See 500,000 LEGO Bricks at NC Arboretum

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Did you know the Nature Connects LEGO brick scultpture exhibit is back at the North Carolina Arboretum? The nature themed exhibit features 16 sculptures made out of Lego bricks by artist Sean Kenney.  In total, the exhibit utilizes nearly 500,000 LEGO bricks in sculptures displayed throughout the arboretum’s gorgeous gardens.

This is a fabulous day trip from Greenville and there’s plenty of space to spread out and safely enjoy the arboretum! We have some things you should know about the exhibit, plus ideas to turn this day trip adventure in to an educational field trip. Homeschoolers, we’re looking at you.

NC Arboretum

Note: The sculptures in these photos are from the Nature Connect exhibit the NC Arboretum featured in 2016. Some of these sculptures are again on display in addition to new sculptures, like a five foot tall peacock!

What to expect at the NC Arboretum

Kids will be delighted by the larger than life LEGO sculptures throughout the outdoor display at the North Carolina Arboretum.  Be sure to grab a map of the exhibit at the exhibit hall entrance before heading into the gardens.  Some of the sculptures may be difficult to spot if you’re not looking for them.  Help kids work with the map to find all 16 sculptures throughout the gardens.

Beyond the Lego exhibit, the Arboretum offers beautiful fountains, flowers, and many gardens.  We particularly enjoyed the bonsai tree garden.  If you visit on a weekend, young train enthusiasts will want to visit the arboretum’s s outdoor model train.  The trains, which begin running at noon, run through a model of Best, NC (now called Biltmore Village) designed to look as it did at around the time trains came to the North Carolina mountains. Currently, due to Covid-19 the trains are not running.

Nature Connects exhibit Arboretum Asheville

Things to know about Nature Connects

The parking fee is $16 per vehicle, but there is no other admission fee to the arboretum.  So fill all those seats!

The arboretum opens at 8 am and closes at 7 pm. Although the buildings do not open until 9 am and close at 5 pm.

There is a café on site, or families can bring a picnic and find a spot in the gardens. Currently the cafe is offering only window service and outdoor seating is available.

Restrooms are open in the Baker Exhibit Hall. Masks must be worn indoors by adults and children over 11.

The Nature Connects exhibit will be displayed at the arboretum though November 1, 2020.

For GPS directions use this address:
20 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
Asheville, NC 28806

NC Arboretum Asheville

Bring the sculpture fun home

If your family wants to try out some LEGO sculptures without buying expensive LEGO kits, check out some of the books below.  These books utilize regular LEGO pieces (and encourage you to improvise if you don’t have an exact match) to build many different models and sculptures.  Many of these books are available within the Greenville County Library System.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, Kidding Around earns from qualifying purchases.

Cool Creations in 101 pieces, by Sean Kenney (J 688.725 Kenney) -Yes!  That’s the same artist!  There are several other Cool Creations books by Sean Kenney that are not at the library, but are available on Amazon, new and used, as well as in ebook format.

Birds from Bricks : amazing LEGO designs that take flight, by Thomas Poulsom

The Lego Adventure Book, by Meghan Rothrock (J 688.725 Rothrock).  There are several volumes of the Lego Adventure Books.

Homeschool: For homeschooling families, this field trip uses art, science and map reading skills (geography).  The arboretum’s gardens are a great place to explore the plants and critters of the gardens, and of course there is science and engineering in the construction of the sculptures.  Consider bringing a sketch book, or allowing kids to take photos of critters and plants they see. Look them up later to learn what they are, or use the photos to try your hand at making your own sculptures at home!

Plan a trip of your own

The North Carolina Arboretum
100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way
Asheville, NC 28806

Parking: $16 per car

Have you taken a road trip to NC Arboretum yet?

RELATED: Day Trips in Western North Carolina | Day Trips

About the Author
Maria Bassett is a former school orchestra teacher, turned homeschool mom. She and her husband homeschool their 3 sons and 1 daughter, who range from 4th grade through 9th grade. Believing children learn best when they are engaged and having fun, this family loves to take their homeschool on the road, around Greenville and beyond.

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