A Great Place To See Christmas Lights In Las Vegas!
Ethel M Chocolates and Botanical Cactus Garden at Christmas Time, Memories to Treasure!
One Of The Best Places We've Found In Las Vegas To See Christmas Lights!
Right near Las Vegas in Henderson Nevada, not too far from McCarran International Airport, is a very interesting and beautiful place to see Christmas lights.
Ethel M's Chocolate Factory is open to guests for tours all year, and in addition to the chocolate factory, they feature a cactus garden with over 350 different species of cactus and exotic plants. This is a beautiful place to visit year round, and while you are there, take a stroll over the three acres of their Botanical Cactus Gardens.
This is one of the world's largest cactus gardens, and starting in Mid-November, through the 1st of January, they light up the cactus garden with over half a million lights. It is a stunningly beautiful display of multi colored lights that will capture the imaginations of young and old alike! Watch the twinkling lights shining in the eyes of your little ones, and you'll know that this is a magical place.
And considering that Ethel M's Chocolates is owned by Mars (yes,THE Mars that makes M & M's and other fantastic chocolates), you will even see a "tribute" to M & M's featured in the beautiful cactus garden, along with the pretty Christmas lights!
Children of all ages will be thrilled to take a walk through the gardens, and you are also able to go inside of the chocolate factory and take a short (self guided) free tour. You will walk down a hallway, past pristine and clean rooms where the chocolate is made and "formed" using molded forms. Then it is cooled and packaged in beautiful boxes that you can purchase in their gift shop. All of the chocolate is 100 percent preservative free, making it necessary to use it within just a few weeks.But honestly? Who can keep it in the house that long, anyway!
In the cactus garden, you will see everything from Beaver Tail Cactus, to the Compass Barrell Cactus, to Prickly Pear Cactuses, and even twisted Acacia (a tree-like shrub) and Creosote bushes. You can also find some Spotted Aloe plants that are very unique looking, as well as Yucca's and Teddy Bear Cholla's.
Ethel M. Chocolates and Botanical Cactus Gardens attract over 700,000 visitors a year, and during the holiday season, they are open until 10 pm seven days a week so you can go and see for yourself the gorgeous display of Christmas lights! And as a bonus, you can find "3-D" glasses in the gift shop for purchase and that will really enhance your experience viewing these spectacular lights!
This year, 2011, is the 18th year that the cactus garden has been lighted up for Christmas, and we found that it was well worth a stroll through the gardens. Since this was our first year here in Nevada, we went to see the lights on Thanksgiving night, around 8 pm, a perfect time to go, and a perfect way (we thought) to "kick off" the Christmas season.
When they first open for the season, around the 15th of November, you can bring a new, unwrapped toy for "Toys For Tots" (a great charity!) And they feature carolers and a visit from Santa as well. Santa wasn't there the night we visited, so it is wise to check to see what times he will be there if you have little ones that are just itching to see "Santa."
It is well worth the visit to taste this extraordinary chocolate, and to see the gorgeous display of Christmas lights! We plan to make this an annual tradition to kick off our Christmas celebrations, and I know a lot of others have made it their tradition as well.
(Side Note - The milk chocolate "sea-salted" caramels are HEAVEN in a little square! My favorite chocolate confection, for sure!)