Botanical gardens are incredible works of living art. The dedication and 24/7 care required to keep these magnificent gardens running seamlessly is a masterpiece in itself. Thankfully, these botanical gardens happen to be all over the world. We are lucky enough to have an extraordinary garden right down the road in Richmond, Virginia.
The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was on my radar since we moved to Charlottesville. I was thoroughly looking forward to visiting it one day but didn’t have a plan. Once again, social media came to the rescue. They were advertising their Nature Connects: Art with LEGO® bricks exhibit. This was it, the perfect chance to visit the gardens! Mixing nature with one of Asher’s favorite things was a must-do!
Typical of our adventures, we picked the hottest day in September to visit. It was about a 1.5 hour drive to get to the botanical garden. We were packed and ready with water, snacks and our mounting excitement! Upon arrival, we realized that this was quite an operation. They had plenty of parking lots and a great flow through the Welcome Center. We were greeted right away and told exactly what we needed to know to make the experience a great one.
Before we found our first LEGO® sculpture, we were in awe of the garden’s beauty. We walked our way through the grounds to the Conservatory. They have two hallways lined with beautiful displays and a butterfly garden in the center. Truth be told, I am terrified of birds and similar creatures. I was feeling brave so I walked into the butterfly garden with my family. You’ll see that I struggled, but survived! You won’t see me walk into an aviary though, ever.
Back outside, we wandered along the paths, around the lake, Searching for the LEGO® sculptures. The artist, Sean Kenney, created 24 sculptures using half a million LEGO® bricks for this exhibit. They give you a map with where each display is located but it was still quite a fun scavenger hunt since the grounds are so big! Each creation we found left us excited to find the next! It was so much fun seeing the kids’ eyes brighten each time we found a new one!
My favorite thing about LEGO® is how vibrant the colors of the bricks are. It brings each creation to life. This artist has mastered each piece so accurately. You can see the movement in the way he positioned each sculpture, and how they complement each other.
With over 50 acres to explore, there were gorgeous themed gardens around every corner. They have a children’s garden and a splash pad. We spent some time relaxing while the boys were exploring in the children’s garden area. It would be easy to spend a whole day here. After walking around, you could stop by the tea house or garden cafe for lunch. Then find a nice, quiet spot to sit and enjoy the scenery.
This is simply something you must see in person! This particular exhibit may be over but the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has so much to offer and plenty of events to enjoy all year around! If you are in the area, check out their calendar to see what is next! I was invited to visit them again in December of 2019 for the Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights! Check out how amazing the “Magic In The Air” display was here!
Check out their upcoming events on the website at Lewisginter.org
If you are interested in finding another LEGO® exhibit, Artist Sean Kenney has other events to visit throughout the country. This list is subject to change so head over to his website here to confirm.
Nature Connects 2020
North Carolina Arboretum • Asheville, North Carolina • July 1 to November 1, 2020
San Antonio Zoo • San Antonio, Texas • May 22 to January 10, 2021
Flamingo Gardens • Davie, Florida • June 20 to September 13, 2020
Denver Zoo • Denver, Colorado • July 17 to November 1, 2020
Grand Rapids Public Museum • Grand Rapids, Michigan • October 26 to May 2, 2021
Nature Connects 2021
Cheekwood Botanical Garden • Nashville, Tennessee • May 1 to September 5, 2021
Milwaukee Zoo • Milwaukee, Wisconsin • May 22 to September 6, 2021
Muscatine Art Center • Muscatine, Iowa • November 10 to February 19, 2022