The largest cactus botanical garden in Nevada is located just outside the Vegas Strip

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  • History of Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Aloe Vera Botanical Garden
  • Things to do at Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Botanical Garden

The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden are located in Henderson, Nevada, about 15 minutes southeast of the Las Vegas Strip. The three-acre garden contains drought-tolerant cacti, ornamentals, and other succulent plants. There are more than 300 species of plants, half of which are cacti, and the others are mostly succulents native to the American Southwest. The rest is desert trees, succulent plants from South America, Australia and the southwestern United States Fresh gourmet chocolate made at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden is produced. Visitors to the factory and garden enjoy preservative-free chocolate while viewing the eclectic cactus-dominated plants.


Related: 9 Perfect Destinations for Chocolate Lovers

History of Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Aloe Vera Botanical Garden

The origins of the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden date back to 1902 when confectioner and entrepreneur Franklin Clarence Mars married Ethel Gale Kisack, the schoolteacher who became Ethel Mars. Franklin used to sell Taylor molasses chips in Minnesota at the time. In 1904, they had a son, Forrest Edward Mars Senior. In 1910 and 1911, Franklin Clarence Mars learned from his mother to make and sell creamy candy from their kitchen in Tacoma, Washington.

In 1923, father and son brainstormed and created the Milky Way bar. Her success led to full-time employees and in 1929, Forrest Edward Mars Senior joined the family business and retired in 1969. But in 1981, Forrest Edward Mars Senior “non-retired” started Ethel M Chocolates in Henderson, Nevada to honor him and the mother employed 16 An original artisanal chocolate recipe for making chocolate. He chose to open the factory in Nevada because laws there allowed the production and sale of chocolate blended with liquor such as bourbon.

RELATED: The Complicated (and Fabulous) History of Central American Chocolate

Things to do at Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Botanical Garden

At the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden, the visitors’ itinerary revolves around chocolate and wine and touring the famous cactus garden.

Chocolate Factory Tours

Tours are open and free to the public at the Chocolate Factory. Visitors can sample fine chocolate and wine tastings, go on self-guided factory aisle tours to see the chocolate-making machines in the production process, and purchase chocolates from the gourmet chocolate shop. At the popular Ethel’s Kitchen, visitors witness how pecan chips, satin cream, peanut butter, caramel, and other sweets are made. At the end of the tours, visitors can pass the Cactus Garden Café and enjoy chocolate, tea, coffee, milk and tea with cupcakes, chocolate brownies, cannoli, strawberry, bark, orange, marshmallow, and pastry.

tasting category

At the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, the tasting of chocolate lasts for 30 and 45 minutes. Tasting includes lessons on the sourcing, refining and production of chocolate, and includes the nuances of chocolate taste and flavor identification. One chocolate tasting is paired with four Trinchero wines and Mimosa cocktails. For wine, cocktail and chocolate tastings, participants must be 21 years or older.

These treats are perfect for a ladies night out or couples looking to spend intimate time together. After any of the tastings, a certificate is awarded to patrons, who also receive 15 percent discounts on same-day purchases of in-factory chocolate products. Tastings take place at 10:30am, 12pm, 1:30pm, 3pm and 4:30pm. Visitors must check in 15 minutes before the scheduled tasting time as late arrivals are not permitted. Tasting events are recorded and attendees can watch them later.

Tasting cost

  • Adults $20
  • 21 year old with wine $30
  • Children under the age of 13 $10
  • Student $15
  • Groups of 15-20 per person $18:50
  • Groups of 20 to 24 people $17

Aloe Vera Botanical Garden

The Cactus Botanical Garden contains Nevada’s largest collection of beautiful cacti and succulent plants as well as desert trees and shrubs from Australia, South America and the southwestern United States, mimicking the English landscape model of natural design. garden plants They were selected for the beauty of the flowers and their adaptability to the climate of southern Nevada. Visitors wander through the botanical garden and burn calories made from chocolate while taking pictures and observing the stunning desert landscape.

During holidays like Easter, Christmas or Valentine’s Day, cactus and desert plants are decorated and lit by over a million lights in colors like pink, white, purple, and red at night. That night light is worth a try. All year-round visitors are welcome to the Cactus Botanical Garden and admission is free.

RELATED: Saguaro National Park: Home of Giant Cactus in Arizona (Vacation Worth)

Chocolates to buy

In the factory, the chocolate varieties are beautifully packaged and can be bought and given as gifts to friends on holidays and special occasions. Business gift chocolate packages cost from $5 to $120 and can be given to customers or employees to show appreciation. On the website, chocolate lovers can choose up to six items and create a customized gift package. The packaging has been meticulously and beautifully crafted for different designs of the produced chocolate. Some of the chocolate flavors available are nuts, fruit, milk, white and dark chocolate, caramel, egg, sea salt, soy, peanut butter, lemon, almond, pecan, and liqueur.

Related: Top 10 Destinations for Chocolate Lovers

food precautions

Since various ingredients are used to make chocolate products, visitors with certain food allergies are advised to read ingredient labels carefully before eating them. Ethel M Chocolate Factory chocolate is meant to be consumed fresh or within 14 to 30 days after purchase. If consumed after 30 days, it is recommended to freeze in an airtight container for up to 4 months. 40 to 45 Fahrenheit is the ideal cooling temperature. Chocolate is best stored in strong-smelling products because it absorbs those odors.

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