On the prowl: Discover the Las Vegas Strip’s wild side

We all come to Vegas to bring out our wild side and it’s usually at night. But with all of the animal-themed attractions featured on the Las Vegas Strip, you can experience a whole different kind of wild side during the day. From the Secret Garden at the Mirage to the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, you can see an amazing variety of animals.

“People come [here] seeking the unusual,” said Jack Jewell, curator of the Shark Reef Aquarium. “Animal attractions fit the bill perfectly in the midst of the glamour and glitz.”

Visiting a tranquil aquarium or a peaceful garden during the day might help you save up some energy for
the nightlife.

“Coming to one of the habitats is very relaxing compared to the activity and energy on the Strip,” said Robin Matos, wildlife manager at the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo.

From exotic cats to fierce reptiles, here are just some of the wild (and tame) animals that call the Vegas Strip



Photo courtesy of MGM Mirage

  • Favorite food: Gourmet cuts of prime rib and a special blend of meat and fowl developed by Siegfried & Roy’s veterinarian and nutritionist.
  • Height &weight: 6’2” from nose to tip of tail; 135 pounds.
  • Favorite toy: None, but loves to practice his agility skills wherever he can.
  • Birthday: Born November 19, 2008
  • ‘Pet’ peeves: Java has to share his exhibit with his older brother and
    sisters so he doesn’t get as much face time with the public as he’d like
  • Location: Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage



Sebastian & Felix

  • Age: 11 years old.
  • Favorite food: Fish bones.


    Photo courtesy of Gregory Popovich

  • Hobbies: Sleeping on the furniture and playing with pieces of newspaper.
  • ‘Pet’ peeves: Hairballs.
  • Favorite spot to hang out: Top of the refrigerator.
  • Location: See this furry feline at Gregory Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theater, V Theater inside Miracle Mile Shops


  • Age: 10 years old.
  • Favorite food: Hot dogs.
  • Hobbies: Watching ‘Animal Planet.’
  • ‘Pet’ peeves: Other doggies stealing my toys.
  • Favorite spot to hang out: The sofa with family
  • Location: See this friendly dog at Gregory Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theater, V Theater inside Miracle Mile Shops




Photo by Robin Matos

  • Favorite Food: Flamingo maintenance kibble.
  • Measurements: 3 feet, 8 inches tall, five pounds.
  • Hobbies: Trying to steal the other flamingos’ boyfriends.
  • Years in Vegas: 15.
  • ‘Pet’ peeves: Lowest on the pecking order and wants to move up. Having a boyfriend helps, but the boys don’t seem to like her.
  • Wildside: She’s the only flamingo that approaches the wildlife specialists to get extraflamingo food.
  • Location: Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitiat



Komodo Dragon


Photo courtesy of MGM Mirage

  • Favorite food: Rodents.
  • Age: 11 years old.
  • Birthday: October 30.
  • Measurements: 82 inches long, 80 pounds.
  • Years in Vegas: One.
  • ‘Pet’ Peeve: Having his nails trimmed.
  • Location: Mandalay Bay Shark Reef



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.