Posts Tagged With: Nature Connects

Bye-bye, bricks!

As April kicks off, we’re gearing up for the final days of Nature Connects®! Tens of thousands of you have seen Sean Kenney’s sculptures, inspired by the natural world and created from about 750,000 LEGO® bricks. And there’s still time to check them out, but the last day is April 10.

We’ve rounded up the top Nature Connects activities and events to make the most of your visit (and remember, it’s included with Zoo admission):

  • Master Model Builder at the Stay and Play Brickyard: A master model builder and staff from LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW will be at their Stay and Play Brickyard this Saturday and Sunday (April 2-3). Help us create a giant mosaic of our famous giraffe statue – the tallest statue in Texas! We’ll be working on the mosaic from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days – you can help build the Dallas Zoo masterpiece, or build your own creations in the brickyard. All day Saturday, lucky mosaic-building participants will score a free pair of tickets to LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW.

IMG_9477 Lego master builder CS


  • Family building activities: During the final weekends of the exhibit from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., our Education department is offering special, drop-in programs near the exhibit to build with bricks and connect with nature. This weekend (April 2-3), create a 2D mosaic of your favorite animals, similar to Sean Kenney’s ant hill mosaic in Nature Connects. We’ll provide animal photos as inspiration. Next weekend (April 9-10), build your favorite bug and learn about the importance of insects in our world.

IMG_9581 Lego brickyard spider CS

  • Robotics workshop with LEGO bricks: We’re partnering with Zaniac Learning Center for special robotics workshops this Saturday and Sunday (April 2-3). Guests ages 8-13 will build robotics based on their favorite animal and learn how nature influences our world. Classes are offered both days from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Preregistration is required by Friday, April 1.

IMG_8927 Cardinals bird bath CS

  • Nature Connects activity sheet: Stop by the Information Booth or Guest Services to pick up a map and interactive guide to Nature Connects. See an overview of where you can find each sculpture, paired with question about each one. Look closely at each sculpture to answer questions like what tools the grandfather and grandchild gardeners are using, or the number of legs on an insect.

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Special thanks to you for exploring the exhibit, snapping sculpture selfies, and blowing our minds with your creative building in the Brickyard! Additional thanks to all our sponsors: Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District, LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW, Britain Family, Greater TEXAS Federal Credit Union, McDonald’s of Greater North Texas, Orkin Commercial Services, Thompson & Knight Foundation, as well as sculptures in honor of Emily Frances and Hannah Grace, and Joan Walne and her beloved grandchildren, Will, Lucy, Mary Kate, Brett, Charlie, and Jack.

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Nature Connects® brick building contest winners announced

As soon as we announced our Brick Building Contest tied to the Nature Connects exhibit opening, we knew we’d be in for a treat once the entries started pouring in! We asked you to create your best original nature-themed sculpture, which would be judged by a public vote, as well as an expert panel that included a Master Model Builder from LEGOLAND® Discovery Center in DFW.

We got 31 amazing entries and were blown away by the talent from the four categories (age 10 and under, age 11-17, age 18 and up, and family builders). We loved how each entrant described how their sculpture helped them connect with nature. Eleven-year-old Wesley Tatum from Cleburne, who loves insects, was inspired to make his red velvet ant sculpture after he visited the ants at the Dallas Zoo. Six-year-old Emily from Coppell created “The World” because she wanted to include many animals and plants, including the jungle, desert, Iceland, and the ocean.

Expert judge James Wilson, a Master Model Builder from LEGOLAND Discovery Center DFW, said the talent that was shown in this building contest was phenomenal.

“I could really see the passion and hard work put into the models. And I was very surprised that some of my favorite models actually came from the younger contestants. As a Master Model Builder, I was mainly looking for the models that use unique or interesting building techniques, which I was pleased to find a lot of. Especially in the parrot in the 18+ division – the use of LEGO surfboards as tail feathers was outstanding.

“I noticed a good number of the models were made to look like a scene, as if it were depicting a scene from a story or even a favorite part of a families visit to the Dallas Zoo. It was interesting to think about the story the builder was trying to convey with their LEGO model,” said Wilson.

All entrants deserve a big round of applause for their incredible efforts, and we’d especially like to give three cheers to our amazing winners, who are listed below by category. These builders won a family four-pack of tickets to the Zoo, where they can see the incredible LEGO® brick sculptures of Nature Connects, created by world-renowned artist Sean Kenney. They’ve also each won a special VIP animal experience, which we’re sure will help them connect to nature in a whole new way. And because we loved all of these entries so much, we’re going to give tickets to everyone who entered!

Check out all of our winning sculptures below.

Expert Judges Category, age 10 & under: “Under Water Aquarium” by 7-year-old Camryn Edwards from Waxahachie
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Artist Sean Kenney’s elaborate LEGO® brick sculptures arrive at Dallas Zoo

‘Nature Connects’ exhibit, crafted from more than 700,000 LEGO® bricks, opens Friday and is included with Zoo admission

This eye-popping peacock is one of Kenney's largest sculptures he's designed.

This stunning peacock is one of the largest sculptures Kenney’s designed.

Oversized LEGO brick sculptures of the natural world take over the Zoo on Friday with the opening of Nature Connects, a remarkable sculpture show featuring the wizardry of award-winning artist Sean Kenney. The exhibit, sponsored by the Dallas Tourism Improvement District, runs from Jan. 15 through April 10.

New York-based Kenney uses the timeless fun of the popular toy bricks to connect guests to our remarkable natural environment. Created from more than 700,000 LEGO bricks, the larger-than-life sculptures include an 8-foot-tall hummingbird frozen in flight; a 7-foot-wide peacock displaying its colorful feathers; a playful polar bear family created from an impressive 133,263 bricks; and more.

Kenney captured an endangered polar bear mom and cubs in a loving moment.

Kenney captured an endangered polar bear mom and cubs in a loving moment.

“The detail and ingenuity in these eye-popping, colorful sculptures will no doubt transport guests back to nature,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo’s president and CEO. “Sean Kenney is a rock star, and his one-of-a-kind creations leave a lasting impact in awe-inspiring ways for our environment.”

Transforming Picnic Ridge in ZooNorth, Nature Connects also includes a large, tented Stay and Play Brickyard, presented by LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Dallas/Fort Worth. In the Brickyard, kids of all ages can build, experiment, problem-solve, and connect with science, technology, engineering, and math. Each week, master builders and LEGO enthusiasts will be on hand, challenging children to recreate the pros’ nature-themed models while teaching youngsters how to build sculptures that connect to nature.

Detailed landscapes are themed to accompany each intricate display: rock formations complement the massive Galapagos tortoise, and freshly planted pansies match the colors of Kenney’s pansy in bloom sculpture. Next to each display, signage features fun facts about the sculptures, as well as a conservation message.

An endangered snow leopard, frozen while prowling.

An endangered snow leopard, frozen while prowling.

As one of our continuing efforts to give back to the community, the Nature Connects exhibit will be free with zoo admission, so guests pay no additional charge.

BUILDING CONTEST: We’re also hosting a community-wide building competition. Builders of all ages are invited to create their best original nature-themed sculpture made from toy building bricks for a chance to win zoo tickets and a special animal encounter. Participants may drop off their creations Jan. 14-16 between 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more info and official rules, visit

WATCH our incredible staff come together to transform ZooNorth in 48 hours!

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