LEGO creatures return to Omaha as Lauritzen Gardens hosts ‘Nature Connects’

Lauritzen Gardens
Almost 69,000 LEGO bricks were used to create the peacock sculpture that is located in the visitors center’s lobby.

Theyyyyyy’re baaaaaack! And worth a trip to Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha. The botanical garden is hosting its third version of “Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks” through May 15. Visitors can take in 14 statues made from LEGO bricks, each related to nature.

The sculptures by artist Sean Kenney were created using more than 450,000 LEGO bricks. The art pieces are spread out in the visitors center and the conservatory. Having some in the conservatory is a change from the past, since this is the first “Nature Connects” exhibit since the conservatory opened two years ago.

A crowd favorite greets visitors in the main building as a butterfly appears to be working on gathering pollen from flowers above a koi pond. The piece, completed in 2014, consists of 60,549 LEGOs. The butterfly was part of the 2015 exhibit at Lauritzen.

Lauritzen Gardens
A butterfly sculpture is making a return visit to Omaha as part of “Nature Connects.”

A corn spider hovers above the floor in a wall-to-wall web. The spider – five feet long – consists of almost 16,500 bricks. Corn spiders are great natural pest controllers, eating flying bugs, such as aphids, grasshoppers and flies. This is the second time we have seen the spider, with the first viewing at the Minnesota Arboretum in 2015.

Lauritzen Gardens
We were impressed with the display used for the corn spider.

We were impressed with the deer exhibit. On one side of the view is a doe and its fawn. Across from them, a buck watches out for his family. He stands in front of trees, near a stream, a small blue jay keeps him company.

Lauritzen Gardens
A buck stands guard near a stream in the wild.

The conservatory has some attractive exhibits. Near the entrance, an eight-foot long dragonfly appears to be skimming over a small pond. The Roseate Dragonfly isn’t found in Nebraska, but about 100 dragonfly species call the state home. Dragonflies catch food while flying. Prey includes mosquitoes and flies.

Lauritzen Gardens
The dragonfly may have been my favorite display.

A couple are represented gardening. The display included a wheelbarrow. The wheelbarrow used almost 15,000 pieces to complete. The gardeners were created using nearly 47,000 LEGO bricks and took 535 hours to complete.

Lauritzen Gardens
A couple working in their garden.

A Galapagos tortoise and finch share a unique relationship. The finch will clean the tortoise of parasites. It dances in front of the tortoise indicating it’s hungry. The tortoise will raise its neck, so the finch can clean it from the parasites. Kenney spent 290 hours creating the sculptures, using more than 23,300 LEGO bricks.

Lauritzen Gardens
A tortoise and finch share a special connection. The bird helps keep the tortoise clean of parasites.

The last piece we viewed was a hummingbird working on a flower. We saw this exhibit at Lauritzen before. It is located in the tropical garden of the conservatory, which is a new location for it. More than 31,000 LEGO bricks were used to create the art.

Lauritzen Gardens
The hummingbird display is making its second visit to the botanical garden.

While the exhibit runs through May 15, Lauritzen is hosting a few LEGO-related events. People are encouraged to bring their own sculptures to the garden Fe. 18th for the LEGO Brick sculpture invitational. An exhibit recognizing various LEGO art projects will be on display March 18-19. People are encouraged to help celebrate Ole’s birthday April 8. Ole Christiansen founded the LEGO Group in Denmark.

For more information on “Nature Connects” and other activities, please visit www.lauritzengardens.org. For more information on Sean Kenney, check out his website at www.seankenney.com.