegas lions do not have to hunt for their food as each waits its turn to get hand/bottle fed.

Each time I visited, it was in the morning and the lions came right up to the gate so that the handlers could bottle feed them. Their looks are deceiving as they take their bottle so gently, you'd swear they were harmless kittens!


Say Cheese!

Around the side is where you can take pictures of the cubs and for a fee you can get your picture taken with one of the them.

To bring my visit to an end, I simply had to take advantage of the opportunity and get my picture taken with Benny...and he is simply adorable. At the same time, I was fortunate to meet and talk with Keith Evans and his lovely wife Bev who took the picture and made sure Benny didn't play too rough.

If you want to interact with the cubs, you can do so for an additional fee.

Why is the Lion Habitat Ranch there?

If you've visited the MGM on the Las Vegas strip, you might've noticed the MGM lion habitat exhibit inside. These are the lions that "worked" there. What you might not have known was that the lions only worked in shifts at the MGM habitat, always sleeping every night at their own ranch. Since the lions no longer work at the MGM, Mr. Evans was able to open up his lion habitat to the public.

Taken straight from their brochure, they say, "Our goal is to still provide a learning experience for our guests and our community, creating a greater respect for lions while increasing awareness about natural habitat preservation needs." They continue on to say, "We want you to fall in love with our lions, people only save what they love."

If you plan on visiting Las Vegas in the near future, you can take a look at their website at www.lionhabitatranch.com or take a stroll to their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lion-Habitat-Ranch/271167609612510. Check out the specials they have, including lunch with the lions, private parties and trainer for a day.

I have a feeling I'll be visiting every once in a while just to admire. They are certainly majestic animals and the word regal is most fitting.

Thanks for reading!

~Elizabeth Parker

"Bringing awareness about dog adoption and rescue, one dog at a time!"

Author of Finally Home, Final Journey, Paw Prints in the Sand, Paw Prints in the Sand: Mission Accomplished, My Dog Does That!, Bark Out Loud, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil's Door and Faces of Deception. All books are available in Kindle and paperback format on Amazon.com.

Would You Visit?

How Likely Are You to Visit The Lion Habitat Ranch?

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Location: The Lion Habitat Ranch 382 Bruner Ave Henderson, NV

© 2013 Elizabeth Parker

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    • epbooks profile image
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      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Larry - So true! I remember reading a book about the scientific opinion on animals and I shook my head in disagreement the entire time. I truly believe animals have emotions. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 3 years ago from Oklahoma

      For the longest time the scientific community has tried to tell us that animals were incapable of dynamic emotions, but as things progress it seems to become more and more apparent that us animal lovers were right all along.

    • epbooks profile image
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      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      That is awesome!! So glad to hear it.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Got a definite thumbs up from 1/2 the LV crew.

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      tirelesstraverler - Thanks so much. It is truly a wonderful place with caring owners. It might be something your friends will enjoy. Happy Holidays and thank you for commenting!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Very interesting. We have friends in Las Vegas and will send this on to them.

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thank you Solaras!

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 3 years ago

      Loved it! Thumbs up and beautiful!

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thank you Eddy!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant what a great hub; voted up for sure.

      Eddy.

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thanks Rebecca. The Lion Habitat ranch and its lions are amazing.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Lions are fascinating animals. It is great to know about a place to go and see them up close and personal on this continent. Thanks!

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thanks Karl and welcome to hub pages! I wish you the very best of luck! And thank you for following and commenting!

    • Karl Bivens profile image

      Madmannart 3 years ago from Long Beach WA

      Great Hub, I just joined, wrote my first Hub, and have followed you!

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Hi Alison! I'm glad that you enjoyed this. I love going to this place and I think many others will too. Hope you are having a pleasant day!! :)

    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 3 years ago from UK

      Thanks for a fascinating article, I really enjoyed reading it. Of course, those of us who share our lives with animals know with absolute certainty that they have personalities, show different character traits, can be cheeky, will do things just for the fun of doing them and definitely show love and affection. Why should we be surprised that lions are the same - except I was which is what made your article such a great read. Thanks for sharing.

    • epbooks profile image
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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Schoolmom24 If you ever get the chance to visit Vegas again, I defintely recommend it! In fact, I think I'm going to stop by there again this week. Ironically, there's something so peaceful about watching them...probably because they do sleep a lot! Thanks for commenting!

    • Schoolmom24 profile image

      Schoolmom24 4 years ago from Oregon

      I would love to go there! A few years ago our family went on a business trip-vacation to Reno and while visiting a wild animal park near there we were told that the neighbors on the adjoining land kept lions. We were told we might catch a glimpse of them but we never did. Our local zoo has a pride of lions...so majestic to see perched on their big rocks. But I would love to go this ranch and be able to get up and personal with a cub! Great hub!

    • epbooks profile image
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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thank you so much, DDE. The Lion Habitat Ranch posts video of the owners with the cubs and their mom every night. It's beautiful. Have a wonderful day!

      Liz

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Beautiful photos and i have never held a cub sounds a challenging effort to me. You have created such a useful hub and well approached

    • epbooks profile image
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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I'd love to volunteer as well. The sanctuary posts some great pics too, as does the lion habitat. It's what I should've went to school for instead of tech support!!

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      I've heard of it but have never been there. Volunteering is something I'd be interested in doing. I keep looking for places.

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Sheila- There's an animal wildlife sanctuary in the Adirondacks. (Called Adirondack Wildlife sanctuary). I've never been but I see all of their posts on facebook. I wonder if they'd let you work or volunteer there for a week or so (just to see if you like it). I know it's far from you though, right? I'd love to go . Maybe one of my next vacations!

    • epbooks profile image
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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Ya never know, maybe one day the Lion Habitat Ranch will be hiring! You'd have to move to Vegas though! :)

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      I still haven't found that kind of job, but if it ever comes along I'll be there.

    • epbooks profile image
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      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Sheila- you are too funny. I wish I went to school for that. That would've been right up my alley!

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      Joy: You and I have something in common. When I told my dad I was to college for environmental science he asked what I'd use the degree for. I told I wanted to study animals in the wild. He went through the list of the cute and cuddly - deer, rabbits, etc. I told him no and I wanted to study wolves, bears, or mountain lions. He said "Something that can kill and eat you." My response was "Sure. Those are the cool animals."

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Joy- Thank you so much. I love that you wear that bracelet every day. I love all animals and it is such a passion of mine that I'm always glad to meet another animal lover!

      Thanks for commenting. It is wonderful to hear from you!

      ~Liz

    • JoyLevine profile image

      JoyLevine 4 years ago

      What an incredible article.. and one right up my alley. I wear a bracelet every day that says, "Wildlife Warrior." I remember hearing all kinds of stories from someone who used to work at a Big Cat Rescue center in Indiana.

      Animals, nature and science.. that is where my passion is. But especially so with animals and I tend to gravitate towards the ones that most run from, lol. I used to work at a Science Center and I've always said, if I could change at least one person's mind about one animal, then that has the potential to change an entire generation somewhere down the line.

      Thank you for a beautiful article.

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      sgbrown- It is a wonderful lion habitat. I think you'll enjoy it if you do come visit again! Thanks for your comment, pin and sharing!! Much appreciated. Have a great day!

      Liz

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      I have been to Vegas several times in the past and I am so sorry that I did not know of this place as I would definitely paid the lions a visit. I love lions and would have spent all day there, I am sure. I hope to go back to Vegas again and will definitely put this place on my "to visit" list. Wonderful hub! Voted up, interesting, pinning, FB and sharing! :)

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Craftytothecore- I think you would love it there. If you get a chance, look at their facebook page. They post awesome videos almost every night of Keith (the owner) and Bev feeding one of the lions (Pebbels) and her cubs. It is nothing short of amazing! Thanks for your comment!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Wow! This article was very enlightening. I would love to visit this sanctuary. I've only ever seen "bad" reports about these larger than life animals on those animal hoarding shows. This brought a positive message.

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      SavannahEve- Thank you! It is so nice to see the lions well-taken care of and loved. It's a great environment. Thanks for voting also. Have a great week!

      ~Liz

    • SavannahEve profile image

      SavannahEve 4 years ago from California

      Interesting and enlightening hub! Thank you! I am so glad the retired lions have a place to go. So often the show stopping creatures are "retired" altogether differently. Happy for these cats and that they are loved and cared for, thank you! Voted up.

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      It's definitely a must see. I do love it there! And thank you so much for the compliment-that is such a kind thing to say. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a great week!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I would for sure go there if I were going to Vegas. I love cats, so lions are just bigger ones to me. You write so well. Such an asset to HubPages!

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Hi Rose- from what I understand the ranch has been there this whole time, but hasn't been open to the public until now. If you ever come visit again, be sure to stop by! Have an awesome day!

      ~Liz

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Peg- oh, that's wonderful that you got to see the ranch! I love those videos too and look forward to seeing them. It's the next best thing to being there! Enjoy your weekend!

      ~Liz

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Sheila, if you ever come to Vegas, that would be awesome. I think you'll be very impressed by the ranch. The lions are just a little bigger than your adorable kitties! :) Have a great day!

      ~Liz

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Flourishanyway-thanks so much. I think they'll enjoy it!

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Bravewarrior-I was the same way when I was younger- always running to the fairs that had baby lions. Thanks for your comment and have a great day!

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Thanks so much, Bill. This place stole my heart as it is clear how much they love their animals as well. Thanks for stopping by, as always! Have a fantastic day!

      ~Liz

    • epbooks profile image
      Author

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Joe- Thank you so much. Indeed, if you ever do come to Vegas, you won't want to miss this. Hope you have a wonderful day as well and productive week!!

      ~Liz

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Great article! I have been to Las Vegas about 14 times and I did not know there was a Lion Habitat Ranch. I have seen the ones at The MGM Grand several times but now I wish I knew about the Ranch. Excellent information and great images! Thank you for sharing. (Voted Up)

      -Rose

    • profile image

      Peg Lorenzon 4 years ago

      Got to visit the Ranch in May.....awesome experience! I will visit again next year. Love the lions....and thanks to Keith, Bev and staff for the love they have for the lions and for sharing their love via Ranch visits and their facebook videos!

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 4 years ago

      That is definitely one place I'll have to go if I ever make it back out to Vegas. It's so cool that the Evan's have taken the lions in and given them a home. I've heard a lot of horror stories about what can happen to old animal performers and glad to know there are people who care enough to do it right.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      This was delightful and I love the photos. I have friends who take an annual trip to Vegas and will share this with them.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      What an awesome experience for you, Liz! When I was a little girl, I wanted a male lion as a pet. Of course, that's not advisable, but I've loved big cats for as long as I can remember. That's probably why I prefer cats to dogs to this day.

      Thanx for sharing your experience. If I didn't live so far away, I'd go there in a heartbeat!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent, Liz! You really are a very good writer. Your voice is such that a reader enjoys following along, like listening to an old friend. I would go there simply because of your recommendation based on this article. Well done my friend. It's nice to read the works of a writer who knows her craft.

      bill

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      This is an absolutely delightful hub, Liz, presented in a wonderful reader-friendly fashion with great complementary photos. The one with the guy sitting in a semi-globular seat with the young lion in his lap was precious, and--of course--the one of Benny and you was especially adorable!

      And to think that this habitat had been only ten minutes away from you all this time!

      Thank you for sharing, Liz, and if I'm ever in Las Vegas, I'll be sure to put this special site on my itinerary.

      Aloha, and have a terrific Sunday, my friend!

      ~Joe