Keeper of the Plans

Larger-than-life Lego sculptures fit right in at Botanica’s gardens

There’s a new attraction at Botanica, and I’m not talking about this year’s butterflies.

This weekend, the gardens at 701 N. Amidon will unveil fifteen larger-than-life sculptures made entirely of Lego bricks.

Called “Nature Connects,” the traveling exhibition embeds these sculptures — created by New York-based artist Sean Kenney — in Botanica’s gardens.

“That’s why we call it ‘Nature Connects,’” said Marty Miller, Botanica’s executive director. “It all goes together.”

More than 330,000 Lego bricks are on display throughout the gardens. The largest sculpture, a bison and calf, has 61,372 Lego pieces, and the smallest sculpture, goldfinch birds, has 1,078 pieces.

There are even floating lily pad sculptures on Botanica’s pond.

All of the sculptures came pre-assembled, and workers at Botanica started installing them in the gardens last weekend.

Botanica’s Koi Pond Pavilion has been “turned into a big Lego building spot for kids and adults alike,” featuring 30,000 bricks that are free for people to play with, Miller said.

“Kids love it and so do adults, because we grew up with Legos,” he said.

It’s the first time Botanica has booked a nationally touring art exhibition, though it has plans to experiment with similar exhibits in the future, Miller said.

“Nature Connects” opens Saturday and will be on display through Sept. 19. There is no extra fee to see the sculptures — general admission to Botanica applies ($9 adults 13-61, $6 youth 3-12, $8 seniors 62+ and military).

After the exhibition ends, Botanica plans to open its long-awaited Carousel Gardens, featuring the restored Joyland carousel, in early October.

Botanica is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturdays with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is open from 1-5 p.m. on Sundays.

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Matt Riedl covers arts and entertainment news for the Wichita Eagle and has done so since 2015. He maintains the Keeper of the Plans blog on Facebook, dedicated to keeping Wichitans abreast of all things fun.