Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks opens at Indianapolis Zoo

Ok parents, the school year is almost over but I have a pop quiz for you: What do you get when you add 712 miles, 6,500 hours, and 800,000 LEGO bricks? If you hate story problems as much as I do, then don’t stress because I have the answer handy:

It’s the brand new Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks exhibit inside the White River Gardens at the Indianapolis Zoo.

This new exhibit shows the two worlds of art and nature come together in the most amazing way. The brain child of New York-based artist Sean Kenney, Nature Connects has been doing just that: Connecting people with nature for years. Mr. Kenney and his team have built more than 100 different sculptures completely from LEGO bricks and this past week 12 of them traveled from NYC here to Indianapolis.

Nature Connects - Indianapolis Zoo _ Indy's Child Magazine

But these LEGO animals are not just here for our viewing pleasure. They are also here to bring awareness to the animals that have unfortunately made the endangered species list {and even one now extinct}. Each display includes signage about the animal species, the number of bricks and hours required to build it and an introduction to an expert in the field of animal conservation working tirelessly to save that animal. These conservationists have all been honored by the Indianapolis Prize – an internationally recognized animal conservation program and award implemented by the Zoo ten years ago.

Nature Connects - Indianapolis Zoo _ Indy's Child MagazineMUST SEE: Watch this week’s The Scoop for behind the scenes footage of Nature Connects!

Nature Connects kicks off at the Family Nature Center; an area to build your own LEGO project and learn more about some of the animals in the zoo and on display throughout the exhibit.

The exhibit itself starts in the Hilbert Conservatory where you’ll find a gorgeous monarch butterfly piece and a colorful chameleon.

It continues into White River Gardens… when you walk outside you’re greeted by the Dodo Bird {my personal fave} and will see something from every continent: A polar bear and her cubs, a rhino, zebra, and a hatching sea turtle, just to name a few. Make sure you look for the snow leopard though – she’s a sneaky one tucked into the greenery!

Nature Connects Exhibit - Indy Zoo _ Indy's Child Magazine
Why should kids have all the fun? The cutout display at the back of Nature Connects gives adults a great photo opp too.

My first visit was sans kids but I look forward to taking them back with me: There are so many teachable moments in this brilliant exhibit.

I can already hear my five year old asking what extinction is… and my oldest wondering how these animal figures were designed {with pencil and paper, by the way – not using any kind of electronic design program. I mean wow, Sean Kenney!}. This will be a trip they will be talking about for a while.

MORE INFO: The Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks exhibit kicks off May 21, 2016 and runs until September 5. Exhibit is included with general admission. Call {317} 630-2001 or visit the Zoo website for details. To learn more about the artist – Sean Kenney – and the other locations his pieces will be on display – visit his website

Megan Leahy - Indy's Child Digital WriterA 30-something stay-at-home-mom of two, Megan Leahy is an Indy transplant who doesn’t like to stay at home. Originally from central Illinois, you can find her anywhere from the public library returning an overdue book or Target buying more than she went in for to taking her husband & kiddos out on the town or spending time with her friends at a local hot spot.

Megan is an avid volunteer who loves working with children and helping those in need. In 2015 she founded Pals on Patrol, a non-profit that collects new/very gently used stuffed animals that police, fire/rescue, and DCS staff can give to children in time of crisis. Follow her on Twitter or check out




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