Las Vegas Sun

September 21, 2014

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Photo Gallery: Bellagio’s spectacular Winter Wonderland

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Tom Donoghue/www.donoghuephotography.com

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens’ 2009 Winter Wonderland display.

Bellagio's 2009 Winter Wonderland

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens' 2009 Winter Wonderland display. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens' 2009 Winter Wonderland display.

Click to enlarge photo

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens' 2009 Winter Wonderland display.

A quick look at the temperature tells you that winter has arrived with an icy blast -- down into the low 30s overnight. People throughout the country express surprise that Las Vegas can actually see snow during the winter. They forget that even in the desert, we get a chilly climate at night.

But at the same time, it’s the perfect excuse to celebrate the holiday season, and one of the annual favorites is the conversion of the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens into a spectacular, shimmering Winter Wonderland -- here’s a first look!

This year’s magical display, which opened today, features a dazzling holiday tree, flying reindeer, a polar bear family and a living holiday card proclaiming season’s tidings. The stunning centerpiece of this elaborate holiday exhibit is a majestic 42-foot-tall Shasta Fir ablaze in thousands of holiday lights and red, pink and silver ornaments measuring as large as 18 feet. Nearby, eight pecan-encrusted reindeer lift a gift-laden sleigh into the snowy sky, while a playful polar bear family, covered with 34,000 white carnations, brings back fond memories of wintry fun.

Each of those reindeer was made from 110 pounds of pecans. The toy soldiers on guard around the tree each stand 15 feet tall. The rocking horse is 7 feet tall, and the 13-foot-tall giant peppermint sticks surround the flower-clad snowman. A working Bellagio train circles the awesome exhibit.

Just around the corner at Jean Philippe Patisserie, a chocolate Santa dressed in a suit of sugar icing sends spirits soaring with the help of a chocolate airplane. Executive pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury and his team spent one month creating the decadent, 240-pound display featuring a luscious combination of dark, milk and white chocolate.

Our contributing photographer Tom Donoghue got the advance peek at this year’s production for our stunning photo gallery. You should definitely go see it, because as great as our contributing photographers and photos are, it’s only done justice when you experience it firsthand. The whimsical holiday displays will be open through Jan. 2 for visitors and locals alike.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground. Read more of Robin's stories at VegasDeLuxe.com.

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