The Lion Habitat Ranch: Pride of Las Vegas
Let Me Count the Reasons...
If you live in Las Vegas, Nevada, I definitely suggest taking a ride out to the Lion Habitat Ranch in Henderson, Nevada, on one of your days off or if you are looking for a little stay-cation. An amazing lion and wildlife sanctuary located in the backyard of Las Vegas. It is an uplifting experience like no other. For those who might be visiting from out of town, this is one thing to put on your "Things To Do in Las Vegas" list. It's a once in a lifetime adventure!
Not that I ever need vindication to take a look at these beautiful lions, but this time when I returned, there were a few reasons that I decided to go back. For one, recently a local Las Vegas zoo had to shut its doors, leaving some of the animals literally without homes if no one would take them. I don't know many people that would be able to take in an exotic animal, and a lion at that. There was one place, however, that stepped up to the plate.
The wonderful owners of the ranch not only care for their own lions, but they were kind enough to take in the lion from the Las Vegas zoo, as well as two ostriches and a number of birds. It is the amazing generosity of these wonderful owners that will help these animals thrive and get the attention and nutrition that they require. I wanted to meet the new additions.
That was one reason.
The second reason was that after watching the YouTube videos from the ranch that are posted frequently, showing the owners hand-feeding their lion named Pebbels along with her cubs, I wanted to see up close how big the lion cubs were getting.
The third reason, and perhaps this was the one that made me rush on over there, was that the stork had made a delivery on October 11, 2013! And yes, lions have a lion stork as well. Four lion cubs were born and I simply had to go welcome them. Dare I say, with all of the excitement, I forgot to bring a gift! Four new cubs- very exciting!
It's not everyday that one gets to experience the life of lions, especially ones that are only a day old!
Visit Lion Habitat Ranch on Facebook
Some New Additions
Meeting the New Family Members
I was thrilled to return and as usual, I was happy to be greeted by Bora and Tattoo, two of the adult Las Vegas lions who sometimes greet me with a little growl or two. This time they weren't as impressed by my continuing return, merely opening their eyes just a bit before completely ignoring me. They didn't mind when I took some pictures of them nodding off in the sunshine either, so I took no offense in their aloofness. The magnificence of these animals, however, still amaze me, no matter how many times I return.
Across from them were the two new ostriches, looking over with curiosity, but mostly keeping to themselves without whispering a peep. It seems that they are truly enjoying their stay in their new home.
Further down were two cockatoos preening their feathers and a few other neighboring birds, enjoying the cleanliness of their spacious cages, and the view of the lions across the way. Neither appeared to care about the others' presence.
I made my usual rounds and marveled at how big each of the lions had grown since my last monthly visit and ultimately saved the best for last.
And while you are there, don't forget to visit Ozzie, the painting giraffe!! Yes, he's an artist!
See the video for Lion Habitat Ranch here!
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Precious Gifts - Lion Cubs
Finally, it was my turn to see the lion cubs. Before they had come to the room, I had a few moments admiring Benny in his enclosure, who I had taken my picture with a few months earlier. He had certainly grown to be quite a handsome fellow and was seemingly thrilled to pose for the camera. It is clear to see that Benny is a definite ham and revels in the attention. If you could label a lion as goofy, Benny sure does take the cake!
Soon after, the lion cubs were brought in by Keith and Bev—the owners — along with some heated blankets for the lion cubs to crawl upon. Keith and Bev were very accommodating, both in answering all of my questions and allowing me to take photographs as they bottle fed the lion cubs by hand.
Crawling in front of me, their eyes hardly open, were four of the most adorable looking lion cubs one could ever imagine. What a refreshing way to start the day and what an amazing opportunity to witness lion cubs less than a day old two feet in front of me. It is an experience I had only dreamed about in the past and is now only a few miles from my home. It's also an experience that I will never forget.
As they were newborns, they couldn't stay out and visit long, so soon after they were taken away.
Have you Ever Seen a Lion Cub up Close?
The Adult Lions
Each time I visit the ranch, I walk away with a different euphoric feeling and gain a new perspective. When you find a place that captivates you, it makes you want to return every so often and that is what this place has to offer. It's nice to see that every lion's cage has their name tags on them and many come right up to the edge so that you can take their photograph.
In addition, it's refreshing to meet people like the owners who genuinely care for the well being of not only their own lions but of those from the Las Vegas Zoo. Caring for exotic pets is quite a huge undertaking and kudos to the owners for giving those animals a place to call home. I'd hate to see what would've happened to those animals if Keith and Bev hadn't opened their hearts to them!
Feel free to put on your best lion tamer's cap and visit their Facebook page to welcome the new additions to their family. If you're a Las Vegas Local or planning a visit to Las Vegas, be sure to check the season's hours of operation and prices. The ranch is only minutes from the Strip. Also be sure to get a picture of yourself in front of Bora or Tattoo on the jeep, right when you walk in! Just don't look behind you!!
Some features are available for an additional fee.
Photos With the Cubs
Feast with a Beast
Trainer for a Day
Lion Habitat Ranch Location: 382 Bruner Ave Henderson, NV
Thank you 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, Hearts of Gold, Unwanted Dreams, Phobia, Evil's Door and Faces of Deception. All books are available in Kindle and paperback format on Amazon.com.
© 2013 Elizabeth Parker