I never thought that grass and LEGO could go together. I was wrong!
WHAT IT IS
Nature Connects features 27 LEGO brick sculptures displayed throughout Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Don’t expect a Minecraft kit assembled next to a bucket of tulips–nothing like that from the home of A Million Blooms and a Kajillion Lights (or, as you may know it, Dominion GardenFest of Lights). The nature and garden-themed sculptures are made of half a million LEGO bricks, roughly twice as many LEGO as are on my daughter’s floor right now. The goldfinches at a birdfeeder (filled with–wait for it–LEGO bricks), a bison and a calf, and five lily pads in the pond are just some of the awesome and creative uses of the popular plastic bricks.
Although maps are all over the place, we didn’t take one, and it was like a scavenger hunt for us to find the displays. My daughter and I didn’t see them all on this visit, and I’m looking forward to going back to see the sculptures we missed. And I also learned about the subjects. For instance, dragonflies, such as the Common Green Darner Dragonfly on display, eat up to hundreds of mosquitoes a day.1
Are delightful LEGO sculptures not enough to entice you and/or you hate walking around a garden? Then visit the Lora M. Robins Library to see the smaller LEGO mosaics on display in the stacks. Kids (and I guess adults) can create their own small mosaics and have them (briefly) displayed on the wall in the library. Another LEGO build area is open in the Carriage House on the weekends.
A discounted Flowers After Five: Family Fun Night With LEGO Bricks on June 16th features reduced admission ($10 for adults and free for kids) and a 25% discount on annual memberships. Activities such as a LEGO brick build area, the water play area in the Children’s Garden, and music from the Flying Sulsers run from 5:00 to 8:00 PM.
Other events include a robotics competition, a guided tour of the exhibit, and an outdoor screening of The LEGO Movie.
WHO’S BEHIND IT?
New York artist Sean Kenney created the sculptures, with local artists and groups providing the smaller ongoing activities.
WHERE IT IS
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 1800 Lakeside Avenue.
WHEN IT IS
The exhibit runs through September 18th. The garden is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily except for Thursdays, when it’s open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
HOW MUCH IT COSTS
The exhibit is included with regular admission, which is free for members and children under three, $13 for adults, $11 for seniors (55 and older), and $8 for children (age 3-12).
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE
I took my 5-year-old LEGO fanatic and finding-things enthusiast (along with a baby) on a drizzly afternoon. Our rainy day at the garden was one of my favorite visits. It wasn’t crowded, the butterflies were crazy active (oh, also Butterflies LIVE! Is happening in the conservatory), and she spent a good hour building mosaics and geeking out with like-minded kids in the library. It was especially nice to spend some time around the pond area, which we often skip, especially when the weather is good for more Children’s Garden time. The lily pads and other sculptures in that area were very cool, and we also saw a heron and other notable non-LEGO animals.
Lewis Ginter is already one of my favorite places to visit, and the LEGO exhibit–which I only vaguely knew about beforehand–is a fun and different way to enjoy the garden.
IF YOU DON’T GO DO THIS, YOU WILL . . .
Never know how many LEGO bricks it takes to create a bison calf (OK, you can learn that on the website, but the number is more meaningful in person).
- The actual sculpture can only eat, like, seven mosquitoes a day. ↩