By Jay Jones
9:15 AM CST, December 5, 2012
A visit to the Conservatory at Bellagio is a holiday tradition for many Vegas visitors. The centerpiece this year, on display through Jan. 5, is a 45-foot-tall Shasta fir, the largest holiday tree ever displayed at the resort.
It’s decorated with 2,500 ornaments and 7,000 twinkling lights. Four large toy soldiers are on sentry duty at the tree’s base.
Nearby, 11 faux penguins frolic in the snow and skate around a frozen pond. There’s a colorful gazebo where, from 4 to 5 p.m. Dec. 17-25, carolers will help put guests in a festive mood. Mama, papa and baby polar bears are made up of 35,000 white carnations.
For the first time, Bellagio’s pastry chefs are lending their talents to the display. They’ve created a gingerbread village surrounded by two sets of railroad tracks. Two toy trains are fitted with TV cameras, and visitors can get an engineer’s-eye view on nearby monitors as the locomotives chug past the illuminated gingerbread houses, complete with smoke rising from their chimneys.
The conservatory is open 24 hours a day, and it’s free.
Outdoors, Bellagio’s iconic fountains will be dancing to a variety of holiday tunes, including “Carol of the Bells,” “O Holy Night,” and “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The fountains come to life every 30 minutes starting at noon on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (3 p.m. weekdays). From 7 p.m. to midnight, performances are every 15 minutes.
It’s also looking a lot like Christmas a few blocks up Las Vegas Boulevard, where Steve Wynn’s teams have given Wynn Las Vegas and Encore holiday makeovers. The adjoining resorts are decorated with 30 luxurious holiday trees and six ornate menorahs.
The showcase is the Wynn atrium. More than 5,000 hours went into transforming the place into a seasonal spectacle, complete with 16 trees made from fruit and cream puffs and 120 floral sculptures made from 50,000 individual flowers and 5,500 rare, pink and orange poinsettias.
The atrium sights are open 24/7 and are free.