Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012 | 5:36 p.m.
Two 25-foot blue dragons entwined around a cylinder of water welcome Bellagio visitors this Chinese New Year into a garden lush with flowers and symbols of good luck.
It’s the Year of the Dragon and the two giant animated dragons serve as the centerpiece of Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens that just days earlier were decked out for the Christmas season.
Chinese New Year, a 15-day spring festival that marks the end of the winter season in China, falls on Jan. 23 this year. The dragon follows 2011’s Year of the Rabbit.
For the first time the conservatory will host daily live performances to accompany the display.
The Beijing Trio, a local band playing Chinese instruments, will perform traditional folk and pop music from 5 to 6 p.m. inside a Ming Dynasty-style gazebo.
Tourists and locals passing through the conservatory’s entrance will gaze upon a 21,000-gallon pond, home to more than 200 Koi fish.
Also in the display are red silk lanterns, giant I-Ching coins and smaller animated dragons, about 15 feet in length, scattered around the garden of 22,000 flowers.
Each one of the colored dragons — some blowing steam from their nostrils — represent a different element, such as metal, earth and fire.
The conservatory is open to the public daily. The Chinese New Year display will be up through March 4.
Many resorts in Las Vegas decorate and hold special events in celebration of the holiday.