Friends With Benefits: Jackie Liptak
Here’s something you don’t hear every day: “I am the flamingo whisperer,” Jackie Liptak says. Well, as the lead wildlife specialist at, where else, the Flamingo, she does work with flamingos as well as other wildlife.
Liptak has worked at the certified backyard habitat for almost 11 years. Before that, she worked with Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef, and interned as a zookeeper at the Cincinnati Zoo in her hometown state of Ohio. In college, she studied biology and earned a bachelor of science and education from Youngstown State University. And Liptak says she always had a passion for animals growing up.
Making the move to Las Vegas was fate, she says. Liptak’s also an artist, and when she was young, one of her favorite things to paint was flamingos—and the first hotel she ever stayed at when she visited Vegas was the Flamingo.
Out of all the residents at the habitat, which includes exotic birds, turtles, ducks and large fish, her favorite are the flamingos. “They all have their own personalities,” she says. “Working with them, I can get very close with them. Working with all these animals, you develop a bond, but I love our flamingos very much.”
It’s Liptak’s job to keep all of the animals happy and healthy. She monitors their diets, and keeps up on animal observation and exhibit maintenance. “I’ve been here almost 11 years and I’ve never felt like I had to work,” she says. “I want to be at work, every day.”
The Pink Flamingo
Before stopping by the Wildlife Habitat, stop by the Flamingo’s other hidden gem, the GO Pool and order The Pink Flamingo. This drink is sure to get you flapping your wings with its delicious blend of Absolut vodka, fresh strawberry purée and lemonade. For a kitschy touch, it’s garnished with signature pink flamingo gummy candies.
Bring your cocktail along to one of Liptack’s two daily talks and feedings (8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.) where she educates guests, shares stories about the animals that reside in the lush surroundings and can help answer questions and curiosities about the habitat and its residents.