Ethel M Chocolate Factory’s Holiday Cactus Garden Celebrates 20th Anniversary

The opening of the Ethel M chocolate factory’s Holiday Cactus Garden is the unofficial kick-off to the holiday season in Las Vegas. Yep, it’s that time of year again.

Say "drought-tolerant ornamentals" five times, fast.

Say “drought-tolerant ornamentals” five times, fast.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the popular attraction, featuring 300 species of plants, all adorned with some serious holiday bling.

There are half-a-million lights used in the eye-popping display. Yes, we counted.

One of the cacti on display is called Beaver Tail, which we're fairly sure is redundant.

One of the cacti on display is called Beaver Tail, which: 1) which we’re fairly sure is redundant, and 2) seems a little racy for a family-friendly attraction.

About 100,000 visitors take in the three-acre Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden each year.

The first time we visited, we sort of expected it to be lame, but we loved it. You might even say it’s enchanting, and we’re not typically a big fan of enchantment. We make an exception in the case of the Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden.

It takes six weeks to put up the lights, and it’s worth every minute of labor. Especially since it’s not our labor. (Imagine how many Band-Aids they must go through!)

Because Mother Nature is involved, the holiday display is never the same from year-to-year.

Unrelated: We greatly enjoy saying the word "prickly."

Unrelated: We greatly enjoy saying the word “prickly.”

The Ethel M chocolate factory is about 15 minutes from The Strip. Unless you go by boat, then it’s going to take much, much longer.

Throughout the year, Ethel M invites guests to take a free, self-guided tour of its chocolate factory. Hello, free samples. Get a taste here.

Guests can view the lights with 3-D glasses that makes them twinkle. The glasses are available in the gift shop.

Guests can view the lights with 3-D glasses that makes them twinkle. The glasses are available in the gift shop. There may also be some chocolate in the gift shop. FYI.

The Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden display runs through Jan. 1, 2014, and it’s free. The lights can be viewed from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. nightly.

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