Las Vegas Sights: Dolphin Habitat VIP Tour

Part of a series on our trip to Las Vegas in April 2019.

I had decided early on that we would do a dolphin tour at Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden. Unfortunately, both kids were too young for the dolphin trainer experience and Kid #2 was too young for painting with dolphins, so our only option was the dolphin habitat tour. We bought our tickets and reserved the tour on the Mirage’s website a few days beforehand, as I wanted to be sure that Mr. TwK could join us. Note that the tour price doesn’t actually include entrance to the park, which makes no sense to me, but there it is. You can simply buy the park tickets at the gate when you get there.

We were given yellow wristbands for our tour and told to wait in front of the gift shop for our guide. Another family joined us, so in total there were eight of us on the tour.

We started at the pool where they do health checks on the dolphins. The guide showed us toys that they use and explained that they often bring the dolphins into this pool just to play, so that they wouldn’t associate it with “going to the doctor’s”. After that, we walked through the back where they keep the dolphin’s food and saw the charts that the keepers use to keep track of their weight. There are strict guidelines on the quality of the fish that they feed to the dolphins, and anything that isn’t up to par gets thrown away. Then we briefly visited a lab before heading down into an observation room.

Here we had an expansive view of the pool that is used to monitor births. This was one of the best parts of the tour, as the large wall of windows offered a much better view than the public viewing area. No dolphin was pregnant at the moment, so the pool was open for all the dolphins to come and play. We stayed here for quite a while, sitting by the windows while the dolphins swam over again and again to say hi. Our guide showed us pictures of dolphin anatomy and pointed out the subtle differences between the individuals.

We drank some water and took a bathroom break, then headed up for our dolphin feeding and pictures.

In order to feed the dolphins, you have to remove shoes and socks, and leave all loose clothing and bags with your guide. You can’t bring anything into the pool with you, for fear of dropping it and having it ingested by the dolphins and/or contaminating their water. So no phones or cameras, unfortunately. The tour comes with a posed photo of your group with the dolphins leaping behind you (you get splashed while this picture is being taken).

Unknown to us, a very kind bystander took a bunch of pictures while we were in the pool, including a video of the dolphins leaping. When we got out, she stopped Mr. TwK and offered to transfer them to his phone. So we were very lucky to end up with some pictures of us during the dolphin feeding experience outside of the professional posed shot.

This was the end of the tour. Our guide had us wait in the zoo area while our photos were being developed. We spent quite a while watching the white lions and tigers, who looked very menacing pacing in front of the fence.

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