The Year of the Rabbit … in high-density foam and flowers

For Chinese New Year, seasonal public art takes over the Strip

2011 Chinese New Year — the Year of the Rabbit — at the Bellagio.
Photo: Tom Donoghue/

According to Chinese tradition, the Year of the Rabbit is supposed to be placid, and nothing says “placid” like awe-inspiring, larger-than-life displays. Several public exhibits celebrate the Chinese New Year, which begins February 3.

The folks at local design firm Iron Sculpting have put together a 1,200-pound, 11-foot-tall, 12-foot-long Golden Rabbit made of high-density foam and fiberglass, on display at Crystals at CityCenter. Through March 7.

2011 Chinese New Year at Palazzo

If you prefer your rabbits lighter but taller, head to Palazzo for a 16-foot, 1,000-pound animated version. The resort—along with its sister property, the Venetian—has decked its grounds with lavish décor, including 15-foot fresh-cut bamboo and gold and red lanterns suspended in midair. Through February.

2011 Chinese New Year at Bellagio

Not to be outdone, Bellagio has transformed its Conservatory into a Feng Shui-guided display, complete with a 12-foot rabbit comprising more than 4,500 live plants and an 18-foot-tall Chinese God of Prosperity. The centerpiece: a 35-foot Chinese Junk Boat inspired by traditional 15th century fishing vessels. Through March 5.

Wynn and Encore have also transformed their atriums for the holiday, featuring ceremonial dragons suspended over the Encore Esplanade. The festive decorations represent fortune and prosperity—something we could all use during this New Year.

Madame Tussauds also has a Chinese New Year exhibit. It features—what else!—a life-sized Jackie Chan wax figure. January 28 through February 22, $25, locals born in the Year of the Rabbit (1999, 1987, 1975 …) admitted free on February 3.

Another family-friendly celebration takes place February 3 at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. There, 120 students from the Meadows School will perform a traditional dragon parade, which includes colorful costumes, drums and firecrackers meant to ward off evil spirits. Oscar Goodman will be on hand for the celebration. Festivities begin at 10 am, near Joe’s Seafood.

Traditional Dragon and Lion Dances are also scheduled at a number of resorts to kick off the celebration and welcome the Year of the Rabbit. Performances include:

Planet Hollywood – Saturday, Feb. 5 at noon

Paris – Saturday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m.

Ballys – Saturday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.

Harrah’s – Saturday, Feb. 5 at 5 p.m.

Imperial Palace – Saturday, Feb. 5 at 6 p.m.

Flamingo - Saturday, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Rio - Sunday, Feb. 6 at 10:30 a.m.

Caesars Palace – Sunday, Feb. 6 at noon

M Resort is celebrating Chinese New Year with special promo chips, available for purchase

The M Resort will host a traditional Chinese lion and dragon dance performed by the Lohan School of Shaolin. The dance will include a 30-person assembly with a 63-foot dragon including adult and baby lion dancers, Buddhas, musicians and festive flags. The resort will also get your palate ready for the holiday with special menu items like eight selections of Asian favorites such as Satsuma, spring rolls and Beef Lo Mein added to the Studio B Buffet beginning Feb. 3.Dragon dance on February 11, 6 p.m.

Tao Asian Bistro at The Venetian will offer a special meal of bo bo go sing, (a rice cake stir fry with shrimp, cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, carrot, ginger, scallion, sambal chile and soy) and a dessert special featuring fried sesame balls. Specials will be offered Feb. 2 - 8.

Double Helix Wine and Whiskey Bar at The Palazzo will offer half off all sake and sake cocktails. February 3


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