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Secret Garden With White Lions and Tigers at Las Vegas's Mirage Hotel

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

White Striped Tiger on display at the Mirage.  Who is watching whom?

White Striped Tiger on display at the Mirage. Who is watching whom?

Las Vegas, Nevada

There is so much entertainment and so many venues in Las Vegas, Nevada that it would require innumerable visits to take in all the sites. It was my distinct pleasure to enjoy the Siegfried and Roy Show when it was still in operation at the Mirage Hotel. I especially enjoyed seeing their Secret Garden with the endangered animals, including the white tigers and white lions of Timbavati, among other rare species kept in that wonderful setting.

For those who might not have been to Las Vegas, or for those who have visited but spent their time taking in other forms of entertainment, I have included the pictures I took on my last visit there.

Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel

Behind the Mirage Hotel and Casino is a large pool in which bottlenose dolphins live. They also perform at regularly scheduled shows for the public.

The Secret Garden is also in the back area of the Mirage Hotel. The friend who was accompanying me on our vacation from Houston to California and back one year decided that it would be a nice break after looking at the array of spectacularly and inventively built hotels in Las Vegas to take a break and look at something a bit more natural.

Working our way back to the Secret Garden we first took in the Dolphin Show. Those types of shows are always crowd-pleasers, and this particular show did not disappoint. My only thought is that these magnificent mammals would undoubtedly be much happier in the oceans instead of a pool of water.

They are such sweet looking creatures and seem to have a permanent smile on their faces. The dolphins did the usual flips and jumps in the air in unison following gestures from their trainers.

The Secret Garden at the Mirage Hotel

The Secret Garden of Siegfried and Roy is another thing entirely. It has been created as a sanctuary for some amazing animals which have become endangered in the wild.

This space serves to not only house them in areas providing freedom of movement as well as areas in which to climb, play and interact with one another but also to provide information about them and to raise people's awareness about this precious species.

The Striped White Tigers were once thought to be extinct but in 1951 a cub was discovered by the Maharaja of Rewa.

Siegfried and Roy not only chose to help save these rare tigers from extinction but due to their efforts in breeding them, at the time of our visit, there were about 40 white tigers that were residing at the sanctuaries in Las Vegas designed and built by this team of preservationists.

It is absolutely thrilling to be able to view them as close as we were able to do.

In a hallway in the Mirage Hotel and Casino, there were a few of the White Tigers on display as a couple of the photos that I took portray. These few were behind glass and seemed as interested in viewing the array of people passing by as we were in looking at them.

The vast majority of the animals are in the Secret Garden at the back of the hotel.

Siegfried and Roy Show

As most people probably know, Siegfried and Roy offered a wonderful and long-lasting show at the Mirage in which the animals that they lived with on a daily basis also performed with them. One horrible accident stopped their performances forever.

I count myself among those fortunate people who were able to see them and their magnificent creatures perform on stage, and it is a memory that I will carry with me always.

White Tigers

The Snow White Tigers have faint or no stripes and originally came from the foothills of the Himalayas.

White Lions of Timbavati

Siegfried and Roy also had a great interest in conservation regarding the White Lions of Timbavati. Those beautiful white lions were almost at the point of becoming extinct.

Timbavati is the name of a game preserve next to Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Very few white lions live in the wild because their color makes them easier targets for prey. It is also a recessive gene that creates these magnificent animals so they would be rare in any case even if they were not more easily hunted by other animals or man.

Most of the white lions in existence today live in zoos.

Siegfried and Roy initiated a successful breeding program and the very first white lion cub born in Las Vegas was actually named as the mascot for the United States Senate.

Here is a bit of trivia for those who like information like this to casually mention at one's bus stop or next dinner party. The name given to that white lion mascot for the Senate was Prosperity. Nice moniker don't you think?

Heterozygous White Lions

Heterozygous White Lions look like normal lions, more tawny in coloration and not pure white. An important difference however in their genetic makeup is that they carry the white gene. Therefore they are able to keep the genetic code for white lions alive.

These white lions rest in the Secret Garden for as many as 16 to 20 hours a day. It is normal for them to do a lot of sleeping. They have a safe and secure environment and the company of their own kind in which to take their naps. It was a special treat to be able to see these grand animals in repose in such a beautiful setting.

Heterozygous White Lions at Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas

Heterozygous White Lions at Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas

Heterozygous Tiger

The picture below is a heterozygous tiger. Just like the heterozygous lions these tigers look like normal tigers in coloration. The main difference is that they also carry the all-important genetic code to be able to produce white tigers.

A normal healthy male tiger can get to be as much as nine feet long and weigh up to a whopping 450 pounds. Female tigers are normally smaller in size and weight.

Heterozygous Tiger at Mirage Hotel

Heterozygous Tiger at Mirage Hotel

Other Animals in the Secret Garden

There were many other rather rare species also kept in Siegfried and Roy's Secret Garden at the Mirage Hotel.

One of them was the beautiful black panther. I did not capture a good picture on film but did of the snow leopard that was taking a nap at the time. What gorgeous animals!

An Asian Elephant named Gildah also resides in the Secret Garden. There are probably only about 50,000 Asian elephants in the world today.

Elephants are vegetarians, and since they weigh several tons when fully grown, it takes a lot of grains, fresh fruit, hay, and many gallons of water to keep them fed and hydrated each day.

A turkey seemed to be Gildah's companion. At least the turkey was in the same enclosure with the elephant the day of our visit.

Our Experiences at the Mirage Hotel

My mother and I once stayed at the Mirage Hotel for several nights and enjoyed the comfort and ambiance.

I tried my hand at a few slot machines but very quickly discovered just how quickly those quarters disappear. I'm not a gambler by nature, so aside from losing a few dollars, we simply enjoyed the Las Vegas sites and spent our money on other forms of entertainment instead of gambling.

When my girlfriend and I spent one night in Las Vegas on our return trip from California back to Texas we did no gambling but also took in some of the shows and other sites. There is much to see in Las Vegas!

Mirage Hotel (Shows White Lions, Dolphins and More)

Mirage Volcano

In front of the Mirage Hotel and Casino is an area of water with a waterfall. In the evening a rather spectacular man-made volcanic eruption takes place. This can be viewed by everyone on the Las Vegas strip standing on the street in front of the hotel.

The inside theme of the Mirage continues with water and tropical foliage everywhere.

It is amazing the creativity of the artists, architects and builders of that fantasyland called Las Vegas!

Las Vegas, Nevada

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Is it true that you can swim with the dolphins at Las Vegas's Mirage Hotel?

Answer: The closest you will get to be in the water with dolphins at the Mirage Hotel is if you purchase tickets to "trainer for a day." As of today, November 11, 2018, that ticket starts at $495.00. Their website has the following information: "Get up close and personal with our dolphins as you work with dolphin specialists to go from tourist to trainer in a few hours. You'll participate in hands-on activities including playing with, training, getting in the water with, and caring for our family of dolphins."

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 22, 2013:

Hi Shyron,

You will have to ask her whether she has visited the Secret Garden since she lives in Las Vegas. Definitely worth it in my opinion. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

I have to admit...that was a pretty turkey! Glad you liked this hub. Thanks for the share. :)

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on December 05, 2013:

Hi Peggy, your pictures are so beautiful. I have a friend who lives in Vegas, don't know if she has been to the Secret Garden.

Voted up A/B/I, and shared.

moonlake from America on December 05, 2013:

Love all your photos the white tigar are so pretty but my favorite is the turkey, how pretty he is. Very interesting hub. Voted up and shared.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 02, 2012:

Hello starstream,

The white tigers and white lions in Las Vegas are truly beautiful. Nice to know that you enjoyed reading and seeing the photos in this hub. Appreciate the comment.

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on March 02, 2012:

The white tiger photos and story you wrote are both quite amazing. It is wonderful to see your beautiful tribute to this beautiful species of white tigers! Thanks for sharing this amazing find in Las Vegas.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 01, 2012:

Hello kelleyward,

Nice that you got to see those white lions and tigers at the Mirage. They are magnificent beasts! Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 01, 2012:

Hi barbergirl28,

The white lions and tigers at the Mirage Hotel are so beautiful. My mother and I stayed at the Mirage many years ago and really enjoyed the Secret Garden in the back as well. Let me know what you think of it when you visit. Thanks for your comment and the sharing of this hub.

kelleyward on March 01, 2012:

Beautiful pictures and hub! Thanks for sharing. I remember seeing the tigers there a long time ago!

Stacy Harris from Hemet, Ca on March 01, 2012:

This seems to be a hidden gem in Las Vegas. I have been to Vegas a few times but have never seen this. We are only a short drive from there so I might have to put it on the agenda. Thanks for sharing these Great pictures!

Jane on November 01, 2011:

They are really adorable! I wish I could get a chance to get closer to these iconic creatures.

http://www.journeytothejungle.com/blog/index.php/w...

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2011:

Hello KenWu,

It was amazing to be able to see the white lions and tigers at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. The water show in the back was well worth seeing also. Glad that you liked this and thanks for the comment.

KenWu from Malaysia on May 09, 2011:

I love both the while stripped and snow white tigers. There are amazing! Never seen one alive before!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 28, 2010:

Hello raindeerz,

Las Vegas is certainly an interesting place with much to see and do. Have you visited the Secret Garden at the Mirage Hotel and viewed the white lions and tigers?

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 28, 2010:

Hello Mobile roofing professionals,

I agree that the white tigers and lions at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas are really beautiful. Visiting the Secret Garden should be a must on everyone's list of things to see while there. Thanks for the comment.

reindeerz from Georgia on November 28, 2010:

Awesome Hub! I love traveling to Las Vegas and am heading out again next week. So excited! :)

Mobile roofing professionals on November 09, 2010:

These white tigers are beautiful creatures of God.This secret garden is really cool.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 04, 2010:

Hello KCC Big Country,

Enjoy your stay at the lush and tropical Mirage Hotel and especially enjoy seeing those majestic white tigers and lions in the Secret Garden. The dolphin show is also worth spending a bit of time to see. Have fun!

KRC from Central Texas on September 04, 2010:

Another great hub by you....I'm going to be staying at The Mirage next week and I'm looking forward to visiting the Secret Garden and seeing the white tigers.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 01, 2010:

Hello stars439,

Thanks for the compliment on this Secret Garden hub in the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Glad you enjoyed it.

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on May 01, 2010:

Fantastic hub. God Bless You

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 01, 2010:

Hello My Digest,

So happy to hear that you enjoyed seeing the white lions and tigers in this hub about the Secret Garden at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. Thanks for the comment.

My Digest on January 30, 2010:

Oooh this is awesome. I so love watching animals like the tigers. This is extra special.

*Misty

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 31, 2009:

Hello anneliu,

Happy to have shown you a picture of a turkey as well as the white lions and tigers in the Secret Garden at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. There are many wild turkeys that roam the open land areas in Texas as well as other places. Generally they are leaner birds than this one you saw on this hub due to more exercise in scavenging for their food. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 29, 2009:

Hi Mike,

No I have not seen the Shark Exhibit at Mandalay Bay. Would be interesting I am sure.

If they do things as well as the Mirage with the Secret Garden...Lions, Tigers and the like, I am sure it is spectacular. Las Vegas has so much to offer to tourists.

Maybe next time... :-) Thanks for the comment.

Mike Lickteig from Lawrence KS USA on December 29, 2009:

I've seen the Secret Gardens and the dolphins several times in Las Vegas, I never tire of these beautiful exhibits.

Ever seen the Shark Exhibit at Mandalay Bay? That is pretty impressive, also.

And, of course, MGM has a small habitat for lions in their hotel. It is fun to see.

Thanks, makes me wish I had another trip to Las Vegas in the works!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 11, 2009:

Hello Little Lioness,

I clicked on your name and went to your site. From what you say, there would only be a one in 10,000 chance of a white tiger being born in the wild and it would not normally survive because it would more easily be seen by predators. Thus, most all the white tigers in captivity are simply bred on purpose and suffer from defects. If that is fact, it is a very sad commentary. Thank you for adding information to this hub.

Little Lioness on November 10, 2009:

White tigers are not endangered. Siegfreid and Roy are simply propagating a genetic mutation and attempting to make themselves appear like heroes for breeding these cats. But the only way to get a white tiger with today's captive bloodline is to inbreed, which causes serious physical and mental issues, the least of which include cleft palates, crossed eyes, and mental retardation. But people think white tigers are 'magical' and more beautiful than normal, healthy tigers, so they'll pay more to see them. It's all about the money, and has nothing to do with the wellfare of a species.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 26, 2009:

Hello kingis,

In that case, I am very happy to have brought back some happy memories for you from your staying at the Mirage in Las Vegas on your honeymoon. Did you get to see the Siegfried and Roy show with all their white tigers and lions performing? Or was your honeymoon after they had ended the performance?

Patrick King from Springfield, IL on October 26, 2009:

Peggy W,

I loved your pics of the Secret Garden and Mirage. My wife and stayed at Mirage for our honeymoon. We loved it. Las Vegas is fun place. Mirage is in the right middle of the Strip.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 25, 2009:

Hello Las Vegas Kids,

People that live in Las Vegas probably all know about the other things in your city like a zoo. Outsiders probably all first come to see the strip, the out of this world hotels, shows, etc.

Does your zoo have as many white tigers and white lions as the Mirage Hotel in its Secret Garden? Let us know or tell us a bit more about your zoo. Perhaps it will get more visits. Thanks!

Las Vegas Kids on October 25, 2009:

Seems odd that tourist attractions can get more visitors here in Las Vegas than the actual Zoo.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 20, 2009:

Hello sukhera143,

Thanks for the comment on my Secret Garden hub at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

sukhera143 from Home on October 19, 2009:

Excellent hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Hi magdielqr,

Glad you liked this virtual Las Vegas experience at the Mirage Hotel's Secret Garden. The animals are the star attraction. Thanks!

magdielqr on October 06, 2009:

Beautiful! I love animal. Excellent Hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Hi Ethel,

Being an animal lover, I knew that you would appreciate these photos if you came to this Secret Garden hub to take a look. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Greetings articleposter,

So happy that you liked these photos of the Secret Garden. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Hello loveroflife,

Yes, Las Vegas used to be referred to as "sin city" because of the gambling, etc. But it has evolved into a family friendly place over time. As in all cities, one can seek out what one chooses to find be it bad or good. I think the vast majority of people visiting Las Vegas seek the fun and entertainment.

The Siegfried and Roy show with their white tigers and white lions were a mainstay. Sadly, after Roy's accident they no longer perform, but happily, their Secret Garden is still there at the Mirage for people to enjoy.

Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Hi bingskee,

Yes, the white tigers and white lions are truly lovely. Glad you liked seeing them from this Secret Garden hub. Thanks for commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Hi Hello, hello,

It was truly wonderful to be able to see those magnificent white tigers and lions up close in the Secret Garden. They are awaiting your visit! Thanks for looking, reading and commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Hi shamelabboush,

Oh yes! Las Vegas is an absolute wonderland of sights, sounds and experiences whether one wishes to gamble or not. Obviously the gamblers in essence pay for all of this extravagance because "the house" ultimately wins overall. But the thrill of winning keeps the gamblers coming.

They have top notch shows, wonderful dining and many free things that can occupy ones time as well.

Happy to have shown you a different side of Las Vegas with this Secret Garden hub about the white lions and tigers, etc. at the Mirage Hotel.

Thanks for commenting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Hi agusfanani,

No...the white lions and tigers are not albinos. Their coloration is due to a recessive gene. Thanks for commenting on the Secret Garden in Las Vegas.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 06, 2009:

Hi dohn121,

I took a look at your hub before commenting here. You did a great job on Las Vegas in general. Would be honored to link it to this hub about the Secret Garden at the Mirage. I decided to just focus on the one subject in more detail. Let me know...

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 06, 2009:

Beautiful animal pictures Peggy

articleposter on October 06, 2009:

Amazing pictures

loveroflife on October 06, 2009:

Thanks for such a different look at "Sin City".

bingskee from Quezon City, Philippines on October 06, 2009:

lovely, lovely white striped and white tigers..!

Hello, hello, from London, UK on October 06, 2009:

You make me green with envy. You really had a grand time seeing all these beautiful animals. Thanks for sharing.

shamelabboush on October 06, 2009:

Oh, so Las Vegas has another side? I thought it is only a city of Casinos and lights! Guess I was wrong :) Nice photos Peggy.

agusfanani from Indonesia on October 05, 2009:

I didn't know there were white lions, do their white colors caused by albinism (lack of pigments) ?

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on October 05, 2009:

I loved your photos. Sadly, I've been to Vegas 3 times but have yet to visit the Secret Garden. I will go there next time, mark my words! By the way, I wrote a hub on Las Vegas as well, titiled "Viva Las Vegas Vacation." If you get the chance, please have a look! Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 05, 2009:

Hi Candie,

You were the fastest to read and respond. Glad that you liked these pictures of the white lions and tigers, etc. at the Secret Garden in Las Vegas. Next time I go...it's a date! Will meet you there!

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on October 05, 2009:

Since I hit enter twice, I shall also say.. "Take me with you!!!!"

Candie V from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure! on October 05, 2009:

OOh OOh!! I'm first!! Beautiful! Man 0' Man! Those are some magnificent animals!! Beautiful pictures again Peggy!