Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens

Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens

A Local Adventure: Tour of Ethel M Chocolates Las Vegas.

Welcome to the Local Adventurer Link Up. The purpose of this weekly link up is to foster gratitude for the place you live, show others great local experiences that they might never find as a tourist, and to inspire others to explore and be present wherever they are. Our local adventure this week was the Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour.


Whether it’s Snickers, Dove, Twix, or M&M’s, we’ve all had Mars chocolate before. But did you know that after Forrest E. Mars, Sr retired, he created Ethel M Chocolates? It opened in 1980 as a project to cure his boredom. This boutique chocolate shop is located in Henderson, NV and focuses on producing gourmet premium chocolates.

Named after his mother, Ethel M Chocolate factory has a free self-guided tour where you can learn more about chocolate making and the traditions of Mars Inc. Until we went on this tour, we had no idea how Mars Inc was affiliated to Ethel M Chocolates. Learned something new! :)

M&M World Las Vegas and the entrance to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour.
The  Ethel M Chocolate Factory Las Vegas.
Local Adventurer Feature: The  Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tour Las Vegas.
Local Adventures Feature: The  Ethel M Chocolate Factory Las Vegas.
Local Adventures Feature: The  Ethel M Chocolate Factory Las Vegas.

The tour is along one hallway where you can see chocolate making in action! There are also videos you can watch to learn the history of Mars and Ethel M. As a bonus, you get a free sample at the end of the tour, but we decided to also pick up a couple extras at the store to taste.

Ethel M Chocolate Las Vegas.
The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.

Outside the building, there is a four acre botanical cactus garden which features over 300 species of desert plants. It’s one of the world’s largest collections of its kind.

Below were some of my favorites, mainly because they were the most photogenic: ;)

The Saguaro Cactus “Giant of the Desert” lives up to 150-200 years.
Saguaro Cactus "Giant of the Desert" at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.
The saguaro skeleton is a rare sight and takes decades to be completely exposed. Due to their unique appearance, they are often used as household decor and is the essence of the southwestern look.
Saguaro Skeleton at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.
The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.
The prickly pear! Every time I hear “prickly pear” it makes me think of “now when you pick a pawpaw or a prickly pear and you prick a raw paw”… Anyone know where this is from? ;)
The Prickly Pear at The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.
Desert Bird of Paradise on the left, Purple Pancake Cactus in the middle, and Red Barrel Cactus on the right:
Desert Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii) on left,  Purple Pancake Cactus (Opuntia santa-rita) in the middle, and Red Barrel Cactus (ferocactus pilosus) on the right.
The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.
Lobivia Huascha at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.
Baby bunny!! We kept chasing him down for photos. SO CUTE!
The Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.Jumping Cholla (Opuntia fulgida var. fulgida) at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.
Local Adventures at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens.

Ethel M Factory Las Vegas:
2 Cactus Garden Drive
Henderson Nevada 89014

Tips for Visiting the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens:

  • A small branch of M&M’s World is attached to the factory.
  • If you plan on buying chocolate to take home, be sure to check out the garden first so they don’t melt while you’re walking around. Ours did, so we ate them!
  • Avoid going early afternoon since they change shifts. Otherwise you’ll miss all the action of running the line.

See our other Las Vegas local adventures here.

Do you have a sweet tooth? What’s your absolute favorite chocolate?

I’m not addicted to chocolates like I am to donuts, but my friend Hsiao recently introduced me to these champagne truffles from London and I think they are heavenly. :)


1. Share your most recent post about a local adventure (i.e., a new area of town or a new food spot you checked out) either in your own hometown or within driving distance. Doesn’t have to be a Thursday post, but mine just happens to be. Unrelated entries or ones linked to your homepage will be deleted.

2. Link back to this site so that others can join in on the fun! Feel free to use the button below if you like!

Local Adventurer

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3. MOST IMPORTANTLY you MUST visit the person’s blog linked up directly before you and leave them a comment on their blog post.

4. If you tweet out your local adventure post with #localadventurer, I will retweet your link!

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xoxo estherJacob

This Post Has 63 Comments

  1. I had no idea Mars candy originated in NV! The bunny is too cute and the garden looks like it was fun to explore. I love fancy chocolates from any kind of local chocolate shop (and by local I mean wherever we are visiting)

    1. I don’t think mars candy originated in NV. I think he just ended up retiring in NV and opening up Ethel M. Not sure where mars candy originated from.. I think I read it dates all the way back to 1800s. Im sure they were all over the place.

        1. no worries! :) I actually didn’t know where they started Mars company so I had to look it up just now. I can’t believe it’s been around for so long.

  2. A visit to the chocolate factory sounds like a dream come true for the 10 year-old me who read Charlie and the Chocolate factory! :D I love Twix and M&Ms but I prefer dark chocolates on most days. And OHMYGOD I’ve never ever seen sucha giant cactus in my life *gasps* so amazed!! It’s nice to spot a little bunny in the wild, I’ve only seen squirrels here.

  3. I don’t have a sweet tooth but I do love touring factories. When I was young there was a Hershey’s chocolate factory near Ottawa, Canada (I lived just across the border in NY). We would go once a summer to this factory, watch the production, and stock up on broken or disfigured OHenry bars. We would freeze them. I’d eat one or two, but love the experience. My brother and sister could eat pounds and pounds of them. So.. I have a fondness for chocolate factories, needless to say, even though I’m not a big fan of chocolate or sweets. This looks like a really interesting factory.

    1. I feel like the Hershey’s one would be really awesome to go too! Were the disfigured ones free or discounted? :) I need to go check it out one of these days!

  4. Looks like a great day.

  5. How cool! I didn’t know that they were connected. I need to start posting about local stuff so that I can link up again

    1. It’s nice that you can knock them both out in one visit! :) Feel free to link up older local adventures too!

  6. I love Ethel M! During Christmas the lights are so beautiful there!

    1. Ooh that does sound lovely! I need to check it out during Christmas! Luckily we live here until at least May.. so we’ll get to see it. :) How long have you lived in Vegas?

  7. so fun! we live really close to hershey, pa, so it’s fun to go on their chocolate factory ride!

    1. Oh that sounds like a lot of fun! I’m sure they have it built up much bigger and nicer. :) I feel like I’ve my parents took me there when I was a little kid.. but I was too young to remember.

  8. Beautiful photos!! That sounds like a dream come true for a chocoholic like me! <3

  9. YUM! Chocolate factory, I’m in!

  10. How fun!! This looks like such a great time

  11. Oh interesting! I haven’t heard about Ethel M Chocolate before. Are they good? We just went to a chocolate museum here in Barcelona! Haha … oh btw prickly pear are suppose to be good for your skin! You should try take one so we can make some facial oil and masks :p

    1. Ooh! That makes me excited!! Hmm.. I’m not a super chocolate connoisseur so I’m sure you might know better. We just ended up getting ones with liqueur.. which then it’s harder to taste the chocolate. I liked the ones you got me from London though! Those were tasty.

      1. yay! i’m glad you like them! yea i never heard of them until i went to london and they were more tastier than i thought they would be!

  12. Chocolate factory is always a great place to visit! And the botanical garden is just geourgeous! I love your pictures!

      1. There are a lot of artisan chocolate factories here in Ecuador and I have had the opportunity to have visited a few. It’s amazing to see the chocolate made by hand. But I have never visited a big factory like this.

  13. aw that baby bunny is so cute!! I want to go to a chocolate factory!

  14. oh wow, i love such a sweet touch that i have a root canal done to sort me out but i am still eating (this time carefully lol)

  15. You guys are the best. Move to San Francisco, let’s be best friends and go on double dates. HAHA! I think I’ve earned the title of creeper status.

    I have a fun post that will definitely go with this! I’ll post it soon!!

    1. Haha not creeper at all. Actually.. funny you say SF. There’s a slight chance we might be moving next May!! :D

  16. this looks so fun! and omg, your photos. i am so jealous. what’s your set up? …or maybe its on your about page. i’m going to go look now. happy 4th!

    1. Thanks so much Jenn! :) RIght now I use a canon 5d mark III, and I think on this trip we brought a 50mm / 1.2. I only have it because I used to do wedding photography for almost a decade.. and when i quit i decided to keep on taking photos for personal reasons. :) happy fourth!! hope you have a great one!

      1. sounds like my dream set up! one day… :) for now i’ll just drool over your beautiful photos!

  17. Love this idea!

  18. I love this! Especially the cactus garden!! You’re making me itch for a visit to Nevada!

    1. Can’t go wrong with learning more about chocolate and getting to eat some at the end! haha :) I love taking photos of cacti so this was perfect! Thanks for reading. :D

  19. What a cool thing to do! I LOVE the cactus garden, that is seriously awesome!

    1. I love cacti a lot lately too! I wonder if it’s pinterest brainwashing me though.. bc i see them everywhere! haha

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