Botanical Garden - Larger than Life

Published in the La Vernia News on October 30, 2014

Larger than life - Enjoy vibrant, giant LEGO sculptures in  San Antonio Botanical Garden

Everyday Journeys

  Harry and Linda Kaye Perez

It's more than just plants in the San Antonio Botanical Garden. And what it is, is BIG!

Hummingbird-Flower copy

A Little History 

       During the early years of the City of San Antonio, there was a limestone quarry on the eastern end of what is now known as Mahncke Park, just off the present day New Braunfels Avenue along the western edge of Fort Sam Houston. The quarry was used during the 1880s as a water reservoir but was abandoned a short time later. In 1899, G. W. Brackenridge, owner of the land, deeded it to the City of San Antonio. This was a natural place for the future Amphitheater at what was to become the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

   In 1940, several prominent San Antonio families conceived the idea of a Botanical Garden, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that a master plan was developed. Fundraising began in 1970 when San Antonio voters approved $265,000 in bonds for the garden’s development. More grants and donations were secured and the groundbreaking ceremony was on July 21, 1976. Four years later on May 3, 1980 the San Antonio Botanical Garden was officially opened.

Changing Scenery

     Since then, the Garden has expanded with new permanent features as well as seasonal and visiting exhibits such as the current Nature Connects - LEGO sculptures created by one man, Sean Kenney, using over a half million LEGO bricks. This exhibit will be here until January 4, 2015.

             The Artist

Mother Bison and her Calf copy

    Sean Kenney, born in 1976 and a self-described professional kid, is a renowned artist and author of seven inspirational children’s books. He was a published cartoonist by age 18 and pursued a career as a graphic and website designer. At age 27, he gave up his desk job and began creating his LEGO art professionally. He says he doesn’t work for LEGO, but he IS its best customer.

And His Art

     The smallest of the LEGO creations is a cute green frog atop a lily pad (also made of LEGOS) and the largest is the Bison and Calf. The mama bison is made of 45,143 LEGO bricks, over four feet in height and six feet in length. The calf only took 16,229 LEGO bricks to create. The bison is the largest land mammal in North America and the symbol of the American West.

     The first LEGO sculpture you will see as you enter the Garden is a colorful Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly and just beyond that is the Hummingbird and Flower made of 31,565 LEGO bricks and measures over 5 feet tall. The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly in any direction and migrates thousands of miles each year.

     The Rose comprised of 41,242 LEGOS stands almost seven feet tall and three feet across. I snapped a photo of Harry with the Rose to demonstrate the size of this magnificent flower.

     Other sculptures include a Fish jumping out of the water (near the green frog on the lily pad), the Fox and the Rabbit, and a Bumble Bee flying high in the Conservatory Palm Pavilion.

Fish and the Frog copy

  More to Delight the Senses

   The Botanical Garden is an interesting place - everywhere you look you will see beauty, color, and unusual elements, such as giant blue hammocks, which are usually full of playful children and oversized chairs large enough so that the entire family can fit in one chair for a great photo opportunity. There are waterfalls and fountains, birds to enjoy watching and, of course, a magnificent collections of plants and flowers, from roses to tropical, desert to grasslands.

        There is a large gift shop and the Carriage House Bistro, offering unique lunch items from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm weekdays, and 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on weekends.

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly Made of LEGOs copy

  There is always something exciting happening in this 38-acre paradise. Gardens by Moonlight, Dog Days when you can bring your leashed pet, or Family Flashlight Night, are a few examples of events offered. Be sure to check the Garden website for complete information.

 Mission Statement: 

To inspire people to connect with the plant world and understand the importance of plants in our lives. 

Harry admiring the Rose copy
Now THIS is a chair! copy
Bubble Bee copy

The bumble Bee in Flight


$10 adults                                                                                                                                                                         $ 8 students, seniors, active  military                                                                                                                           $ 7 children age 3-13.

Open Year Round 9am - 5pm                                                                                                                                                                                              Except Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day

555 Funston Place                                                                                                                                                                                                                       San Antonio, Texas 78209                                                                                                                                                                                                      (210) 207-3250,




   © Harry Perez 2012