Crowds gathered to enjoy Container Park in Las Vegas in early December. Downtown Container Park

A view of some of the retail outfits at Container Park in Las Vegas. Downtown Container Park

Container Park in Las Vegas gets some attention with a fire-breathing praying mantis positioned out front. Gruber

A unique retail area called Container Park has opened in downtown Las Vegas. Located in the Fremont East entertainment district, the development features boutiques, art galleries, bars and restaurants housed in stacks of recycled shipping containers. There’s also an outdoor theater and park.

The complex is fronted by a mechanical fire-breathing praying mantis that was constructed for the Burning Man Festival and imported to Las Vegas. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and the bars are open till 1 a.m. on weekends.

In other Las Vegas happenings:

–Snack bar closed: The east-side snack bar at Binion’s is closed, apparently to make way for a new coffee shop. The west-side snack bar remains open, but that one doesn’t have a grill, leaving in question the fate of the famous Binion’s hamburger. The great ham and beans is still served on the west side, though the price has been raised by 50 cents to $4.95.

–Bellagio exhibit: The seasonal display in the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens has made its annual transition to Chinese New Year with a celebration of the Year of the Horse. The display includes an 18-foot-tall Chinese money tree, a pond filled with more than 150 koi, and a centerpiece featuring eight life-size horses on a three-tier mountain. The exhibit runs through Saturday and is free to view.

— A new show called “Vegas 24-7” begins shooting this week. The reality show, which will air on the Discovery Channel, will concentrate on City Hall and specifically Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

(c)2014 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Photo Credit: Container Park in Las Vegas features a fire-breathing praying mantis in front. Frank Gruber /