Lions in Las Vegas


Today’s #FridayFieldTrip was a visit to the Lion Habitat in Henderson, NV.  It was wonderful to hear lions roar–once one big cat sounds off, others follow and the sound is amazing.

The facility is incredibly clean, although you do have to watch so you don’t get sprayed by the cats who back up to the edge of their cages and urinate.

The volunteers and staff and very knowledgeable and happy to answer any and all questions. They also seemed just as amazed and in awe of their charges as the visitors.

Many of these lions were part of the MGM’s habitat, which closed a few years ago. But, they’re not show cats. While hand fed, they aren’t trained to do tricks and they still have their teeth and claws.

It was very cool spending the afternoon with these majestic beasts. They’re way bigger than I imagined. I mean, I knew they’d be big. I’ve seen them on TV and in the movies. But, until you’re standing a few feet away, you just don’t get it. The massive paws and huge heads.

At one point, while being fed, for a brief moment, two of the youngest cats squabbled. The sound and energy of that moment brought a hint of fear to my soul. Not for them, but for me. Not that I was actually in any danger, but it triggered some deep seated instinct of fear when I heard those angry roars–like our house cats on massive steroids, or something. Silly, I know.

And, then there’s Ossie, the only giraffe in Nevada. He’s cool and interesting and, well, he paints. Their tongues are amazing, like a finger. The handler said their tongues grow an inch in length for every foot the animal grows in height. Ossie is only three years old. So, he’ll grow another 10 or so feet in height. Ossie’s paintings are actually pretty cool and available for purchase in the little gift shop.

It was a very nice day at the ranch. I’ve been seeing signs and wanting to visit for some time and my only regret is that I waited this long to go there. Locals get an entrance fee discount, which is always nice.

The habitat is only open from 11-3 a few days a week. Visit their website for more details.

I Want to See…

This week’s #FridayFieldTrip was a visit to the Clark County Government Building. Beyond the fact that I think it’s an incredibly cool building–all that red rock just does something for me–they often have art installations in the beautiful rotunda.

The current installation is a large format piece by Krystal Ramirez created with funding from the NAC and NEA and support from Clark County called “I Want to See.”

I think most art, even when I don’t like it, is cool. Creativity is at the core of the human experience for me. And, this is one of those times that I thought, well, I don’t quite get what the artist was going for. There was a page of info on the stand that talked a bit about the unfinished sentences and the repetitions, but I just stood there and thought, well, it’s great that she’s exploring something, even if I don’t get it. I mean, I don’t have to get it for it to be art; I don’t have to like it for it to be art. And, I do think it did something important…it caused me to view the world in a slightly different way; the piece caused me to visit a space. I watched a woman look at the piece with a cocked head. And, that, to me, was a moment of art as well.