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Las Vegas Ocean: Bellagio Sea Garden

The posh hotel presents a cooling-for-the-eyes summer treat (for free).

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    The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens in Las Vegas take a delightful dive beneath the waves for the summer of 2015.

    SIN CITY SEA: While Las Vegas is, without quibble, one of the planet's best-known desert cities, one could connect it to the concept of the ocean without pulling a mussel -- er, make that muscle, rather. There are, after all, some of the most blue chip seafood restaurants to be found anywhere in the resorts along The Strip, with lobster dishes and crab ragouts that are so over-the-top and tasty you can't imagine you're really so very far from the shoreline. And, yes, famous Red Rock Canyon, which can be admired from many a hotel window, once played host to a sea, long, long, long ago. No fishies are to be found there these days, but fossils found within rocks 'round Sin City spill a story of a damp region formerly gurgling with water. So while The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens going with a sea theme for the summer of '15 is quite whimsical, it isn't so out of place in that big ol' mostly dry desert, which does possess a few ocean connections. Of course, the restaurant seafood is real, and the sea fossils are ancient, but the giant jellies and sea turtles currently "swimming" inside The Bellagio are pure floral magic.

    1,500 FRESH-CUT FLOWERS: That's the number of bursting buds to be found in the on-site mermaid's tail, but, as always with this showstopping Strip landmark, there are more tales of the flowery sort to tell. The sea turtle is composed of yellow Fuji mums and red carnations, and buds abound in other by-the-beach scenes. Speaking of which, there's "an aged fisherman's wharf" in the display, and a sandcastle nearby that happens to be a replica of the real-life hotel in which it stands. Jellyfishes, a clam with a pearl inside (watch for the clam to open its mouth every seven minutes, giving lookie-loos a peek at the pearl), a waterfall, seahorses, and other aquatic icons round out the summer scene. It's on through Sept. 12, so if you need an "I'm on The Strip and hot" cool-down moment, the free garden might provide. That it has an ocean theme may drop visitors' temperatures another notch or two -- maybe in spirit, at least. And just think: You can tell people back home, after your trip is done, that you visited an ocean, complete with clams and seahorses, in Las Vegas.