Nature Connects in Reiman Gardens

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The über-popular “Nature Connects” LEGO exhibit has returned to Reiman Gardens in Ames this summer.

This year’s exhibit features 13 garden-themed displays made with a total of 500,000 LEGO bricks by artist Sean Kenney. I visited the Gardens recently, and it seems as though there’s a new colorful LEGO sculpture around every turn: a family of deer, an oversized Galapagos tortoise, a bee on a giant purple pansy, a dragonfly, the signature hummingbird, a birdbath, a monarch butterfly on milkweed, an adorable wheelbarrow, a hanging corn spider, and more.

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Reiman Gardens director Ed Lyon told us during a group tour that the sculpture titled “Gardener with Grandchild” (above) makes him do a double take every morning when he drives in to work. “Why is someone working in the garden so early in the morning?” he asks himself. And then, “Oh, right, it’s a LEGO sculpture.”

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A colorful peacock made of 68,827 LEGO bricks holds a special place in the Gardens Conservatory, surrounded by plants and peacock feathers.

You can find out more about the Nature Connects on the Reiman Gardens website, including photos of each of the sculptures and information such as how many LEGO bricks make up each one. But it’s much better to visit in person – and signs adjacent to each sculpture will give you the same information.

Reiman Gardens is located on the south edge of Iowa State University on University Blvd. Summer hours, beginning on Memorial Day, are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the must-see indoor Butterfly Wing closes at 4:30 p.m. Admission cost is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $4 for kids aged 4-7, and free for the little ones. Nature Connects is on display through Oct. 31.

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