Bonnie Springs Ranch

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Bonnie Springs Ranch
LocationBlue Diamond, Nevada, USA
Coordinates36°03′34″N 115°27′15″W / 36.059405°N 115.454048°W / 36.059405; -115.454048Coordinates: 36°03′34″N 115°27′15″W / 36.059405°N 115.454048°W / 36.059405; -115.454048
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Bonnie Springs Ranch
LocationBlue Diamond, Nevada, USA
Coordinates36°03′34″N 115°27′15″W / 36.059405°N 115.454048°W / 36.059405; -115.454048Coordinates: 36°03′34″N 115°27′15″W / 36.059405°N 115.454048°W / 36.059405; -115.454048

Bonnie Springs Ranch is a western-themed tourist attraction near Blue Diamond, Nevada. The ranch includes horseback riding, a zoo, an old western town, a miniature train, a 46-room motel, and a restaurant.


The property was first established in 1843, as a stopover for wagon trains going to California down the Old Spanish Trail. In 1846, General Fremont, on his way to California, stopped at what is now Bonnie Springs to gear up for his trip through Death Valley.[1][2]

Before the ranch was constructed, it was on Paiute Indian territory, where their homes were moved into small enclaves in the rocky cliffs to the west of the present day ranch.

Present day[edit]

In 1952, Bonnie McGaugh (born 1922) purchased 115 acres of land in Red Rock Canyon, 20 miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada. The property consisted of a broken-down bar and a three-room house. Bonnie re-opened the bar and operated it without electricity for 12 years.[3]

In 1954, Bonnie married Al Levinson (1924-1994[4]). In 1958, they opened Bonnie Springs on the property.[5]

A restaurant was opened in 1964.[6]The bar/restaurant is known for a collection of neckties that hang from the ceiling, with dollar bills pinned to them. Al Levinson had decided on a policy against ties in the restaurant after he had been turned away from a restaurant at the Desert Inn casino for wearing a bolo tie. From that point on, he would take each tie that came into his restaurant and pinned it to the ceiling. People later started pinning money to the ties. On September 12, 2001, the money from the ceiling -- a total of $18,744 -- was donated to the Blue Diamond Volunteer Fire Department.[2]

In 1972, construction began on Old Nevada,[2] the name given to a series of buildings meant to replicate an old western town. The buildings are made of weathered wood, with possible residual moisture that remains in the wood. Old Nevada includes souvenir shops, a wax museum, a western-style saloon, a small schoolhouse, and staged gun fights.

In October 2008, the ranch was temporarily named "Bonnie Screams" in celebration of Halloween, a tradition which continues each October, and includes haunted houses.[7]

Bonnie Springs Ranch is often called an oasis in the desert due to the presence of spring water in the area.

The zoo[edit]

After someone dropped off a sheep at the property, two deer showed up. Bonnie then adopted a wolf, then later took in two miniature goats from Wayne Newton. Bonnie then got the idea to open a zoo on the property. The zoo includes emus, wolves, and the non-native Canadian Lynx. Peacocks and deer freely roam the fenced zoo area. The ranch also features a large stable of horses.[2] [8]


The ranch has been speculated to be haunted, as claimed by visitors to the ranch. Some guests have witnessed seeing an apparition of a little girl in the schoolhouse, and also witnessed the merry-go-round spinning on its own on a windless, dry day. In the wax museum, voices can be heard and the wax figures sometimes move on their own. Due to this, the managers have had to nail down the wax figures to keep the display from being mixed up. In the opera house, people have witnessed a shadow figure following them around in the room, and a guest took a picture and reportedly captured a black mass standing next to him.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The motel was briefly featured in the 2005 film Domino.[9]

Bonnie Springs is featured as a ghost town in the 2010 video game Fallout: New Vegas.[10]

The ranch was featured on Ghost Adventures during the fourth season, where they were able to catch some evidence, including a voice in the wax museum and a shadow figure in the opera house.[11][12]


  1. ^ Bonnie Springs: About Us October 13, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Movies to the Mojave Julia Burke, The Rock magazine [pages 8-9]. Spring 2012.
  3. ^ Frustrations aside, Las Vegas ain't all bad Geoff Schumacher, Las Vegas Review-Journal. July 20, 2008.
  4. ^ Al Levinson obituary October 13, 2014.
  5. ^ Amusement Park Master License July 2, 1958.
  6. ^ Restaurant license May 28, 1964.
  7. ^ Bonnie Springs Become Bonnie Screams for Halloween October 7, 2008.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Domino Production Notes: About The Locations October 13, 2014.
  10. ^ Fallout: New Vegas tour April 14, 2011.
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ [3]