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Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens

Visiting Vegas and love chocolate? Visit Ethel M Chocolate Factory!

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 opened a boutique chocolate shop with gourmet premium chocolate after he retired? Ethel M Chocolates opened in 1980 in Henderson as a project to cure his boredom. 


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Last Updated: February 9, 2024

Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Gardens

Ethel M Chocolate Factory is named after his mother and has a free self-guided tour where you can learn more about chocolate making and the traditions of Mars Inc. Until this tour, we had no idea how Mars Inc. was affiliated with Ethel M Chocolates. I learned something new!

Ethel M Chocolate Factory Tours

The Las Vegas chocolate 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, they give out free samples after the tour so you can try some of the best chocolate in Las Vegas. We decided to also pick up a couple of extra chocolate bars at the store for gifts.

What kind of chocolate do you prefer? We’re both dark chocolate people, but we’ll take milk chocolate (or any chocolate) if it’s free.

See More: 25 Free Things to Do in Las Vegas

Ethel M chocolate factory Las Vegas Candy FactoryPin

They also do a Chocolate Tasting Experience! They teach you more about the process, let you taste chocolates, and there’s even a Chocolate and Wine Tasting experience for those over 21. Each tasting runs 30-45 minutes daily 3-5 times a day at assigned times.

Chocolate Tastings are $25 for adults and $15 for children under 10. Chocolate and Wine Pairing is $35. After the tasting, you get 15% off your in-store purchase that day.

They also have special events and menus throughout the year. In February, they run a special Valentine’s Day tasting for two weeks and they have specials during the holidays.


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 are some of my favorites, mainly because they were the most photogenic. They even have a space to have weddings if you’re looking for unique wedding experiences in Las Vegas.

See More: 101 Things to do in Las Vegas Bucket List

Ethel M Cactus GardenPin
ethel m botanical cactus gardensPin

Ethel M Christmas lights 2023

The cactus garden is extra magical during Christmas (and for the two weeks before Valentine’s Day, called Lights of Love, which you can read more about below). Visit at night to see all the cacti lit up with lights. This year’s dates for the Christmas Lights are:

There will be free hot chocolate, free Christmas light glasses for kids, photos with Santa, and prize raffles opening weekend (Nov 3-5, 2023)

It used to be one of our favorite free things to do in Las Vegas during Christmas, but it’s still very affordable, and it all goes to a local non-profit.

Photo Tip: If you want to take photos of yourself with the lights, visit around sunset.

See More: 5 Ways to Have the Perfect Christmas in Las Vegas


Ethel m Lights of Love 2024

In February, the Ethel M Cactus Garden lights up again for Lights of Love, celebrating Valentine’s Day. It’s a great date night or family-friendly activity. This year’s dates are:

During this time, the garden is filled with one million lights. Hot chocolate and sweet treats are available at the Cactus Cafe, or to make it extra special, check out the Valentine’s Tastings for Two, where you get to experience special flavors paired with wine. Tastings start at $30 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under.


Address & General Information

Ethel M Factory Las Vegas
2 Cactus Garden Drive
Henderson Nevada 89014 (map)

Although there aren’t any chocolate factory Las Vegas strip locations, you can do a chocolate tasting on the High Roller. They also have gift shops at the Harry Reid International Airport at gates C, D, and E.

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.

Where to Stay in Las Vegas

Planning Checklist

Have you been on a chocolate factory tour before?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

Follow on Instagram (E + J), YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.

This Post Has 61 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. FengLin

    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. Alicen Morley

    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. Lisa

    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. Change With Us

    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. Betsy Gettis

    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. Shipra Taneja

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

  9. Lauren

    YUM! Chocolate factory, I’m in!

  10. Ashley

    How fun!! This looks like such a great time

  11. Hsiao-Ting

    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. Hsiao-Ting

        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. Joanna Sormunen

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

      1. Joanna Sormunen

        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. Rebekah

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

  14. Anosa

    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. Jordan

    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. Jenn

    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. Jenn

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

  17. Julianna Morlet

    Love this idea!

  18. Jessica Angeles

    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. Chelsea

    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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