Robyn Andrzejczak/IS Photography/ImagesofVegas.com
Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 | 9:48 a.m.
No one ever believes that snow actually falls in Las Vegas, but it does sometimes during our freezing desert winter nights. However, nobody is going to believe that snow falls inside a Strip casino resort. But after yesterday’s Palazzo opening of its extraordinary Winter Wonderland display, it sure does.
In fact, the snow will fall hourly through to the New Year. You can easily envision TV crews battling for space under the snowfall to kick off the evening news with dramatic reporter stand-ups: “Snow is falling on the Las Vegas Strip -- inside a casino. Film at 11!”
The Palazzo’s holiday showcase is one of the most staggering exhibits, with more than 10,000 specially developed white poinsettia plants used to create a 16-foot-tall mother polar bear and her 6-foot-tall polar bear baby. The two weigh more than 5,000 pounds and are balanced under that falling snow on an ice float that hovers above the water.
An Ice King and Queen sailed in on a Venetian gondola to unveil the exhibit. It includes some 250,000 cranberries donated by Ocean Spray poured into a water feature at the Waterfall Atrium that links to the adjoining Venetian. The Palazzo’s gardens have been filled with poinsettias and 25-foot silver-tipped pine trees. There’s also an 80-foot-long vine decorated in lights, ornaments and oversized pinecones and berries. Audra Danzak, V.P. of horticulture at the Venetian/Palazzo, led her team in creating the property’s stunning holiday decor, which also serves as an effort to raise awareness of polar bears’ lost habitat due to climate change.
Audra, dressed festively in red, told me: “It’s a joyous time of the year, but we also have another message. We partnered with Polar Bear International to debut these environmentally conscious displays to raise awareness about polar bear conservation. PBI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its Arctic habitat through research and education. A portion of each white polar bear poinsettia sold goes to the charity to help the bears, as more and more of their homeland melts away."
Enjoy our special photo gallery of the wintery wonderland, which will remain right through the holidays and into early January. Go see it for yourself -- and don’t forget your camera. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind Las Vegas spectacle.
BTW, there’s no slush with the man-made snow fired from guns off the conservatory’s glass roof opening: It all falls into the pools of the Waterfall Atrium, but it sure is an awesome sight!
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