After a couple of days of Las Vegas casino hopping and listening to the jingle of slot machines, you'll no doubt be ready to escape the Strip for a more peaceful environment, at least for a few hours. Take a fifteen-minute drive out to the posh Vegas suburb of Henderson to the Ethel M Gourmet Chocolate Factory. Visitors there are invited to take a self-guided tour of the facility where video displays and step-by-step placards tell the story of candy making. You can also peer through large glass windows at candies being filled and wrapped in decorative foil. The tour ends at the Chocolate Shoppe, where the first sample is free. Factory tours are offered from 8:30 am until 7 pm daily and the tour is free.
The Ethel M Gourmet Chocolate Company was founded by M&M Candy creator, Forrest Mars after his retirement from Mars, Inc. He named the company after his mother, Ethel. Today, the company is owned by Mars, Inc.
After the tour, make sure to save time to stroll through the adjacent Botanical Cactus Garden, one of the largest of its kind in the United States. The garden features 350 different plant species and includes winding pathways and plentiful benches.