The Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage Las Vegas is the brainchild of Siegfried & Roy, who together designed a place to share their love for animals with visitors. Nothing like this exists elsewhere in Vegas. Rare white lions of Timbavati and slinky black panthers pad around in this tropical jungle lair, while leopards laze on heavy branches overhead. Within this same habitat, bottlenose dolphins arc out of the water and splash down in front of bemused royal white tigers. There’s something in the water, too. Last year, a boy leopard named Java and girl dolphin named Bella were both born at The Mirage. Planners can arrange unforgettable opening events for up to 650 people in this outdoor animal care facility. Attendees are able to interact with both the land and marine mammals under the supervision of highly educated tour guides, while learning fascinating facts about these beautiful, mythical creatures. But the action starts before groups even walk through the front door. Welcome to the Jungle Recently renovated and completely transformed, the Mirage’s iconic 60-ft Volcano attraction literally explodes with excitement to welcome your group with an all new audiovisual spectacle. Following that, they’ll be wowed upon entering the lobby set inside a Polynesian paradise with 60-ft palm trees, rushing waterfalls, and a new 53-ft aquarium with hundreds of colorful sea creatures including sharks and stingrays. What are the benefits for planners? These exotic glimpses into wet misty jungles and the underwater worlds of planet earth enliven and envelope the senses like nothing else. And they’re naturally soothing to help soften any stress felt by anxious attendees. After the spiffy $110 million renovation, The Mirage’s 3,044 rooms and suites are exceedingly modern yet comfy, evoking smiles and aaahs upon entering. Rich dark woods juxtaposed with soft metals are accented with neutral tones and splashes of warm color, while plump cushy beds await with feather pillows and comforters. The same creative flair found throughout The Mirage’s worldly attractions is also brought to the table at restaurants like Japonais, ranked among the world’s top 100 dining establishments. Cascading water provides a soothing backdrop while eating from the mercurial French/Japanese menu combining sushi, fresh seafood and Provençal cooking styles. Le Quack Japonais, for example, is a whimsical take on Peking duck served with tangy hoisin sauce and sweet mango chutney. The neighboring lounge can host cocktail receptions for up to 150 people, in a tropical haven including thick palm foliage, water elements and a glowing 110-ft “fire wall” created out of glass. Not a lot of theming required, here. Likewise, Kokomo’s restaurant is another Nat-Geo setting, situated within a tropical rainforest milieu with more waterfalls and a shimmering lagoon. The menu is classic surf & turf with a few surprises like Australian lobster tail, which plays well with a black angus bone-in ribeye. While you’re here, a “Lavender Crush” exfoliation scrub at The Spa at The Mirage should be squeezed into even the busiest meeting schedule. It completes the experience here, fulfilling the resort’s mission to reconnect us with our place in the natural world. For another type of reconnection, see page 43 about the interactive Beatles REVOLUTION Lounge, and Cirque du Soleil’s incredible LOVE show featuring your fave Fab Four tunes. For big events, no less than 170,000 sf of meeting space includes the 90,000-sf, columnless Events Center and 40,000-sf Grand Ballroom. All of it can be dressed up with a lush tropical jungle theme, naturally.