HENDERSON (KTNV) — As the calendar changes to February, Valentine's Day is around the corner and one local spot is already showing the love.
The Cactus Garden lights at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory are back on as they were for Christmas, but this time with a little more love in the air.
"This is the best place to come visit for Valentine's Day as we are currently doing our Lights of Love event. We have our cactus garden lit up just like we do for Christmas, but this is now more reds, pinks and whites as far as colors for Valentine's Day," said Phyllis Speirer, Ethel M Chocolates Las Vegas store manager.
Visitors can take a romantic stroll through the 3-acre cactus garden that features cacti, floral displays, and trees that all can thrive in Nevada's desert climate.
"It is just a great place to visit and walk through with your sweetheart, have some chocolate and really enjoy the atmosphere," Speirer said.
More than a million lights are added to the garden to help bring it to life over the holidays, and most of them remain through Valentine's Day.
"You'll see some different decor from Christmas. You'll see some Xs and Os along with different colors and a swan next to our gazebo. And you'll see more of the pinks, reds and whites when it comes to the colors. It's pretty much Christmas transformed into something a little more mellow and a little more romantic," Speirer said.
The skilled gardeners start their holiday cheer in August to get ready for the holiday cactus garden with the lights remaining on in February.
This year, visitors are encouraged to make a reservation to help with crowds amid the pandemic while making a $5 donation before entering the garden to support our local charities.
"It's every night from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. until Valentine's Day. It's the same setup as Christmas with reservations, and it is a $5 donation that goes to Help of Southern Nevada and Three Square.
And with all the beauty outside, make sure not to forget to head inside the factory during your visit.
You can get a first-hand look at the workings of the Ethel M Chocolate Factory while getting a free treat and getting to take home some sweetheart treats of your own.
"This year, we have a new five-piece sampler where you can get your lemon creme, peanut butter and white and dark chocolate hearts. Two of our best-selling pieces are lemon satin crèmes and peanut butter. They are transformed into heart-shaped pieces," Speirer said.
Also new this year at the chocolate factory is an upgraded tasting date night option available with four chocolates paired with matching wines.
"We have our special date night tasting for two: a flight of four chocolates that are paired with four wines. And you get a heart-shaped box of chocolates that you get to take home and share with your loved one," Speirer said.
The Ethel M chocolate factory is an easy trip to make on Sunset Road, and it has called Henderson home since 1981, but even if you've visited before, there is always something new to see and taste.
"We still have our own design your heart like what we have every year. We have our five-piece sampler and the date-night tasting is a must. We have a new selection of wines this year, and it's a more upscale tasting this season with new wines and chocolates.