While there are four seasons, one might say that Sin City—or at least the world-famous Bellagio—celebrates a fifth. Or does the Strip simply celebrate two New Year’s?
Confused? Don’t be. The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden celebrates five seasons, including the Chinese New Year. In honor of the 2021 “Year of the Ox,” the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden presents what might be its most ambitious exhibit yet: “A Season of Love.”
This year’s presentation opened January 6 and runs until March 6. It also marks the start of the Bellagio’s yearly cycle of seasonal productions. A tradition that `goes all the way back to the 1998 opening of the property, it has become an anticipated event, drawing tourists and locals alike. As with previous Chinese New Year events, the Bellagio promises an explosion of colors and lights—and an endless array of decorative flowers, plants, and trees.
Entering from the lobby, two Chinese Foo Dog water fountains greet the guest. If they appear a bit comical at a distance, both have been sculpted with a respectful attention to detail, designed to ward off negative energy and to ring in a peaceful, prosperous New Year. They are complemented by two huge yellow roses symbolizing friendship and caring. An auspicious start.
Present at the installation’s center, one discovers the magnificent Jade Pavilion, bordered by a winding Bonsai tree as well as a striking willow tree. They frame the Pavilion, which is in turn set off by an elaborate bed of shrubbery and cattail plants. Should you not find yourself lost in the floral arrangements, look up and discover a white moon hovering in the sky, ornamented with an image of an Ox. Walk a little further, and you will find two majestic golden oxen facing each other atop a red and gold bridge. As many associate the Ox with prosperity, wellness and success—well, 2021 looks good for Vegas!
Depictions of happy children, a pagoda, and a large, colorful carp bounding out of a stream are all not to be missed— but as expected, it’s the sheer breadth of detail that entrances the visitor. Walk slowly and take in the installation a little at a time, and the care that has been lavished soon becomes clear. “A Season of Love” has been crafted from over 63,000 plants and flowers, maintained by 75 employees dedicated to the task. Spread across the Conservatory’s 17,000 square feet, this really feels like entering a world-within-a-world.
As in previous years, the Conservatory and Garden remains open 24 hours a day and is free to the public. There may be a short line at times, but generally one can walk in and stroll around at their leisure. Even as Vegas continues roaring back, the Bellagio Botanical Garden offers a reminder that Sin City still has it all—both fast-paced excitement alongside unexpectedly tranquil beauty.