A short six minute drive from our recent drive through the Red Rock Canyon scenic loop brought us to Bonnie Springs Ranch, the second rustic Las Vegas destination venue my recently passed sister-in-law, McKay, suggested we check out while we were in town.
My family and I set our sights on Bonnie Springs Ranch’s restaurant because McKay and my brother highly recommended the experience. They guaranteed that we would thoroughly enjoy the cowboy accoutrements of plainly delicious bar-be-que dishes as well as the hometown welcome of the local servers who simply offered an honest style of customer service similar to the low maintenance, no-fuss Great Aunt you would often visit as a child during a last minute road trip.
We enjoyed our meal so much that we found ourselves scrambling to fit in a visit to the rest of Bonnie Springs Ranch’s sights within an hour’s time frame before the venue closed for the evening. The ticket attendant was very kind in that he offered a two-for-one deal for my family of four so that we would not feel cheated out of our small window of visiting the outdoor adventures of Old Nevada. Small town perks, indeed!
Bonnie Springs Ranch is the local’s amusement park of sorts. There is a Western-themed town with a saloon, wax museum, chapel and miner’s restaurant that people can explore and take photos of. An ongoing schedule of live outdoor melodramas are provided for interactive and passive visitors alike. We saw “The Hanging”, which shockingly showed a life-like hanging (with the actors using stuntmen gear, of course, so as to not subject us to a real hanging – whew!). There is a miniature train, operated by a very friendly train conductor, that people can ride so as to explore and view the 100+ acres of this ranch from afar. There’s even a random retrofitted schoolbus-turned-zombie refuge, probably there as insurance for that time in the future when that apocalyptic need for one should arise. We skipped out on the wax museum and the local saloon, opting instead to check out the venue’s petting zoo, where deer and goats walk alongside you. Random animals to see here also include a Canadian Lynx (What’s she doing here? She was adopted!), a wolf, a family of pigs, a wallaby, and a lot of chicken.
We all enjoyed our three hour Bonnie Springs Ranch experience. While it has not been around forever, I later learn that the sights we ultimately visited (petting zoo, small town, etc.) first opened to the public right around the time McKay was born, so I imagined her parents taking her and her siblings there on a regular basis when they were little, and how they must have looked forward to this magical time travel. I loved the thought of how she perhaps wanted us to share in the enjoyment of one of her childhood’s past time. These Californians certainly did loved this great adventure, albeit short, just as much as she did, and will remember Bonnie Springs Ranch fondly whenever we think of McKay.
Bonnie Springs Ranch
16395 Bonnie Springs Road
Las Vegas, NV 89124
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