At the west end of the Las Vegas Valley sits a tropical paradise complete with tropical birds, fish, turtles and over 5 acres of trees, plants and more. It’s a tropical oasis right in our own backyard!

Moon Valley Nurseries is a family owned local company that has been growing trees for decades. According to the nursery’s website,, Moon Valley Nurseries is the largest specimen tree grower in the country and carefully grows only the best trees from the most premium specimens.

“We are the fastest growing tree nursery in the country,” Moon Valley at an October 22 interview. “And we are the largest Tree provider in the state of Nevada.”

In fact, some of the nursery’s largest customers include properties on the Las Vegas Strip, as well as casino/resorts off the strip such as Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa.

Moon Valley Nursery has locations in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada and Texas. There are three locations in Las Vegas. TSI got the pleasure of visiting the Summerlin nursery, located at 5311 W. Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas NV 89146 and is open 7 days a week Monday – Saturday 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The W. Charleston location is more than just a tree and plant nursery – it’s also a mini-zoo! The zoo includes turtles (both desert and water), a large Koi fish pond, several different breeds of domestic short hair cats, and numerous tropical birds including toucans and Macaws.

According to Coldren, Moon Valley Nursery has nearly 20 birds. Most of them are brightly multi-colored Macaws, which are long-tailed, New World parrots. They are popular as companion parrots (pets). However, the star of the show was a 40-year-old white Macaw bird (cockatoo) named Cool-Whip. Coldren told TSI that Cool-Whip has been featured on more than a few Animal Planet shows and has had his picture appear in local newspapers and magazines.

As far tropical plants are concerned the nursery has many different trees and plants that popular one that they say is the Bird of Paradise Plant (flower). The plant, which is native to South Africa, grows well in tropical or desert environments. The plant gets its name because of its flower’s resemble birds-of-paradise; a very colorful tropical bird. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower and is featured on the reverse of the 50 cent coin. It is the floral emblem of the City of Los Angeles.

All Moon Valley Nursery locations are open to the public and there is no charge for admittance. In addition, Summerlin location with its mini-zoo is also free and open to the public.

Interview and Story By: Sandra Eadie

Photography By: Michelle Frese, Cassie Hitchcock, Joey Thomas

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1. Blow up balloon to the desired size.

2. Pour a small amount Cra Z art washable clear glue into a bowl. To make three fish, use 1/4 cup of Cra Z art washable glue.

3. Slowly add warm water to the Cra Z art washable Clear glue. Mix the Cra Z art washable clear glue to a consistency of puddling.

4. Dip the newspaper strips one at a time into the bowl of Cra Z art washable clear glue. Do not fully submerge or soak them as they will start if too saturated.Squeeze the strips between two fingers to remove excess Cra Z art washable clear glue and lumps as you remove them from the bowl.

5. Wrap the wet paper strips around the balloon in crisscrossing patterns for strength. Apply a couple of layers over the knot where you tied the balloon off.

6. Rest the fish on a plastic cup or blow as you prepare the next strip.

7. Continue attaching strips until the entire balloon is covered and there are no thin areas or spaces exposed. Smooth out any bumps or wrinkles and remove any excess Cra Z art washable clear glue with your hands.

8. Place the fish (on the cup or blow) on the table to dry overnight. It may take a day or two to completely dry depending on the air.

9. Check the balloon the following morning and rotate the fish’s position on the cup or blow. The section of the balloon that is in the cup or blow. The section of the balloon that is in the cup or blow tends to dry a bit slower and will need to be exposed to dry throunghly so place in front of fan.

10. Design fins and cut them out of a recycled Styrofoam board. Test the fit of each fin on the curve of the balloon.

Written by: Briana Brooks and Jacob Chin

DIY Paper Mache Tropical Fish: Briana Brooks, Jacob Chin, Nathan Moench

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Before we plan for all the fun accessories it is better to be safe than sorry. In case it rains, make sure to bring an umbrella as well as a light raincoat or a poncho to keep you from getting too wet. If you have allergies, make sure to bring your epipen or any other medication that is prescribed to you. Always carry a small first aid kit because you never know when you will need it.


Now on the fashion, typical tropical fashion usually includes loose fitting clothes with bright and vibrant colors. So bring your bright floral pattern Hawaiian shirt, tank tops, shorts, and sandals for the hot weather. Ladies if you want to dress up, long summer dresses are always flattering for a night on the town. Always bring at least SPF 30 to protect any skin that’s not covered by your clothes.

Kids and fun

If you are taking your kids on this getaway make sure to bring items to keep them entertained. On the flight over you can bring coloring books, and other electronics like a portable DVD player or MP3 with some of their favorite shows and music. When you take a trip to the beach, you can bring toys like beach balls, water guns, and buckets and shovels for building fun sand castles. Make sure to bring a cooler to keep your child’s favorite snacks, foods, and drinks nice and cold. We hope you have a wonderful trip!

Article By: Jeremy Holland

Layout By: Michelle Frese, Josef Thomas, Dana Caenen, Daniel Romero

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 12


2 cups rolled oats(uncooked)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup tropical dried fruit mix (raisins, dried pineapple, papaya, and banana chips) or other dries fruits of your choice

For the topping:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon water


1 – Prepare the energy bars: Stir oats, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, dried fruit mix, and cashews together in a medium bowl.Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with plastic wrap or parchment paper andpress bar mixture into the pan. Using the back of a spatula, press into a flat, uniform layer. Freeze for 20 minutes.

2 – If desired, with 8 to 10 minutes left to go, remove bar from freezer, and prepare the topping. Mix the powdered sugar and water until there are no lumps. Drizzle the topping mixture over the energy bar pan.

3 – Cut into bars. If using the topping mixture place the energy bar pan back into the freezer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Written by: Autin Green, Terrance Jeffers, Dallin Hamore, Ylana Dinkins, Nate Carney

Prepared By: Austin Green, Debbie Cernuto, Michelle Freese, Dallin Hamore, Nate Carney, Eric Washington, Terrance Jeffers, Jean Kerr, Dana Caenon

Photographed By: Sandy Eadie, Joey Thomas, Daniel Romero, Stacey Foster

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Coach Dean began his volunteering career when he participated in the over the edge event. This took place at the Rio Hotel and Casino to raise money for Special Olympics. He successfully raised $1500 which got him a ticket repel down the 500 ft tower of the Rio Hotel. Dean was recommended by Harry Mong who was the Reginal director of Special Olympics at the time. Harry Mong thought that Dean had the right personality and really enjoyed what he was doing. In 2015 Dean started his coaching career as the assistant swim coach under Amanda Gillman. Two years later he became coach of the Henderson Dolphins swim team. Coach Dean would teach and train his swim team various styles including Freestyle, butterfly, breast stroke, back stroke, and relays. Races are 50m to 200m in length. Practice would begin in March and run through June. Practice was once a week and they prepared for Regionals in May. At Regionals swimmers would qualify for the Special Olympics in June, which takes place in Reno Nevada. Coach Dean has always been influenced by the athletes themselves. He is inspired by the grit determination and courage that they all bring to become athletes for the Special Olympics. “My future plans are to keep coaching athletes for the Special Olympics.” One day he would like to train an athlete that would one day make it to the state level which is held every four years.

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The Circles Crew went to Wax Trax Records Inc located at 2909 S. Decatur. We sat down with Richard Rosen who has been the owner and operator for 20 years in Las Vegas. Richard has been in the record industry for over 55 years. He started in New York in 1972 and later relocated to Las Vegas in 1988. Richard said we could receive a 20% discount on any purchase if he makes the cover. When asked about Richard’s personal musical taste he suggested the Beatles, Johnny Cash and Elton John(whom he mentioned to be a personal friend of his). When you decide to visit Wax Trax, make sure to say hi to Richard’s son David who also works there and say hi to Charlie the dog!

Interview by: Joey Thomas. Written by: Justin Freeman, and Michelle Frese. Pictures by: Stacy Foster.

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Ancient Greece started the Olympic Games from 776 BC through 394 AD in the city of Olmpia. Olympics resumed in modern time times 1503 years later.

Asia is the largest continent followed by Africa.

Passover is a Jewish holiday that celebrates liberation of Israelites from Egyptian slavery and is celebrated for lasting seven or eight days from the 15th day of Nisan.

About 90% of the world fresh water is in Antarctica.

Sumerian is a dead language that was spoken in ancient Mesopotamia (southern part of Iraq) from 4th millennium BC until about 2000 BC which was replaced with Akkadian, that is also a dead language now.

Pancit is a Filipino noodle dish with meat and cabbage that is traditionally made for a loved one’s birthday.

The Eifel Tower in Paris, France was built for the 1889 world fair and was only supposed to be up 20 years but is still there to this day.

The Great Wall of China is 5500 miles long and about 2300 years old.

Bangkok is the largest city in Thailand and hold 1/10th of the population of the country.

Selling more than 5.9 million cars in 2011, Germany is one of the largest car producers.

The city of Alexandria, Egypt was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC.

Johann Sebastian Bach was a famous German composer and musician that made music in the Baroque period(1600 to 1750 AD.

70% of cocoa (the main ingredient in chocolate) is from west Africa.

The traditional boomerang was made in eastern and southern Australia by the Aboriginal people.

The Italian sports car brand Ferrari was founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929.

Australia is wider than the widest part of the moon.

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain at 20029 feet above seas level.

The only continent that covers four hemispheres is Africa.

Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and is located inside of Italy.

Different rocks had been used for carving the Easter Island heads(known as Moai). Out of 887 known Moai, 834 were carved out from compressed volcanic ash known as tuff.

Art: Nathan Moench

Writers: Nathan Moench, Austin Green and Jennifer Cornstuble

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8 cups miniature marshmallows, divided.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter.

1 3/4 cup (11.5 oz package) milk chocolate chips.

1/4 teaspoon salt.

9 (about 2 cups) graham crackers broken into 1/2 inch piece. Variation: cinnamon flavor graham crackers.

nonstick cooking spray.

8-9 inch square baking pan.


Line 8×9 inch square baking with foil. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat 6 cups of miniature marshmallows, butter and salt in large bowl. Microwave on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring after 90 seconds. Remove from microwave and add milk chocolate chips and stir until melted.

Working quickly, stir in graham cracker pieces, spread mixture into prepared baking pan with greased spatula pressing down lightly. Then evenly sprinkle remaining marshmallows on top of mixture.

Cool 2 hours or until set. Cut into square with serrated knife.

Written By: Sandra Eadie

Photographed By: Amy Toner and Austin Green

Prepared By: Julia Schanbacher, Stephanie Schoppmann, Dallin Haymore, Dana Caenen, Jean Kerr, Terrance Jeffers, Heidi Pearson, Elizabeth Suarez

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1 box red velvet cake mix (baked according to package instructions and cooled completely)

2/3 cup vanilla frosting

4 cups white chocolate chips, divided

4 teaspoons oil, divided

1/4 cup sprinkles(blue)

1/2 cup sprinkles(red)


1 – In a large bowl, crumble the cake into fine, uniform crumbs. Add the vanilla frosting and mix thoroughly.

2 – Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the cake mixture at a time and roll into balls. You should have 35 balls total. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

3 – Working with half of the white chocolate chips and half of the oil at a time so the mixture stays melted, combine in a medium bowl and microwave on medium heat in 30 second intervals until melted for about 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.

4 – Making the blue cake pops: Working in batches of 3, dip 9 cake pops in the melted white chocolate, using a spoon to help coat. Let the excess drip off. Sprinkle the pops with blue sprinkles and refrigerate for 1 hour. Place the cake pop 3 x 3 in upper left corner of the serving platter.

5 – Making the red pops: Working in batches of 3, dip 15 cake pops in the melted white chocolate, using spoon to help coat. Let the excess drip off. Sprinkle the pops with red sprinkles and refrigerate for 1 hour. Place the red pops in alternating rows with the white pops depicting the American flag as shown in the picture.

6 – Making the white cake pops: Working in batches of 3, dip the remaining 11 cake pops in the melted white chocolate, using a spoon to help coat. Let the excess drip off and refrigerate for 1 hour. Place the white pops in alternating rows with the red pops depicting the American flag as shown in the picture.

Written by: Eric Washington

Photography by: Jeremy Holland and Eric Washington

Prepared by: Heidi Pearson, Dallin Haymore, Terrance Jeffers, Nathaniel Carney, Briana Brooks, Caenen, Nathan Moench.

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Archaeologist, a person who studies history and even prehistory through analyzing artifacts, temples and other relics. So, what does an Archaeologist have to do with adventures? Do they have bullwhips to protect themselves? Do they travel the world looking for the rarest of artifacts? Do Archaeologist do anything to protect history? Keep reading to find out!

In Hollywood, the most famous name, in terms of Archaeologist, is Dr. Walton Jones Jr., also known as Indiana Jones. He is also, in most people’s minds, the only Archaeologist there is. Indy, one of the many nicknames that Dr. Jones has, suddenly looks like the type of person you don’t want to mess with, styling with his fedora, satchel, leather jacket and his signature bullwhip! Also Dr. Jones’ adventures are legendary! Dr. Jones is not the only one with legendary adventures, however! I give you two names of Archaeologist who can rival the great Indiana Jones!

The first name of a legendary real world Archaeologist is Wendell Phillips. Born in 1927, his expedition to Africa in 1944 to modern day Yemen was beneficial to help him gain oil concessions after archaeological career was finished. During that trip to Yemen, he did not have a bullwhip, but he could have been an early look for Indiana Jones with his stylish clothing. From his mostly all black outfit( which is a bold choice for the desert), and his white Keffiyeh (an Arabian hat), he was a trend setter Archaeologist! Wendell died December 4, 1975.

The second Archaeologist and final name that feels like Dr. Jones is Qadir Temori, an Afghan archaeologist whose work turned into a movie in its own right! The was 2007, the middle parts of the Afghanistan War, the aforementioned Temori and his team were rushing to save artifacts from Mes Aynak, an ancient Buddhist monastery, from the China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCG) and their general manager, Shen Heting. Temori and his team were also facing death threats from the Taliban to cease his attempts to save the artifacts. The story of Qadir is immortalize in Brent E. Huffman’s documentary, Saving Mes Aynak!

Archaeologist can be more than just people who dig up things! They are the seekers of the past. Most of the archaeologist today might not have a bullwhip, but still they would do anything to protect the past.

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