Category Archives: Free Las Vegas

Bellagio Conservatory Fall Display Is Both Impressive and Taken for Granted by All of Us

The Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens are so dependably impressive, it’s easy to take for granted both the freeness and the wonder of it all. And did we mention it’s still free?

Bellagio Conservatory fall

Fall is here, along with these two, who could clearly benefit from moisturizer.

The Bellagio Conservatory changes seasonally, and its “Fall Harvest Show” runs through Nov. 30, 2014.

Once again, the Bellagio’s 140 horticulturalists have created one “How’d they do that?” moment after another. It’s easy to forget most of the overs-sized objects in the Conservatory are fashioned from plants and flowers. For example, the apples below are each made from more than 1,200 red carnations.

Ballagio Conservatory

These are Rome apples. We say this with confidence mainly because nobody from Bellagio will ever read this blog post, so it’s not like they’re going to correct us or anything.

The Bellagio Conservatory’s fall display has a 40-foot tall watermill, complete with water flowing into a pond below.

Bellagio Conservatory 2104

Swimming is encouraged! Mainly because we are blog and take little to no responsibility for anything we say.

Also on display are two bears (one 10 feet tall, the other six feet tall), their fur fashioned from reindeer moss.

Bellagio Conservatory Gardens bears

Reindeer Moss would not make a terrible band name.

A popular photo op is a path beneath two pergolas. If you don’t know what a pergola is, you clearly aren’t as intelligent or sophisticated as this blog, nor do you have access to look up what a pergola is, which we definitely didn’t do just now. A pergola is an archway in a garden or park with a framework covered with plants.

Bellagio Gardens pergolas

Trust Las Vegas to deliver an amazing set of pergolas.

There’s also a 28-foot-tall talking tree, which is only a little creepy as its eyes follow you and seem to pierce your very soul.

Ballagio Conservatory

Please stop that. We’re easily spooked.

Nearby is a horse made from floral hydrangeas, yarrow and dune grass, whatever those might actually be.

Bellagio Conservatory

Our enthusiasm for the Bellagio Conservatory is unbridled.

Bellagio’s Conservatory has surprises around every turn, with pumpkins weighing as much as 1,200 pounds, a variety of woodland creatures and massive glass leaves (example below).

Bellagio Conservatory leaves

The glass leaves are hand-shaped, range from three to 10 feet in length, and are based upon the leaves of oak, birch, maple and chestnut trees. Yes, we took notes, for once.

Oh, and the fall display boasts 850 shrubs. Shrubs never get the credit they so richly deserve and are consistently underrated. In that sense, shrubs are the “Waterworld” of plants.

There’s also a floral version of Georgia O’Keeffe’s acclaimed painting we’ve never heard of, “Red Tree, Yellow Sky.”

Bellagio gardens las vegas

O’Keeffe’s breathtaking painting was done in 1952, and is considered one of her finest labia-free works.

Guests of the fall display can enjoy live music each day from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Conservatory experts (called Mr. and Mrs. Green Thumb) are available from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to answer questions about the gardens.

If you can’t make it to the Bellagio, check out their sweet Web cam.

Next up at Bellagio is the display for the holidays, one of our favorites of all the Conservatory’s offerings. The holiday display debuts Dec. 6, and runs through Jan. 4, 2015.

Do yourself a favor and stop by the Bellagio, and take time to just take it all in. Get up close and examine the amazing attention to detail, and notice the sheer numbers of flowers used in each seasonal display. The fall display features more than 51,000 seasonal flowers. Yes, we counted.

This charming tree troll was created by sculptor Kim Beaton.

Our favorite part of the fall exhibit is this charming tree troll created by sculptor Kim Beaton.

The Bellagio Conservatory is one of the wonders of Las Vegas, and one of the few free things to do that continues to wows visitors from around the world. Oh, and us. Then again, we’re big into shrubs.

Bellagio Conservatory Fall 2014

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Elvis Presley Exhibit, The King’s Ransom, Will Close at Binion’s Casino on March 31

Thanks to a tip from our friends at Las Vegas Advisor, we’ve confirmed the free Elvis Presley exhibit at Binion’s casino, The King’s Ransom, will close up shop March 31, 2014.

Elvis museum

Elvis is about to leave the building.

The exhibit was previously at The Quad (when it was Imperial Palace), so it could pop up at a new location in Las Vegas soon, but don’t count on it.

Elvis museum

Coincidentally, this Las Vegas blog has been known to have a belt or two downtown, too.

The King’s Ransom is a collection of about 150 Elvis-related items of memorabilia, including items from The King’s bathroom.

King's Ransom

Hey, you’re either an Elvis fan or you aren’t.

Check out our full walk-through of The King’s Ransom, and try to swing by before it closes.

And don’t worry, there are still tons of free things to do in Las Vegas.

King's Ransom

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Free Things to Do in Las Vegas: REO Speedwagon at Fremont Street Experience

Downtown’s Fremont Street Experience keeps the free entertainment coming with a concert by REO Speedwagon on March 8, 2014.

The band will appear on the Fremont Street Experience’s 3rd Street stage, and will perform some of their biggest hits, including “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Take It On the Run,” “Keep on Loving You,” “Roll with the Changes” and others.

REO Speedwagon’s performance is part of the 11th Annual RaceJam 2014, a three-day event (March 6-9, 2014) during NASCAR Weekend, with NASCAR merchandise booths and free nightly entertainment. RaceJam weekend at Fremont Street Experience is sponsored, in part, by Crown Royal. So, yeah, it’s that kind of party.

REO Speedwagon

The REO in REO Speedwagon stands for Ransom Eli Olds, the creator of Oldsmobile. They’re performing at a NASCAR event. Ah, the circularity of the universe.

REO Speedwagon has sold 40 million albums worldwide, and features frontman Kevin Cronin and band members Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (lead guitar) and Bryan Hitt (drums). And possibly this blog, if the band needs some help with those dope “Can’t Fight This Feeling” harmonies.

Check out more free things to do in Las Vegas, as well as some must-do things in Las Vegas.

The REO Speedwagon performance is free and open to the public, many of whom will be dancing like nobody’s watching, trust us.

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Loch Ness Has Got Nothing on Golden Nugget’s Aquarium

Looking for something free to do in Las Vegas? Try this.

The Golden Nugget, downtown, has a couple of sweet fish tanks. The most famous is the one at the pool, where you can take a water slide through a shark tank.

Golden Nugget shark tank

The shark tank at Golden Nugget has about 300 animals in it. Some of them the party type. It’s Vegas.

Pretty cool, right?

But there’s another aquarium in the hotel’s Rush Tower. This 75,000-gallon tropical fish aquarium sits between the check-in desk and the Chart House restaurant and bar. Emphasis on the bar, of course.

Rush Tower aquarium

You’d never suspect something epic slithers within.

It’s a gorgeous aquarium, and an endless source of entertainment whether you’re sitting at the bar, having dinner or just passing through for a look.

But don’t be distracted by the exotic fish. Look closely, and you’ll see a six-foot monster, a green moray eel.

green moray eel

This is where we say, “Aieee!”

These bad boys are typically found in the western Atlantic, and can grow up to eight feet long.

Now, let’s see how much you know about moray eels! The eel’s “kingdom” is Animalia, of course. It’s phylum is Chordata, class is Actinopterygii, order is Anguilliformes, family is Muraenidae, genus is Gymnothorax, species is G. funebris and its binomial name is Gymnothorax funebris. Which is all stuff we knew off the top of our head, of course.

Checking out the free aquariums at Golden Nugget is a fun way to take a break from the casino, and see some truly amazing life forms, up close and personal.

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The 10 Best Free Things to Do in Las Vegas If You Have a Short Attention Span

When you hit Vegas, it’s important to make the most of your time. Life moves fast, and it moves even faster in Las Vegas. Who has the time, or attention, to spend even a full hour on a Las Vegas attraction? Boring!

Let’s keep things moving with our list of free things to do in Las Vegas if you have a short attention span. All these items can be experienced in five minutes or less. No, sex with this blog is not on the list, and your insolence is duly noted.

1. Chocolate Fountains at Bellagio

Find the world’s largest chocolate fountains can be found at Jean Philippe Chocolates and Pastries at Bellagio, near the hotel’s famed Conservatory and Gardens. Total time required: Three minutes.

Bellagio chocolate fountains

The 27-foot-tall chocolate fountain display has 2,100 pounds, features 500 feet of piping and took two years to design.

2. Berlin Wall at Main Street

At Main Street Station, also downtown, there’s a giant slab of the Berlin Wall behind the urinals in the men’s restroom. Total time required, including hand washing: Two minutes.

Berlin Wall

Ladies, just ask security if you’d like to be escorted in.

3. Spiral Escalators at The Forum Shops

Spiral escalators are a true rarity, and the ones at The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace are a wonder to behold. Each spiral staircase weighs 36 tons, but due to some innovative engineering, they appear to float in mid-air. Ride just once, or ride all day. Total time required for a ride: One minute per level.

Forum Shops escalators

The spiral staircases at The Forum Shops were unveiled in October 2004.

4. French Lessons at Paris Las Vegas

Speaking of restrooms, it’s not every day you get entertainment in a Las Vegas hotel bathroom, but that’s exactly what you’ll get at Paris Las Vegas. No annoying music played over the sound system here, just a French lesson, with useful phrases like “How do I get this glitter off my clothes?” and “I shaved my legs for this?” translated. Total time required: Three minutes, although it plays in a loop, so enjoy.

Paris Las Vegas

The Paris cost $760 million to build, opened Sep. 1, 1999, and is always happy to see you.

5. Whirlpools at Crystals

The groovy, tornado-shaped, water vortex whirlpools at Crystals mall at CityCenter are a quick, whimsical way to kill a few minutes during your Las Vegas shopping spree.

Crystals art installation

This art installation probably has a name. Good luck with that.

Total time required: Four minutes. Here’s a little sample.

6. Gold Nugget at Golden Nugget

The Hand of Faith gold nugget, at 61 pounds, is said to be the biggest in existence, and it’s available for viewing at downtown’s Golden Nugget. Total time required: One minute. Unless you read the placard, then make it two minutes. If you have another minute to spare, check out the ATM that dispenses gold bars a few feet away.

Gold nugget

The nugget was unearthed in Australia, in 1980, by a really lucky dude named Kevin Hillier.

Update: The Hand of Faith is currently on loan to Golden Nugget Biloxi, but it’ll be back.

7. Blue Man Group Parade

Update: Blue Man Group no longer offers the parade. We’re leaving it on our list until we think of something better.

Blue Man Group puts on a free parade through the casino floor at Monte Carlo each evening at 6:15 p.m. There’s music and lights and all things blue. The show starts in the hotel’s lobby, winds its way through the casino, and ends in front of the Blue Man Group theater. Total time required: Five minutes.

Blue Man Group

When members of Blue Man Group give autographs, they do so with a blue smudge of paint.

Oh, yes, there will be percussioning. Total time required: Five minutes.

8. Glass Elevator at Rio Las Vegas

The glass elevators at Rio Las Vegas zip riders up to VooDoo Steak and VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub, but nobody says you have to eat or dance. The view alone is worth the trip. Total time required: One minute each way.

9. Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

“Habitat” might be a bit of an overstatement, but the small collection of flamingos, rescued pelicans and other fowl and fish at Flamingo is a pleasant departure from the casino. Total time required: Five minutes.

Flamingos

Flamingos are monogamous and lay one egg a year.

10. Blarney Stone at The D

On the second level of The D, downtown, you can get up close and personal with a hunk of the actual Blarney Stone. Yes, the one in Cork, Ireland. The stone is a remnant of The D’s former incarnation, the Irish-themed Fitzgerald’s. Total time required for a good luck kiss: 10 seconds, unless you really get into it.

Blarney Stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone is said to endow the kisser with the gift of the gab. Although, at The D, the same can be said for the rum.

There’s a lot to see and do in Las Vegas, so plan your time wisely, and take advantage of a few of these free Sin City quickies. So to speak.

While we’re on the subject, check out more must-do things in Las Vegas.

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The Best Las Vegas Magazine Isn’t a Magazine: “Viva Vegas” on Flipboard

If you love Las Vegas as much as we do, you probably have an insatiable appetite for news and information related to the world’s most exciting city. Las Vegas. Please try and keep up.

One of our favorite sources of Las Vegas news is “Viva Vegas” magazine on the Flipboard app.

If you’re unfamiliar with Flipboard, it’s described as a “social news magazine,” basically a way to view stories being shared in social media, magazine-style, including blogs, which we hear are incredibly entertaining if you find the right ones. Ahem.

Viva Vegas on Flipboard

All the Las Vegas news our brain can hold and pretty, too.

Flipboard is available for a variety of devices, including iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook. Once you install the app, just do a search for “Viva Vegas,” hit the “subscribe” function and you should be all set.

Take “Viva Vegas” for a test drive here. Just wait until you see it on your iPad.

“Viva Vegas” is the creation of our friend and inspiration Hunter Hillegas, the same guy who came up with the award-winning Vegas Mate app, another essential tool for Las Vegas visitors.

Viva Vegas on Flipboard

Some people are just way into this Ferris wheel thing.

Hillegas and two cohorts, Mike Gavin and Anthony Baldaramos, are Las Vegas fanatics, always on the hunt for interesting or useful stories to share via their “Viva Vegas” virtual magazine.

The Flipboard app is free, by the way, and same goes for “Viva Vegas.” Get the Flipboard app here.

To give you some idea of how awesome “Viva Vegas” is, it has grown to have nearly 12,000 readers, and has featured more than 2,000 articles gathered from across the Internet.

Says Hillegas, “I’ve been a Flipboard user and fan for a long time and when they introduced the feature, it seemed like a natural thing to try out for Vegas. It’s for anyone that wants Vegas news and doesn’t want to scour dozens of sites. Yes, many of them offer RSS feeds, but I’ve learned most people don’t understand what that is or how it works. They can benefit from a bunch of stuff being put in front of them and that’s the goal here.”

Mission accomplished, because our day isn’t complete until we break out our “Viva Vegas” magazine before bed.

Viva Vegas on Flipboard

We don’t always kiss our girlfriend goodnight, but we always kiss our “Viva Vegas” goodnight. Hey, we have our priorities straight.

We asked contributor Anthony Baldaramos, who joined the “Viva Vegas” team when the magazine had just 300 readers, about why he volunteers his time to keep the magazine current, and he says, “I have a healthy obsession with Vegas. This is my way of sharing it with others. Our readers enjoy that we keep our ‘mag’ updated regularly and we use different news sources to appeal to different readers.”

“Viva Vegas” brings together an eclectic and thoughtfully-curated collection of news stories and photos from diverse sources, all intended to keep Vegas enthusiasts informed.

Learn more about the Flipboard app, and give “Viva Vegas” a look. Once you do, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.

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