Category Archives: Free Las Vegas

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Unveils “Under the Sea” Display for Summer

Just when we feared the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens was falling into a rut, the free Las Vegas attraction has pulled out all the stops with a new “Under the Sea”-themed summer display. Feast your eyeballs on this!

Bellagio Conservatory 2015

Las Vegas remains the world’s largest producer of awestruck in the world.

If you visit the Bellagio Conservatory on a regular basis, you start to see patterns (repetition) in the seasonal displays, so we were pleased to see an entirely new display unveiled for the summer of 2015.

The new display features a mermaid, sunken ship, a 26-foot tall coral reef, multiple water features and a variety of vividly-colored sea life, including massive jelly fish and seahorses.

Bellagio

The coral reef is 26 feet tall and 35 feet long. But this isn’t time for measuring things, it’s a time for being agog.

This is the first time the Bellagio’s Conservatory has plumbed the depths of the ocean for inspiration.

Our first visit to the new summer display was during the day, and while impressive, the true magic of this new motif happens at night. We recommend making two visits. During the day, you can get a good look at the attention to detail. During the evening, your inner child will take over and you’ll be transported into the undersea world populated by Nemo and Ariel and Bambi, had Bambi ever shown the ambition to be scuba certified.

Among the highlights of the display is a sea turtle fashioned from red carnations and yellow Fuji mums.

Bellagio summer 2015

We like turtles.

A fishermans’ wharf plays host to live music. Performances happen daily 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Bellagio summer 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, Carlos Sandtana.

In keeping with a recent trend to include more marketing aspects in the Conservatory’s displays, there’s also a sandcastle replica of Bellagio.

Bellagio Conservatory summer

Hey, somebody has to pay for all this whimsy.

Another stand-out aspect of the summer display is a mermaid with 1,500 fresh-cut flowers in her tail. Yes, we counted.

Bellagio Conservatory summer

Insert your favorite “getting tail in Las Vegas” joke here.

The artist who fashioned the mermaid’s face is named Ruel G. James, and he used a Las Vegas model for inspiration, a friend of ours, Tarra Scarff Proctor. Tarra would hate it if we included a photo of her here. So, we’re definitely doing it.

Tarra

If Tarra looks familiar, you may have bumped to her at Flamingo Las Vegas where she promoted shows to work her way through nursing school. Exclusive!

The mermaid has some impressive touches, like her hair, made from hundreds of seashells.

Bellagio Conservatory mermaid

No clams or scollops were harmed during the making of the mermaid’s hair.

Bellagio’s summer display also has a 35-foot-long sunken fishing boat made of teak, mahogany and cedar wood. It’s difficult to see the whole boat from ground level, so we fired up our drone.

Bellagio

Actually, we put our camera on a monopod, but that doesn’t sound nearly as cool as “we fired up our drone.”

There’s also a larger-than-life treasure chest that would make the “The Goonies” proud. Related: How the hell is that movie 30 years old?

Bellagio Conservatory treasure chest

While a popular myth, only one pirate is known to have actually buried treasure, William Kidd.

As with all displays at Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, flowers play a big part in the overall wow factor.

The summer display will feature 6,000 flowers per week, or 80,000 for the duration of the exhibit.

Bellagio Conservatory

Botanical experts are available in the Conservatory each morning, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. to answer questions from guests. Yes, even the annoying ones.

In addition to the flowers, the attraction also boasts 600 shrubs. That’s a lot of shrubs. Sadly, shrubs don’t get nearly the attention or glory the flowers do. Shrubs are like the Jan Brady of the Bellagio Conservatory. “Fuji mums, Fuji mums, Fuji mums,” the shrubs exclaim.

Bellagio Conservatory

You’re definitely not looking at the shrubs. This animated clam is five feet tall and six feet long and opens up every seven minutes. Note: The Animated Clams would make a great band name.

This latest Bellagio Conservatory installment is a captivating reminder of just how lavish, creative and ingenious these exhibits can be.

Bellagio Conservatory

The hanging jellyfish are 20 feet in diameter. Definitely a nighttime thing.

Thankfully, the Bellagio understands there’s a benefit to providing unforgettable, free things to do on The Strip. Given ongoing belt-tightening at Las Vegas casinos, we’ve worried the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens would be sent to Davy Jones’ Locker. Hang in there Bellagio!

So, catch this new Bellagio Conservatory display while you can!

And don’t miss the animated fishies.

The family-friendly “Under the Sea” display at the Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is free, open to the public and runs through Sep. 12, 2015.

Enjoy a virtual tsunami of photos, several of which are even in focus, in our exclusive photo gallery.

Bellagio Conservatory Summer 2015

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Bellagio Conservatory’s Spring Display Goes to the Far East for Inspiration

The Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens have, for the first time, drawn inspiration from Japan for its spring display.

Bellagio Conservatory Japan

The oil-paper umbrella originated in China. Which is pretty much the same as Japan if you look at a map, from a distance, while squinting.

The Bellagio’s new spring display showcases many aspects of Asian culture, including the fact Asian visitors drop a metric ass-ton of cash at Las Vegas casinos. Wait, sorry, that wasn’t in the news release.

This is from the release, “Pairing the soothing aesthetics of Japan’s traditional gardens with Bellagio’s striking grandeur; the new display boasts a vibrant collection of more than 82,000 flowers and larger-than-life floral creations.” Back to more pretty photos!

Bellagio

Some of the 82,000 flowers. We’d tell you which ones, but that would involve “remembering” or “note-taking,” not our favorite things.

Flowers at the Conservatory include tulips, daffodils and snapdragons. Thank you, news release!

Live musicians (our favorite kind) perform songs on a floating platform from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. each day.

Bellagio musicians

No dancing, please. You might crush a snapdragon.

In a pond, there are 75 live Koi fish (again, our favorite kind).

Bellagio koi

“Koi” is a Japanese word that means “carp.” Koi makes them sound more exotic, so just go with it.

Also on-hand is a 12-foot tall traditional Japanese-inspired tea house.

Bellagio tea house

The ideal floor size of a tea room is 4.5 tatami mats, whatever those might actually be. We are a Las Vegas blog, not a foreign exchange student.

Other cultural icons at the Bellagio Conservatory include the turtle, below. In Japanese culture, turtles represent longevity and good luck. Or soup. But mostly those other two things.

Bellagio turtle

The turtle on display at Bellagio is similar to Gamera, the building-crushing mutant that got its ass whipped by Godzilla. But with flowers.

There are a few elements of this year’s display that are head-scratchers. While the hotel may claim they were inspired by Japanese culture, they seem to have been inspired by, “What can we throw up there on the cheap?”

Bellagio Conservatory

Did we mention the Bellagio Conservatory is still free? All is forgiven.

While the spring display may not necessarily be the Conservatory’s most memorable, we have to keep things in perspective. It’s free, and it could be a CVS. ‘Nuff said.

Besides, flowers!

Bellagio

These are the rare, delicate “flowers we also didn’t bother to write down the name of.”

One of the highlights of the display is an 18-foot-tall cherry blossom tree with 300 acrylic blossoms and leaves.

Bellagio

Whatever happened to the Acrylic Blossoms? Loved their music.

A six-foot-tall crane stands nearby, wings outstretched as if to say, “Please, can we wrap up this blog post? I have to get busy sharing some of these amazing photos on Pinterest.” Or something.

Bellagio Japanese crane

The red-crowned crane, or Japanese crane, is among the rarest in the world and symbolizes fidelity. And in Las Vegas, it’s about the only thing that does.

Before you leave the Conservatory, make sure to check out the giant Fabergé egg fashioned from (wait for it) flowers. The egg is a clever cross-promotion for an exhibit in the Bellagio’s Gallery of Fine Art, “Fabergé Revealed.” The gallery features more than 200 objects made by a dead Russian. Although that’s probably not the description Bellagio uses in its marketing materials. They’re fancy like that. Learn more.

Faberge egg

Despite the fact this has absolutely nothing to do with Japanese culture, it’s still a great photo op, not to mention it could make 4,800 omelets.

Even after years of Bellagio displays, we still enjoy seeing what the Bellagio’s approximately 140 horticulturists have up their sod-soiled sleeves. And like we said, it remains one of the best free things to do in Las Vegas.

Please enjoy more photos in our exclusive gallery of the Japanese and dead Russian-inspired spring display at Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens.

Bellagio Conservatory Spring 2015

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Even Yoko Ono Can’t Ruin Glorious Video Art Display at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Here’s something to add to your list of things to do in Las Vegas, and be sure to bring along your eyeballs. All of them.

In the Cosmopolitan’s registration area, you’ll find a gorgeous set of columns decked out with video displays. The video art shown on the columns looks a little like this.

Cosmopolitan video art

Visuals so spectacular, it’ll make you gawk like an Assemblyman at a sorority carwash. Feel free to use that in your ads, Cosmopolitan.

You can’t really get a sense of the gloriousness in a mere photograph, of course. So, because we have the generous nature of a Dominican nun, we snagged some video of the video for your edification and to kill some time at work.

Live dangerously and go for the 1080p high-def video.

Pretty amazing stuff, don’t you think?

The Cosmo recently upgraded the 408 video displays on its columns and behind its registration desk. Each of the columns has an astonishing 100 million pixels each. We know because we counted.

Cosmopolitan video art

The polished floors and mirrored ceilings intensity the spectacularity. Spiced rum also can’t hurt.

The Cosmopolitan says 100 new computers send content to the bezel-less, smart displays. They are clearly smarter than we are, as this Las Vegas blog wouldn’t know a bezel if it tripped on one.

Cosmopolitan video

Enjoy this free showing of “50 Shades of Having Few if Any Bezels.”

The big news lately, and we probably should have put “news” in quotation marks, is the Cosmo’s video screens (including the hotel’s 65-foot digital marquee) recently began showing a video art piece by none other than Yoko Ono. Yes, that Yoko Ono.

Let’s just say you probably won’t want to make a special trip for professional coattail-rider Ono’s video art.

To get an idea of what Yoko Ono’s video art looks like, just just imagine the default computer wallpaper for the Windows XP operating system. Now, superimpose the phrase “Imagine Peace” on that in 24 languages. No, really, that’s the whole thing.

Cosmopolitan video art Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono’s video presentation is very calming. Then again, so is being shot with a tranquilizer dart.

Here’s a peek at some of the best work in Yoko Ono’s career, mainly because it doesn’t involve her singing.

Thankfully, most of the video art displayed at Cosmopolitan was done by an actual video artist, Yorgo Alexpoulos. The New York-based artist’s work is actually worthy of the eye-popping technology said to have 12 times the resolution of a single HD channel.

Cosmo Las Vegas lobby

And you think it’s rough keeping up with the fingerprints on your smartphone.

The video displays in the Cosmo’s registration area are truly a feast for the eyes, and a great reason to visit the hotel. As if you needed another reason. It’s the Cosmopolitan.

See below for more photos, and while you’re exploring, check out our article about things to do in Las Vegas which has been viewed nearly 200,000 times, and we’re not even making that up. (No, really this time.)

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas Video Art

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Downtown Las Vegas is Home to the World’s Largest Working Fire Hydrant, Probably

Here’s something we didn’t know until Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh told us about it: Downtown Las Vegas is home to the world’s largest functioning fire hydrant.

Why? Vegas, that’s why.

world's largest fire hydrant

We’re gonna need a bigger dog.

Downtown’s 15-foot-tall hydrant is attached to the Hydrant Club, a private dog park that also features daycare, boarding and training services. The Hydrant Club is across from the former Western casino.

The Internet seems to think there are other, larger working fire hydrants, but we’re going to go with what Tony Hsieh and the Hydrant Club team says. Probably because we like to think Las Vegas has the biggest everything.

Yes, including that, thank you.

Read more about the alleged world’s largest working fire hydrant on the official Hydrant Club site.

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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