‘Wild’ animals roaming Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens

Lauritzen Gardens
“The Orphan” an elephant – hangs around the koi pond at the visitors center

More than 30 “wild” animals have infiltrated Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens. The botanical garden is hosting a wildlife sculpture exhibit by Dan Ostermiller through Oct. 4th. The animal statues are scattered around the various gardens at Lauritzen.

The sculptures include bears, pigs, birds, cats and elephants. Each sculpture appears strategically located around the gardens.

Ostermiller, who is based out of Loveland, CO, developed his interest in animals partly from his father’s taxidermist background. He gains ideas for his work from family and friends, as well as checking out animals in zoos, wildlife parks and in the wild.

As visitors enter Lauritzen, they are greeted by Ursus, a statue of a bear more than 8 feet tall. The beauty of the sculpture gives people the first look of what will be an interesting tour of the gardens.

Lauritzen Gardens
Ursus greets visitors

Immediately on the grounds, visitors will see a bear among the flowers. Le Gran Pere is representative of a great adventure. Ostermiller believes life is one great adventure. It’s the quest that turns the process of aging into a celebration, according to a brochure highlighting the exhibit.

Lauritzen Gardens

The bear was not alone in the garden. A group of hummingbirds made their way to the flowers. These busy little birds are difficult to photograph, since they won’t sit still for more than a few seconds. We caught one in action, working among its colleagues.

Lauritzen Gardens
Hummingbird at work

Two bullfrogs were situated along a small waterfall. They helps the water flow by spitting out water. LOL.


More bears frolic among the trees and creeks at Lauritzen Gardens. Sioux got its name because Ostermiller photographed the bear used as the model at the Sioux Falls, SD, zoo. Later, his daughter proclaimed the name by singing it to the tune of the famous Johnny cash song, “A Boy named Sue.”

Lauritzen Gardens

While it was fun checking out the “wild” sculptures, we enjoyed taking in some of the late season flowers still in bloom. Roses and other flowers still looked and smelled wonderful during our visit.

Lauritzen Gardens

A mama pig was grazing among the grasses in an open area of the gardens.

Lauritzen Gardens

An elephant sculpture seemed to be basking in the sunlight at a pond near the Japanese Gardens. I loved the image it set. A wild animal near the water with the beauty of a gate and Mt. Fuji replica in the background.

Lauritzen Gardens
One of my favorite views

Indigo’s Dream was a welcoming sculpture near the shade gardens. The bear is obviously enjoying a wonderful nap and you wonder what he’s dreaming about – catching salmon in Alaska or maybe stealing a pic-a-nic basket at Jellystone Park.

Lauritzen Gardens
Nap time

A quartet of rabbits have taken refuge at the gardens. Lola and her friends are enjoying some shade, while two of them play together.

Lauritzen Gardens
Bunny in hiding

Oblivious is enjoying some time on a tree in the English Garden. He is based on an Asian black bear at the Denver zoo.

Lauritzen Gardens

A couple of peacocks greet passersby near the garden.

Lauritzen Gardens
Peacock standing guard

The animal sculptures aren’t restricted to the outdoors. The conservatory building has some guests there.

An elephant helps water the plants in the tropical zone of the conservatory.

Lauritzen Gardens
Pelican at the conservatory

A pelican enjoys a swim in the pool.

A couple of cats seem to be spreading “news” as they sit on a barn post. “Barnyard Gossips” was inspired by Ostermiller’s daughter’s cats, who seemed to be having a conversation one day.

Lauritzen Gardens
Cats “gossiping”

Lauritzen Gardens seem to always do a great job in bringing in special exhibits – the “Wild” exhibit, two Lego animal exhibits, as well as the beautiful flower shows. Though there are only two weeks remaining for the “Wild” exhibit, we strongly urge people to get out to the gardens and check it out. Plus, most flowers are still going strong and add to the sculptures’ attractiveness.

For more information, please visit www.lauritzengardens.org.