Lions have always been important to MGM, from the first Leo that roared to open and close a generation of classic MGM films. Lions also guard the entrance to the company's luxurious Las Vegas Resort and Casino, located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. In keeping with that theme, the MGM's 5000-square foot Lion Habitat allows visitors to gaze at some of the resort's 31 lions (20 females and 11 males) through 1½ inch thick glass while the animals sleep, eat, and play throughout the day.
The Lion Habitat, which was added in 1999, is open daily from 11am to 10pm. It's located just off the hotel's Strip entrance and admission is free. Approximately 12,000 visitors come to see the lions each day.
When they're not "working" at the Habitat, the MGM lions reside on an 8.5-acre ranch, located 12 miles from the Strip. Lions are on display for six hours at a time and the felines are bathed and blown dry before being transported in a special air-conditioned transport to "work" on the Strip. In charge of their care is noted feline expert and conservationist, Keith Evans, who has more than 30 years' experience working with large cats.