UPDATE: The exhibit has been extended beyond its original end date of May 13, 2018. It is now on display through May 28, 2018.
An exhibit that’s as much about beauty and art as it is about education is now open at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha. “Metamorphosis: From Reclaimed Plastics to Works of Art” is on display through May 28, 2018. Most exhibit pieces are indoors, making it a perfect destination in the winter.
I received complimentary admission to Lauritzen Gardens to share the experience with you. If you’ve never taken your kids to visit Lauritzen before, be sure to read this guide to taking kids to Lauritzen Garden.
What to expect at Metamorphosis
There 18 pieces from birds to aquatic creatures to a rainbow in this exhibit. Two artists, Aurora Robson and Sayaka Ganz, created most of it (a third artist, Jim Merz, worked with Ganz to create the Luminariales). The exhibit has a message of environmental stewardship and is thought provoking. You might not look at plastic the same way again.
The fun part is identifying the objects used to create each piece. There’s a free scavenger hunt that’s good for encouraging you to look even closer at each piece.
What the kids like
My youngest loved the scavenger hunt, but also was frustrated with it. Trying to find about 60 objects while not being able to read the list objects was an obstacle. It didn’t stop her, but it slowed her down.
Each of us had our favorite pieces. My kids were interested in the marine animals that Ganz so creatively created out of plastic. My son loved the large blue whale in the tropical house of the Conservatory.
The phoenix was a close second for him.
My daughter liked the dolphins, which were floating near some pretty neat jellyfish.
Me? I was blown away by Robson’s vortex in the Floral Display Hall. It was gorgeous and huge and kept drawing me in.
You have to see it in person to really get the impact, but if you can’t make, check out my video:
Take a closer look at everything in this video! Reclaimed plastic has been used to create artwork in the exhibit "Metamorphosis: From Reclaimed Plastics to Works of Art," now at Lauritzen Gardens. Read more about the exhibit at https://ohmyomaha.com/2018/02/metamorphosis-lauritzen-gardens/
You can go on a scavenger hunt for a giant dragon fly, a hidden turtle and an enormous spider in Omaha. They’re all made out of LEGOs, though, which is all right with me. In the new “Nature Connects: Art With LEGO® Bricks” exhibit, LEGOs meet nature at Lauritzen Gardens.
The exhibit runs through May 15. Thanks to Lauritzen Gardens, who provided complimentary passes for my family to visit so that I could share our experience with you!
There are 14 indoor displays of life-like creations by Sean Kenney, who designed the previous two “Nature Connects” exhibits at Lauritzen. Having been to those, I can tell you that this is quite similar, but no less impressive.
In all, more than 450,000 LEGOs were used. My kids loved the opportunity to build their own creations after we found all the LEGO sculptures in the whole exhibit.
Most of the sculptures are new, plus the exhibit has expanded beyond the Visitor and Education Center. There are sculptures throughout the conservatory.
I love visiting the conservatory in the winter, so this is the perfect time to search the space for LEGO sculptures.
There’s also an additional hands-on area for children (“Play and Let It Stay”), making three places children can build their own sculptures. They’re all located in the Visitor and Education Center. If the two in the lobby are hopping with children, head to the building stations in one of the education rooms, it was blissfully quiet when we were there.
My tip for you? Bring a camera!
Upcoming Lauritzen Gardens Events & Exhibits
Girls’ Day: Japanese Doll Exhibit – Through March 5
Art Exhibit: Artists’ Cooperative Gallery – Through April 3
St. Patrick’s Day Lunch – March 17
LEGO® Brick Artists Expo – March 18 and 19
Ole’s Birthday Bash – April 8
Easter Extravaganza – April 15
Easter Brunch – April 16
TREEmendous Arbor Day Celebration – April 29
Leashes at Lauritzen – May 1
Mother’s Day Brunch – May 14
Plus a lot of summer events! See all special events here.
If you go
“Nature Connects: Art With LEGO® Bricks”
Where: Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St.
Cost: Included with admission, which is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-12 and free for garden members and children under six.
Ever since Lauritzen Gardens opened its conservatory in the fall of 2014, I’ve been eager to check it out. The pictures of it made me think of a winter sanctuary made just for me: Exotic flowers, a waterfall and tropical indoor weather.
So, visiting on a gray winter day made sense. I was in need of some color and warmth in my day. (Side note: One of those rooms in the conservatory is a temperate garden and so not tropical, you may want your coat … FYI).
And the fact that I don’t have to go back outside in order to get into this warm space is a key selling point for me.
We brought the kids, naturally. They’ve been to Lauritzen several times and have yet to trample any rare or endangered flower (yay!).
Here’s what to expect if your littles are like mine:
1. They’re going to want to run. This is not the kind of space for that.
That’s not a problem outdoors at Lauritzen. I rely on a day at Lauritzen to really wear the kids out but a trip to the conservatory didn’t cut it.
2. You’ll want to take lots of photos of the kids next to pretty things. They probably won’t cooperate. And neither will the humidity. Good luck wiping the lens of you camera.
3. As much as you could mosey through the conservatory for an hour or so, kids won’t. There is a lot to see, it just didn’t hold my kids’ attention for long. So I think next time I’d time it with a visit outdoors when it’s not -25 outside.
I made a game of our visit, which kept them entertained for a little bit. Some of the Lego exhibit that’s in the main exhibition hall had found its way into the conservatory. If you’re visiting while “Nature Connects 2” is there (through April 26, 2015), see if you can spot the Lego animals in the conservatory. We found three.
Can you spot one in the background of a photo on this post?
For more game and scavenger hunt ideas in a previous Lauritzen Gardens post, check it out here.
Hope your kids let you stop and smell the flowers the next time you’re there!
If you go
Lauritzen Gardens Conservatory
Where: First and Bancroft streets
When: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day; open until 8 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays from mid-May through mid-September.
Cost: $10, adults; $5, children ages 6-12; FREE, children younger than 6 and members
One of the best places to see the beauty of the changing seasons in Omaha is Lauritzen Gardens.
Our most recent visit was over Labor Day Weekend. It was a busy place, since a donor ensured free admission to the gardens that weekend. It was my niece Sophie’s first visit, and Mooch would not let that child out of her sight.
It was fun to compare that September visit to our May visit from this year. No place showed the most change than the Children’s Garden.
In May, it was just getting started for the season, so no corn maze, no sunflowers, not much really.
Then September came and boom. Look at this place!
Farley loved the sunflowers in particular.
I think most adults will enjoy visiting regardless of season, but if you’re bringing kids, timing is big.
The Model Train Garden is a favorite and it’s only open May through October. Keep that in mind!
I didn’t find much difference in that particular garden between our May and October visit (other than not all seven trains were operating).
While we were there, I saw a sign for an upcoming exhibit I know both kids are going to love: “Nature Connects 2: Art with LEGO® Bricks,” which will run Jan. 17 through April 26, 2015. We visited Nature Connects the first time it was here and the kids (and I) loved it. The indoor exhibit will feature 12 new displays!
Here’s a video from the first “Nature Connects” exhibit at Lauritzen Gardens, back in early 2013.
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On an unrelated topic: I’m trying out BodySculpt treatment by Venus Swan at Body Brite Omaha tonight. I’m pretty psyche not only for the claims that it helps slow the aging process, but because I hear it’s really relaxing.
Your turn: Have you tried a BodySculpt treatment? What did you think of it? How awesome were your results?
We’ve been overdue for a visit to Lauritzen Gardens – Omaha’s Botanical Gardens. Mr. Wonderful and I hadn’t strolled the grounds since our wedding there seven years ago. We’ve gone in the winter with the kids, the poinsettia display a nice escape from the gray world Omaha becomes in December. But, they haven’t really explored the great gardens.
“I consider (Laurizen) as a big backyard,” said Mia Jenkins, director of marketing. “A place to discover and learn together.”
I recently chatted with Jenkins about visiting the gardens as a family. What I gathered from our talk, to summarize: Encourage children to be curious. Let them explore whatever it is that catches their eye, let them connect with nature on their terms. Pretty simple, right?
Here’s what else I learned:
Jenkins said some kids need no encouragement in finding things that interest them there. For others, they may need some guidance. She suggested a few activities to encourage exploration:
Activities to do with children
– Indoors, you’ll have to check out the koi fish. Point out colors and patterns together.
– Stop and smell the roses. No really. Head to the Rose Garden and make this cool discovery: Roses don’t all smell the same. Some are citrusy, others are floral.
– Visit the Garden in the Glen and have your kids rotate the kinetic sculpture “Turning Leaves” (though be careful not to be hit by it!).
– Encourage your kids to take pictures. It will be fun to see the gardens from their perspective.
– Visit the Herb Garden in the summer and fall. Kids can touch and smell the plants and experience how their textures and scents vary.
– Scavenger hunt idea #1: Find different shapes in nature (and man-made)
– Scavenger hunt idea #2: Find different colors in nature
– Look for wildlife (a good spot is the arboretum, where you might find frogs and turtles)
– When visiting in the spring, look for nests.
Garden highlights kids will love
– Model Railroad Garden. This is open every year from May to October and features seven train lines and replicas of Omaha landmarks made out of natural materials like twigs.
Kids love this place. So do I. A fun little exercise: Have your kids try to identify the buildings in the display OR have them try to identify the materials used to make them.
– Children’s Garden. This place really shines in the summer, according to Jenkins.
What all can kids find there? Sunflowers, a corn maze, a vegetable garden, a rainbow garden, as well as a water feature.
There’s also an alphabet garden, too, where kids can find plants starting with each letter of the alphabet, and a senses garden where kids are encouraged to smell, touch, etc.
– Show your kids the dangos by Jun Kaneko and the jellybean sculptures. Jenkins said kids are often captivated by how bright they are (and she said it was a great place to go on a hunt for shapes).
– Kenefic Park. This is actually outside of the gardens, but you park in the lot to get there. After a climb up some stairs, you’ll reach the park, which is home to two gigantic Union Pacific locomotives. It’s FREE to visit, whether or not you’ve paid garden admission.
– Geocache. There are a couple just outside of the property for your family to hunt for.
Before you go
– Go over the do’s and don’ts of the garden with your kids: It’s OK to look at and smell the flowers but they need to leave them for others to enjoy. Go ahead and marvel at the trees and water features but do not climb in them. Stay on the paths.
– For parents, heads up, you can bring water in with you, but other outside drinks and all outside food is not allowed (with the exception of the Tempo of Twilight concerts). Also, moms and dads, leave the kids’ scooters, frisbees, kites and such at home.
– Top tip: Bringing young kids? Consider taking the tram. We took it to the furthest garden – the founders’ garden – and walked back. Well worth the $3 per person since the kids were tired by the end (and so were we). Plus, if you’re really tired, you can hop on another tram headed back to the visitors center.
– Kids 6 and younger are admitted FREE. Always.
– Great photo opportunities to seek out: Kenefic Park, the Mount Fuji gate in the Japanese Garden
– You can’t have a picnic at Lauritzen Gardens, but you CAN have one at Kenefic Park. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (and until 8 p.m. on Mondays in the summer)
– From Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can check out a Discovery Bag for FREE on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (if they’re available). They’ll have kid-friendly things to enhance your visit, like a magnifying glass, scavenger hunt and tips on identifying flowers and trees.
Annual Events kids will love
All events listed are FREE with museum admission and FREE to members:
Leashes at Lauritzen – Select summer and fall days
Railroad Days – July
Sweet Corn Festival – August
Autumn & Japanese Ambiance Festival – October
Ghoulish Garden Adventure – October
Holiday Poinsettia Show – November through January
Holiday Happenings – December
Temporary Exhibits: “Metamorphosis: From Reclaimed Plastics to Works of Art” Jan. 20 through May 13, 2018
Address: Lauritzen Gardens, First and Bancroft streets, Omaha
Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day; open until 8 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays from mid-May through mid-September.
Admission: Adults, $7; children ages 6 to 12, $3; children younger than 6, FREE; members, FREE
Congrats! It’s Oh My! Omaha’s fifth anniversary and to celebrate, we’re giving YOU, the reader, the presents hidden in posts. Lauitzen Gardens is helping the blog celebrate by giving a family pass for FOUR (4) to visit the gardens. To enter the giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway ends on March 26, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. I’ll contact the winner via email the following day. Must be 18 or older to enter. Family pass has no cash value. Good luck!
Wait! There’s more! I’m giving away a second pass for FOUR to Lauritzen Gardens. The giveaway starts on March 19 on the Facebook page Things To Do In Omaha & Beyond. Ask to join today so you don’t miss it! Giveaway will end the morning of March 26.
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