Category Archives: Bellagio Conservatory

Bellagio Conservatory’s Chinese New Year Display Sidesteps Asian Elephant in the Room

The Bellagio Conservatory has rolled out yet another crowd-pleaser with its Chinese New Year display.

Bellagio Conservatory

Flowering plants are also known as “angiosperms,” or as we refer to them, “Oh, grow up.”

This year’s Chinese New Year display was all the more impressive because it faced a couple of challenges.

First, it’s the Year of the Rat.

Designing a visually appealing display around a much-maligned rodent is no mean feat. The Conservatory’s horticulture team has, not surprisingly, delivered the goods with their usual flair.

Bellagio Conservatory

Las Vegas rats sometimes travel in packs. We’ll wait.

The other challenge, of course, is it’s not just the Year of the Rat. It’s the Year of the Coronavirus. Awkward.

The freak-out about the coronavirus (which originated in Wuhan, China) is ongoing, with some concerned we could be in the midst of a full-blown pandemic. We don’t entirely know what a pandemic is, but it doesn’t sound like something we’d want to find in our salad.

While others might be inclined to shy away from a Chinese-themed attraction at this juncture, Bellagio has defiantly decided to stay the course and do a top-notch Chinese New Year display, anyway. And we love them for it.

Because if Vegas stops doing spectacle, the bug has already won.

Bellagio Conservatory

If you can’t enjoy some whimsy, you’re probably just jaded.

The Conservatory not only manages to make us forget about the elephant(s) in the room, it pulls out all the stops by including just about every lucky symbol imaginable in the display.

There are lucky coins and birds and lions (no, they’re not dragons, rube) and lanterns and ding pots and jade medallions (shout-out to the pun in that last photo caption) and gold ingots and citrus trees and cherry blossoms and, yes, even koi fish.

The Bellagio Conservatory is currently home to about 75 koi.

Bellagio Conservatory

Koi are very shy. At least that’s what they want you to think.

Naturally, there are metric ass-ton of flowers. We counted 31,980, although the official news release says there are 32,000. It’s possible Bellagio rounded up.

It’s worth noting they said the 2019 Chinese New Year display used 32,000. Somebody in Bellagio’s P.R. department is clearly tired of counting flowers.

In 2018, it was 22,000 flowers. You know, inflation. Oh, and in 2017, it was 22,000. Starting to see a pattern here? We should probably start following these flower counts from the Bellagio Conservatory with “ish.”

Here are some stats from the aforementioned news release:

googie Number of team members involved in building the display: 115-ish.

googie Height of the jade medallions: 20 feet-ish.

googie Height of the aforementioned rat: 14 feet-ish.

googie Number of changing Chinese lanterns: 6-ish.

googie Number of items included in this list to see if you’re still paying attention: 1-ish.

googie Number of cherry blossom trees: 6-ish.

googie Number of rats in the display: 5-ish.

The Bellagio Conservatory always draws a great crowd, despite the fact most of those people don’t spend a dime at Bellagio.

That’s probably the third elephant in the room.

And while we’re on the subject, China’s zodiac chart really could use an elephant. They could dump the goat. Goats can be jerks.

Bellagio Chinese New Year

Lion dance traditions are fascinating, so obviously would be out of place in this blog.

Not to be a buzzkill, but we recently reported Bellagio will have one fewer displays in 2020. Rather than the usual spring and summer displays, there will be a consolidated one with a Japanese theme.

The Chinese New Year display runs through March 14, 2020. The Japanese-themed “Japan Journey: Magical Kansai” runs from March 21 to Sep. 12, 2020.

Let us not dwell upon vermin or contagions or cost-cutting measures, though. Let us revel unabashedly in the boundless creativity of the geniuses at famed Bellagio Conservatory, photo gallerywise.

Bellagio Conservatory Reduces Number of Displays in 2020

In what appears to be a cost-saving measure, the Bellagio Conservatory is reducing its number of seasonal displays in 2020. By one.

This year, rather than five seasonal displays, the Conservatory will have four.

Bellagio Conservatory

It’s just one fewer displays. Please remain clam.

Instead of its traditional Spring and Summer displays, there will be a consolidated one: “Japan Journey: Magical Kansai.” This display will span two seasons, spring and summer.

We are not a math person, but the move should shave 20% off the Conservatory’s annual budget.

In the past, the Bellagio Conservatory had five seasonal displays: Chinese New Year (Jan. to March), Spring (March to May), Summer (June to Sep.), Autumn (Sep. to Nov.) and Winter (Dec. to Jan.).

In 2020, there will be four displays:
googie Chinese New Year (Jan. 11 to March 14)
googie Japan Journey: Magical Kansai (Mar. 21 to Sep. 12)
googie Autumn (Sep. 19 to Nov. 28)
googie Holiday (Dec. 5 to Jan. 4, 2021)

Bellagio Conservatory winter 2015

Christmas isn’t going anywhere.

Recently, there’s been a growing Japanese presence in some seasonal displays because of the efforts of MGM Resorts, operator of Bellagio (the resort was recently sold to Blackstone Group in a lease-back deal), to land a potentially lucrative casino in Japan.

Las Vegas observers have long wondered how long Bellagio would be able sustain this free attraction. While such attractions draw crowds, it’s questionable whether such crowds translate into customers.

Other free attractions, such as “Sirens of TI” at Treasure Island and “Parade in the Sky” at Rio have been nixed to cut costs.

For the moment, Bellagio should get some cost savings without visitors noticing one fewer seasonal displays.

Bellagio Conservatory

Bellagio continues to be a major supplier of whimsy.

It’s unknown if the reduction in seasonal displays is related to the change of ownership of Bellagio, but time will tell if reductions continue or if Bellagio could (gasp) begin charging for the attraction to reduce costs further.

Here’s the official Bellagio Conservatory Web site, and thanks to eagle-eyed Ryan L. on Twitter for sending the tip on this story our way.

 

Bellagio’s Harvest Display is a Feast for the Eyes

Bellagio’s Conservatory continues to be one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas, and the resort’s talented horticulturalists and designers have outdone themselves once again with their fall 2019 display.

Let’s dive into the gloriousness.

Bellagio Conservatory

The display has about 45,00 flowers. Yes, we counted to be sure because we take photo captions seriously.

Bellagio’s harvest display covers a lot of ground and has a distinctly Indian flair. That’s because the fall display was inspired by designer Ed Libby’s travels to India. We’re betting Ed took a metric hell-ton of photos, as did we.

Bellagio Conservatory

“Ha, ha,” the horticulturalists say to job applicants with a green thumb. “You’re going to need more thumbs.”

The display boasts a slew of animals including tigers, foxes, peacocks and elephants.

Bellagio Conservatory

In Hinduism, elephants are the living incarnation of Gahesha, an elephant-headed deity riding a mouse. Oh, like your religion isn’t a little wacky, too.

The tigers are 25 feet long, and are made from yellow lentils, red and black cargo rice and caraway seeds. Yes, we are an amateur horticulturalist. Which basically means we have some artificial flowers on our kitchen table. Just play along.

Bellagio Conservatory

Hoping Roy Horn doesn’t read blogs.

The tigers will be familiar to fans of the Bellagio Conservatory, but many of the elements are brand new.

We can’t forget the two Hanuman deities, or as we refer to them, “creepy monkeys with poor personal grooming.”

Bellagio Conservatory

Please send any hate mail to the Bellagio Conservatory. We didn’t make creepy monkeys, they did.

The display, named “Indian Summer,” is culturally diverse, including a floating princess with what appears to be a bladder control problem.

Bellagio Conservatory

Lost track. How many international incidents have we caused in this article so far?

There are surprises at every turn, and the entryway is especially gorgeous in this display. The entrance features floral arches 24 feet tall. They arches are rimmed by flames, representing the Indian custom of widows throwing themselves onto funeral pyres as a sign of devotion. Way to bring everyone down, Bellagio Conservatory.

Bellagio Conservatory fall 2019

Yes,¬† we’re drunk. Get your own blog if you don’t like it.

When you visit the Conservatory, make sure to look up.

There you’ll see chandeliers resembling “kalire,” ornaments worn by brides during Indian wedding ceremonies assuming the guy hasn’t screwed things up during his bachelor party. Um, hello, this is still Las Vegas.

Bellagio Conservatory

This kalire would make a badass jelly fish for the summer display in 2020.

The harvest display runs through Nov. 30, 2019, with the wildly popular holiday display running Dec. 7, 2019 to Jan. 4, 2020.

Learn more at the official Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden Web site located on the Internet. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

Bellagio Conservatory

Culturally insensitive jokes aside, just straight-up awesome, Bellagio flower wranglers.

We love the Bellagio Conservatory so much, an entire section of our site is devoted to it.

Enjoy more poorly focused images from our recent visit to the Bellagio Conservatory.

Bellagio Conservatory Fall 2019

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Chinese New Year Means Days of Swine and Roses at Bellagio Conservatory

The newest seasonal display at the Bellagio Conservatory is up and this time it celebrates The Year of the Pig in honor of Chinese New Year.

Or, as Chinese New Year is known in Las Vegas, “The season of kissing up to Asian gamblers.”

Bellagio Chinese New Year

Yeah, it’s a weird one. Just go with it.

Bellagio’s Chinese New Year motif has one of the quickest turnarounds of all the seasonal displays as it’s right on the heels of Christmas.

Because of the fast turnaround time, many of the items in the Chinese New Year display are more statue than plant, but it’s still impressive and one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas.

Bellagio Chinese New Year

In China, red symbolizes fortune and joy. Fun fact: Fortune and Joy are two of the most popular stripper names in Las Vegas.

Bellagio’s horticulture staff of 120 people go to great lengths to research every inch of the Conservatory’s 140,000-square-foot display to ensure the accuracy of a lot of things we have no clue about.

For example, part of the Conservatory features a representation of the grounds at the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, a Buddhist temple in Guangzhou, China.

Bellagio Conservatory

Warning: Saying “Guangzhou” out loud is likely to hemorrhage your larynx. And not in a good way.

There’s also flower pagoda guarded by two Chinese Fu dogs (“Foo” in English) that appear to have left in their hair curlers too long.

Bellagio Chinese New Year

Not even remotely a dog, bro.

Chinese Fu dogs are a giant scam because they’re not dogs, they’re lions. They’re also very good luck, so we’ll give them a pass.

How meticulously do the wizards at Bellagio research their displays? Well, if you screw up the position of the Fu dogs, you’re out of luck.

According to feng shui, when looking at the lions, the one with a ball (male) is on the right and the one with a cub (female) is on the left. Bellagio nails it.

Bellagio Chinese display 2019

You’re going to need more storage space on your smartphone.

The entryway to the Conservatory features a giant jade decoration.

Jade is said to represent the six virtues in Asian culture: Benevolence, righteousness, wisdom, bravery, Grumpy and Sneezy.

Bellagio Conservatory

What an awesome entrance to the Bellagio buffet this would make.

On the north side of the Conservatory stands a replica of a bronze sculpture, “Lotus Flower in Full Bloom.”

The original stands in Golden Lutus Square in Macau, China.

Bellagio Conservatory

It’s important to note this statue in no way resembles an attachment for the Magic Wand massager.

Given it’s the Year of the Pig, the star of the show is a massive pig, or more accurately, an “Earth pig.”

The pig is 22 feet long and 12 feet tall and is far more adorable than a 22 foot long slab of bacon. We trust you are feeling an appropriate amount of shame and regret right now.

Bellagio Chinese New Year

Sorry. Didn’t mean for you to hear that buffet comment.

As always, the Bellagio Conservatory is a feast for the eyes and remains a Las Vegas must-see.

We’re honestly astonished the Conservatory is still around. Other free attractions have either gone away (like “Sirens of TI” at Treasure Island and Rio’s “Masquerade Show in the Sky”) or cut back on their hours (like the volcano show at Mirage), but the Conservatory at Bellagio keeps delivering the goods.

Conservatory Chinese New Year 2019

Just as Fu dogs are lions, so too are these, although people sometimes mistake them for dragons. Bonus: Eyelashes are on fleek.

The hard fact is such free attractions don’t really provide much value to a casino. Back in the day such attractions would draw crowds, and many in those crowds would stay and gamble.

Today, not so much.

The vast majority of people who visit the Conservatory are just there to look. It’s a loss-leader for Bellagio (and its parent, MGM Resorts) that’s becoming increasingly difficult to justify as MGM Resorts and other casino companies become more and more focused on the bottom line.

The takeway: Get your feng and your shui in gear and enjoy the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden while you can.

Chinese New Year Vegas

We never got why Asian travelers would want to see things they could see back home until we ate at a Burger King in Paris.

The Chinese New Year display runs through March 9, 2019. Next up is the spring display, Mar. 16 to June 1, 2019.

If you’re a fan of the Bellagio Conservatory, as we are, avail yourself of our massive collection of Conservatory photos covering the last six years of eye-popping displays.

Bellagio Conservatory Chinese New Year 2019

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 90: Stuff Your Face With Vegas

It’s time for a new installment of the Las Vegas podcast that’s nearly as annoying as being issued a W2-G form.

We kick off the show with an irredeemable holiday poem, “A Very Pappy Christmas.”

There’s also an interview with chef James Trees, owner of Esther’s Kitchen. The downtown restaurant has gotten great buzz, and listening to the chef it’s fairly clear why.

Esther's Kitchen

The flatware at Esther’s Kitchen is from the Dunes. ‘Nuff said.

You won’t want to miss our “12 Days of Las Vegas Christmas,” or our perfunctory round-up of Las Vegas news.

Bond at Cosmo will be Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails in 2019, “Totally Twisted Brunch” is coming to SLS, investors are working to bring Major League Baseball to Las Vegas, Salt and Pepa are on hiatus at Paris, Palms is making moves in nightlife, target dates for Resorts World and The Drew are pushed back, same for Criss Angel’s new show at Planet Hollywood, “Fuerza Bruta” comes to Excalibur, Sadelle’s opens at Bellagio in December, 322 Pizza Bar opens on Fremont and Rob Lowe brings “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” to Planet Hollywood in April.

We pop into Bellagio’s Conservatory, too, because podcasts are the perfect vehicle to share something so visually stunning.

Bellagio Conservatory Christmas 2018

It’s not Christmas until the Bellagio Conservatory says it is.

Just for good measure, we also review Holsteins at Cosmopolitan, as well as the cookies in the casino’s completely awesome high limit lounge.

It’s all the Vegas you can stomach, so let out your belt a notch and take a listen.

Bellagio Conservatory’s Fall Display Raises the Bar, Again

It’s not officially fall unless the Bellagio has unveiled its fall display, and that it has.

The fall 2018 display is called “Falling Asleep,” although, we can’t imagine why.

Bellagio Conservatory

Always stunning, rarely cheesy, the Bellagio Conservatory is one of our favorite places to get our fill of whimsy.

Bellagio has pulled out all the stops for its latest free feast for the eyes.

The exhibit was inspired by “the mythology of the goddess of harvest.”

The slumbering goddess is 38 feet tall and 28 feet long. She is fashioned from natural materials like hydrangeas and oak leaves.

In Greek mythology, the goddess of the harvest is Demeter. It’s also an answer to the question, “What’s a fundamental unit of length in the metric system?”

Oh, like you’re even reading this blog post at this point. You’re just here for the photos.

Bellagio Conservatory

Harvest goddess’ eye make-up is on fleek.

The fall, sorry “harvest,” display at Bellagio runs through Nov. 24, 2018, then it’s on to the Conservatory’s popular holiday extravaganza, Dec. 1 to Jan. 6, 2018.

Bellagio maintains an impressive 120 people on its horticulture staff and they were all kept busy with the fall display.

Bellagio Conservatory

Grammable AF.

The fall exhibit boasts foxes frolicking with acorns. It’s a fun game trying to decide which is a genetic mutation, the foxes or the acorns.

Bellagio Conservatory

Frolic while you can, foxes, for soon you will be replaced with polar bears wearing Coca-Cola branded winter wear.

Here’s one of their mutant fox friends.

Bellagio Conservatory

Somebody clearly got the memo about keeping to the “Falling Asleep” theme.

The exhibit also features two 10-foot-tall tigers, each covered with more than 290 pounds of seeds.

Bellagio always has its eye on Asian guests (who are often very enthusiastic gamblers), so it’s likely the inclusion of foxes and tigers in the fall display isn’t a coincidence.

There’s a famous Chinese idiom, “a fox exploits a tiger’s might,” which tells the tale of a fox about to be devoured by a tiger. The fox convinces the tiger to follow him around to show what a bigshot he is, and everyone runs away. The tiger is duly impressed and lets the fox live, never realizing people were fleeing from him, not the fox. The fox had just assumed the tiger’s majesty.

We’re fairly sure the horticulturalists at Bellagio would say, “Bro, you’re reading way too much into this.”

Bellagio Conservatory

Least favorite Conservatory exhibit of Siegfried and Roy, ever.

Bellagio’s latest effort brings back a crowd favorite, the enchanted talking tree.

Yes, it’s actually fairly creepy, but we’re going with “crowd favorite” just in case Bellagio sees our story and wants to share it.

Bellagio Conservatory

The Bellagio Conservatory literally has every wavelength of light in the visible spectrum.

The eyes of the enchanted tree move, and you’d swear they have somebody behind the scenes making the eyes follow you.

Bellagio Conservatory

The enchanted tree has the ability to peer into your soul. Actual results may vary.

There are photo ops everywhere at the Bellagio Conservatory, including larger-than-life peacocks, dragon flies and autumnal leaves.

Bellagio Conservatory

Random dragonflies? Nope, in China they’re a good luck charm associated with prosperity.

It’s interesting to note photos of the fall exhibit on Bellagio’s Web site don’t actually reflect what’s in the exhibit. The photos show two massive peacocks where the sleeping goddess is.

We suspect the peacocks asked for more money, and poof, mulch.

Bellagio Conservatory

Bellagio Conservatory nerds will note they’ve cleverly repurposed last year’s peacock tails in this year’s display.

Bellagio has truly outdone itself this time, and the Conservatory remains one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas other than watching women in short skirts on a windy day.

Oh, crap, this is so not getting shared by Bellagio.

Bellagio Conservatory

Everywhere you look there are things you’ve never seen before. Take that, every other free attraction in the world.

Just one more look at this beautiful fall odyssey.

Bellagio Conservatory

Just see it for yourself, already.

The Bellagio Conservatory is a must-do every time you’re here, because it’s the most Las Vegas thing you can do that doesn’t involve dice or sequins.