Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden


Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat
The Mirage Hotel & Casino has a rich ‘wildlife history’. It was the home of Siegfried & Roy’s Magic Show from 1990 to 2003. They have Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden where you can see Black Panthers, Golden Tigers, Leopards, Lions, White Lions and White Tigers. The Mirage created this big cat conservation in a tropical atmosphere surrounded by palm trees.

Before you enter the Secret Garden you walk through the Dolphin Habitat. This 2.5-million-gallon Dolphin Habitat is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Its purpose is to provide a healthy and nurturing environment for dolphins, as well as to educate the public about marine mammals and their environment – including their role in the ecosystem. Four connected pools, an artificial coral reef system and sandy bottom replicate the dolphins’ natural environment. Most of the dolphins were born here; the remaining few were relocated from other facilities. We visited Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat multiple times and were incredibly impressed on each visit.

At the Dolphin Habitat you can join a ‘Trainer for a Day program’. Your day will start at 9:45 a.m. and the program ends at 4 p.m. You’ll get the chance to swim and play with the Dolphins, feed and train them under supervision of one of the regular Dolphin trainers of the facility.

When your ‘Trainer for a Day program’ ends you’ll receive a souvenir package since you’re not allowed to bring your own camera.

Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat opening hours:
Weekday Hours
11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sat. & Sun. Hours
10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Last admission is at 5:00 p.m.

Hours of operation are subject to change due to special events or inclement weather. For the most up to date hours of operation please call 702.791.7188.

(While visiting the Secret Garden we attempted to find more information about what exactly happened to Roy Horn during that one unfortunate show. This is the complete story we found on Wikipedia)

Siegfried Fischbacher (born June 13, 1939, Rosenheim, Bavaria) and Roy Horn (born October 3, 1944, Nordenham, Oldenburg) were born and raised in Germany. They immigrated to the United States and became naturalized citizens.

Siegfried is a traditional magician, or illusionist, while Roy grew up among exotic animals. They met in 1959 when they both found work on a German ocean liner. Siegfried was a cabin steward and Roy a waiter. Siegfried began performing magic for some of the passengers, eventually being allowed to have his own show, with Roy as his assistant. Unknown to the crew, Roy had smuggled a cheetah named Chico aboard the vessel (Penn Jillette suggested on his radio show that it was an ocelot). Roy had come to know Chico from his frequent visits to the Bremer Zoo in Germany. After developing their show they were given an engagement in Las Vegas. In 1972 they received an award for the best show of the year. In 1990 they were hired by Steve Wynn, the manager of The Mirage, for an annual guarantee of $57.5 million. In 2001, they signed a lifetime contract with the hotel. The duo has appeared in around 5,750 shows together, mostly at The Mirage. Their long-running illusion and magic act closed October 3, 2003 (Roy’s birthday) after Roy was severely injured by Montecore, one of the act’s tigers, during a performance.

According to the 2000 Becky Celebrity 100 List, Siegfried & Roy were then the 9th-highest-paid celebrities in the U.S., coming in just behind motion picture producer and director Steven Spielberg. They have worked together for almost five decades, sharing a residence in Las Vegas.

In 1999 they took Darren Romeo as a protégé, sponsoring and training him.

For their contribution to live theater performance, Siegfried & Roy were honored in 1999 with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7060 Hollywood Boulevard.

In 2002, Siegfried & Roy were honored as Grand Marshals in the German-American Steuben Parade in New York City. Tens of thousands of fans greeted the magicians on Fifth Avenue and celebrated their German heritage.

Horn’s Injury
On October 3, 2003, during a show at The Mirage, Roy Horn was bitten on the neck by a seven-year-old male tiger named Montecore. Crew members separated Horn from the tiger and rushed him to the only Level I trauma center in Nevada, University Medical Center. Horn was critically injured and sustained severe blood loss. While being taken to the hospital, Horn said, “Montecore is a great cat. Make sure no harm comes to Montecore.”

Horn was in critical condition for several weeks thereafter, and was said to have suffered a stroke and partial paralysis. Doctors removed one-quarter of his skull to relieve the pressure of his swelling brain during an operation known as adecompressive craniectomy. The portion of skull was placed in a pouch in Horn’s abdomen in the hope of replacing it later. Horn was eventually transferred to UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California for long-term recovery and rehabilitation.

As of 2006, Horn was talking and walking (with assistance from Fischbacher). To host Pat O’Brien on the television news program The Insider, he commented about his daily rehabilitation, “They are slave drivers over there. You’d think they are the KGB from Russia.”

Montecore had been trained by Horn since he was a cub; he had performed with the act for six years. Fischbacher, appearing on the Larry King interview program, said Horn fell during the act and Montecore was attempting to drag him to safety, as a mother tigress would pull one of her cubs by the neck. Fischbacher said Montecore had no way of knowing that Horn, unlike a tiger cub, did not have fur and thick skin covering his neck and that his neck was vulnerable to injury. Fischbacher said if Montecore had wanted to injure Horn, the tiger would have snapped his neck and shaken him back and forth.

Former Mirage owner Steve Wynn (who hired the duo in 1990) told Las Vegas television station KLAS-TV the events were substantiated as described by Fischbacher. According to Wynn, there was a woman with a “big hairdo” in the front row who, he says, “fascinated and distracted” Montecore. The woman reached out to attempt to pet the animal, and Horn jumped between the woman and the tiger.

According to Wynn, Horn said, “Release, release,” attempting to persuade Montecore to let go of his arm, and eventually striking the tiger with his microphone. Horn tripped over the cat’s paw and fell on his back; stagehands then rushed out and jumped on the cat. It was only then, said Wynn, that the confused tiger leaned over Roy and attempted to carry Horn off the stage to safety. Wynn said that although the tiger’s teeth inflicted puncture wounds that caused Horn to lose blood, there was no damage to his neck. Stagehands then sprayed Roy and Montecore with a fire extinguisher to separate the two.

Montecore was put into quarantine for ten days in order to ensure he was not rabid, and was then returned to his habitat at The Mirage. While Horn has requested that Montecore not be harmed, the incident may augur the end of exotic animal shows in which there are no barriers between tigers and audience members. Some animal rights activists, many of whom oppose the use of wild animals in live entertainment, sought to use the incident as a springboard for publicity, though few have ever accused the Siegfried & Roy show of mistreating animals.

The injury to Roy Horn prompted The Mirage to close the show, and 267 cast and crew members were laid off. According to the Las Vegas Advisor, The Mirage suffered financially, not just from the loss of $50+ million in annual ticket sales, but from having to forgo untold millions in sales of food, beverages, hotel rooms and the casino’s gambling winnings. An MGM Mirage spokesman said losing Siegfried & Roy is a bigger hit to the Mirage brand than to its finances, because the entertainers are “practically the faces” of the hotel, and finding a new hotel brand or identity will be difficult.

In February 2009, the duo staged a “final” appearance with Montecore as a benefit for The Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. This performance was recorded for broadcast on ABC television’s 20/20 program. The 10-minute program featured one of Siegfried & Roy’s signature illusions, in which Siegfried and Montecore (now 12 years old) magically switched places from within separate, locked transparent enclosures.

On April 23, 2010, the duo officially said farewell to show business. “The last time we closed, we didn’t have a lot of warning,” said longtime manager Bernie Yuman. “This is farewell. This is the dot at the end of the sentence.”


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