Henderson, Nevada Attractions
When many people think of Las Vegas, they think of casinos, bright lights and neon signs, but the city and surrounding area actually offer many other options for residents and visitors. In fact, Henderson, a city just a few miles from the Las Vegas strip, has consistently been ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Safest Cities. while Bloomberg Businessweek named the town “One of the Best Cities to Live in America.” These rankings demonstrate how Las Vegas and the area surrounding the city offer much more than casinos, hotels and nightlife. In fact, some of the things to do in Las Vegas and Henderson are very family friendly.
Clark County Heritage Museum
Located just 20 miles from the Las Vegas Strip on Boulder Highway, the Clark County Heritage Museum provides visitors with a look back in time. The museum is unlike other museums in that it consists of two parts. There is a large outdoor area with a ghost town, old trains and historic homes as well as a large indoor exhibit with a physical timeline of Nevada. A walk through the outdoor area makes visitors feel as if they are in a time warp as they view fully-restored period houses. The Beckley House, the last pioneer home in the area, was once located in downtown Las Vegas. Built in 1912, the bungalow-style home cost only $2,500 to build. The Gourmond House takes visitors back to the glamorous days of the early 20th century with mint green walls and pastel-colored interiors. In addition to the period style houses, the museum offers the Mojave Desert Trail, which includes a ghost town inhabited by creatures native to the area. The museum is open seven-days per week from 9 AM until 4:30 PM. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children aged 3 to 15. Senior citizens are also admitted for $1. It is located at 1830 South Boulder Highway in Henderson.
Ethel M. Chocolate Factory Tour
The Ethel M. Chocolate Factory, located at 2 Cactus Garden Drive in Henderson, creates fresh chocolates produced using Mars family recipes. The factory is inspired by the kitchen of Ethel Mars and was created by Forrest Mars, Sr., in his mother’s honor. The factory still uses her time-honored recipes, creating small-batch premium chocolates. The chocolates are made by hand with fresh ingredients and no preservatives. Each box is packed by hand and each batch of caramel is made in original copper kettles, not mass produced like in other factories. The factory offers a self-guided viewing aisle that allows visitors to watch as chocolatiers create not only the delicious chocolate the factory is known for, but also pecan brittle, which is made by hand each day. There is also a three-acre botanical cactus garden, the largest in Nevada, with over 300 species of plants. Visitors may also taste samples of Ethel M Chocolates and purchase items in the gift shop. The Viewing Aisle is open Monday through Thursday from 10 AM until 4:30 PM.
Lion Habitat Ranch
The Lion Habitat Ranch is an almost nine-acre ranch located on Bruner Avenue in Henderson. For 11 years, owner Keith Evans transported the cats housed on the ranch to their former habitat inside the MGM Grand on a daily basis until the hotel closed the habitat in 2012. An exotic animal trainer, Mr. Evans and his wife, Beverly, built glass enclosures and safety barriers that house more than 40 African lions. Visitors are provided fun facts about lions, including the fact that lions can sleep up to 20 hours each day and that they can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The lions are shampooed with baby shampoo and their fur blown dry to keep them well-groomed. The ranch also offers visitors the option of watching a three- or four-hour training session with the lions for $800 per person. Tickets are $20 per adult and one child aged ten or under can visit free with each paying adult. Visitors can also purchase cub photos for $30. The ranch is open Friday through Monday from 11 AM until 4 PM and cub photos are available from 11 AM until 2 PM.
Nevada Vintage Race Car Museum
The Nevada Vintage Race Car Museum is dedicated to the memory of Joe Lencki, a collector of vintage race cars and motorsport memorabilia. The museum contains a collection of race cars that span from the turn of the century to the current Indy Racing League series. Ed Rachanski, who owns the museum, also owns Team Blue Print, an Indy Racing League team. Two of the team cars are on display in the museum. In addition to the vintage race cars, there is a section of the museum dedicated to model aircraft. Mr. Rachanski served as a flight engineer during the Korean War and some of the actual gear he used during the conflict are on display. The museum is located at 250 SunPac Avenue in Henderson.
Activities in Las Vegas and the neighboring city of Henderson offer something for everyone. Whether visitors have a sweet tooth, have a need for speed, enjoy nature or love to go back in time to see how life was in earlier years, Henderson and Nevada has an activity that will meet those needs.