DSCF2853Originally conceived as a beautiful, quiet space where guests and tourists alike could find respite from the noise of the casino, the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of the best free attractions on the Las Vegas Strip.

Located just steps beyond the Bellagio’s registration area, the Botanical Gardens are meticulously planned displays which feature live flowers, trees, shrubs and plants, all arranged in whimsical, scenic tableaus.  The theme changes 5 times a year, in accordance to holidays and seasons.  The  three story conservatory features a lovely glass ceiling high overhead, somewhat reminiscent of an old fashioned greenhouse.  This allows for plenty of natural light during the day.  At night, an array of state-of-the-art theatrical lights illuminate and enhance the displays, making them all the more beautiful.

IMG 7455A team of more than 140 people from the Bellagio’s horticultural and engineering departments plan and execute each new display, using approximately 10,000 blooming plants and flowers, 40 trees, and 1,500 shrubs.  Large cranes help the team hang elements of the displays and focus the lighting, while tunnels directly under the 40,000 square foot exhibit, help with the delivery and assembly of large props and set pieces.  The horticulturists  also change the plants within each tableau every two weeks, so they always appear as fresh as possible.

Every year, more than 5 million people visit the Botanical Gardens - that’s between 15,000 and 18,000 every day.  They are treated to fancifulIMG 7453, colorful exhibits like Chinese New Year, Spring Celebration, Summer Garden Party, Autumn Harvest, and Winter Celebration.  I have seen many of Bellagio’s botanical exhibits over the years, and they are always most impressive.   

IMG 7452The Chinese New Year displays are always gorgeous, featuring a giant sized golden cobra for the Year of the Snake, figures of playfulIMG 4472 Chinese children, giant-sized lucky coins scattered throughout, and even large red or green dragons which move, rear their heads and shoot smoke out of their noses, and even a one-third scale Chinese junk.  

IMG 1555The Winter exhibits are always impressive as well, with a centerpiece of a huge Christmas tree, its lights pulsing to music.  I’ve seen hundreds of red poinsettia carpeting the center island, while Santa’s sleigh soars high above.  Giant nutcracker figures stand guard and playful white polar bears made entirely of flowers romp nearby.IMG 1552

One of the most memorable Spring displays I caught, had a walk-through greenhouse filled with living butterflies.  Another involved huge floral bumblebees hanging from the ceiling and gigantic ants “toiling away” in the garden.

DSCF2855The Summer exhibit has featured a huge lighthouse, complete with a revolving lamp at the top, and another display actually had a ferris wheel soaring nearly three stories in the air..  

The Autumn Harvest show has shown off huge, real pumpkins and a small-scale reproduction of the Bellagio hotel, made entirely of twigs, complete with a fountain out front!  There have been talking trees, water features, and sleek fountains which often shoot smooth streams of water directly overhead as visitors walk through.

IMG 7473No expense is spared to create these imaginative landscapes, and better yet, there is no expense to the public.  I recommend this attraction to allIMG 1553 of my friends - it’s good for the entire family and, of course, it’s FREE!  There is no time limit to how long you can stay and the displays always make for some great photo opportunities!  It can often get crowded, so choosing off-hours like early mornings or late nights might help, but no matter what time you choose, it’s definitely worth seeing.  The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are a lovely way to get away from the craziness of Las Vegas, if only for a few moments.  

Hours:  Open 7 days a week, 24 hours

2013 Exhibit Schedule:
   Chinese New Year -- Jan.12th - Mar. 3rd
   Spring Celebration -- Mar. 9th - May 11th
   Summer Garden Party -- May 19th - Sept. 8th
   Autumn Harvest -- Sept. 14th - Nov. 30th
   Winter Holiday -- Dec. 6th - Jan. 5th (2014)