Thursday, June 21, 2018

LEGO® Exhibit at the Louisville Zoo

Although I've lived in and around Louisville for 18 years, I had never been to the Louisville Zoo until last summer.  As a member of the Norton Walking Club, I can go to the zoo two hours before it opens to the general public to utilize the looping, 1-mile roundtrip walking path. I enjoy the challenging, hilly walk and being able to admire the various critters along the way.  

This summer, my walks in the zoo have included an extra special treat. In addition to all the typical animals one would expect to see in a zoo, I've also seen many larger-than-life animal sculptures that are made entirely out of LEGO® bricks.  That's right - LEGOs!  

The exhibit is called Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks and it consists of thirteen sculptures that were designed by artist Sean Kenney.  He and his team used over 770,000 bricks to create the sculptures and the process took over 6,500 man hours!

The thirteen sculptures, all of which depict a different species, some of which are endangered, some that are not, and one that is already extinct, are displayed throughout the grounds within the zoo's natural scenery.  The exhibit aims to increase the understanding of the importance of  animal conservation.


Number of bricks: 31,565  |  Hours to build: 275

Approximately 10% of hummingbirds are endangered or threatened due to loss of habitat.

Fun Fact: Hummingbirds are the birds that can fly backwards.


Number of bricks: 12,990  |  Hours to build: 87

Seals are under threat from fishing practices, climate change, and ocean pollution.

Yes, this would've been cuter if two faces where filling the holes, but I had no volunteers.


Number of bricks: 88,516  |  Hours to build: 564

Stressors such as climate change, ocean acidification, diseases, overfishing, sedimentation, and pollution threaten coral reefs around the world.


Number of bricks: 49,034  |  Hours to build: 511

Chameleons are not considered endangered at this time.

Fun fact: Chameleons' eyes can look in two different directions at the same time.


Number of bricks: 57,462  |  Hours to build: 482.5

Leatherback sea turtles are considered vulnerable due to fishing nets and hooks, habitat loss from rising sea levels, uncontrolled coastal development, vehicle traffic on beaches, and other human activities.


Number of bricks: 43,678  |  Hours to build: 365

Whooping cranes, the tallest flying North American bird at 5 feet tall, are considered endangered.  

The sculpture depicts a mother whooping crane tending to her nest.  Do you see the 318 white dots below?  Those white dots represent the entire world's population of whooping cranes.


Number of bricks: 133,263  |  Hours to build: 1,048.5

Polar bears are considered vulnerable due to reduced winter sea ice that they need in order to hunt seals.

Fun fact: The polar bear statue uses the most bricks of any sculpture in the exhibit.


Number of bricks: 63,379  |  Hours to build: 580

Snow leopards are found in the mountains of Central Asia in countries such as China, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, and Afghanistan.  They are considered vulnerable.


Number of bricks: 66,655  |  Hours to build: 502

Wildebeasts are part of the antelope family and stay together in groups with zebras to easily spot predators and increase their chances of survival. Wildebeasts are considered endangered.


Number of bricks: 58,139  |  Hours to build: 372.5

Zebras are currently considered vulnerable.

Fun fact: A zebras stripes are like fingerprints as each pattern is unique to the zebra.


Number of bricks: 39,708  |  Hours to build: 330

The monarch population is facing challenges from habitat loss and climate change.  These butterflies have the longest migration of any butterfly (2000 miles).


Number of bricks: 86,361  |  Hours to build: 726

Sumatran, Javan, black, and northern white rhinos are all endangered.  Today, very few rhinos live outside national parks and reserves due persist poaching and habit loss over many decades.

This statue is called DISAPPEARING RHINO.  The artist said, "Rhinos are disappearing right in front of our eyes.  I believe very few people understand how critically endangered they really are, made because they are so culturally ingrained in our minds as an iconic African mammal.  I wanted to illustrate both the massive size and physical presence of the Black Rhino as well as the fact that they are quite literally disappearing off the face of the earth." 


Number of bricks: 71,669  |  Hours to build: 668

The dodo bird went extinct in 1681 due to human exploitation and the introduction of predators on their island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. 

The chart on the pedestal shows the dodo's population, starting when Mauritius was settled, ending in extinction only 176 years later.  The artist, Sean Kenney, said that the dodo is the embodiment of animal endangerment and that is why he chose to make this sculpture look like a grand monument.

Additional LEGO® Fun Facts:

  • LEGO® bricks were first sold in 1958.  A brick from 1958 will fit a brick created in 2018.
  • Each brick used in these sculptures is bonded with a special solvent an them the entire piece is shellacked to kept the brick colors from fading.
  • The word "LEGO" is made from the first two letters of the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well."
  • A LEGO® brick can withstand up to 950 pounds of force.


The Louisville Zoo
1100 Trevilian Way
Louisville, KY 40213

Children (3-11) $11.75
Adults (12-59) $16.25
Senors (60+) $11.75 

*There is also a $5.00 parking fee (per vehicle) if you park in the zoo lot.
**Military discounts are also available.

Daily 10:00am - 6:00pm (last admission is at 5:00pm)

The Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks exhibit is on display at the Louisville Zoo until September 3, 2018.

If you are unable to visit this particular exhibit, there are several other Nature Connects® exhibits on tour this year:

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Winchester, VA
Through September 3, 2018

Green Bay Botanical Garden
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Through August 19, 2018

Red Butte Garden
Salt Lake City, Utah
Through September 16, 2018

San Antonio Botanical Garden
San Antonio, Texas
August 31 - December 31, 2018


Of the thirteen statues on display at the Louisville Zoo, I'd have to say that my favorite is the polar bear with the coral reef coming in second.  Do you have a favorite?

Previous posts about Louisville:
Jerry's Junk
A Guide to Louisville's Street Murals Part 1 & Part 2
T is for Thunder Over Louisville

Linking up with:


  1. What a cool exhibit! I like the monarch butterfly the best, although they were all lovely.

  2. These are awesome! Our boys love & collect Lego's. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  3. Very neat! Legos have come such a long way since I was a kid. These lego designs are quite impressive, it's crazy the number of blocks used. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    1. I was thinking something similar in terms of how far Legos have come since I was a kid. But, then again, the basic brick is still the same. I just can't believe all the different themed Lego sets that are out there nowadays. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Wow, love those Lego sculptures and now you've just piqued my interest in visiting this summer! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  5. This is so cool! I'd love to see it in person, but I have no upcoming trip to Louisville. Too bad they don't have something like this at Los Angeles Zoo. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. Here's the artist's website: You can check it out periodically; perhaps an exhibit will come your way.

  6. I like the coral reef and sea turtle but they are all very beautiful

  7. It is amazing what they can create with Legos. I can't wait to bring my granddaughter there when she gets older!

    1. I agree! The good thing about the popularity of Legos is that touring exhibits like this will probably continue to be around for a while. Hope you and your granddaughter enjoys!

  8. I enjoyed this post and I like the fun facts like hummingbirds can fly backwards. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  9. These are amazing! I have to give props (and admire) to the people who create these works of art. They are so realistic! The is a LEGOLAND close to where I live. I should visit and see the sculptures they have created. #TPThursday

    1. They are absolutely fascinating. Even though I've seen them several times, I still have a tendency to stop and admire them during my first loop around the zoo during my walks. I can't get over the time involved in making just one.

  10. I don't know if I could get to Louisville in time to see this - granted, it's only about two hours away. This is so awesome though! I love the disappearing rhino because it really does make a big statement. The polar bear family is adorable though!!


    1. It is really cool to see. I have spent more time looking at these Lego sculptures than I have the real life animals this summer! LOL! I agree, the rhino sculpture does make a big statement.

  11. Wow! I love Lego exhibits and this one is so fun with the animals! Thanks for linking up with our local tourist link up!

    1. I have been very impressed with this exhibit. I find the sculptures to be fascinating.


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