Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens Inspires Merry and Bright “Hopeful Holidays”

Capturing the spirit of the season, the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens unwrapped its extravagant holiday display this week, inviting visitors to explore the majestic, imaginary world of Her Majesty Queen Bellissima. Decked in holiday-trimmed botanical elements, the Conservatory features a 42-foot-tall silver tip fir tree sparkling with thousands of lights, a beautiful oversized ornamental egg, four majestic horses pulling a lavishly decorated carriage and bustling elves preparing the Queen’s quarters for the season.


Guests will discover four scenes set in the wondrous garden beds at Bellagio’s Conservatory, each representing a holiday tradition or magical moment in the Queen’s enchanting wonderland. Designed by Ed Libby and the Bellagio Horticulture team, this year’s theme is appropriately titled “Hopeful Holidays.”

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

“Our amazing horticulture and facilities teams at Bellagio work tirelessly to create and bring to life five themed displays throughout the year,” said Libby. “For our final display of 2020, we wanted to deliver a sense of joy and beauty to every person who visits, hoping each guest heads home with a beautiful new memory to share with loved ones as we head into a promising new year.”

Towering high above this year’s display in the West Garden is a 42-foot tall fresh-cut silver tipped fir tree from California’s Mt. Shasta. Elegantly decorated with 7,000 twinkling white lights and 2,500 gold and red ornaments, the tree is crowned with a new glimmering Swarovski crystal tree topper while a playful five-car toy train equipped with a live camera circles the base of the tree. The ice queen’s glamorous couture-inspired gown is newly trimmed in fresh everlasting roses and crystals. Accompanying her is a family of Coca-Cola polar bears – Mama bear and Sister bear are each adorned in new crowns to match the Queen.

In the North Garden, guests will be greeted by a magnificent ornamental egg set in a fountain of flowing water and surrounded by a gorgeous bed of Poinsettia flowers. The egg’s jewel-encrusted doors are open, revealing a pair of stunning red cardinals set in a snowy winter scene. Mirrored stars overhead, a small forest of lit pine trees and oversized pinecones are placed artistically throughout the bed.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens

Guests continue their holiday journey with a stop in the East Garden, where they will find themselves immersed in the Queen’s European-themed carriage embellished with jewels and two pearl-curtained windows. Featuring a red velvet interior and red carpet, the coach presents an opportunity for visitors to capture the perfect holiday photo. Four freshly groomed 12-foot-tall white horses are dressed in their finest regalia and ready to carry the Queen into bright days ahead.

The charming South Bed pays homage to the Bellagio team responsible for the Conservatory. Each whimsical elf is working hard to create a magical experience like the talented, hard-working Bellagio designers, decorators, engineers, electricians, florists and gardeners. The Queen’s playful puppy can be found frolicking next to an inviting fireplace and festive floral-embellished furnishings.

Visitors can take The Conservatory home with them or gift the magical experience to a loved one this holiday season by purchasing the exclusive “Season Greetings”-scented holiday candle – the same scent visitors take in as they explore the holiday display. Candles can be purchased inside the Giardini Garden Store.

Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is complimentary to the public and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Hopeful Holidays” will be on display through January 9, 2021.

In order to create a comfortable and safer environment for our guests, the following Health & Safety measures have been implemented in how the Conservatory will be experienced:

  • All guests will enter The Conservatory through a dedicated entryway; floor markers and employees will guide guests through the correct path
  • The number of guests allowed within The Conservatory at one time will be closely monitored by operations and security; when the space reaches capacity, guests will queue (physically distanced) while they wait for their opportunity to enter
  • The Bellagio team stationed within The Conservatory will encourage guests to continue moving through the space and exit when they are done enjoying the space so more guests can be accommodated
  • A dedicated path has been created, and is identified with floor markers, indicating the path guests can take to explore The Conservatory
  • One path within The Conservatory will be maintained for guests accessing the restaurants that sit within the space to allow them direct access

Holiday Display by the Numbers

  • 13,780: Total flowers on display for the duration of the exhibit
  • 8,000: Poinsettias
  • 7,000: LED lights on the holiday tree
  • 2,500: Ornaments on the holiday tree
  • 2,300: White carnations and hydrangeas to create each baby polar bear
  • 322: Tufts of red velvet with crystal buttons inside the carriage
  • 75: Team members who participate in the display’s assembly
  • 25: Lit silver tip fir trees
  • 11: Hanging glimmering stars
  • 7: Elves
  • 6: Days to complete the change out
  • 5: Polar bears
  • 4: Horses



The STRAT Hotel Casino & SkyPod will celebrate a much-awaited goodbye to 2020 with New Year’s Eve feasts, drinks and champagne toasts set to firework views from inside the SkyPod at Top of the World, 107 SkyLounge and the Observation Deck at 108 Drinks on Thursday, Dec. 31.

New Years Eve at The Strat

New Year’s Eve at the 360-degree, rotating Top of the World will feature a five-course prix fixe menu from 3 p.m. – midnight. The menu will offer appetizers including a seared scallop amuse bouche served with crispy potato, champagne butter and caviar. The first course will include Napa cabbage and roasted bok choy salad served with peanut sauce, pickled shiitake and garlic chips in a yuzu kosho vinaigrette; and for the second course, pappardelle pasta served with duck confit, tomato sugo, porcini mushrooms and smoked salt. The third course will include miso sea bass in a ginger sake reduction served with sweet potato purée and fried leeks. For the fourth course, guests may choose between slow braised short ribs in a dark chocolate and chile demi-glace served with parsnip chips and a crisp polenta cake or lobster and crab risotto served in a saffron broth with sweet pea emulsion. Dessert will include the celebration trio of white chocolate panna cotta with champagne gelee and macerated strawberries; passion fruit petit four with coconut sponge, passion fruit curd and white chocolate mirror glaze; and chocolate praline with dark chocolate sponge, milk chocolate mousse, praline crunch, ganache and feuilletine.

Dinner at Top of the World will be priced at $125 per person for reservations between 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., with party favors included. For reservations after 9:45 p.m. at Top of the World and 107 SkyLounge, dinner will be priced at $249 and will include fireworks viewing, a champagne toast and party favors. For upgraded window seating at Top of the World, the meal will be priced at $274.

Dinner at The STRAT Hotel Casino & SkyPod

STRAT guests may also celebrate New Year’s Eve from 107 SkyLounge and 108 Drinks for bites and cocktails with a view of the Las Vegas Valley fireworks from above. Following 10 p.m., there will be a minimum price on food and beverage. PT’s Wings & Sports, View Lounge and REMIX Lounge will also be open for celebrations.

Due to current state restrictions enacted to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, listed hours are contingent on state mandates and may change.

A Golden Entertainment, Inc. casino, The STRAT has implemented broad safety measures in accordance with the company’s new “Golden Commitment” standards. These measures include sanitation protocols at every touch point, from the parking garage through the entrances and the casino, to restaurants, bars, elevators and rooms. A full outline of the company’s “Golden Commitment” standards is available at

Reservations are required and tickets may be reserved and purchased by visiting or by calling (800) 998.6973. The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod always offers complimentary covered parking and valet services.


The Neon Museum board of trustees chairman Uri Vaknin

The Neon Museum announces Uri Vaknin as chairman of its board of trustees. He takes over for outgoing Board Chairman Mike PeQueen. Other newly elected executives on the museum’s board include Stevi Wara as vice-chair and Curt Carlson as secretary; Carlson previously served as vice-chair. Michael Cunningham, the board’s treasurer since 2018, remains installed in that position.

Vaknin, a passionate supporter of arts and culture who believes the arts play an important role in helping to create places where people want to live, has played an integral role as a member of the museum’s board of trustees since 2019, rising to the top in relatively short order as a result of his extraordinary leadership and vision. During his tenure, he helped bring the monumental exhibition, Lost Vegas: Tim Burton @ The Neon Museumto the beloved downtown Las Vegas museum.

Vaknin, a principal at KRE Capital LLC, a private equity firm in Beverly Hills, California, oversees the firm’s largest investment. Originally consisting of five condominium communities comprising 1,300 residences in Las Vegas, the portfolio today includes Juhl in downtown Las Vegas and One Las Vegas on South Las Vegas Boulevard. Vaknin assumes full management, operational and sales and marketing for the portfolio and is responsible for the recent close-out of condominium sales at The Ogden and Spanish Palms.

A resident of Las Vegas since 2014, Vaknin has forged important relationships with key influencers in the city and has become a respected voice for development, the arts and downtown Las Vegas. He recently joined the board of directors for the Downtown Vegas Alliance and currently serves as its vice-chair.

In 2016, Vaknin established an Artist in Residence program at Juhl to provide live/workspace to emerging local artists.  The program, now in its sixth installment, has featured visual artists, writers, and architects throughout its four-year run.  Vaknin is a former trustee for The Art Museum of Symphony Park, the art museum planned for downtown Las Vegas which recently joined forces with the Nevada Museum of Art (NMA), the state’s oldest cultural institution.

Board Vice Chair Stevi Wara

“I would like to thank outgoing Chairman Mike PeQueen for his leadership,” said Vaknin. “With many extraordinary accomplishments behind us, I welcome the opportunity to guide the museum forward, finding substantive ways to increase its positive impact on staff, visitors, the local arts and cultural community, its downtown neighbors and each unique and valuable constituency the museum serves.”

A native Las Vegan, new Vice-Chair Stevi Wara has served on the museum’s board since 2014. Overseeing brand compliance and communications for Diamond Resorts International, she has managed more than 100 properties located across 12 countries.

Secretary Curt Carlson has served on the board since 2014. He serves as president and director of design at Knit. He also devotes his time and talent as a member of the executive board for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada and serves on the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks’ sustainability and communications committees. Treasurer Michael Cunningham has served on the museum’s board since 2016 and is executive vice president – regional president at Bank of Nevada where he oversees commercial lending officers, relationship managers and other support services in the central Las Vegas Valley, including Downtown Las Vegas. Active in several organizations, Cunningham also serves on the boards of the Public Education Foundation Finance Committee and Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. It has been named “Best Museum” by Las Vegas Weekly, one of “Sin City’s Best Retro Sites” by MSN, “No. 1 Las Vegas Museum Sure to Entertain and Educate” by USA Today’s, “One of the Top 10 Coolest Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do” by, one of the “Top 10 Historic Spots in Las Vegas” by; one of “15 Most Fascinating Museums in the U.S.” by; and earns a consistent 4.5 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor. On its 2.27-acre campus, the Neon Museum houses an outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard (“boneyard” is traditionally the name for an area where items no longer in use are stored); the North Gallery, home to the nighttime augmented-reality, audiovisual spectacle, “Brilliant!”; the Boulevard Gallery outdoor exhibit space; and its visitors’ center, housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby.


Well, gang, that’s about it for this week.

I’m outa here!

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