M. Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden

We had some unexpected issues with our new trailer (which honestly isn’t unexpected), and we have found ourselves suddenly homeless in Las Vegas! Well, ok- we’re not living on the streets (though we’ve seen plenty of people who are, which has sparked some interesting conversations with my young children). We found a relatively cheap, safe hotel right next to the strip and we’ve been doing a little exploring while we wait for our home to be fixed!

We’ve visited parks, walked around a marshy Nature Reserve, drove through beautiful Red Rock Canyon, and eaten more food than we should! In Henderson, Nevada (just a little Southeast of Vegas), you can visit the Ethel M. Chocolate factory. They also have the largest botanical cacti collection in the state, and so of course we had to take a look!

I took my kids to the chocolate factory while my husband was working. So, by myself. 6 kids aged 11 and under and one mom. Not going to lie- it’s always a little daunting when we head out on these excursions but I always feel so capable and awesome when we’re through! And I’m glad we got to experience this unique little place! It helps that I have awesome, helpful older children, too ;).

Right next to the factory you can stroll on paved walkways and see a huge variety of cacti. My little 3 year old was pointing to each sign (which, there are a million! Ok, not a million, but it sure felt like it after reading each and every single one ;) ).

He wanted to hear the names of each and every plant. My 5 year old loved the name of the Purple Pancake Cactus. It was actually super cool to see all the variety of cacti! Some are ones I’ve seen in the wild and never knew what they were actually called. Others were varieties of cacti I had never seen- and they were all beautiful and interesting and unique!

I didn’t take a picture of the street signs, but as you walk through the garden, each pathway has a cute chocolate name, like coconut cove (with a picture of a coconut chocolate cream), the peanut butter pavilion, or caramel de sal (I know I’m messing these up and can’t remember the exact names, and I wish I had taken more pictures! But I was herding 6 little ones by myself, so I was a little preoccupied in the best way possible ;) ).

When you finish touring the garden, you can go inside for a little self-guided tour! A sweet lady was handing out free samples, which of course delighted my children. We then got to walk down a large aisle with glass windows that showed into the process of making the chocolates. You can see the giant mixers and cooling tables, and if you’re lucky, you can actually see some workers in action! We got to see one man sorting through what I’m assuming is cacao nibs (based on a previous chocolate tour at a different factory I attended). We also got to watch a batch of caramels go through the “enrobing” process- where they go under a velvety curtain of chocolate and come out as a beautiful chocolate covered caramel!

At the end of the tour, of course there is the iconic giant chocolate wall, which we utilized for a photo op.

And then the delightful gift shop! The chocolate is definitely not cheap, but is anything in Vegas? ;) We’ve only sampled a handful of the chocolates we bought, but they’ve all been super creamy and rich and tasty! I HIGHLY recommend the lemon chocolate bars. I think that was definitely the favorite among my family!

Overall, the experience was definitely a fun one for my kids- and it’s completely free! Well, until you get to the gift shop that is…. ;)

I guess what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas!

    Camille Hoffmann
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! camille@dvo.com

  •   https://www.forkandbeans.com/2018/05/24/rice-cake-flowers/
  •   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/633387440677605/
  •   https://www.pinterest.com/pin/140806231507990/
  •   https://holidappy.com/holidays/Easter-Veggie-Tray-Ideas
  •   https://www.freutcake.com/easter/healthy-easter-toddler-snack-board/

Subscribe to Cook'n Premium and get newsletter articles like this each week!

blog comments powered by Disqus