As a Las Vegas local, I’m often asked how often I visit the Strip. The answer is more often than most other locals, but not nearly as often as you might imagine I do. The frequency of my visits depends on the events and openings happening at any given time, the time of year it is and whether or not we have anyone visiting. At the very least, I make the trip to the Strip five times a year, however, and this is because of the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Though most people know about the famous Bellagio Fountains dancing outside the famous resort, fewer people venture inside to check out Bellagio’s other awesome free attraction: The conservatory and botanical gardens. Just inside the front door, through the lobby and past the colorful Dale Chihuly-designed ceiling is a large atrium with a high glass ceiling. Every time I walk into this space, I feel like dreams come alive and the imagination is simply a place that confines ideas.
The Bellagio has a staff of more than 100 employees who are hired specifically to create, build and maintain the gardens. Five times a year, they completely redesign the concept in this space, creating inspiring and colorful landscapes built almost entirely out of flowers. Four of the themes are seasonal and then the fifth one is usually related to the Chinese New Year. I’ve seen a few of the props reused throughout the years, but each display is still unique from anything that’s been done in the past. Highlights have included a greenhouse filled with orchids, a full size windmill, huge polar bears made of white flowers and pumpkins that weighed nearly 1,000 pounds.
What I love most about the gardens is that the art doesn’t just occur at ground level. In addition to installations such as the greenhouse and windmill, there are always plenty of things hanging from the glass ceiling such as snowflakes, leaves, bumble bees or butterflies.
I did a bit of research on the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at one time and was happy to learn that, as flowers are replaced throughout a display’s lifetime and once a theme has reached its end, the “used” flowers are placed in guest rooms throughout the resort so they don’t go to waste. What’s not to love about that?
Because the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are free, they can be a bit packed during the day, but visiting at night or early in the morning offers a great opportunity to steal the space all to yourself (plus it’s when the night sky is out that the gardens are lit via carefully thought-out lighting).