10 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Nevada

Updated On October 7, 2023

Nevada is known as a place to come and play.

Whether you’re more interested in the casinos or you prefer outdoor adventures, Silver State has a variety of activities.

This is great news for those who call Nevada home as well as anyone who is looking to travel through.

Outside of the most visited city, Vegas, there are a whole lot of things to do and see within the borders.

Fly with us across Nevada as we discover the best zoos and aquariums in the state!

10 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Nevada

1. Lion Habitat Ranch

Just a short drive from the southern California border is a lion habitat to remember.

Located in Henderson, there’s a space for these native African beasts that have been around since 1989.

However, they aren’t the only animals to call the ranch home.

There are also giraffes here that are ready for visitors to feed them.

If you’re feeling bold, there’s also lion feeding at a much higher price point.

Coming to the Lion Habitat Ranch helps provide care and safety for the lions, and giraffes, for years to come. 

If this sounds like something the big cat lover in your life would love, the ranch is open Thursday through Monday from 11 am to 3 pm. 

2. Shark Reef Aquarium 

Since opening day in 2000, millions of people have poured in to see the aquatic life at Shark Reef Aquarium.

As all things in Las Vegas do, this aquarium puts on a show.

To start with, it has one of the biggest tanks on the continent with 1.3 million gallons of water inside.

It may not be a huge aquarium overall, but since it’s part of a hotel, Shark Reef is quite impressive.

In total, it takes just under an hour to see everything.

Of course, you may be interested in spending more time in the underwater tunnel.

Get close to predators of the dep daily from 10 am through 8 pm. 

3. Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

Conveniently on the Vegas Strip is a 15-acre plot with some boldly colored wildlife.

Chilean flamingos are the stars of the show but they aren’t alone.

Koi, sturgeon, albino catfish, turtles, hummingbirds, and brown pelicans spend their days taking in sounds from streams and waterfalls.

It’s possible that this is the most peaceful place in the city. 

You could start your day off with flamingos since the habitat opens at 7 am and closes at 8 pm daily.

This is one of the few free things to do in Las Vegas, and it would really be worth the while to learn something.

Arrive before 2 pm and listen to the tales of the keeper as they share more info about the habitat.

4. Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary

For many reasons, there are animals every year who need help.

Unfortunately, some of those animals can not be released back into the wild from whence they came.

Luckily, there are places like Animal Ark in Reno that can provide long-term care for those in need.

At this facility, visitors can expect to have a view of tigers, cheetahs, bears, wolves, bears, raccoons, tortoises, porcupines, and more.

Animal Ark closes for the winter but is open from March through November.

Hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am until 4:30 pm.

If this sounds like a great way to spend a day, bookmark their event calendar.

There are all kinds of animal-related activities the sanctuary plans throughout the year. 

5. Silverton Aquarium

Another casino attraction, this aquarium has something no other place like it in the city has.

This 117,000 tank features sharks, stingrays, tropical fish, and mermaids.

Yes, mermaids are real and they can be found at the Silverton Casino.

A side tank called Mermaid Lounge has jellyfish that look extra cool with LED lights surrounding them. 

A great benefit of the attention mermaids bring to the aquarium is the Save Our Beach Foundation.

The non-profit works to improve beaches and the aquatic life that depends on them. 

No need to book a ticket.

The aquarium is open to onlookers 24/7 and is free to check out.

Show times vary, depending on the day.

Check back for feeding and show schedules online. 

6. Sierra Nevada Zoological Park

It takes as much as a normal weighted person to feed the carnivores being cared for at the Sierra Nevada Zoological Park each day.

Points like this are a great reason to visit this non-profit.

They have a lot of mouths to feed on a very limited budget.

The park has 40 species of animals, such as goats, big cats, lemurs, peacocks, tortoises, and exotic birds.

SNZP will entice the public with regular events full of education and animal feeding. 

Add a little exoticism to your daily life from 10 am until 5 pm.

Unfortunately, the park closes annually throughout the winter but interested patrons can still donate online. 

7. Nevada Bugs and Butterflies

Some people get a big bugged out by the creepy crawlies.

Not everyone, though.

At Nevada Bugs and Butterflies, there is a group of people who are on a mission to support this necessary part of nature.

On-site, there are hands-on experiences where you get to see the bugs from a different perspective.

When you leave the enclosure, you walk away with a priceless education about the environment. 

In addition to the facility, there are events throughout the year to promote extra learning. 

8. SeaQuest Las Vegas

Two million patrons check out Las Vegas’ SeaQuest each year.

The main reason why is the whimsical experience the whole family gets when they arrive.

They basically bring the whole planet to live in one place.

SeaQuest touches on rainforests, deserts, a fishing village in Iceland, the Amazon River, and even the Great Wall of China.

There’s even a 36,000-gallon tank for snorkeling.

Looking for the boldest birthday party idea? Celebrate here! SeaQuest even provides virtual field trips.

Go on an aquatic adventure daily from 11 am to 7 pm.

Purchase tickets online and get 25% off.

9. Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary

Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary sits on seven acres and provides a refuge for animals who have been abandoned.

Currently, there are 500 birds and non-flying creatures that are intimately cared for here.

In addition to teaching visitors about the animals they care for, staff also stresses the importance of ownership.

They teach that when you take a member of wildlife into your home, it’s a lifetime commitment.

This is especially a big deal when it becomes a pet that is not normally domesticated.

These types of animals require special attention and nutrition, so they can’t easily be put out.

These are lessons that everyone can learn something from.

Vegas locals can be a bigger part of the equation through volunteering. 

Get closer to nature Wednesday through Sunday from 9 am until 2:30 pm. 

10. Camel Safari

Ever thought about riding a camel?

At this zoo, you can.

Safari tours are two hours long and are guided.

You can also feel the wind through your hair with an ATV safari ride. 

All rides include a zoo entrance. 

Perhaps the cutest thing to do at Camel Safari has some one-on-one time with an otter.

If you have had the time of your life with all these animals, why not have your wedding here? 

Talk about delighting guests.

Speaking of making sure everyone has a good time, the staff puts on several public activities throughout the year.

Aside from 30 camels, also hanging out at Camel Safari are sloths, porcupines, sand cats, New Guinea singing dogs, alpacas, llamas, and otters. 

10 Best Zoos & Aquariums in Nevada – Summary Table

Zoos & AquariumsAddress
Lion Habitat Ranch382 Bruner Ave, Henderson, NV 89044, USA
Shark Reef Aquarium 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA
Flamingo Wildlife Habitat3555 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary1265 Deerlodge Rd Reno, Nevada 89508
Silverton Aquarium3333 Blue Diamond Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89139, USA
Sierra Nevada Zoological Park10200 N Virginia St, Reno, NV 89506, USA
Nevada Bugs and Butterflies413 Matterhorn Blvd, Reno, NV
SeaQuest Las Vegas3528 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas, NV 89169, USA
Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary8103 Racel St, Las Vegas, NV 89131, USA
Camel Safari2725 River Cliff Rd, Bunkerville, NV 89007, United States

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the most popular attraction in Nevada?

If you know anything about Nevada, the Las Vegas Strip trumps any other attraction.

People come from around the world to check out this famous place and, of course, play a few slot machines.

While gambling is what helped build Las Vegas, it isn’t what the entire state is made of.

If you’re going through Nevada, even if it’s just for the strip, be sure to check out some of the other local things to do before heading home.

Are there outdoor activities in Nevada?

The Battle Born State may be heavy with desert, but that doesn’t mean it’s dry and miserable.

Nevada has 13 state parks, three historic trails, two national parks, and a national monument.

That means there are so many things to do that will allow you to get some exercise as well as see some sights.

There’s plenty more where that came from.

Is it too hot to be outside for long in Nevada?

Nevada has a misconception that is hard to shake.

Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert but it’s just one part of the state.

There’s actually more of a temperature mix.

Technically, Nevada is the aridest state but there are also grasslands and mountains.

If the heat is a problem for your group, be sure to plan strategically to travel in the spring.

What's the most popular aquarium in Nevada?

Probably not surprising that the most attended aquarium in the state is in Las Vegas.

It also just so happens to not only be on the strip but also in one of the better-known hotels.

Shark Reef Aquarium enjoys the comfort of being accessible to anyone staying in Mandalay Bay or anyone nearby.

Considering 32 million visitors come through the city each year, it’s a logical fun thing to do.

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