In the midst of a crowded city, sometimes the most relaxing and refreshing experience to be had, is spending a little time in a green, outdoor environment, with some wildlife. In Las Vegas there are several places to observe wildlife, but one of the most peaceful, is right on the strip, at the Las Vegas Flamingo Resort. The habitat lies smack in the center of the resort, and is home to a variety of birds, as well as turtles and fish. Of course, the highlight is the Chilean flamingos. Seeing the Vegas Flamingo flamingos habitat is a pleasant break from the hectic atmosphere of the strip.
The Las Vegas Flamingo Resort is the oldest standing resort on the strip. Originally built in 1946, it was intentionally placed in this location, away from Fremont Street, which was the center of Vegas action prior to that time. The idea was to build something new and unique, more inline with European spa hotels than what was available in the city at that time. The original design sought to satisfy every desire of the guests. Although not initiated by Bugsy Siegel, the infamous mobster was the owner during the final stages of construction, and at the opening.
In December 1946, the Flamingo opened, and lost so much money in the first two weeks, that it closed. Further construction was completed for a Grand Reopening in the spring of 1947, as “The Fabulous Flamingo.” This second opening was a great success. Dubbed “The West’s Greatest Resort Hotel,” it would represent the notion of Las Vegas that would carry on for decades, with big name performers and tuxedo clad staff. With a building cost of about 6 million dollars, it is a far cry from the billion dollar plus resorts build now!
Many resorts have come up around the Flamingo, and it has undergone several changes of ownership. Currently, it is owned by Caesars. Yet the Flamingo endures, with it’s classic feeling, and the wildlife habitat within. The habitat is home to several different animals and species, including rescued brown pelicans, black swans, Chinese pheasants, Mandarin ducks, and a sacred Ibis. Fish include Japanese Koi, and Albino Channel catfish. The highlights though, are the bright pink Chilean flamingos. In the wild, flamingos attain the beautiful red, orange and pink hues of their feathers through a diet rich in Beta Carotene. To maintain this coloring in captivity, a pigmentation is added to the nutrient rich food pellets.
Flamingos are known to be very social, thus they are always found in groups, and this is the case in the habitat. Flamingos in captivity often live as long as 50 years, while in the wild it is more typically 25-30 years. They can grow to as tall as 4 feet, weighing 6 lbs. One other fascinating thing is that their knees bend backwards to what we think of as “normal,” and this allows them to sleep on one leg. Yes, I said sleep on one leg!
The habitat is serene, with grassy areas, trees, streams and waterfalls, as well as a few benches to sit down and relax, and watch the animals. There are informational signs about some of the species that make their homes there. Feeding times are at 08:00 in the morning, and 2:00 in the afternoon, and visitors are welcomed to observe. Entrance is free.
Las Vegas Flamingo Flamingos Habitat
We entered the habitat from one of the back entrances. After stepping off the patio area, this is the scene.
Poking a little fun at myself here. I really wanted the Flamingo habitat to be something special. But, there were no birds in the back section. We stood on the little bridge over the stream searching. Finally, I saw a peek of orange up among the rocks. I assumed the flamingos were up, sleeping in the rocks, the way big cats in the zoo do on hot days. “There,” I exclaimed, pointing ‘them’ out to my friends.
Both companions stepped over to look, and I zoomed in with my camera to get the shot. I did not remove my glasses, which are only needed for distance, so I did not see what was actually on the screen. It was only after I got home and began editing that I found this lovely picture of orange sandbags!
Ducks swim in one of the small ponds in the habitat. On the left of the image, and on the far side of the water, some of the educational signs about the different animals can be seen. There was a little bench on this bridge. I could have sat and watched this group of ducks, in the quiet, for a long time. There were several different varieties coming through.
Finally, we crossed another bridge, and came from behind some trees, and there was a little group of people on a platform. I turned to follow their gaze, and at last there they were…
The Las Vegas Flamingo flamingos, in all of their bright pink glory.
They really are stunning creatures.
They were also a little difficult to catch standing still! Obviously the little bands on their legs enable them to be tracked to ensure all are safe and well. Although, those who care for them truly don’t need the tags.
I realized after we left that I had not taken any pictures of the swans, or the fish which stand out pretty brightly in the ponds. I had flamingos on my mind, and at that time, I had not considered that I would post a gallery of our photos. I did remember to get this shot of these beautiful ladies though, my travel companions, Michelle, on the left, and Vernessa, on the right.
A visit to this little wildlife habitat near the center of the strip, is a nice way to get away from it all, in the busy city. It is beautiful, quiet, and educational if desired. And, as already mentioned, it is completely free. I highly recommend a stop to anyone visiting Las Vegas.
What else can you do at the Flamingo? Of course they have the typical resort amenities- a pool, spa, the casino. There are also 8 restaurants for all tastes and appetites in the resort. Headliner shows include Donny and Marie, and comedy by Piff the Magic Dragon. There are alos a couple things you cannot do anywhere else on the strip! You can attend Burlesque University, and learn to take it off provocatively. You can also have a commemorative brick laid in the tropical gardens, so you are immortalized at the Flamingo.
There are so many options for fun in Las Vegas. If you are looking for more, be sure to check out our article Las Vegas 101 Things to Do. We give you 101 things to do, as promised, and lots of links to get a glimpse several other attractions!