It’s official: LEGO has invaded the Chicagoland suburbs for the summer! Both Brookfield Zoo and the Morton Arboretum are currently hosting exhibits that  spotlight the iconic colorful bricks. Photo provided by the Chicago Zoological Society Titled “Brick Safari”, Brookfield Zoo’s exhibit runs through September 29 and features more than 40 life-size animal sculptures, all constructed from millions of individual LEGO pieces. Set along a winding wooden pathway on the east side of the park, visitors both young and old will be able to explore and get up close with their favorite animals in brick form. A giant panda sitting next to its cubs, an elephant raising its truck in the air, and an orangutan resting on a tree are just some of the sculptures that can be seen along the way. Displayed next to each sculpture is a colorful sign that features interesting facts and statistics, as well as a poem pertaining to each animal. Photo provided by the Chicago Zoological Society Of course, it’s not every day you get to see a LEGO rhinoceros or giraffe in all their glory. Fortunately, visitors are invited to take pictures and selfies in either the Safari Jeep or behind the life-size photo frame, both made of, you guessed it: LEGO! At the end of the exhibit is a gift shop which offers a variety of brick-themed items for purchase. The exhibit is open during normal zoo hours, with admission into the Brick Safari costing $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Members of Brookfield Zoo receive half-off the price of admission. Brookfield Zoo isn’t the only one to embrace the bricks this summer. As mentioned, The Morton Arboretum is once again hosting its own LEGO-centric exhibit called Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks by Sean Kenney. On display until September 15, the exhibit, which first visited the arboretum back in 2015, features 15 nature-themed sculptures. These include an eight-foot-long dragonfly with its massive wings spread overhead, and a peacock peacocking its blue, yellow, and green feathers. New displays for this year include a bee mid-flight and a pileated (capped) woodpecker. Designed to signify the beauty of nature and all of its connecting elements, the displays were created by New York-based artist and Lego Certified Professional, Sean Kenney, who designed each piece to encapsulate the diversity found in the natural world. All of the displays can be found within walking distance of the Visitor Center, with the exhibit itself being all within approximately one mile. A giant LEGO bee is just one of the new sculptures on display this year. Photo provided by The Morton Arboretum Themed programming will also be offered as part of the exhibit during its duration. Coming up on June 11 is “The Nature Behind Nature Connects,” which will share with attendees more information on some of the animals and plants featured in Kenney’s artwork. Children visiting the exhibit will also have the opportunity to play with and create their own LEGO masterpieces in a self-guided hands-on activity located in the Children’s Garden. The exhibit is free with admission to the arboretum.  Whether you’re new to the world of LEGO or a lifelong fan, both exhibits highlight the limitless potential that LEGO has to offer while learning more about the world around us and the creatures that we share it with. For more information on Brick Safari and Nature Connects®: Art with LEGO® Bricks by Sean Kenney, please visit Brookfield Zoo's and The Morton Arboretum's websites to learn more and to see other events coming soon.  
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Adam Prestigiacomo