By Jay Jones
Seeing Santa at the mall is so passé. In Las Vegas, he can be found this month floating in a giant fish tank, month riding a train, and running through the streets — by the thousands.
St. Nick will swim with the fishes — 4,000 of them — at the Silverton Casino Hotel, where he will don lead boots for his dives in the resort’s 117,000-gallon aquarium. Santa and his elves will be submerged from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. starting this Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 22. Modern technology will allow the jolly old man to chat with kids outside the tank.
Elsewhere in Las Vegas, Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet youngsters aboard the Santa Train operated by the Nevada State Railroad Museum, about a half-hour east of the Strip in Boulder City. The full-size train will operate Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22. Trips depart on the hour from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person. Info: (702) 486-5933.
A sea of Santas can be seen dashing through downtown Las Vegas on Saturday. The Opportunity Village Great Santa Run kicks off at 10 a.m. at the Fremont Street Experience. Country music superstar Shania Twain will serve as grand marshal. Last year, more than 10,000 runners dressed in Santa suits took part in the 5K fundraiser.
Santa will be busy in his workshop, but his sleigh will form part of this year’s seasonal display at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Garden. The sleigh will be pulled by an 8-foot-tall chocolate reindeer. A life-size cottage made of candy can be seen nearby. The exhibition opens Friday evening and continues 24 hours a day through Jan. 5. There’s no admission charge.
If tummies are growling after a visit to the conservatory, Bellagio guests can whet their appetites with something sweet at Jean Philippe Patisserie, where chocolate candies feature Santa in activities such as rollerblading, skiing and surfing. Customers are greeted by a 5-foot, 6-inch Grinch. The Dr. Seuss character is made of 50 pounds of chocolate and 112 pounds of fondant.