Jan and I left out on our latest lion safari about 10am this morning, heading for the The Lion Habitat Ranch down in Henderson at the bottom of the Strip.
The park doesn’t open until 11am, in fact, it’s only open from 11 to 3 Friday thru Monday, but we wanted to have enough time to grab a breakfast sandwich somewhere beforehand.
Getting down to the area, we double-checked the Ranch location and then drove another couple of miles down the St,. Rose Pkwy to the Jack in the Box located in the M Spa & Casino there.
Ironically, the location of the M Spa & Casino was what led me to the Lion Habitat Ranch in the first place.. While we were still down at the Verde Valley TT, I read an article online about a guy who had killed himself at the M Spa on Easter Sunday.
A guy named John Noble won a lifetime of free daily buffet meals from the M Casino in 2010, but then in 2013 was banned from the casino because he kept hitting on some of the waitresses and showering them with gifts.
So to get back at the casino, on April 5th, 2015, Easter Sunday, the Casino buffet’s biggest day, John Noble went into the buffet area and blew his brains out all over the buffet, and I mean ALL OVER the buffet.
So after reading the article and wondering where the M Casino was, I found it on Google. But I also notice a place called The Lion Habitat Ranch nearby, and made note to check it out when we were in Las Vegas.
And today was that day.
We got back to the park a little after 11am and found visitors already lining up. Our admission was $20 each with the $5 senior discount, about in line with other small family zoos.
Our first stop was at a picture area. Visitors can sit in a jeep mockup and have their picture taken in front of a glass wall with a large lion right behind you. The lion is up there because a guy is off to the side throwing little chunks of meat to him.
I guess this is the main reason to never tailgate a lion.
Later we saw an example of this when one male decided he wasn’t getting his share of the meat chunks so he whirled around and sprayed. Luckily we were all able to scatter.
This young lady had a lot of good information about the facility and the lions. All the 40 something lions are descendants of Leo, the original MGM lion whose roar you still hear in movie theaters to this day.
In fact, up until a few years ago, the MGM Grand Casino here in Vegas had a lion exhibit, using some of the lions from the ranch here. They actually were transported back and forth every day.
Recently they’ve started adding other animals, including giraffes, ostriches, emus, and a number of parrots, macaws, and cockatoos.
The handler here said that a giraffe’s tongue grows an inch for every foot of height, so a 20 foot tall giraffe will have a 20 inch long tongue. Yikes!
I was able to get a lot of good shots of these big cats.
Back in the corner of this den box, are 5 of the 6 lion cubs born 23 days ago. Unfortunately, the 6th cub died a couple of weeks ago. These six cubs are only the 3rd documented time that 6 cubs have been born alive.
About 12:30 the owners came out and personally fed many of the cats, including the mother of the cubs shown here.
These cub shots were take through a thick pane of glass and were heavily shaded so I had to enhance them somewhat.
Notice how the cubs at this age still have spots, for the same reason that fawns and other animals have them: camouflage in the brush.
Every cat knew what they needed to do to get their meat snacks and were happy to perform.
This is Angel, a 7 month old lion, who only wanted to play. She was just all over the owner
Having visited a lot of small zoos, we were both impressed with the cleanliness of the place and how good all the animals looked. So if zoos and like-places are your thing, the Lion Habitat Ranch should be on your list.
Leaving the area, we headed over to the Sunset Station area to have lunch at an El Pollo Loco, another of our favorite places. We love their marinated grilled chicken, and often buy extra to have later. And we plan on coming back later this week to do that before we leave here next Sunday.
This was my 3 piece meal that was enough to have half to take home for dinner tonight. Yum!
Coming home, we stopped off for some Wal-Mart stuff, and then getting back to the park area, we stopped in at the Roadrunner RV Park right down the road to drop off some Gypsy Journals.
Tomorrow looks to be another nice stay-at-the-rig day. Looking forward to it.
Thought for the Day:
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. – Bertrand Russell
After coffee and taking care of some chores, I got back on my PacBrake problem. I had gone online and found the lubrication instructions on the PacBrake website.
The first thing was to get access to the PacBrake under the bed, and that means removing a lot of our stored stuff out of the way.
So after lifting the bed, and then lifting the engine access cover, I could now get to the PacBrake itself.
The unit is just to the right of the engine and fairly accessible. Here it is from the side.
I started lubing all the points listed in the docs. There was a problem matching up the actual lube points on paper with the actual unit since I’m looking at it from the top, but the docs show it from the side.
There are two lube sites that I’m still unsure about that, which means I’ll have to put in a call to PacBrake on Monday.
I also need to figure out how to manually trigger the PacBrake, first, because I also need to lube the air cylinder’s shaft, and second, to be sure it’s actually working. I think I have a good idea how to trigger the air solenoid manually, or electrically, actually, but I want to be sure.
But however I do it, I know I’ll have to crank up the engine, since the valve itself is air operated. More later.
For dinner, Jan and I had been talking about a good hamburger, and after talking over the obvious, McD, Wendy’s, Five Guy’s, or Smashburger, we decided to give In N Out Burger a try. It also helped that there was one pretty close.
The last (and only) time we ate at one was in February 2008 when we were in San Diego during our first month of RV’ing. We remember liking the burgers, but it was Friday night and the place was full of screaming teenagers. Don’t know if that’s only reason, but whatever the reason, we’ve never been back to one. Until now.
Originally they were only located in California, but in the last few years, they’ve been spreading east. They’re even in Houston now.
We got there a little after 4:30 and found the place pretty busy. Getting in line, the first thing we noticed was the simplified menu board, harking back to the old days of McDonald’s.
Just cheeseburgers, hamburger, fries and drinks. Just how McD started out.
Of course you do apparently have a lot options, with their Secret Menu, and a Super Secret Menu. We both got the Double-Double (two patties, two slices of cheese) from the regular menu, but they also have a 3 x 3, and a 4 x 4 on the Secret Menu if you’re really hungry. We both got the #1 Combo which included fries and a drink.
But one bite told me why In N Out has the reputation it has. This has to be one of the best ‘inexpensive’ burgers I’ve ever tasted. And by ‘inexpensive’ I mean not one of those $7-9 or higher burgers. The Double-Double is only $3.50
And the fries were delicious too. A little research tells the story. They do pretty much everything in-house, or at least in-company.
They have their own meat companies that that fresh grind the patties and deliver them fresh, not frozen, to every location. The same goes for their buns. And like Five Guy’s and others, they do their own fries in-house, starting with the raw potatoes
They also make every burger to order. They say they don’t have microwaves or heat lamps in their locations. And it shows.
The other thing I noticed was how clean the dining area was. They had 3 people running around, wiping things down and cleaning up. In fact within seconds of someone leaving a table, it was cleaned off, wiped down, and ready to go again.
And their drive-thru shows how popular they are.
They have to rope off the area because it winds around through parking lot of the shopping area.
We’ll definitely go back. Often.
Tomorrow we’re going to drive down to Henderson at the bottom of the Strip to visit the The Lion Habitat Ranch. Originally it was the off-duty home of the MGM Grand lions. But when that exhibit was shut down a few years ago, it became their full-time home, along with giraffes and other animals. And they have a bunch of lion cubs just born earlier this month. Sounds like fun.
Thought for the Day:
If laws worked, there would be no crime. – Claire Wolfe