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Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden is in Henderson, Nevada about 15 minutes southeast of the Las Vegas Strip. The three-acre garden has drought-tolerant and ornamental cacti species and other succulents. There are over 300 plant species half of them are cacti, and the others are succulents mostly indigenous to American Southwest. The rest are desert trees, and succulents from South America, Australia, and Southwestern U.S. Freshly crafted gourmet chocolates are produced at Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden. Visitors to the factory and garden enjoy the preservative-free chocolate while seeing the eclectic, cacti-dominated vegetation.

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History Of Ethel M Chocolate Factory And Botanical Cactus Garden

Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden's origins date back to 1902 when confectioner and businessman Franklin Clarence Mars, married Ethel Gale Kissack, a school teacher who became Ethel Mars. Franklin used to sell Taylor's Molasses Chips in Minnesota then. In 1904, they had a son Forrest Edward Mars Senior. In 1910 and 1911 Franklin Clarence Mars learned from his mother to make cream candies from their kitchen in Tacoma Washington and sell them.

In 1923 father and son brainstormed and created the Milky Way bar. Its success led to hiring full-time staff and in 1929, Forrest Edward Mars Senior joined the family business and retired in 1969. But in 1981 Forrest Edward Mars Senior 'un-retired' started the Ethel M Chocolates in Henderson, Nevada to honor his mother and used her 16 original craft chocolate recipes to craft the chocolates. He chose to open the factory in Nevada because laws there allowed for the production and sale of chocolates blended with liquor like Bourbon.

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Things To Do At Ethel M Chocolate Factory And Botanical Cactus Garden

At Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden, the visitors' itinerary revolves around chocolate, wine, and touring the famous cactus garden.

Chocolate Factory Tours

Tours are open and free to the public at the chocolate factory. Visitors can sample premium chocolate, taste wines, go on self-guided factory aisle tours to see the chocolate-making machines in the production process, and buy chocolate at the gourmet chocolate shop. At the iconic Ethel's Kitchen, visitors witness how pecan brittles, satin creams, peanut butter and caramels, and other confectioneries are made. At the end of the tours, visitors can pass by the Cactus Garden Café and enjoy chocolate, tea, coffee, milk, and tea with cupcakes, chocolate brownies, cannoli, strawberry, bark, orange, marshmallow, and pretzels.

Tastings Class

At Ethel M Chocolate Factory, chocolate tastings last 30 and 45 minutes. Included in the tastings are lessons on chocolate sourcing, refining, and production, and include the nuances of chocolate tastes and flavor identification. One chocolate tasting is paired with four Trinchero wines and mimosa cocktails. For wine, cocktail, and chocolate tastings, participants have to be 21 years and older.

These tastings are ideal for ladies' night or couples desiring intimate time together. After either of the tastings, a certificate is awarded to patrons, who also get 15 percent discounts on same-day purchases of chocolate products within the factory. Tastings are done at 10:30 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm, 3 pm, and 4:30 pm. Visitors must check in 15 minutes before the scheduled tasting time since late arrivals are not permitted. Tasting events are recorded and attendees can watch them later.

Tastings Cost

  • Adult $20
  • Adult 21 years with wine $30
  • Children under 13 years $10
  • Student $15
  • Groups of 15 to 20 Per Person $18:50
  • Groups of 20 to 24 Per Person $17

Botanical Cactus Garden

Botanical Cactus Garden has Nevada's largest collection of beautiful cacti species, succulent plants plus desert trees, and shrubs from Australia, South America, and Southwestern U.S. It mimics the English landscape model of naturalistic design. The garden's plants were selected for their floral beauty and adaptability to the Southern Nevada climate. Visitors stroll the botanical garden and burn chocolate calories while taking photos and observing the scenic desert landscape.

During the holidays like Easter, Christmas, or Valentine's Day, the cacti and desert plants are decorated and lit up with over a million lights with colors like pink, white purple, and red at night. That night lighting is worth experiencing. All year-round visitors are welcome to the Botanical Cactus Garden and entry is free.

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Chocolates To Buy

At the factory, chocolate varieties are beautifully packaged and can be bought and given out as gifts to friends on holidays and special events. Business gift chocolate packages cost from $5 to $120 and can be given to clients or employees to show appreciation. On the website, chocolate lovers can select up to six varieties and prepare a customized gift package. The packaging is keenly and beautifully crafted for the different chocolate craft designs produced. Some chocolate flavors available are nut, fruit, milk, white and dark chocolates, caramel, eggs, sea salt, soy, peanut butter, lemon, almond, pecan, and liquor.

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Dietary Precaution

Since diverse ingredients are used to make chocolate products, visitors with certain food allergies are advised to keenly read the ingredients labels before eating them. Ethel M Chocolate Factory chocolates are meant to be consumed fresh or within 14 to 30 days after purchase. If they are to be consumed after 30 days, it's advisable to freeze them in an airtight container for up to 4 months. From 40 to 45 Fahrenheit is the ideal refrigeration temperature. It's best to store the chocolates from products with a strong odor as they absorb those odors.