In Tucson, nature comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, it comes in the shape of prickly, humanoid saguaro cacti on the side of the road. And sometimes it shows up on the evening horizon, where the desert sun paints brilliant red and yellow watercolor sunsets.
At Tucson Botanical Gardens – one of the city's most beloved places to experience the beauty of the outdoors – a traveling exhibit is bringing nature to life in a totally different way.
In fall 2015, the garden will begin hosting a popular traveling exhibit called Nature Connects, Art with LEGO Bricks. Visitors of all ages can experience the wonder of over-sized, nature-inspired sculptures – all made entirely out of LEGO pieces.
Tucson Botanical Gardens will be showcasing nature-inspired LEGO sculptures through early 2016 — Photo courtesy of Tucson Botanical Gardens
Tucson Botanical Gardens is the first and only venue in Arizona to host the exhibit, which features 13 larger-than-life sculptures created to look like animals and insects. The sculptures will be placed on display alongside the garden's various walking trails.
Some of the giant LEGO creations include a snapping turtle; a corn spider; a brilliant peacock; and a bright orange, six-foot-tall monarch butterfly.
One of the exhibit's most popular sculptures, however, is titled Hummingbird and Flower, which captures a massive hummingbird hovering in mid-flight, drinking from a trumpet flower.
The sculptures were painstakingly constructed by acclaimed, certified LEGO artist Sean Kenney. Kenney used more than 500,000 LEGO bricks to put together the massive pieces, which were designed to show the connections between art, play, nature and design.
Some of the sculptures, in fact, weigh more than 500 pounds.
To celebrate the exhibit and inspire LEGO builders around Arizona, the garden is holding a LEGO brick design competition. The contest is open to LEGO builders of all ages and skill.
Finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their original designs in the garden during the exhibit.
On select dates, the garden will also have a LEGO brick playroom packed with more than 50,000 individual LEGO bricks. Visitors can sit and construct their own creations during a guided activity alongside expert LEGO builders.
The garden is also planning to screen The LEGO Movie monthly during the exhibit run. Check the garden's website for specific event dates and times.
The Nature Connects, Art with LEGO Bricks exhibit will run from Sept. 11, 2015, to Jan. 3, 2016, at Tucson Botanical Gardens. The garden is open daily (with the exception of major holidays), and guests can visit the exhibit from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Admission to the exhibit is $18 for adults and $9 for children, with discounts available for garden members.