Since we had time before dinner began we headed outside to Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat . When you visit, you have the opportunity to come face to face with white lions, white tigers, panthers, leopards, and their family of Bottlenose Dolphins.
We first made our way to the dolphins. This 2.5-million-gallon Dolphin Habitat is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Its purpose is to provide a healthy and nurturing environment for dolphins, as well as to educate the public about marine mammals and their environment - including their role in the ecosystem. There are four connected pools, an artificial coral reef system and sandy bottom which replicate the dolphins' natural environment. We had the opportunity to see the dolphins in a naturalistic environment, exhibiting natural behaviors.
“Long ago, Roy and I realized that everything that happens to this planet is man's responsibility. Our responsibility,” says Siegfried. “After living and working with some of the world's most magnificent creatures, we have felt the threat of their loss. So we felt compelled to create a safe environment – an environment in which these animals could live in serenity,” says Roy.
After playtime was over, I took a few minutes to sit along the side of the pool and this guy came to visit me for a few minutes. I would of taken more photos but was enjoying the one-on-one experience.
These two were nuzzling each other - it was so sweet!
My astrological sign is the Leo so I've always been drawn to Lions. I hope you don't mind if I share a few of the wild cat photos with you too.
Elizabeth was doing her best lion impression - if nothing else, it made us laugh....a lot!
Isn't he beautiful? He laid very close to the wire so we had a pretty up-close and personal experience.
The entire "roof" is covered with wire (for safety) but are heavily disguised with trees, a variety of climbing vines and each section had its own waterfall. Numerous garden benches were placed around so that you could really take your time to enjoy everything at a slow pace. The covered "roof" made the garden much cooler and enjoyable than being directly in the sun; which was well over 95 degrees.
The exhibit is not enormous; however it is very peaceful, relaxing and the closest I've ever been to a lion or tiger in my life. I found myself mesmerized by the wild creatures as we stared into each other's eyes. Pretty amazing experience, which I won't soon forget!
As we came out of the garden there was a nice view of the Mirage and all of its palm trees. We had palm trees growing all over where I grew up and I miss them still; which could be why I found myself taking lots of photos of them, lol!
By this time, the next group of dolphins were at play in a different pool and I was so happy to get a photo of one in air.
This guy really captured my heart. He is still learning some behaviors and just had the sweetest face I'd ever seen. He had a big personality too (as you'll see from the following photos). Being so close to these wondrous creatures was another unforgettable experience for me.
That was it for playtime....but come back tomorrow and we'll share what we discovered inside the Dolphin Gift Shop (it's pretty cool!).