If you haven't stumbled upon it yet, Las Vegas has its own chocolate factory!
Forrest Mars had retired from Mars Chocolate and decided to move to Las Vegas. While enjoying retirement, he needed something to do. So in 1981 he founded Ethel M Chocolates, which produces gourmet chocolates under the Mars chocolate portfolio. Ethel Mars taught her son Forrest how to make gourmet chocolate candy in her kitchen and he continued to perfect it over many years.
Ethel M is intended to remain small so the quality is never compromised so if you visit the factory, this is it. You'll see the store where you can buy chocolate, as well as the factory where it is made. It is a great experience for both children and adults to see how the chocolate is made. The best part, this is all free!
Last year they also started chocolate tasting events. Now they have them everyday and every hour from 10am-7pm. You can reserve a seat or walk in. You can find more information here. They also share how chocolate is made, which is very interesting. The class lasts 30-45 minutes. You also can pick the tasting menu as well.
Forrest Mars Sr. intertwined his two passions, chocolate and gardening, when creating the factory. Cacti gardening was a natural extension of his interests resulting in the Botanical Cactus Garden. "The cactus garden is Nevada's largest and one of the world's largest collections of its kind", according to the website. They decorate it for various season so in the winter make sure to check out the garden with all of the lights!
Last but not least, the chocolate! While it is a great place to visit, you also will enjoy the chocolate. They have an area set up where you can taste a few samples before purchasing them. Once you've tasted Ethel M chocolate, other chocolate will never be the same. They also make great gifts!
So if you haven't stopped by the chocolate factory yet, make sure to add it to your list!