July 1-November 1, 2020
Great news! The very popular LEGO sculptures return to The North Carolina Arboretum gardens this summer with "Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks by Sean Kenney". The exhibition includes 14 super-sized creations using nearly 500,000 LEGO Bricks. Blending perfectly in the gorgeous gardens, the sculptures are inspired from our living world and combines art, play and science. Located about 10 miles south of downtown Asheville, the Arboretum is located at an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
While the Arboretum covers 400+ acres, the colorful creations are scattered in the series of gardens between the Baker Center and the Education Center. New sculptures include a 5-foot tall colorful peacock, giant dragonfly and bonsai tree. Crowd favorites like the giant butterfly and hummingbird return from the 2016 display. Since summer is peak time for blooms, be sure to stroll through all the gardens including the Bonsai display.
New for 2020: The popular summer event, Arbor Evenings, is back with a Lego twist and extra nights! Sip and stroll through the gardens after dark with live music and see the illuminated Lego sculptures. Sweet and savory snacks are available for purchase from the Arboretum’s Bent Creek Bistro, along with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Arbor Evenings run July-September, Thursday-Saturday evenings, 8-11 PM. Event admission is $5 per person, collected at the door (parking fees do not apply) and 10% of the proceeds will be donated to MANNA FoodBank.
It's great fun for the entire family, especially since it's like a scavenger hunt to find all the LEGO creations. After you arrive at the Arboretum, your first stop should be the Baker Exhibit Center by the parking area. Pick up a map to begin your exploration. See our NC Arboretum Guide for details about many other things to see and do.
Artist Sean Kenney spent so much time playing with LEGO toys as a child that he decided to make a career of it. For a decade, Sean has been turning ordinary LEGO bricks into spectacular works of art. He was the first of now only 15 LEGO Certified Professionals worldwide. A self-described “professional kid,” Sean uses LEGO bricks to create things that connect to the larger world. He hopes his sculptures inspire both kids and adults to create great things themselves.
More Arboretum Fun for Kids
- Pick up a Discovery Backpacks for loan for free at the information desk at the Baker Exhibit Center. They are themed to aid in exploration and include Trees, Insects, Reptiles and Amphibians, and Birds. Each pack includes tools and data sheets designed for children to observe, record and report their sightings in nature to real scientists.
- The Rocky Cove Railroad features up to four G-scale (garden scale) model trains running at a time. They run Saturdays and Sundays.
- Visit the Nature Discovery Room on the ground floor of the Education Center to see live animals.
Surrounded by Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Mountains, The North Carolina Arboretum is one of the most beautiful natural garden settings in America. Here are a few tips to help you plan a visit:
- It's open every day 9 AM-5 PM.
- Thursday-Saturday enjoy the popular Arbor Evenings, 8-11 PM. Stroll through lit gardens with live music, plus enjoy beer, wine, and light food for sale. (July-September) Admission is $5 per person, collected at the door (parking fees do not apply) and 10% of the proceeds will be donated to MANNA FoodBank.
- The exhibition is free to enjoy. Parking fees ($16/car) apply to non-members of the Arboretum.
- Dogs on leashes are permitted on the grounds and in the gardens (except the Bonsai exhibit). Service or guide dogs only are allowed in buildings.
- Informal picnics are permitted on the grounds, but there are no picnic tables. Bring your blanket! Food is available for purchase in the education center at the cafe.
- The buildings, gardens and some trails are wheelchair accessible. Wheelchairs are available free of charge on-site, on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Directions: The NC Arboretum is located off NC Highway 191, south of Asheville. From I-26, take exit 33; from I-40, use exit #47 (Farmers Market). From both these exits, follow Blue Ridge Parkway signs via NC 191 South. GPS Address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville
- See our NC Arboretum Guide for much more information.