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Enjoy vibrant, giant LEGO sculptures in San Antonio Botanical Garden

 
Enjoy vibrant, giant LEGO sculptures in San Antonio Botanical Garden
The Bison and Calf LEGO sculpture on display in the San Antonio Botanical Garden comprises more than 45,000 LEGO bricks for the mama bison alone.

It’s more than just plants in the San Antonio Botanical Garden. And what it is, is big.

A little history

During the early years of the city of San Antonio, there was a limestone quarry on the eastern end of what is now known as Mahncke Park, just off present-day New Braunfels Avenue along the western edge of Fort Sam Houston. The quarry was used during the 1880s as a water reservoir, but was abandoned a short time later. In 1899, G.W. Brackenridge, owner of the land, deeded it to the city of San Antonio. This was a natural place for the future Amphitheater at what was to become the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

In 1940, several prominent San Antonio families conceived the idea of a botanical garden, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that a master plan was developed. Fund-raising began in 1970, when San Antonio voters approved $265,000 in bonds for the garden’s development. More grants and donations were secured and a groundbreaking ceremony was held July 21, 1976. Four years later, on May 3, 1980, the San Antonio Botanical Garden was officially opened.

Changing scenery

Since then, the Garden has expanded with new permanent features as well as seasonal and visiting exhibits, such as the current “Nature Connects” -- LEGO sculptures created by one man, Sean Kenney, using more than half a million LEGO bricks. This exhibit will be here until Jan. 4, 2015.

The artist...

Sean Kenney, born in 1976 and a self-described professional kid, is a renowned artist and author of seven inspirational children’s books. He was a published cartoonist by age 18 and pursued a career as a graphic and website designer. At age 27, he gave up his desk job and began creating his LEGO art professionally. He says he doesn’t work for LEGO, but he is its best customer.

And his art...

The smallest of the LEGO creations is a cute green frog atop a lily pad (also made of LEGOS) and the largest is the Bison and Calf. The mama bison is made of 45,143 LEGO bricks, more than four feet in height and six feet in length. The calf only took 16,229 LEGO bricks to create. The bison is the largest land mammal in North America and the symbol of the American West.

The first LEGO sculpture you will see as you enter the Garden is a colorful Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly; just beyond that is the Hummingbird and Flower made of 31,565 LEGO bricks and more than 5 feet tall. The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly in any direction and migrates thousands of miles each year.

The Rose, comprised of 41,242 LEGOS, stands almost 7 feet tall and 3 feet across. I snapped a photo of Harry with the Rose to demonstrate the size of this magnificent flower.

Other sculptures include a Fish jumping out of the water (near the green frog on the lily pad), the Fox and the Rabbit, and a Bumble Bee flying high in the Conservatory Palm Pavilion.

More to delight the senses

The Botanical Garden is an interesting place. Everywhere you look you will see beauty, color, and unusual elements, such as giant blue hammocks --which are usually full of playful children -- and oversized chairs large enough so that the entire family can fit in one chair for a great photo opportunity. There are waterfalls and fountains, birds to enjoy watching and, of course, a magnificent collections of plants and flowers, from roses to tropical, desert to grasslands.

There is a large gift shop and the Carriage House Bistro, offering unique lunch items from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.

There is always something exciting happening in this 38-acre paradise. “Gardens by Moonlight,” “Dog Days” when you can bring your leashed pet, or “Family Flashlight Night,” are a few examples of events offered. Be sure to check the Garden website for complete information.

Harry and Linda Kaye Perez are freelance writers from just down the road from Floresville. Together they share a passion for traveling and writing, and discovering the very best in all corners of the world. Email them at Harry-Linda411@att.net.

Find out more

The San Antonio Botanical Garden’s mission is “To inspire people to connect with the plant world and understand the importance of plants in our lives.”

Admission is $10 adults; $8 students, seniors, and active military; and $7 children ages 3-13.

The garden is open year-round, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.

Visit the garden at 555 Funston Place in San Antonio. For information call 210-207-3250 or visit www.sabot.org.

 
 
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