Gardens in the desert

Springs Preserve

Springs Preserve

Whoever told you Las Vegas is “just desert” couldn’t be any more wrong.

From wildflowers and waterfalls to unusual cacti and lush foliage, these are just a few of the things you can see on your trip to Vegas.

On the Strip

The Bellagio Conservatory offers free seasonal exhibits including Chinese New Year, Spring Celebration, Summer Garden Party and Harvest and Holiday. You’ll see elaborate gardens, exotic flowers, trickling fountains and big, beautiful trees to name a few. This summer, see parakeets and lorikeets inside a glass aviary, cold air balloons and a towering Ferris wheel bursting with wildflowers.

Off the Strip

Located in Henderson (just 10 miles from the Las Vegas Strip) the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens is a must-see. Not only do you get to sample and buy chocolate, but you can also walk off those calories with a walk through the cactus garden. The cactus garden boasts three acres of more than 300 different kinds of plants, including Teddy Bear Cholla, Texas Prickly Pear, Spotted Aloe and other cacti that most people never knew existed.

Over at the Springs Preserve, the 8-acre garden features more than 400 trees and plants including herbs, vegetables, roses, cactus and palms. The Springs Preserve also offers four trails that lead to the Preserve’s cienega, a desert wetland that serves as a home for hundreds of native plant, bird and animal species like black-crowned night herons and peregrine falcons.

If you don’t mind traveling 10 miles northeast of the Strip, visit Mystic Falls Park inside Sam’s Town. Mystic Falls is a 25,000-square-foot live forest within an atrium. See lush foliage, cascading waterfalls and even a bubbling brook. There are wooden benches so you can sit and take in the view. For a garden scene with an edge, stick around for the Sunset Stampede.

Outside Las Vegas

If you’re really into the nature scene and want to dedicate an entire day to it, visit Mount Charleston. The 17-mile Charleston Peak trail features meadows with rows and rows of wildflowers. On top of this breathtaking view, you’ll enjoy the peace and remarkable scenery.

Whether you’re on the Strip, 20 minutes or an hour away, make sure to bring your camera with you. Trust us: You’ll have plenty of postcard-worthy shots. Whoever told you Vegas is “just desert” is sure to have the shock of the century.


Most folks take their Vegas jackpot winnings back home, but my dad decided to stay here instead. That’s how I left Seattle almost 20 years ago. I moved from greenery and rainy days to hot summers, palm trees and desert. As much as I love my hometown, I decided to stick around Vegas. This city just has so much to offer. You don’t even have to be a gambler, bar hopper or an all-night partier. I love Vegas for its awesome vegan-friendly spots, concerts, swanky hotel suites and spas so big, they’re like castles. The pool scene is not too shabby either, which is why I love taking stay-cations. Besides living it up -- Vegas style -- I’m hanging out with my handsome hubby, adorable baby girl, two cats and super-fluffy Shih-Tzu. I’m also a huge fan of '90s music, shows and movies. You can find me on Google+ and Twitter.