Hello, LEGOs! You’ll happily greet tons and tons of bricks — half a million, to be exact — if you go to Morton Arboretum before November 1. It’s all part of a new exhibit, Nature Connects: Art With LEGO Bricks by Sean Kenney. The world’s first LEGO certified professional has created over a dozen sculptures in wild colors and all shapes and sizes. Read on for the brick-tacular scoop.
You’ll find them peppering the east side of the Arboretum grounds. All are inspired by nature and the fantastic creatures that call the outdoors home. Highlights include a nearly seven-foot-wide regal peacock showing off its brilliant green and blue plumage, a monarch butterfly perched on a pink milkweed plant, a hummingbird sipping nectar from a colorful trumpet flower, a nearly life-sized family of deer, and more.
There’s plenty to see but the fun is also interactive. A mosaic face cut-out invites kids to play the part of ants crawling beneath the ground. But the biggest thrill will be an ongoing event, LEGO bricks at Thursday Family Nights, held every Thursday through August 27 from 5-8 p.m. You’ll have a blast with live music, kid-friendly food and entertainment after hours in the Children’s Garden. Kids can head to the free play area where a huge selection of LEGO bricks will be available for creative building fun.
Sean Kenney spent so much time playing with LEGO toys growing up that he decided he might as well make a career of it. For more than 30 years, the artist and “professional kid” has been turning ordinary LEGO bricks into sculptures for large-scale exhibits, major corporations and venues around the globe. Named the world’s first LEGO Certified Professional in 2005, Kenney is the only independent artist in the world that has produced steel reinforced, fully glued, outdoor-grade LEGO installations.
While You’re There …
Be sure to visit the Children’s Garden, where kids walk on stepping stones to cross a pond and kick off those their shoes for a foot dip in the Secret Stream. Children can climb a spider web of ropes or hop across a bridge. Older kids will love getting “lost” in the hedge Maze Garden (there’s a toddler maze next to it for the shorter set). Also a must-see: the hidden gem of an exhibit called Treehouse Tales (walk toward the north pond and follow the signs into the wilderness to get to it). It’s a magical village of six whimsical tree house structures that you can climb into as you learn about the vital roles trees play in our lives.
Have a blast nature and LEGO fans!
Nature Connects: Art With LEGO Bricks by Sean Kenney
Thru November 1
Cost: Free with Arboretum admission ($14/adults; $9/kids ages 2-17)
4100 Illinois Route 43
— Kelly Aiglon, with additional reporting by Kelly Haramis