Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Mirage Las Vegas Review

Hidden away behind the Mirage Pool Complex lies Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden. This lush Habitat is the new home of the Duo’s entertainment Cats. Now in retirement after the shows ended in 2003 the Tigers, Lions and other Various Big Cats involved with the show spend their days relaxing in this Las Vegas retreat. Alongside the Garden is the Dolphin Habitat, a Multi-pool aquatic exhibit housing a number of bottlenose dolphins.

With so much to see and do in Las Vegas, many people ask if Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat is worth visiting? If the time and money are well spent here or at one of Las Vegas’s many other sights and attractions. Our Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat Review takes you right onto the attraction and shows you exactly what to expect so you can see if the attraction is right for you and your family. We also share a few tips on how to get into the attraction for less than the gate price, or even FREE!

So read on to find out everything you need to know about Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habit!

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Mirage Las Vegas Review
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Mirage Las Vegas

We love the Mirage Las Vegas. The TRopical feel of the Polynesian Themeing really helps you forget you are in the heart of Las Vegas. The City really can be a bit much at times and getting a break from it all is essential, the Lush Tropical grounds of the Mirage Pool Deck is the perfect tonic. It is within this soothing Oasis that the Secret Garde is situated.

The Habitat is even more secluded and well planted than the pool deck and there really is almost no trace of the bustling mad-house of a city that surrounds you. You are instantly transported to a little corner of paradise, away from all the bustle, concrete, and traffic, where you can simply marvel t the majesty of the Animals.

RIP Roy Horn and Siegfried Fischbacher

The start of the ’20s has been pretty rough on all of us, but incredibly Both Siegfried and Roy both passed away in the early part of the Decade. First Roy, after surviving the terrible attack that put an end to their performing careers, picked up and then Succumbed to Covid-19 in May 2020.

The following year, in January, Siegfried announced he had Pancreatic Cancer and passed away a few days later on January 13th, 2021. Two iconic legends passing away within a few months of each other is terribly sad. Many visitors to the Garden will miss seeing Siegfried visit his beloved cats on a daily basis. Bumping into him really was a highlight of any visit.

May they Both rest in peace.

Siegfried & Roy
Siegfried & Roy by Carol M Highsmith

Exhibits at the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat

The Exhibit is broken up into two parts and is really a 2-for-1 attraction. The First part is the Dolphin Habitat, with the Big Cat Enclosure behind. Here is what you can expect to find.

Secret Garden Map

Secret Garden Big Cat Sanctuary

The Big Cat Sanctuary is the retirement home for all of the Sigfried and Roy shows big cats. There are several animals here including the incredible White Tigers, Lions, and Both Black (Black Panthers) and Spotted Leopards. The Exhibit is not overly large with just 9 or nine enclosures, but it is beautifully landscaped and has a really tropical feel to it.

The Enclosures are extremely well designed, mimicking natural habitat with elevated places for the cats to sit and rest as well as toys pools, and things to engage and stimulate the animals. The Sanctuary takes excellent care of the animals and is one of the only sanctuaries of this kind to be endorsed by the American Humane (more below). The Enclosures are quite small but the animals on the whole look happy, much lazing around and sunbathing ging on which from observing our own cat is a perfect recipe for happiness!

Secret Garden White Tiger
Are you going to rub his tummy?…

Overall the Big Cat section of the Attraction is a wonderful place to visit. It really is a wonderful little tropical retreat away from all the madness of Las Vegas. Bear in mind the entire Secret Garden only take 10-15 minutes to explore and see all the exhibits, so this is not a huge time commitment. One of the highlights is catching a feeding time at the Sanctuary. Unfortunately, these vary daily (to keep the cat stimulated) so it is hard to predict.

Dolphin Habitat

The Dolphin Habitat consists of two pools. The Large Ocean Pool and the smaller training and show pool. The Large pool has an underwater viewing area where you can view the animals from below. The Dolphins love interacting with the guests through the window and regularly swim up t say hello.

The Pool is very deep and has a naturally styled bottom resembling a rocky Ocean Floor. The Smaller Show pool is less interesting and not deep but is still a large pool. The Younger Dolphins are normally kept in here and you can see them swimming around, including the youngest, Lady Ace born in 2019.

Like the Cat Sanctuary, the Dolphin habit is quite small and can be seen in less than 10 mins depending on how much time you spend watching the Dolphins. However, the regular shows help beef up this part of the attraction and you can normally catch two shows per visit.

Dolphin Shows

Dolphin Show Secret Garden

There are two main shows that run hourly throughout the day. The First is an entertainment show that features the Dolphins performing certain tricks such as jumps and flips. The Show is supposed to showcase Natural behavior rather than circus-style tricks so you really are just watching the Dolphins playtime.

The Second show is the Care and Training show. This showcases the Care and upkeep of the animals and how the trainers interact and care for the dolphins. There are some tricks and jumps but on the whole, this is more educational and shows how the trainers teach the dolphins to get out of the water to allow the trainers and Vets to keep tabs on the animal’s Weights and conditions. This is basically an actual training session, they just let us all watch! It is incredible to see the Dolphin’s intelligence as they carry out the tasks required of them. The Trainer Dolphin bond is very evident in this presentation.

Discovery Center

The Discovery center is the information portion of the Attraction. This is a small visitor center with exhibits and information all about the research and conservation that is supported by the Attraction. There is not too much going on here and you can expect to be in and out in 5-10 mins and really, most people skip it.

Additional Experiences

There are a selection of additional experineces you can book to add to or completely transform you visit to the secret Garden. We have not personally experienced these but they all offer you the chance to get close to the animals with some one on one time.

Meet and Greet – $50 – very short, one on one wit ha dolphin, including a photo.

Dolphin Trainer 101 – $400 – A half-day spent with a Dolphin Trainer learning what the job entails. Lots of close up time with the animals and participation in the shows/training sessions. ($100 to observe, useful if you have a kid in the Program!)

Paint With Dolphin – $150 – If you have ever dreamed of Painting with dolphins then…wait nobody has ever dreamed of that right! Anyway, the option is there if you want to get up and close to watch a dolphin paint, it’s a bit wired but hey.

VIP Tours – $120 – An hour-long guided tour of the facility with a trainer, includes all the perks of the Meet and Greet plus access to “backstage” areas of the facility.

Yoga with the Dolphins – $75 – We are not Yoga Participants but the Secret Garden offers morning Yoga Sessions by the Underwater viewing window of the Ocean Dolphin pool. We have already mentioned what an amazingly calming space the Secret Garden is, and anyone looking for some escape from the madness of the strip will find their serenity here. The $75 fee also allows access to the Spa and fitness center for the day.

Gallery

Overall Experience – Is the Secret Garden Worth It?

The Secret Garden really is a wonderful little oasis right in the heart of the madness of the strip. The lush planted Facility really does transport you miles away from the strip and you constantly have to remid yourself, oyu are actually Silllin the midlle of trhe strip!

We adore Vegas but it is very intense and this little escape to a tropical paradise really helps release the pressure. On that basis alone we feel the attraction is worth the entry fee. On top of this, the exhibits are pretty special. We love seeing the dolphins playing, and the big cats just snoozing away their retirement.

The attraction is pretty small and can be done in well under an hour although we tend to string it out to get to see both Dolphin shows, even then you are done in a little over an hour. This is not great value for time, but compared to other attractions it is actually one of the better experiences. Besides Vegas is such a rush if the experience was any longer it would actually be a put-off! There is just so much to see and do in Vegas a full-size zoo experience would just be too much.

Overall we defiantly think the attraction is worth the $25 entry, but that doesn’t mean you HAVE to pay full price!

Money-Saving – Secret Garden Offers Promos and Comps

Las Vegas Attraction Passes

We love Attraction passes and we never Visit Vegas Without one. Many of the passes include the Secret Garden and it’s a great choice of attraction for the Passes.

Las Vegas Attraction Pass Comparison Guide

We really do find an Attraction Pass can transform your trip to Vegas. The Passes allow you to See More and Pay less than you would ever do if you bought everything separately. You really can save $100’s and actually see and do more in the City, something of holy Grail for Travelers!

MyVegas

We love MyVegas and have used it extensively to get some great freebies and discounts. The Secret Garden is available as either a Premium Reward (2x Free Tickets) or a 50% Discount (2 tickets) as a non-premium Reward. Either way makes this a great way to save money on this attraction.

Full MyVegas Guide here

Criticism

Secret Garden Lion

It would be wrong to write this article without pointing out and opening up the discussion around keeping Big Cats and Dolphins in Captivity.

First of all, we would like to point out the positives. The Cat Enclosures while small are well designed and have plenty to engage the Animals and keep them stimulated. These cats are bred captive and can no longer be released into the wild (a death sentence for sure). They are a remnant of a time where live capture of these stunning creatures was considered acceptable and while we are glad this has stopped a retirement plan for Siegfried and Roy’s Animals was essential. And while the company is still making money off them rather than releasing them into a large sanctuary, the Secret Garden is a wonderful environment where they can live out their remaining years. This is a FAR cray from the roadside menageries (think Tiger king) that continue to breed and mistreat Big cats all over the country.

The Dolphins are a little more troublesome. While these are all captive-bred dolphins and the live captures of wild dolphins a thing of the past in the USA, there is still an active breeding program at the Facility and this means the perpetuation of captive dolphins at the Center. This certainly causes us a moral dilemma and for some, this simply makes the Secret Garden abhorrent.

The Tanks at the Secret Garden are fairly large compared to some we have and been dismayed at but no tank is ever going to replicate the natural environment. Like the Cat’s these animals cannot be released, and while we accept the existing animals need somewhere to live out their lives the breeding means there is no intention to put an end to the captive Dolphin trade by the Murage and they intend to keep the attraction open indefinitely. This certainly makes us wonder if they will look to replace the Big cats once they begin to dwindle in numbers. This makes the attraction very different from the retirement home it’s slated to be.

We do not feel it is our place to preach on these matters. The fact is the Facility is present in Las Vegas and we simply report on it as it stands. It is down to the individual and your own moral compasses to decide if the undoubted enjoyment you receive from an attraction such as this is worth the captivity of the animals.

The Secret Garden is far better than so many similar attractions and this helps soothe the conscience slightly, but it is still an example of keeping animals in captivity for no real reason other than money.

Similar Attractions in Las Vegas

If the Secret Garden does not sound like your Cup of tea and you cannot reconcile the Captivity issue then the best solution is to vote with your feet. There are plenty of similar attractions in Las Vegas and you can spend your time at them instead.

Las Vegas Museums and Zoo’s

Have Your Say

Let us know your thoughts on the Secret Garden. We know some people feel passionately about the Captivity issue and we are happy to hear your thoughts on this, but keep it civil. Aside from that if you enjoyed your trip to the Secret Garden let us know, or if there was something you didn’t like about the attraction feel free to share your thoughts. And as ever if you have any questions just fire away in the comments below.

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