While Brookgreen Gardens in nearby Murrells Inlet offers fun activities for the whole family, convincing some youngsters to spend a full day at the botanical sculpture garden might be a challenge. But with the addition of the LEGO Bricks Exhibit to Brookgreen Gardens' summer lineup, the little ones will be lining up to see and build statues with the popular toy blocks.
Now through Sept. 5, Brookgreen Gardens is hosting the touring exhibit “Nature Connects: Art With LEGO Bricks” in its Native Wildlife Zoo area. Featuring 12 amazing sculptures built entirely with LEGOs by artist and children's book author Sean Kenney, this display allows kids to get up close and pose for photos with colorful statues of peacocks, flowers and other natural landscapes.
Consisting of nearly half a million LEGO pieces, the exhibit highlights the merger of art and nature in a medium familiar to kids. The little ones can even build their own statues using the 30,000 LEGO pieces that are available for guest play, and contests and scavenger hunts are held throughout the day. For more hands-on opportunities, Brookgreen will host the LEGO Robotics Celebration on May 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. And from May 30 to June 3, Brookgreen will host a LEGO Sculpture Building Contest, with the semifinalists' works being added to the display.
The LEGO Exhibit is located in the heart of most kids' favorite part of the 9,000-acre park. The Lowcountry Zoo features a unique collection of native animals, such as alligators, river otters and various birds of prey, living in their natural habitat. A petting zoo and farm display lets little ones learn about goats, horses, chickens and other barnyard animals, and the Butterfly House is home to thousands of colorful butterflies.
In addition to a wealth of children’s activities this spring and summer, Brookgreen Garden also offers its usual spectacular array of blooming flowers, budding bushes and blossoming trees. The park features beautiful plant life surrounded by awe-inspiring sculptures, fountains, pools and statues. For those who love to tour the gardens and snap photos that are sure to make your vacation picture album, the creative convergence of art and nature is on full display.
Other special events set for this summer include Breakfast with the Butterflies (May 28), which offers a delicious meal in the Butterfly House; the annual Brookgreen Art Festival (June 4-5), which features dozens of top artists and vendors; and the popular Cool Summer Evenings concert series (June 8 through Aug. 5), which features live music every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night during the summer. Other activities scheduled for the Cool Summer Evenings program include events specifically for kids, special dinners at the on-site Pavilion Restaurant, and discounted creek cruises that carry passengers on a tour of the tidal creeks and former rice fields of the surrounding Waccamaw Neck area. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or beach blankets and enjoy the scenic and festive atmosphere Brookgreen has to offer.
As the oldest and largest botanical sculpture garden on the East Coast, Brookgreen Gardens offers more attractions that come with regular admission. The Gullah Cultural Center, designed to preserve and educate visitors about the Carolina coast’s unique African heritage, holds regular events. The Oaks Plantation History and Nature Trail leads guests to the remains of the one of the state’s largest former rice plantations, including the old home, slave quarters, farm buildings and even a graveyard.
While most activities are included with regular park admission, some events require a small extra fee. Best of all, park admission is good for seven consecutive days, so you can go back all week and plan your visits for the sunniest days. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $8 for kids ages 4 to 12. Ages three and younger are admitted free. Brookgreen is open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer months. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.brookgreen.org.