Omaha botanical gardens offer winter fun despite the cold temps

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By Katherine Leszczynski, Contributor

For most Omahans, going to a botanical garden center doesn’t sound like a fun activity in the winter. However, at Lauritzen Gardens, there is an indoor activity that makes the local botanical center worth a trip, even with some snow on the ground.
Inside the Lauritzen Gardens Center, there is a new exhibit that may sound fun for children, but is equally fun for adults. “Nature Connects,” the new Lego exhibit running now through May 19, is exciting, colorful, and makes you wish you were a little more creative as a child with your basic Lego kits.
At the entrance to the exhibit, you are greeted by a five foot tall, yellow and blue Lego butterfly. You can get up very close to the sculpture and notice all the detail, too. Everything from the antenna to its giant eyes are amazing. The 3D effect of it leaves you wanting to see what else the exhibit has in store.
Across the hall from the butterfly is a sculpture of bison and a calf. It isn’t life-size, but it is still impressively large. It is the largest in the exhibit, made with over 45,000 Legos. The details again will leave you awestruck. Even the tiny bird resting on the bison’s back is humorous and lifelike.
The rest of the exhibit has other nature-inspired sculptures that include a giant hummingbird drinking nectar from a flower, a fox chasing a rabbit, and a koi fish jumping out of an actual koi pond. The koi fish is the same size as a real one, which is impressive when you compare the two.
The coolest and arguably most impressive sculptures are near the end of the exhibit. One of them is a red lawn mower. Lawn mowers aren’t often considered cool, but when they are made entirely of Legos, they instantly become a lot more special. It is the same size as a real lawnmower and has a metal handle so visitors can hold on and get their pictures taken. Made from over 13,000 pieces, it could impress even the toughest art critics.
The other sculpture that will leave you in awe is the gardener. The man holding a rake is the size of a real person. You almost think you are looking at a worker fixing the exhibit before realizing it’s all Legos. Even the little details, like the buttons on his green polo shirt are different Lego pieces. Inside the traditional square pieces, the buttons are made of wheel pieces from a Lego vehicle.
In front of every sculpture is an explanation of what it is, how many Lego pieces were used, and how everything connects in nature. While many of the descriptions seem to be aimed at kids, it is still fun and interesting to read each one.
Altogether, there are over 500,000 Lego pieces used in “Nature Connects.” Artist, Sean Kenney, one of only 13 Lego Certified Professionals in the world, made all of the works. It is obvious to the visitors that all of Kenney’s sculptures are a labor of time and love. At only $6 for adults and $3 for children, they are worth a visit, even in the cold weather.

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