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October 23, 2017

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Photos: It’s the Year of the Snake at Bellagio Conservatory & Gardens


Sam Morris

Tourists visit the Bellagio Conservatory & Gardens Chinese New Year display Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.

Bellagio Conservatory Chinese New Year

Chinese children with clothes made of flowers are seen as part of the Bellagio Conservatory & Gardens Chinese New Year display Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Chinese New Year is being celebrated in truly spectacular style at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The horticulturists have excelled with one of the most colorful displays they’ve ever created.

With 22,000 flowers and 660 trees and shrubs, it is a masterpiece and includes a tranquil pond filled with more than 200 magnificent, colorful Koi. If hotel casino gardens won prizes, this extraordinary creation would get everything.

The Chinese New Year celebration heralds the Year of the Snake, which starts Feb. 10 and continues through Jan. 30, 2014, with its vibrant and alluring floral creations rich in Chinese tradition.

To symbolize prosperity, good fortune and nobility, an 18-foot-tall and 20-foot-wide Chinese money tree stands at the entrance. It’s the bold centerpiece of the display flourishing with 384 oversized gold-leafed coins on branches. I-Ching coins, a traditional Chinese symbol for money, surround its base.

Yes, there is a snake, a 9-foot-tall friendly King Cobra covered in 5,000 blue-and-yellow luminescent scales perched atop more gold coins to signify that one’s wealth and good fortune will be protected for the next 12 months.

Just as stunning is the 35-foot Chinese junk boat with a 38-foot mast inspired by 15th Century fishing vessels. Carved from teak, mahogany and cedar, it weighs a staggering 3,000 pounds.

The display is absolutely breathtaking. Each garden encompasses water to ensure a positive flow of energy and the three friends of winter -- pine, bamboo and plum -- to symbolize perseverance, integrity and modesty.

Feng Shui, the art of using surroundings to bring about harmony, balance and positive life energy, guided the design of the tranquil temple. Around the gardens’ edge, the ancestral ding pots burn incense for good luck and protect against bad fortune.

It took 1,800 carnations, spider mums and Fuji mums to bring to life six “lucky” children dancing and at play near the peaceful pavilion under firecrackers. A zigzag bridge extends from both sides to provide a difficult route for bad spirits and negative energy.

The legend of the Year of the Snake is that Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on the Chinese New Year, and 12 came that make up the Asian zodiac. The sixth was the snake, and people born in this 12-month calendar are said to be refined, intuitive, introspective and enigmatic.

The exhibit is free to the public and open seven days a week 24 hours daily until March 3. Each day at 5 p.m., the Las Vegas-based Beijing Trio performs traditional folk and pop music with Chinese instruments.

If you love culture, beautiful gardens and floral displays, this is one exhibit not to miss. It will take your breath away; then go hiss about it to all your friends!

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.

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