The Bellagio has one of the great free attractions in Las Vegas–the unrivaled Bellagio
Fountains. It’s still breath-taking, but over the past year or so has become much less family-friendly with the proliferation of costumed beggars, pornslappers, and hustlers on the sidewalks in front of the show.
Inside the Bellagio, there’s another free attraction that just keeps getting better and which changes up enough to justify a trip every time you’re in Las Vegas: the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. For the next 6 weeks or so, the Conservatory’s Chinese New Year is your reason to swing by the Bellagio.
The Chinese New Year Exhibit, which will be up until March 3, has something new: a nightly concert featured traditional Chinese music. It runs from 5-6 PM each night, and it makes for a nice pre-dinner outing.
The displays themselves–which involve much more than flower–are as incredible as they always are. There are a total of six animated dragons–they heads, tails and arms move–in the gardens, including the intertwined pair pictured above, which soar 30 feet into the air.
As you walk into the Conservatory, you’ll see two ding pots holding incense. They traditionally keep bad spirits out, and when we went several people were tossing coins (and a few casino chips) into the pots as a good luck charm.
If you want to see a spectacle that’s purely family-friendly, you can’t get much better than the Bellagio Gardens. If you go early in the day, Mr. and Ms. Green Thumb–two of the Bellagio’s horticulturalists–are available for questions, a great opportunity to have your kids learn something while you’re vacationing in Vegas.
The Gardens are an attraction that you can breeze through in five minutes or spend an hour admiring. For most families, I’d guess that it’s about a 20-30 minute thing, though it’s entirely possible that if you’ve got kids who are particularly into plants you could easily spend much longer without getting bored.
The best part about the Gardens are that they are very easy to get to, particularly if you’ve got a car. One of the worst things about Las Vegas is that it’s such a hassle to get kids (or even yourself) from point A to point B through the big, crowded, smokey casino. The Gardens are located just steps away from the the self-park garage. You just park, take the elevator to the casino level, walk into the Bellagio, make a right, and you’ve arrived. There’s even a restroom handy right next to the garage entrance in case someone needs to take a potty break.
If you want to enjoy the Gardens for longer, you can grab a meal at Cafe Bellagio, the casino’s coffee shop, which is about as casual a dining experience as you’ll have in the place. they have views of the Garden or the pool, depending on where you’re sitting. If you’re feeling in the mood for some gelato, Cafe Gelato is a bit of a hike, but you don’t have to walk through the casino to get there: you can just head back to the convention area, hang a right, walk a while, and you’ll reach the promenade with Cafe Gelato and the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (property map).
There’s not much in Las Vegas that I’d say is absolutely mandatory, but the Bellagio Gardens are at the top of that small list. Highly recommended for all ages.