Keepers of the Wild founder Jonathan Kraft has always loved animals. As a child in Holland, he rehabilitated and released injured birds every winter. When he became a magician performing grand spectacles in Vegas, his affinity for animals led him to raise two baby tigers to integrate into his act, then eventually acquire and train more big cats. At first Kraft didn’t see the connection between his chosen career and the prevalence of animal mistreatment, but gradually he began to realize how cramped, stressed, and unhealthy his peers’ animals tended to be. His first steps toward rescue weren’t ideal—he didn’t have the space to give each animal the sprawling habitat it craved. So the next step was Keepers of the Wild a place designed to rescue exotic creatures from inhumane conditions and let them roam both safely and freely.
The center, located on historic route 66, now hosts more than 175 animals that include lions, tigers, leopards, and monkeys. Walking and hiking trails lead to enclosures where cougars lie in the sun or wolves trot between bushes. Plenty of lookouts offer photo ops or a chance to spy on capuchin monkeys’ poker games. Visitors can explore the grounds on their own or hop on a guided tour, where they’re shuttled to various habitats and can watch the predators feed.
The experienced air chauffeurs of Heli USA Airways—an FAA-certified air carrier—chaperone adventurers into the sky aboard luxurious Agusta 119 jet helicopters. Daily departures from the Las Vegas Atlantic Air terminal put each pilot's 10,000 hours of flight experience to use with tours of the Grand Canyon and the Las Vegas strip, during which the captain’s narration illuminates famous landmarks, such as stunning ancient rock formations and the elegant Trump Hotel’s crowning toupee. Overnight and weekend getaway packages grant guests unobstructed views of Vegas’s sprawling luminescence as choppers hover toward the historic Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, a 165-square-mile ranch outfitted with custom-built log cabins, dining facilities, and old-fashioned western entertainments, such as lassoing televisions. Tours are available in several languages, including English, French, Japanese, and Spanish.
To get an idea of what Papillon Salon & Spa does, it helps to see what it looks like. Inside, there are three private spa rooms, a colour room, a styling space, and a boutique, each space a welcoming room allotted for its respective treatment. Stylists helm the salon section and add on a complimentary blow-dry to all their treatments, from haircuts to colouring. That goes for specialty treatments as well; there's a healing touch therapy head massage and styling, a calming treatment that panders to both the hair and the nerves. The spa side features mani-pedis for the nails, facials and full-body exfoliations for the skin, and hot-stone massages for the muscles. And then there's the boutique, which purveys hair and skin products, jewelry, and accessories to help accentuate the finer points of a new look or a boost a coat hanger's appeal.
The soaring peaks and red-rock lava flows of the River Mountains. The snaking gravel paths that form a ghostly memorial to a Hoover Dam railroad. The rippling waters of Lake Mead. At All Mountain Cyclery, these local sights headline daylong bike and kayak tours of the wilderness surrounding Boulder City. Located only a 30-minute drive from the famed Las Vegas strip and 10 minutes from Lake Mead, the cyclery rents out Specialized bikes and sells two-wheelers by big other big names, including KHS and Redline. With a fresh set of pedals beneath their feet, cyclists can confidently cruise down the manmade Bootleg Canyon single track. Gravity tows bikes down the steep path at full throttle, leaving riders free to focus on navigating the challenging terrain and throwing their sneakers at distracting birds.
Vroom across the earth's gold- and diamond-filled acne with today’s off-road Groupon: $55 for a four-hour H1 Hummer tour through two Arizona mountain ranges and desert with Stellar Adventures (a $135 value). Stellar Adventures’ exciting and information-packed Four Peaks Trail Hummer expedition takes intrepid explorers on a picturesque trail through Tonto National Forest, known, like the surface of Mars or a new pair of socks, for its rugged beauty.