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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15 thoughts on “Chinese New Year Means Days of Swine and Roses at Bellagio Conservatory

  1. Bill

    “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.”

    On my recent trips, I’ve spent most of my time (and money) in Downtown. The Bellagio’s Conservatory is one of the reasons I still go to the strip at all during my visit; depending on what’s on display, I’ll also go and see the art gallery at the Bellagio; though last time they had something on display I couldn’t figure out what it was and decided not to spend $20 on a chance (I don’t have to gamble on everything in Vegas). If they take the Conservatory away, the remaining reasons for going to the strip will be even fewer.

  2. William Wingo

    We saw the Conservatory on our single visit to Bellagio, years ago when parking was free. It was a Christmas display, with six-foot Christmas tree ornaments, a giant Christmas tree, angels, reindeer, etc. It was very well done, and they obviously put a lot of work into it.
    OTOH, even then there was no playable Blackjack in the casino. This was before 6-5, but I’m thinking $25 continuous shufflers and like that. We didn’t put a chip on a table.
    Then, as now, it was a long hike to and from the parking deck. On the way back we had two Bloody Marys for $17 plus tip, and enjoyed the view of the lake, but I don’t remember if we caught the fountains. I think this location was close to where I had seen “Casino de Paris” at the Dunes about fifteen years earlier–featuring 40 topless babes on Suzuki motorcycles and other cultural spectacles. Ah, memories….
    Like the volcano and the pirate battle, loss-leaders are on the decline in Vegas. Scott is right about that.

  3. China Steve

    There are both dragons and lions, so I have read. The difference is whether it’s a one- or two-person costume, evidently. Don’t ask me which is which. I assume the single-user costume is the lion.

    1. Denise

      There are a ton of differences between the two actually. For simplicity’s sake, lions are most often two people: think of it as resembling real-life lions which have four feet, so a two person operation) although smaller lion costumes sometimes only need one person to operate. Dragons are typically long and held up on sticks so will require several people to operate (odd numbers are considered good luck), although some of the smaller variety only need two people to operate.

  4. Donna

    I like the Bellagio Displays. They are always so pretty. I hope they don’t go away. They are so busy making everything about the bottom line that they are pushing people away from the strip. Hotels, Food, Drinks, Parking, Resort Fees, some of the shows…..all way too expensive for the average person that goes there for a few days of fun. The less people that go, the more they raise the prices, and the more they raise the prices the less people that go.

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      I had Pizza Hut in London, I think. And McDonald’s wherever it was. When traveling alone, you sort of sometimes want something familiar.

  5. Ben Nicholes

    As part of the team that makes these displays, I love what we do! It is a fast-paced climb each turnover to produce what the imaginations at Bellagio come up with each season. It is deeply gratifying to take my family there and point out all of the cool details most might miss, see all the crowds taking photos, and being part of the Las Vegas experience for so many! Keep coming!

    1. DeeDee

      You should be very proud of the work your team does. We love the displays and it contributes so much to elevating the Bellagio from just another casino to a place we really love to stay (5 days and counting!). As long as they let you do it, we’ll keep coming! Thank you for the beautiful work you do!

    2. Still a Bellagio fan, despite MGM doing MGM things

      1) Thank YOU. It’s deeply gratifying to visit these displays, a welcome change of pace from the intense insanity that is the rest of the Vegas Strip.

      2) I’m not sure if this also is your team, but I love all the fresh flowers throughout Bellagio’s hallways. Not enough people take the time to notice the arrangements, which seem to get changed out AT LEAST a few times per week.

      3) Think about all the smiles you’ve put on people’s faces, the many marriage proposals, the international photos and postcards. I wish my work had that kind of influence on someone’s life. And it’s ironic to get that amount of permanence from an exhibit that constantly reinvents itself in a city that constantly demolishes its history to build something new and shiny.

      And to any Conservatory visitors who have stuck around this far into my message — don’t forget to look behind the front desk, where equally whimsical decorations often continue the theme of the Conservatory.

    3. Scott Roeben Post author

      Thanks for leaving a note, and I’m a big fan! (Clearly, since I try to cover each of the seasonal displays as they go live.) I can’t imagine the logistical challenges the team overcomes each time. Keep the magic coming!

  6. Jude

    If they remove it, it’s just one less reason to go to the Strip. Do they people running MGM and Caesars not get it??? People come to see these things, and then stay to spend money in the casino. But I guess they don’t care anymore.

    Oh well. I’ll continue to spend my money Downtown. Where they still have cheap/good food, better odds and neon.


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