Yesterday Mitch and I visited the Missouri Botanical Garden to check out Nature Connects, the new “show” at the Climatron. Every summer the folks at MoBot add something extra to the garden to draw more visitors–and this year they’ve added LEGOS! This is sure to be a popular show for families (especially those of us with boys).
Nature Connects consists of twelve LEGO sculptures: two are outside the Climatron where everyone can see them, and the other ten are in the Climatron where you have to pay to see them. Ok, one is is the Temperate House, but that’s behind the paywall too. They say there are “25 sculptures”, but they are arranged in 12 scenes. Some are a single animal, but others are more complex, like a backyard bird feeder scene with birds and squirrels.
Compared to shows in the past, Nature Connects is pretty cheap–it’s only $5 extra per person to visit. Is it worth the money? Yep. Especially if you have kids fond of LEGOS.
Let’s see some LEGOS!
I was worried that Mitch wouldn’t be excited by LEGO sculptures he didn’t make himself, but he was pretty impressed. We were handed a “seek and find” game to play as we explored the Climatron, which Mitch thought was cool. The game card is on the show brochure, and it asks you to answer a question about each sculpture so that you really stop to look at them.
His favorite LEGO sculpture was probably the butterfly. We kinda like butterflies around here.
After you wander through the Climatron, you enter the Brookings Interpretive Center (a.k.a. the play area). You can really tell that the garden’s gift shop is under new management these days–the first thing you’ll find is a giant pile of LEGO sets you can buy as a souvenir of your visit. If you’re in the mood to buy, it’s a nice collection, worthy of any toy store. But there is an extra gift shop markup–the prices looked a couple bucks higher than what I’ve seen at the LEGO Store. If you don’t want to tote a box of LEGOS around the garden during the rest of your visit, they have a similar display at the gift shop in the visitor’s center. If you already own enough LEGOS, take a look at the LEGO inspired books–there’s some good titles there to help kids find new things to build with their sets.
Half the of the Brookings Interpretive Center is dedicated to Nature in Your Neighborhood, where some kids were having a blast making tents and pretending to camp. We made a bee line to the LEGO area on the other half. The garden set out several bins of LEGOS for the kids, as well as art supplies for drawing pictures.
There’s also some comfy chairs for the parents…
Nature Connects is a pretty cool exhibit. If you stop to read the markers at each display you’ll see how they cleverly illustrate the “connections” in nature, whether it’s between animals (predator and prey) or between man and gardener.
If you think you’ve seen Nature Connects elsewhere, this is the second version of the show. The original show (created by a New York LEGO artist) is still traveling the country, but this one was made just for us. Nature Connects will be on display until September 7, so you’ll have all summer to stop by. It’s worth the visit!
If you’re a Cake Collector, the garden’s #stl250 Cake is right out front. If you’re just collecting cake pictures, you don’t have to pay admission. But what’s the fun in that? If you’re local and on a budget, remember that St. Louis City and County residents receive free general admission on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and half price any other time.