Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks {The Morton Arboretum, Lisle}

Go now. Seriously, stop what you are doing, cancel your plans, load up the kids and head to The Morton Arboretum immediately! You will thank me. Currently, Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® bricks by Sean Kenney is at The Morton Arboretum through November 1st, 2015. This is the first time the exhibit has been displayed in the area, and the only exhibition scheduled in Chicagoland. (learn more about the history and mission of The Morton Arboretum here)

nature connects at the morton arboretum
© H. Garvey | | 2015

Sean Kenney is the world’s first LEGO® Certified Professional. He doesn’t work for LEGO®, he makes amazing art with LEGO® bricks. He gets no special pieces or colors made, just the same pieces my kids play with — only a lot more of them! Kenney and his team used 464,770 LEGO® bricks to create the 13 awe-inspiring nature-themed displays, made up of 27 individual figures.

nature connects at the morton arboretum
© H. Garvey | | 2015

We left with one of Kenney’s building guides, Cool Creations in 35 pieces. We have been sorting and building almost non-stop! We were lucky to hear Kenney speak at a press event, and he emphasized creativity and doing what you love, a message I was happy for my daughter to receive.

My daughter and I had the opportunity to hear Kenney speak at a preview for the event, which brought our appreciation of his artwork to a higher level. Kenny was a funny and captivating speaker, I’d encourage you to see him and take your children should the opportunity arise. I was amazed at how authentically engaged my 6-year-old was in his formal presentation. Kenney abruptly left an average, white-collar job in New York and developed his career, albeit accidentally, as an artist and LEGO® Certified Professional.

Nature connects at the morton arboretum
© H. Garvey | | 2015

“I have the coolest job in the world!” Nature Connects artist, Sean Kenney speaking of leaving corporate America and following his passion.

Kenney’s art is placed throughout the 1,700 acres and more than 222,000 live plants of the arboretum, including several installations in the whimsical Children’s Garden. Kenney, supported by a staff of 17, spent more than 4,170 hours (173 days!) building the pieces in the exhibit. The sculpture of the peacock is made of the most LEGO® bricks at 68,827, requiring 625 hours to build!


nature connects at the morton arboretum

© M. Haak | Little Lake | 2015

Tips for a great visit to Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks at The Morton Arboretum:

  • Bring bug spray!
  • Review the arboretum’s website to plan your visit–there are many events scheduled for the summer and so much to see.
  • Download The Morton Arboretum’s app on your iPhone, or stop in the Visitor’s Center to pick up a map to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
  • Allow plenty of time to spend here, with little ones it may take a while to see the arboretum.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and dress to play.
  • Sean Kenney’s creative building books are for sale in the Visitor’s Center, along with an assortment of of great LEGO® merchandise.
  • You will have the opportunity to play with 30,000 LEGO® bricks on hand at the Arboretum throughout the exhibit’s run.
  • Thursdays are a great day for families to visit the arboretum, and stick around for Family Night (through the end of August) from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Share your Nature Connects photos on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #natureconnectsTMA and you could win a $100 Arboretum gift card!

Editor’s note: The Children’s Garden has many water features including a small creek that kids can play in, bring a change of clothes!

The Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
630-968-0074 | [email protected]
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Open 365 Days a year at 7 a.m. and closes around sunset
Visitor’s Center open May through October: Daily, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
(check website for seasonal changes to schedule)

Want to see the exhibt for yourself? 

We have a four pack of tickets to send to one reader courtesy of The Morton Arboretum.  All you have to do is comment on this post with if you have ever been and/or who you would take tot he exhibt.

No purchase necessary. One entry per person. Must be age 18 or older and have a valid e-mail address. Winner will be drawn on Sunday July 26 at 7:00 p.m. an notified via e-mail. Winner has 48 hours to respond or forfeits tickets.

Disclosure: Writer received free admission and a gift back to attend the medium preview of the Nature Connects exhibt. All thoughts and opinions belong to the writer.


About Holly Garvey 78 Articles
Stay-at-home mom who works! On again/off again work in family real estate business, babysitter, dog rescue and historical society volunteer all while chasing my new-found dream to be a writer.I live in Antioch with my husband, Jake, and kids, Cecilia (5) and Mark (3), and our dog Isabella. I'm an aspiring vegan (I cheat a lot), Jazzercise addict and runner. As a family, we love to travel and spend time outdoors. I love to go antique shopping and garage sale-ing, cook, and read in my (rare) free time.


  1. This looks awesome! My 8yr old and 6yr old LOVE Legos! We spend hours building and creating our own master pieces! Being new to this area, winning these tickets would be a highlight of our summer!

  2. I’ve only been to the arboretum once quite a few years ago. I’d love to take my daughter! She loves to be outside and would be fascinated by the Lego exhibit.

  3. We’ve only ever been to the Morton Arboretum for Illuminations during Christmas time so we would love to get a chance to see it during daylight! 🙂 I also have two boys who are Lego fanatics and would be so inspired to see these works of art!

  4. We have never been to the Arboretum. My two big boys (7 and 4) would be really excited to visit Legos AND play outside.

  5. My family has never been to the Morton Arboretum. We have a 6 1/2-year-old boy and a 3 1/2 who play with Legos daily. We also love nature! Would love for our boys to experience this.

  6. My 5 year old son is crazy about Legos…he just finished a robotic Lego camp that was amazing! Would love to stop by the arboretum and check out the exhibit!

  7. We have never been! Have wanted to since moving to Illinois a few years ago- my Lego fanatics are also nature lovers. T’would be super cool!

  8. We’ve been to the Morton Arboretum, but we haven’t seen the LEGO exhibit yet. We would love the chance to do so though!

  9. I have never been, but I’ve been wanting to go. My 5 year old son is obsessed with being a master builder and he thought the pics looked awesome

  10. Have only been to the Arboretum once years ago. I would love to take my 2 year old. She loves nature and walking through the forests by our house. And the Lego exhibit looks beyond amazing!

  11. I’ve never been to Morton Arboretum, would love to bring my 12 yr old daughter she would love the garden she’s been taking care of a sunflower that she planted in May. I’d also bring my 7 yr old nephew who enjoyed the caterpillar turning into butterfly unit in 1st grade & he is the ultimate Lego boy!

  12. We’ve been several times and love the children’s garden, maze & treehouses. Bringing my kids to the new Lego exhibit would be awesome!

  13. I would love to bring my kids here. What a great way to combine creative play with nature. Thanks for offering a giveaway!

  14. My four-year-old son and I just discovered Sean Kenney’s Lego books and I recently visited his website to learn more about him. I didn’t notice he had a local exhibit. We’d love to see it!

  15. We took our oldest child to Morton Arboretum when she was in preschool and loved it. I would love to take my 9 year old daughter, our Lego builder, and my 3 year old son.

  16. My husband and I have never been and we are local! I’m a bit ashamed:( Our girls would really enjoy a new place to explore! Thanks for the tips for visiting! Very useful.

  17. Have never been here but would love to come with my husband, 12 year old LEGO obsessed son and 5 year old daughter! What a awesome place to get away from home for the day/night!

  18. I have been to the Morton arboretum. I have not been to the Lego exhibit. I would love to go with my fiancé who just moved back from Switzerland, and my niece and nephew. 🙂 they would love it there!

  19. My family and I have not been to the Morton Arboretum. We enjoy being active outdoors and appreciating all the beauty nature has to offer. My daughter LOVES building with Legos and just turned seven. This would be a wonderful birthday gift…an outing to enjoy family time, Legos, and nature!! Thank you for this opportunity!

  20. I went to the arboretum a lot as a child and teenager. I’ve only been once in the last 20 years so I’d love to be able to go again! I would take my daughter and her half siblings to the exhibit.

  21. I still haven’t been to the Morton Arboretum, which is crazy because we love the Botanic Gardens and I know we’d like to Arboretum as well. Thank you for the heads up about the Lego exhibit. I think my two boys would love it. They love birds, animlas and all nature as well as Legos. I would take them as well as my husband.

  22. We have never been here, but it has been on my list. My son is a Lego fanatic and I would love to take him! We are on a very tight budget, so passes to this would be a way to do it.

  23. How incredibly cool is this! I am mom to 4 girls who would be in hog heaven at an event like this, 11,9,6 and 4. It’s hard to find fun exciting stuff to do in summer with all these kids that is affordable. Free tickets wild be such a treat!

  24. Even though it’s a little far, we love this place. The children’s area is amazing. We haven’t had the chance to see the Lego exhibit but are really looking forward to it!

  25. I haven’t been to the Morton Arboretum since I was a little Girl Scout! I know so much has changed. My three kids love being outside and love Legos. What a great combo.

  26. I would absolutely LOVE to see this! We have never been to the Morton Arboretum and I know me, my husband and two boys would love it. Especially, since my sister-in-law and her family of 5 are in town visiting from overseas – what a wonderful opportunity to get all 5 of our ittle lLego and nature buffs together! Thanks so much for the opportunity. 🙂

  27. Thanks for all the info. Just heard of this Lego display and was wondering if it was worth the trip to take my two Lego maniac boys! Thanks for answering pretty much every question I had!

  28. I went to the arboretum many years ago when I was a teacher with the class – obviously no Nature Connects there then.
    I’d go now with my two youngest who are HUGE lego fans. I’m pretty sure they are trying to own enough legos to someday build there own lego display for people to come see =)

  29. We have never been to the Morton Arboretum but have heard wonderful things. We have two lego enthusiast boys (and their parents) who can’t wait to see this amazing exhibit!

  30. We saw the hummingbird photo in the Chicago Tribune last weekend and decided then that we would have to see this exhibit. I would bring my husband, son, and daughters. We have never been to the Morton Arboretum.

  31. We’ve only visited once, and it was before my son was born… We’d love to go back and bring him to the Lego exhibit!

  32. This looks so fun! We have never been, but talk about it all the time. My daughter, who is way into lego robotics, and my son who builds all the time would love this! Hehehehe….my hubby, who wont share his childhood legos would also LOVE this exhibit!

  33. We have never been. I would love to take my 4 year old who loves legos. He would love to see all of the exhibits.

  34. We have never been to the Morton Arboretum, but it is on our family summer bucket list for 2015 with our 2 boys ages 4 and 1.

  35. We were there during the winter season when my 3yr old wanted to “walk in the forest” but everything was covered in snow! We still went and had a great time in children’s garden and we did the drive through the whole ground and it was beautiful. I can’t wait to go back during the summer time!

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